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Author Topic: Preview of "The Mormons"
SenojRetep
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There's a preview for the upcoming American Experience on the Mormons. Here's the link.

I'm a bit discouraged from the lack of any recognizable church representation. At least recognizable to me. Does anyone know who the various individuals in the shown clips are? My guess is academics (possibly from BYU, but more likely not) rather than official representatives of the church, but I don't really know.

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katharina
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Good grief, what's with the ominous music? It sounds like the preview for Jaws.
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Scott R
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I like that ominous music...
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Pat
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quote:
Originally posted by SenojRetep:
There's a preview for the upcoming American Experience on the Mormons. Here's the link.

I'm a bit discouraged from the lack of any recognizable church representation. At least recognizable to me. Does anyone know who the various individuals in the shown clips are? My guess is academics (possibly from BYU, but more likely not) rather than official representatives of the church, but I don't really know.

There's not a lot of church representation, because the church didn't endorse it.

LDS newsroom link

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katharina
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From the link:

quote:
However, some raised concern about what they feel is a disproportionate amount of time given to topics that are not central to the Church’s faith. For instance, polygamy comes in for extensive treatment in the first program, including substantial attention to present-day polygamous groups that have nothing to do with today’s Church. The time devoted to portrayals of modern fundamentalist polygamy seems inconsistent with the filmmaker's stated purposes of getting inside the LDS experience, and of exploding, rather than reinforcing, stereotypes.
That's annoying. It spends a huge amount time on people who have been excommunicated?
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Occasional
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I guess Mormons are going to be spending a lot of time trying to tear down the stereotypes this was supposed to handle. I know one thing, this film is going to cool the church from participating in future project of the same kind.

However, I am not surprised one bit. Can't really explain why other than the way the media treats religious people.

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Pat
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I'm holding out hope that the net result will still be positive.
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katharina
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A bunch of people from various Mormon blogs were interviewed for this.

From the second link:
quote:
The scuttlebutt is that Helen showed the documentary to PBS (aka the big sponsor) and was told it was too positive; she was asked to re-edit.

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Pat
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Wow, great blogs kat. [Smile]
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katharina
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[Smile] Thanks. MattB showed them to me.
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DaisyMae
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I think the trailer covers what seems to be of most interest to people who are not LDS. It does seem a bit incongruous to those people who are members because we focus so much on the spiritual aspect while those outside the church just want to point out what makes us so different. I think it is difficult to make any kind of documentary without any kind of bias or slant, but I trust PBS to at least be as factual as possible.

The thing that left me feeling at odds were some of the pictures and stuff they used. For example, where in the world did they come up with that picture as they were talking about the angel Joseph Smith saw? It was all dark and weird. Why wouldn't they use an LDS interpretation of artwork of the event if they are really trying to get at the way we view our religion?

But whatever, I'm sure there are things about it that will make me feel uncomfortable because the negative (and often untrue) stereotypes will definitely be brought up and perhaps perpetuated. That is frustrating to me, but it is good for people to at least get an idea of what we really believe instead of just holding on to backwards ideas that they heard in a joke somewhere.

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School4ever
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That looked like a Minerva Teichert painting, while I really don't like her work, if it is hers, the painting is a "Mormon" interpretation.
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Dagonee
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quote:
Good grief, what's with the ominous music? It sounds like the preview for Jaws.
I read an "e" instead of an "a" in the last word of this sentence. Suffice it to say, I was quite shocked until I realized my mistake.
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mr_porteiro_head
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Me too, Dag.
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James Tiberius Kirk
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<--- did the same thing.

--j_k

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Dagonee:
quote:
Good grief, what's with the ominous music? It sounds like the preview for Jaws.
I read an "e" instead of an "a" in the last word of this sentence. Suffice it to say, I was quite shocked until I realized my mistake.
I guess its word association, I read ominous and as soon as I saw J I knew it was Jaws.

I do not associate Jews with Ominous.

Why is it that you associate the two Dag? [Big Grin]

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MidnightBlue
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I think their word association went Mormons = People of a Religion = Jews.
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Dan_Frank
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I did the same thing, and yeah it was word association, like MidnightBlue said.
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Epictetus
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I'm interested to see this. I'm pretty confident that the coverage of the polygamist fundamentalists will be done in a manner that gives the viewer enough background to understand that they're not part of the LDS church. In my experience with Frontline, they seem pretty good about doing their research.
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Jutsa Notha Name
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So, since this was not sanctioned by the LDS church, it should be viewed as likely to be anti Mormon? That is patently ridiculous. Frontline has done the same thing with other religions and provided pretty fair documentaries. Further, this preview seems mostly positive regarding the faith (Where was the "ominous" music? Most of the clip was upbeat.).
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Scott R
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Umm...I don't see where anyone has said that this is anti-Mormon.
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katharina
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My stars, oh no, yeah...JAws! With an "A"!Ominous music! The shark movie. DUHdun. DUHdun. *waves hands*

The ominous music in question would be the growling minor key as the narrator says "powerfull.." It's supposed to be ominous, because then it bursts into the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the juxtaposition is supposed to be contrasting. I completely get why it makes a more exciting documentary. I still don't like the ominous music intro. *wrinkles nose*

Justa, you're tilting at windmills. No one has said what you are decrying.

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Scott R
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I wonder if we (Justa and myself) have different definitions of the word 'anti-Mormon.'

To me, 'anti-mormon' indicates an agenda to disprove or discourage Mormonism. I don't think anyone on this thread or in the links has implied that such an agenda appears in this production.

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Kwea
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I was wondering how strong the Churches stance was against it, as I had not clicked on the link yet. I wouldn't have stated it had been called anti-Mormon, but I wouldn't be surprised if it had been in those links.


I am interested in seeing it though.

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Scott R
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quote:
I wouldn't be surprised if it had been in those links.
The Church, to my knowledge, doesn't usually comment on things using the terminology 'anti-Mormon.' IIRC, they did issue a heads-up memo in regards to the movie September Dawn, saying it was not favorable to the church.

In my experience, the Church doesn't usually dignify (or recognize) critics with discussion.

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Puffy Treat
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quote:
Originally posted by Kwea:
I was wondering how strong the Churches stance was against it, as I had not clicked on the link yet. I wouldn't have stated it had been called anti-Mormon, but I wouldn't be surprised if it had been in those links.

It's not. By all means, click on the link to the LDS News Room article kat quotes from. The Church isn't against it...it even praises parts of it.
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Jutsa Notha Name
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
I wonder if we (Justa and myself) have different definitions of the word 'anti-Mormon.'

To me, 'anti-mormon' indicates an agenda to disprove or discourage Mormonism. I don't think anyone on this thread or in the links has implied that such an agenda appears in this production.

Maybe we have different definitions, but I don't think that's what I was talking about.

There are many posts in this thread that react, not negatively, but with an inference of distrust to it and pre emptive criticism. I got this impression mostly from the posts by katharina, Occasional, and DaisyMae.

Maybe I got the wrong impression than the one their posts were meant to imply. [Dont Know]

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Puffy Treat
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I've found that it's usually unwise speculate on what someone "really means" in an all-text environment.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Puffy Treat:
I've found that it's usually unwise speculate on what someone "really means" in an all-text environment.

Truer words were never spoken!
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Jutsa Notha Name
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Should I go ahead and quote all the statements that led me to the conclusion I did?

Is not the purpose of discussion in a text only environment to find out what a person "really means?"

What are you saying, exactly?

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Dagonee
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quote:
Is not the purpose of discussion in a text only environment to find out what a person "really means?"
Typically, people who truly want to find out what others mean don't rephrase what the others said in confrontational statement and then label it "ridiculous."
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stihl1
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I can't WAIT for this show.
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Jutsa Notha Name
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quote:
Originally posted by Dagonee:
quote:
Is not the purpose of discussion in a text only environment to find out what a person "really means?"
Typically, people who truly want to find out what others mean don't rephrase what the others said in confrontational statement and then label it "ridiculous."
Typically, when the initial impression one gets is wrong and they admit it by saying things like "Maybe I got the wrong impression than the one their posts were meant to imply," then it is better to not be rude to the person like you are doing.
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Cashew
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The painting of the angel in the preview is deginitely not a Minerva Teichert. Not her style at all.
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Tatiana
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I'm excited about it and I want to see it. To me it sounds very positive. The controversial things they touch on in the trailer, for instance, the experience of gays who grow up Mormon, are things we definitely need to talk about more, and be sure we understand all points of view. Polygamy seems an overdone subject to us Latter Day Saints, but there is no denying that people outside the church probably associate that subject with Mormonism more than any other, so it's important that the true situation be recognized widely, and discussed. There is also a legacy of polygamy in today's church (I believe) in our reluctance to accept women in more leadership positions, and the cultural (not doctrinal) tendencies that exist that promote the sidelining of women and their lack of participation in decisionmaking in the church. So for these reasons, I think it might be a good thing both for members themselves, and for those outside the church, to examine these beliefs and this history, and give all the ideas a good airing.

I'm very much for openness and honesty. Even if the documentary turns out to have some factual errors, it will only serve to bring them forward for rebuttal. We have nothing to fear from more knowledge about the church and more people discussing the church. It will all turn out for the good of God's kingdom, no doubt! [Smile]

If I didn't think it was an awesome church, with a process and system that generally leads lots of people in the right direction, toward more kindness, responsibility, self-realization, community, strength, resiliance, and wisdom, I wouldn't be LDS. I've gone from knowing almost nothing about the church to learning a great deal in the past 10 years. It has all been about 95%+ positive, and the experience of actually living it, or trying my best, has been 100% positive for my life. The more people learn about it, the better, I think!

I second the vote of confidence for Times and Seasons, and especially for By Common Consent, both of which I read faithfully. Smart, funny, committed Mormons write for both, and it's usually delightful to read them. I want to add a plug for my very favorite place on the bloggernacle, Mormon Stories Podcasts. John Dehlin strikes me as an example of the kind of person the church tends to foster, honest, sincere, kind, faithful, and good. His podcasts explore all sorts of interesting angles on people's experiences in the church. His interviews with Richard Bushman, who wrote the recent biography of Joseph Smith called Rough Stone Rolling, are especially excellent.

[ April 22, 2007, 05:03 PM: Message edited by: Tatiana ]

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Scott R
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Justa:

Instead of explaining why you think that they think that this film is anti-Mormon (one of them has already asserted that she doesn't think so), you might want to reconsider the wisdom of speaking on behalf of the minds of those with whom you disagree.

[Smile]

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Jutsa Notha Name
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I wasn't speaking on their behalf, I was commenting on the impression their posts gave me. If the impression I got was incorrect, then that is a good thing. [Smile]
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Tatiana
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Wow right after I posted that endorsement for Times and Seasons, I got an email inviting me to guest-blog there. [Smile] I'm excited!
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katharina
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At Times and Seasons? That's awesome, Tatiana! [Smile]
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Scott R
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Tatiana's statement:
quote:
It will all turn out for the good of God's kingdom, no doubt!
reminded me of this passage from my novel. I am shamelessly self-promoting.

quote:
Vangel West stood quietly. “God.” His wings stretched and fanned the air. “God,” he said again. To himself, maybe, or to the sky. He was turned away from Lisk.

When he spoke again, his voice was rough. “When Noah had been on the Ark forty days, the Leviathan came for him. The Leviathan is the mother and father of all evil creatures—the dragons, the efrit and such. Its belly is hung with a thousand wombs, that every year, birth a thousand monsters. It devours all its children but one—the fastest one, the strongest one. The Leviathan sang to Noah, and threatened to capsize the Ark and undo all of God’s plans, unless he would throw his sons overboard.”

Lisk shuddered. “It sang?”

“That is what the scriptures tell us. Noah would not sacrifice his sons to the creature. Instead, he cast himself into the waters, and it swallowed him. For three days, Noah reveled in the belly of the Leviathan, until it vomited him back into the waters.

“Lisk, where was God when Noah was struggling in the waters before the Leviathan swallowed him?”

Lisk didn’t answer. Couldn’t answer.

“God is good. He is not kind, sometimes. He cannot be. And so when you say that God has brought this man into our village through you, I wonder—what is God doing?”


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Occasional
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I am wondering if this PBS production is what to expect from "The Mormons" when it comes on. If so, I do see some problems that might not help matters. As was said from at Article VI by Lowell:

quote:
Update from Lowell: This PBS broadcast from last Friday also covers much-trodden ground. We have polygamy myths; the fear of a Mormon U.S. president kowtowing to his church's leadership; church critics quoted as authorities on what the church believes (and making mistakes in their statements); and so forth.
This is all pretty tired stuff; I will address only one true howler in the piece, this statement by Dr. Phil Roberts, president of the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary:

"One of the conditions for being temple-worthy is that you have to swear allegiance to the Mormon president whom they believe can receive from God direct revelation."

Any Mormon who holds what we call a "temple recommend" will read that statement and wonder what Dr. Roberts is talking about. It is simply an ignorant comment. We do not "swear allegiance" to any man. We do acknowledge in the course of an interview for a temple recommend that we sustain the president of the Church as a prophet of God. That just means that in ecclesiastical matters we believe no one else is authorized to exercise the full divine authority on earth. It has nothing to do with political matters. If the president of our church really were calling political shots for Mormon officeholders, how could Harry Reid (a committed, temple-going Mormon, and Mitt Romney (also a committed, Temple-going Mormon) hold such divergent political views?
Again, anyone who really want to know what Catholics believe should ask a Catholic, not a critic of Catholicism. The same is true of any faith.

The resident Evangilical has a few comments that might be of interest as well. Make of it what you will. My own expectation for the upcoming work is in the negative. I am not saying "anti-Mormon," but I will say distorted and perhaps NOT helpful toward true understanding.

[ April 23, 2007, 11:33 AM: Message edited by: Occasional ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
If the president of our church really were calling political shots for Mormon officeholders, how could Harry Reid (a committed, temple-going Mormon, and Mitt Romney (also a committed, Temple-going Mormon) hold such divergent political views?
If the president of the LDS church did tell people that God insisted that you vote a certain way, would you feel compelled to vote that way?
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katharina
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President Heber J. Grant counseled members to NOT vote for FDR. Utah went for FDR anyway. *amused*

For the current situation, I think imagining up hypotheticals isn't fair. "If there was a loyalty oath, would you keep it?" But there isn't a loyalty oath to a human being, so it's a pointless question.

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Qaz
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"One of the most powerful, feared and misunderstood religions in American history...."

Sinister music...

And then we hear the Mormon choir singing "Glory Glory Hallelujah." I almost thought it was meant to be funny.

Even if it weren't for that though I would be very surprised to see secular media give an insightful report on religion. They do not understand it sufficiently. I see the same problem with science.

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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
If the president of the LDS church did tell people that God insisted that you vote a certain way, would you feel compelled to vote that way?

Apart from the obvious, "well, God wouldn't insist on any such thing, so it's a moot point" if such a thing were to occur, I would first attempt to get independent confirmation through prayer and fasting that the revelation was true. If that worked, then I would feel justified. If not, I would take it up with ecclesiastical leadership.

There's also perhaps a bit of a fine point to be made on prophet's counsel versus God's commands. Prophets can counsel and not be speaking for God (as, perhaps, President Grant was in kat's anecdote). When a prophet speaks from God, you should be able to independently verify that by taking it up with God personally. That's one of the promises I think Mormon theology rests upon.

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Pat
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quote:
His interviews with Richard Bushman, who wrote the recent biography of Joseph Smith called Rough Stone Rolling, are especially excellent.
It's this exact book that has me holding out hope that this production has a net positive effect. That book was portrayed as a faithful retelling of the Joseph Smith story that didn't withhold the parts that aren't generally included in your weekly Gospel Doctrine class. It talked about the parts of the story that makes Mormon's nervous -- i.e. polygamy, different versions of the First Vision, Smith's treasure hunting days etc., -- but still did an amazing job of being fair, concise and sticking to what the official record shows, without adding the token anti-mormon stance.

I hope this production will do this. I really do.

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Qaz
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quote:
Originally posted by Puffy Treat:
I've found that it's usually unwise speculate on what someone "really means" in an all-text environment.

I think what this posts really means is that this TV show will rock and will draw in more viewers than "American Idol." Did I get that right? [Smile]
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Occasional
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So, what did you all think of the PBS program? This is a question I especially have for non-Mormons who might have seen it. To be honest, I already have a general idea of what 1. Reporters, 2. ex or disgruntled Mormons or 3. Mormons think of it. I have heard hardly any comments from generally educated non-Mormons.
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Javert
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I sort-of watched it. It was on in the background while I cleaned up my living room.

But from what I saw, it was interesting. It definitely didn't seem pro-Mormon, but I don't think it was meant to be anti-Mormon propaganda either.

It seemed very simple: this is who these people are, this is what they believe, here's some of their history.

But again, I only watched a bit of it.

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Synesthesia
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It's fascinating me... But, it;s so unfortunet that it has such an irratating time slot!
But I will watch it on Friday.
Mormonism fascinates me. Perhaps because I am not a Mormon and i am fascinated by things that are different than me.
But there are some details that seem left out....


The massacre depressed me. It doesn't make me feel anti-Mormon, it's just that it's a human problem. I cannot understand why people insisted on picking on Mormons. It's stupid. Why not let them have their own beliefs and not persecute them?
I do not understand it... And I do not understand what caused this Massacre, it depresses me deeply.

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