Reader responses regarding "The Mormons" PBS series

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

I felt there were many interviews with those who had chosen to leave the church for various reasons and who had bad feeling toward the LDS church. You don't think they had an axe to grind? Where is the counterbalance? For example the woman who had 8 great-grandmothers who walked across the plains and left the church because when she did a reenactment of a trek didn't have the same feelings her grandmothers recorded in their journals so it wasn't true. Well duh!! It wasn't even the same experience with the same fears and commitment level. Where was the interview with a practicing member who had done the same thing and felt closer and a better understanding of what they went through? Not bias—I don't think so!!

Honestly, I did find the 2nd night a little better. But I still found it interesting that so much time was spend on excommunication. The interviews were with those who were bitter about that. What about those who had been through the process and found the journey back a healing process?

I'm sure it is obvious that I am a member of the LDS Church and I saw this from that point of view. I even felt that maybe I was seeing this and feeling this from a defensive point of view. But interestingly I have had a number of my non-LDS friends express the same views. Every single person who has talked to me about this was surprised at how biased against the church this was while trying to appear neutral. I was told by a number of them that they had watched this excitedly to better understand the church and its history. Yet they too came away feeling that it did not fairly reflect the church. They too recognized that too many people were interviewed who had reasons to have grudges against the church and not enough stalwart members interviewed.

Maybe it is not possible to present a totally neutral program on this subject and by recognizing this realize that the only way to know is to visit, talk to and learn to appreciate those who live this culture. By doing so, all can appreciate what makes a Mormon a Mormon, a Jewish person Jewish, and Catholic a Catholic. — Debbie Johnson, Athens, Georgia

I was lead to believe this might actually be an objective view of the faith I converted to as an adult. It was tragic. I regret asking my non-LDS brothers and sisters (the biological type) to watch it. It clearly was produced with a bias. From the topics covered, the persons chosen to decry our faith, even to the strange images and music used when depicting Joseph Smith, the First Vision, his early life — it was pathetic. I will stop, but it is hard to do so given the terrible injustice done to a faith and a people so undeserving of this mischaracterization of history. — John Patterson, Ogden

While theatrically well produced, The Mormons lies on a poorly constructed foundation. Investigative reporting should start with the source. Church doctrines as taught by church authorities will indicate the organizations beliefs. While interviews with disgruntled, critics, or disenfranchised members may shed light on that persons individual interpretation of doctrine and their personal struggle with it, these interviews may be sensational as the persons bear their inner feelings but they are not the doctrine of the church. Perhaps the interviews should have been weighted by the populous percentages of active members and inactive/non-members. — Wayne Fausett, Cedar City, Utah

Helen Whitney's "The Mormons" failed to ask the most important question regarding Mormons, a question that most viewers surely must have been asking themselves, "Why are so many intelligent people willing to tithe, sacrifice time and talents, and genuinely love a church that asks so much of them and has such a strange history?" — Ken Zeeman, Centerville

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