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Reader responses regarding "The Mormons" PBS series

Published: Thursday, May 3 2007 12:10 a.m. MDT

Having a brother who has left the church it was like visiting with him all over again. How sad it is that once we have a knowledge of what revelation can do, what do we do with it? To have so many unhappy voices describing the " Mormon Church" was a bit sick. I felt sorry for their displeasure as I do with my own brother who's life is forever bitter against the church. I think a better title would have been "How bitter members feel when they leave the Mormon Church". This would have prepared me to know what this documentary was all about. It missed the mark and any history or other documentary will only do the same ... you can't express what you feel when you feel like a Saint in the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ... there are no words in all of the earthly languages to get it right... ALL YOU CAN REPORT IS EARTHLY EXPERIENCES THAT WILL ALWAYS REMAIN HERE ON THE EARTH, EXPLAINED AS VOID EXPRESSIONS OF DARKNESS AND NEVER ACSEND TOHEAVENLYHEIGHTS OF LIGHT AND TRUTH. — no name

The very few (positive comments) and comments from church leaders were nice, but the overall tone was nothing more than the usual hatchet job the church gets, even by our own local media. They made no effort to explain Joseph Smith other than his being a fake or an out and out liar. If this is the best and fairest that media can be, it's no wonder that people are totally misinformed and have bias against each other. Perhaps some day we will get a fair shake from someone doing a documentary about the church, but this is not the one. — no name

I found the parts I watched biased to a view that does not accurately reflect what I believe as a member of the church. In particular, I think this reflected in the over-reliance on ex-members of the church and not really investigating why they felt the way they did. If the film-makers had spent more time truly understanding why the church had removed them from the church and understanding the principles of revelation. It would have presented a more balanced view. Instead, it seemed to reflect the feelings of anger and animosity that ex-members have in blaming the church and others for their plight and not looking inside to evaluate what they did wrong. — David Davies, Vancouver, WA

I was very impressed the presentation. I believe at the end of the day this documentary will do much to have positive influences for the LDS church. Because it is not an LDS production it will hold credence. I did not find any major faults with the veracity of anything that was presented. — John, Twin Falls, Idaho

My name is Jennifer and I live in Alexandria, Virginia. I am a Mormon. I thought "The Mormons" was pretty well done. There was focus on the negative aspects of the church's history, but in reality there are controversial parts of Mormon history that are hard to understand...even for a Mormon. I thought people were fair minded and well spoken. Anything that has been around long enough to have a history will have less than perfect moments. I don't think the show would have a negative impact on a believing Mormon and probably wouldn't cause those who are opposed to the church to like it any better. But it gave information and I think that's a good thing. — Jennifer, Alexandria, Va.

Holding grudges against the church doesn't portray the truth! There were ALOT of distortions in the 4hr show! How would it be if the Catholics, Lutherans, Protestants had a 4hr show given by non-believers?(see Moroni 10-4-5)Truth will prevail with or without distortions. Sincere prayer is the answer. — no name

I thought the documentary turned out fairly well, which surprised me. I had been interviewed by telephone by Helen Whitney (the film's writer/director/producer), and the first things out of her mouth were: "I love to speak with intelligent people, people of faith, people of strong belief—who can be so fascinating when they express their doubts. I just find it so enlightening to listen to that kind of thoughtful, engaging candor. So tell me — when it comes to the Mormon Church, what are your doubts?"

That is known as a "leading question." In fact, though Ms. Whitney seemed extremely gracious throughout the interview, that is probably the most comically over-the-top leading question that I had ever heard. I'm a lawyer, and in law you are allowed to ask leading questions only to someone who is an adversary, someone considered a "hostile witness." So her question immediately made me very wary, though I doubt that was her intent.

I told her I didn't have any doubts about the church, that one thing a testimony brings is a certainty that allows me to make personal sacrifices for the gospel, etc. "Oh, everyone has doubts!" she insisted. She then named a prominent writer who had expressed doubts to her, and she invited me again to be more "engaging" and "intelligent" by expressing mine. I told her a personal experience I had had with the Spirit as a young man, which forever erased any doubts about the truthfulness of the gospel, and I added that other experiences since had only reinforced my conviction that the church is true, that the gospel Joseph Smith restored is in reality pristine Christianity.

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