Reader responses regarding "The Mormons" PBS series

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

Polygamy needed MORE not less coverage. The subject was whitewashed with a bit of dirt to show, but it was presented nothing like the truth of the ugly situations that polygamy inspired. Ditto the handcart fiasco, blood atonement and other subject matters that were either ignored or glossed over. An honest documentary would be a breath of fresh air. — D. H.

The pictures are dark and spooky, depictions of black and white smeared landscapes appear, the scary music begins in the background. I wonder what I'm watching! Is it Jason part XV?, is it the Blair Witch project part III?, or maybe Dracula 2007? No, nothing so mundane. This is the new PBS "fair and objective" look at those crazy Mormons. An appropriate sub-title may have been, "Joseph Smith, the delusional gold digging womanizer and his hypnotized followers". I'm looking forward to the next "fair and objective" PBS Frontline Mocumentary, preliminarily titled: "The Jews" written and produced by the award winning film maker Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. — Russell Rowley, Taylorsville, Utah.

It seemed to me that "The Mormons" documentary was produced like all of the rest with an underlying desire to tarnish and "disprove" the tenets of our religion. Why can't someone produce a film that paints a picture of the goodness, kindness and service to mankind that is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Why didn't we hear from people like Jan Shipps, an outsider who seems to have a true understanding our church without the negative bias that was presented by the anti-LDS individuals who permeated this documentary? I suppose the persecution of the Saints of God will never cease? —

Dan Morris, Moncks Corner, South Carolina

My family and I were pleased with the recent PBS documentary about the church. Overall, the program was fair and informative — and also inspiring. If we believe in the truthfulness of the Restoration, then we have nothing to hide and should not fear scrutiny of the church. The power of the message of the Restoration always transcends other elements of the story. As a church, we are fortunate to have received such broad, national exposure. — Nate Sharp, Texas

Doctrines of the church being addressed by non-LDS "intellectuals and scholars" instead of LDS ecclesiastical leaders created "misinformation"—some truth mixed in with a lot of opinion and perceptions of what we believe. You don't go to a Ford dealer for information on a Dodge truck. You would not address Billy Graham for his explanation of doctrines of the Catholic Church. Skewed doctrine is part of the stereotypical Mormon image. If the intent of this documentary was to set the record straight, it failed in many respects.

Adding the segment on modern polygamists further contributed to the stereotypical Mormon image. The early history of the practice of polygamy in the church would be expected. However, confusing the issue by interviewing those who choose to practice polygamy today "muddied the waters" and was very misleading, especially to anyone who joined the documentary in progress.

The Mountain Meadow Massacre is also part of this church's history. This was a horrific event, but spending so much time interviewing "historians" who prefaced their remarks with "I feel ... I think.... it appears" ... and then went on to express controversial references mingled with personal opinion left me wondering if this was an excerpt from the trailer for Jon Voight's new movie.

I believe that a heartfelt effort was attempted by Helen Whitney and at the very least, I'm grateful for that. — Sandy Kucera, Minneapolis, MN

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