I am a committed Latter-day Saint and watched the program last night with great interest. Overall, I would give it a B+. Some of it, however, was very weird. What was that about the "red rock country and the fire burning?" And all the shots of Goblin Valley and Monument Valley were very out of context. For a moment I thought we were watching a John Ford movie and that John Wayne was going to come riding over the horizon. The flying hair on the Moroni/angel figure was just creepy. Ken Verdoia was very good and very insightful but to label him a journalistÉwell. The end part about dancing was just surreal, what was that even about? Too much time was spent on the Mountain Meadows Massacre as well as modern-day polygamy although the two clips of President Hinckley stating the connection between polygamists and the modern church was very good although the narrator still referred to them as Mormon Fundamentalists. I'm looking forward to tonight's 2nd part. Steve Handy
After watching the first segment of the PBS documentary "The Mormons," I actually only take issue with the portrayal of Mountain Meadows. I found the segment on polygamy quite fair and balanced. While some, including the Deseret News's own Scott Pierce (no relation) felt it unnecessary to mention modern polygamy, I disagree. "Mormon" is more than just the LDS church. Like "Protestant," it is also a label for all of the groups that trace their lineage to Joseph Smith. In that sense, I was all right with the documentary's take on polygamy.
However, the segment on Mountain Meadows really bothered me. As an historian, I take serious issue with the documentary's over-reliance on Will Bagley, whose work poses serious problems of analysis. The fact that Mountain Meadows got more attention than Haun's Mill or the other Missouri, Ohio, and Illinois persecutions is especially troubling. The work of a small band of men, the Mountain Meadows massacre, while tragic, should not continue to haunt the church to this day. There is in fact absolutely no evidence at all that Brigham Young ordered the attack or even was aware of its full implications for several years after the fact. Talk of a "cover up" by church leaders is stretching the point quite a bit as well. Only a small group of men knew what had happened, and they weren't talking.
I'm waiting until after tonight's finale to make a final judgment, but the Mountain Meadows segment is quite troubling.
Sincerely, Samuel Pierce, Florida
This so called documentary is just another opportunity of the critics and non members of the church to voice their opinions without facts to back them up. This was definitely not a fair and balance presentation. It was full of distortions about church doctrine, the Prophet Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Much of the church history was distorted opinion. No mention what so ever about the Mormon Battalion and their contribution to our country. One would think that they could have at least accurately presented our basis beliefs such as the Articles of Faith. If this were a basketball game I would vote this as the anti-Mormons 80 and the Latter Day Saints 20. KW, Salem, OR
To Scott Pierce: Did you watch the same piece that I watched on Monday night? From your review I think it impossible. This "assault" was as sophisticated as I have viewed and it went on for two hours? Interestingly the "Massacre" was the one unit I found more or less factual until it came to the opinion strongly stating President Young ordered the massacre. The "other side" of that bit of hate was presented as tepid pap. Nor was any time given to the church's attempts at reconciliation with the decedents of those who lost their lives that tragic day. Anyone who has judged a debate contest would give this one to the detractors of the LDS Church, hands down. The presentations of the "pros" and "cons" was as equal as pitting Terry Bradshaw's Supper Bowl Steelers against Don Shumate's 1956 champion Junction City Tigers. Did anyone notice that at no time was the Son of God referred to as central to all that the "Mormons" believe or did I somehow manage to fall asleep through that 2 second segment? And the painting of the angel Moroni, what was that? In my several decades of intense involvement with this church that particular piece of art has totally escaped me. At first I thought it was a depiction of Gov. Boggs having one of his better days. The timing of its inclusion implied that was how Joseph depicted Moroni as he appeared in his bedroom. How in any man's world could you view this as an impartial and fair presentation? Once again I ask, did you really see the full two hours of the Monday episode before you wrote your review? Incredible!!! I can't wait for Tuesday night, no, I can't wait; the specter of watching a rehash on national television of the Tanner's "God Makers" looms large on the horizon. With considerable regret, G.P. Mill, Idaho Falls
I just finished watching the PBS special 'The Mormons'. Overall?....disappointing.
Lets hope tomorrow nights segment is better.
On a scale of 1 -10 ( 10 best) I would rate it as a 5. Gina S Davis, Victoria B.C. Canada
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