Reader responses regarding "The Mormons" PBS series

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

I was displeased with her efforts on the ensuing commentaries. It seemed that the vast majority of historians and other commentators were at best sympathetic and at worst antagonistic towards the church; there appeared only a glimmer of proponent comments or analysis. Perhaps she was concerned about "spiritual bias" entering into a secular view of the church's history; however, this is a flawed perspective since it will yield a "secular bias", preventing people from understanding "Mormons" and "Mormonism", heavily spiritual topics, even if they get better information regarding the jots and tittles. Without the spiritual element, what does any of this documentary or even our history matter?

A good resource for learning about "The History of the Mormon Church", but not for learning about "The LDS Faith". — Josh Cummings, Utah, USA

When you start with the premise that Joseph Smith made everything up, you will never come to the right conclusion. The temple rituals were misrepresented, there was no mention of the doctrine of agency. The fact of individual testimony and finding out for oneself was never explored. Big gaps. Big errors in conclusions. The filmmaker tried. She didn't make it. — Lois Kerr, West Jordan

It was insidiously bad. Like much of today's journalism, subtly skewed. The obvious is the handling of the persecution of the Mormons compared with the Mountain Meadows incident.

Bishops storehouses were made to sound like we hoard food for the second coming rather than a discussion of our welfare beliefs and practices.

No mention of the Relief Society nor BYU.

Missionary work was portrayed as a dismal event or programmed duty and not the wondrous experience it mostly is.

Excommunication was covered without the basic fact that it is a process of repentance not a punishment being discussed.

The discussion of polygamy was based on lust and sexuality not responsibility.

Bottom line, if I were a non Mormon I would not be favorably impressed by the church. As a member I think we got skinned, again. — James Buel, California USA

Given there were 4 hours of programming, I believe time could have been provided to illustrate/clarify the following:

1 - There were 11 (eye) witnesses to the Book of Mormon/gold plates - who never denied their testimonies.

2 - Re: printing press destruction at Nauvoo - the libel/slander against Joseph Smith and the church produced in the "Expositor".

3 - Re: Mountain Meadows Massacre - the documented threats from that company to come back from California to destroy the Mormons.

Not that any of the above would excuse certain incidents, but may have provided some justification for what took place instead of portraying the incidents as unprovoked.

This documentary would lead some to question their faith, and would lead others to have a suspect or cynical view of the church — Thomas S. Mortensen, Vallejo, CA

I would have liked to see a parenthesis after each title of the speakers occupation that showed, Active Mormon, Non Mormon, Ex Mormon...Etc... It would help viewers to given credence to their words, or NOT! — JSC Lemes, Convert of 33 yrs, Kearns, Utah.

I would not recommend the documentary to anyone. The producer perpetuated lies and misinformation invented by LDS attackers. Showing the polygamy family was completely out of line, like portraying a Lutheran family in a documentary about Catholics. The producer neglected to point out that there are twelve apostles, and the church is not only run by the prophet. They made Joseph Smith and Brigham Young sound like power hungry womanizers. There was no mention that it is Jesus Christ that runs His church, not the leadership. Many of the people in the documentary, I had no idea what authority they were speaking from: author, poet, English professor, etc. What would they know? I think PBS should give equal time to the LDS Church and allow them to air the history that is now available on DVD. — Carey Smith, Minnesota

Get The Deseret News Everywhere