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  PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS
Total Articles: 20
A four-hour exploration into the richness, the complexities and the controversies of the Mormons' story as told through interviews with members of the church, leading writers and historians, and supporters and critics of the Mormon faith.
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Update On Helen Whitney's PBS Documentary On The Mormon Church: Heard From Whitney's New York Office Today
Monday, Apr 30, 2007, at 07:56 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS   -Link To MC Article-
A few items of interest:
  • Despite breathless rumors that Helen Whitney had supposedly resigned from the production in protest, I was told emphatically that she had not.
  • I was informed, nonetheless, that producing the show has been "frustrating" for Whitney at times, in regard to working with executive producers, and that this process has been time consuming. Whitney was also said to have "mixed feelings" about the documentary.
  • When I mentioned that there had been a great deal of speculation on the RfM board about whether the Mormon Church had engaged in pre-broadcast objection to the PBS production, I was simply told that the Mormon Church had been "curious" about its contents.
  • Finally, I was informed that the producers had been overly ambitious in casting their investigatory net, that some 140 people had been interviewed for the documentary and that, as a result, editing had to be done in order to fit what was necessary into the 4-hour production.
As a consequence, I was told that my interview had been eliminated from the final version and that this decision was made with reluctance.

I responded that this was fine with me, as I had had many opportunities over the years to tell my own personal story as to why I left the Mormon Church.

I added, however, that I only hoped that fair and necessary time was given to the point of view that the Mormon Church was fraudulent in its claims.

In response to that observation of mine, I was told that the producers hoped I would enjoy the documentary.
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An Opening Line From Part One Of The PBS Documentary On The LDS Church: In The 19th Century, To Call Someone A Mormon Would Be Akin In Today's World To Calling Them A Muslim Terrorist
Tuesday, May 1, 2007, at 07:00 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS   -Link To MC Article-
From that dagger-sharp description of Mormonism's emergence on to the American scene, what followed was devastating (albeit in most cases brief but sophisticatedly nuanced) examination of the following bizarre roots and tenets of Mormonism:
  • the evolving embellishment of Joseph Smith's First Vision tale;
  • Smith's money-digging trial of 1826:
  • Smith's frontier mentality--commonly shared by other superstitous Americans of his day--that was deeply entwined in magical belief;
  • a wild-haired Angel Moroni appearing to Smith, barefoot and naked under his angelic robes, to announce the location of the golden plates;
  • Smith's use of a peepstone in a hat in order to "translate" the Book of Mormon;
  • the grandiose silliness of the annual Book of Mormon pageant;
  • Smith's financial illegalities in the Kirtland bank scandal that forced him to flee town;
  • the Mormons' participation in Missouri War acts of atrocity, plunder and destruction of their own, which targeted the lives and property of non-Mormon citizens;
  • Smith's lies and cover-ups concerning his own secret practice of polygamy--a practice that even Smith's wife Emma refused to condone;
  • the description of Smith as a lover of many women;
  • Smith's raging order for the destruction of a free press in Nauvoo, Illinois, because it exposed his undercover involvement in polygamy--a self-destructive command that ultimately led to his assassination;
  • the decision by Emma Smith and others not to follow Brigham Young in mythic migrational flight out West after Smith's death;
  • the characterization of Young as a despotic theocratic leader plagued with self-doubt who did not know how to deal with the fact that he did not talk with God;
  • the fanatical, religiously-driven, bloodthirsty slaughter of innocent men, women and children at the Mountain Meadows Massacre, carried out as it was under the direct order of Young himself;
  • Dallin Oaks' abject apology to the victims of what he admits was the Mormon-leader orchestrated Mountain Meadows Massacre and his hope that God will somehow forgive them;
  • the Mormon belief that Adam and Eve lived in a Missouri-based Garden of Eden;
  • the official, excommunicating intolerance of the Mormon Church toward those who dissent;
  • the official, illegal sanction and practice of polygamy by the Mormon church;
  • the politically-motivated decision of the Mormon Church to discontinue polygamy while still practicing it;
  • the rise of Mormon fundamentalism among polygamists who follow the original teachings of Smith on so-called "celestial marriage;"
  • the internal conflict afflicting many modern-day Mormons who, on the one hand, claim not to believe in or practice polygamy but who, on the other, don't want to admit that the Mormon God gave Smith a false revelation to launch heaven-sanctioned polygamy on Earth in the first place; and, finally,
  • the on-going failure of the state of Utah to effectively prosecute polygamists for violating established marriage law.
Say what you will about how this or that wasn't adequately covered in the PBS documentary on the Mormon Church but I, for one, think that congratulations are in order for Helen Whitney and her production crew for airing the truth about the LDS Church in such a way that that will cause sober-minded members of this weird sect to think twice about what they're really a part of, Mormon Church PR flacks to wince in panicked embarrassment and non-Mormons to shake their heads in disbelief.

Good job, Helen.

Damn good job.
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The Highest Level Of Church Leadership Has Used The Pbs Program, "The Mormons", To 'Ease' Latter-Day Saints Into Discovering 'Faith-Shaking' Facts About Smith, Early Church History
Tuesday, May 1, 2007, at 07:08 AM
Original Author(s): Freeatlast
Topic: PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS   -Link To MC Article-
The LDS Church posted a comment in a press release today that I think is quite telling:

"Because Church leaders and members have not seen the documentaries, official comment will be deferred until midweek. However, Church spokespersons have emphasized that the filmmaker’s style is to take difficult questions and then seek a variety of articulate individuals with divergent views to address them. They are expecting a probing style and a wide range of reaction even among Latter-day Saints."

After 12+ years of the Internet, the church's senior leadership is all too aware that they cannot win the fight to keep Latter-day Saints from learning 'faith-shaking' facts about Smith, The Book of Mormon, the origins of Mormonism, church history in the 19th century, etc.

However, the church cannot open the 'floodgates' of truth without effectively destroying itself. For example, one of the historians in Part 1 said that the historicity of The Book of Mormon can no more be divorced from Mormonism than the resurrection of Jesus Christ can be divorced from Christianity. The Mormon Church has proven itself to be quite 'malleable' (i.e., changeable) when needed in order to survive. It comes down to: Evolve or die. With a church institution, supported by a large and well-organized bureaucracy, and billions of dollars at stake, the latter is not an option.

The only relatively safe thing for the COB 'suits' to do, in my opinion, has been to participate (e.g., permitting senior church officers to be interviewed on camera) in the making of "The Mormons". A good portion of the hard, 'faith-shaking' truth gets told thanks to Helen Whitney and PBS, the church can claim that it was not responsible for the information presented since the program wasn't a church project, and in the aftermath of airing "The Mormons", the church still won't have to specifically respond to members' hard questions (few will ask them, anyway).

It won't be status quo in Mormondom on Wednesday, but in terms of a shift-and-survive tactic, participating with Whitney (to what degree beyond the interviews, I don't know), the COB 'suits' have probably estimated that the church will come out of this one in fairly decent shape. Plus, the stage has been in the minds of Latter-day Saints who watched to slowly introduce more 'expansive' information about Mormon history in the coming months and years.
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The Biggest Stake In The Heart Came From Hinckley
Tuesday, May 1, 2007, at 08:29 AM
Original Author(s): Deconstructor
Topic: PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS   -Link To MC Article-
Of all the information presented in Part 1 of this documentary, I think the most devastating segment was about having to accept the literal historical truth of the First Vision and Book of Mormon.

That quote from Hinkley was priceless and tied all of the other comments together:
"We declare without equivocation that God the Father and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, appeared in person to the boy Joseph Smith. When I was interviewed by Mike Wallace on the 60 Minutes program, he asked me if I actually believed that. I replied, "Yes, sir. That's the miracle of it.""

"That is the way I feel about it. Our whole strength rests on the validity of that vision. It either occurred or it did not occur. If it did not, then this work is a fraud. If it did, then it is the most important and wonderful work under the heavens."
- Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, "The Marvelous Foundation of Our Faith," October 2002 General Conference
Hinckley and other current leaders have made similar declarations:

http://www.i4m.com/think/intro/must_b...

And they've insisted the same for the Book of Mormon:

http://www.i4m.com/think/intro/book_o...

For Mormons, it means they have to stay in the dark ages believing all of this literally happened. They can't move into an enlightened 21st Century where literal truths take a back-seat to allegorical meanings.

For the non-Mormon audience, it became clear that Mormonism is fanatical. Church leaders insists you accept absurdities and their own authority in order to get the "benefits" of Mormonism. In that sense, it is not enlightened and does not pave the way to mainstream legitimacy.
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Danny Peterson Interview: "Calling Joseph Smith A Liar Is Grounds For Excommunication"
Tuesday, May 1, 2007, at 08:33 AM
Original Author(s): Polygamy Porter
Topic: PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS   -Link To MC Article-
How do you spell C U L T ?

http://www.pbs.org/mormons/interviews...

PBS: "What are some positions that would justify excommunication?"

Daniel C. Peterson: "There aren't many, really. Flat out saying Joseph Smith was a liar, I think, yeah, there's no reason for you to be a Latter-day Saint. ... It gets a little fuzzier after that. Advocating a nonhistorical Book of Mormon, for example, advocating it in the church, I'd probably say you can't do that. If you believe it privately, that's your business."
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Helen Whitney Documentary On The Mormons: "Follow The Money"
Wednesday, May 2, 2007, at 07:09 AM
Original Author(s): Alifeexamined
Topic: PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS   -Link To MC Article-
How does a documentary like “The Mormons” get funded? Apparently the money doesn’t all flow from the editorially neutral coffers of PBS and Frontline. At the bottom of the homepage for the documentary, “The Mormons,” is located the following disclosure:

“Funding for FRONTLINE and American Experience is provided through the support of PBS viewers. Additional funding for FRONTLINE is provided by The Park Foundation. Additional funding for "The Mormons" is provided by Edward D. Smith, Steven J. and Kalleen Lund, Mr. and Mrs. Blake M. Roney, and others. A complete list is available from PBS.” [See www.pbs.org/mormons.]

So exactly who are these additional “impartial” donors to the PBS program? A cursory Internet search shows the following:

Mr. and Mrs. Edward D. Smith apparently are/were active Mormons who have given to such causes as “BYU Broadcasting” in the past.

Steven J. and Kalleen Lund apparently established a charitable foundation located in Provo, Utah and in some way is associated with NuSkin Enterprises. One Internet source states that they have given primarily to the Mormon Church and other church-related causes such as FARMS. Note: Edward Smith and Steven Lund both appear to have served contemporaneously as mission presidents in Georgia from 2003 to 2006 and probably know each other from that experience.

Blake M. Roney: Chairman, NuSkin Enterprises.

I suspect PBS and Frontline have enough journalist integrity to list the heavy donors, but it would be interesting to obtain a copy of the entire list of donors for the project.
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Something About Full Disclosure Seems To Reduce The Outrage
Wednesday, May 2, 2007, at 07:11 AM
Original Author(s): Sam
Topic: PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS   -Link To MC Article-
I watched most of part two of the PBS documentary "The Mormons" tonight, and I have some observations about it. First, everyone that was interviewed, whether Mormon or ex-Mormon or whatever, got the same treatment. Nobody was better than anybody else, and everyone had something thoughtful to say. It was very nice not to be constantly reminded of a person's position, but instead to be distinguished only by their remarks. Secondly, something about having it all come out, good and bad, in a presentation involving all parties seemed to help alleviate some of my outrage and frustration about it all. I get so upset with Mormon fluff pieces that my guard goes up before I even watch them.

When you're in a setting where there is an injustice happening and everyone is forbidden to discuss it, there is a whole range of activity that is cut off at the knees. You're limited to your own mind to consider the problem, if you can even do that. You're unable to exchange ideas with others to try to understand and solve the problem. Finally, there's no way to solve the problem - you can't even get close to it - and there is a feeling of confusion about it. It's a terrible situation. The silence in some ways is worse than the injustice.

I'm glad that the Mormon Church agreed to have some of its leaders participate in a documentary of this level of disclosure. I don't know if they knew there was going to be so many dark Mormon secrets revealed, but I hope so.

Another thing. I was envious of the ability that everyone who was interviewed had to express themselves. I wish I could speak that well. There were views expressed that were so right on, and I could never have said it so well. I enjoyed Ms. Toscano's interview, and I was particularly affected by Tal Bachmann. When he talked about his level of commitment on his mission - that he would have strapped a bomb to himself if asked - it hit me like a jolt. It actually brought tears to my eyes, because it's so true. I knew people in the Mormon church who would probably do a thing like that under the right circumstances. Tal was smiling while he said it, but there was a kind of horror in his eyes. My wife said his remarks were the best in the documentary, and he really said it how it is.

I just wanted to post about the realization I had tonight that it's the secrecy and the lies that are the source of my disaffection with Mormonism, and the not being able to talk about it in a constructive way within the Mormon sphere.

I hope I'm making sense. It's late, and I wanted to get my thoughts out before I go to bed and forget them.
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My Musings On The PBS Documentary
Wednesday, May 2, 2007, at 07:51 AM
Original Author(s): D. P. Gumby
Topic: PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS   -Link To MC Article-
Overall, I thought it was pretty well done. There are some areas I would have liked to see covered in more depth like the multiple versions of the first vision. It made the point that the story became more elaborate as time went on. As an exmo, I understood the significance of that, but I'm not sure that the average never-mo will grasp the full significance of it.

I also would have liked it if they had gone into a little more depth about Parley Pratt during the MMM segment. While talking about the events preceeding MMM, they stated that a "beloved leader" had been killed while on a mission to Arkansas. I think leaving it at that allows the viewer to infer that PPP was killed just for his religious belief. It would have been better, IMO, if they had spent the extra 30 seconds to explain why Mr. McLean offed Parley - that would have also tied into the next segment about polygamy.

I also think that they did not go into enough depth on the Mormons contribution to the causes of the Missouri War. While they discussed Haun's Mill and Boggs' extermination order, I don't recall anything about Rigdon's "salt sermon" or the Battle of Crooked River. I thought that segment gave too much credence to the Mo claim of persecution.

From reading here and other online discussion boards, it appears that both TBMs and TBXMs are less than thrilled about the documentary. TBMs seem to be upset that it dared to mention any negative information at all. They seem to have wanted it to be just a four hour missionary presentation. They particularly seem to be upset about the portrayal of Joe Smith using a peepstone, the discussion of the temple ceremonies, and particularly about the discussion of polygamy and the inclusion of the FLDS ["They're not Mormons"].

Many exmos seem to feel that it portrayed Mormonism too favorably because it wasn't a four hour anti-missionary presentation. Personally, I don't think that either of those approaches would have had any value at all - I think it would have been just dismissed as biased propaganda. By providing balance, it will be taken more seriously by those with open minds.

Let's face it - the real TBMs are not going to leave the church because of this - they are already convinced that the church is true. The real TBXMs aren't going to go back to the Cult because of this - they are already convinced it's a fraud. There are two groups that may be influenced by this documentary. The first is the member who has been having some doubts. Being exposed to some of the truth about church history will hopefully encourage them to do their own research. Wahtever the ultimate outcome, this will be good. MAny will find out the truth and leave, some will stay in - but at least they will do so knowing the truth about Mormonism

The other group that will benefit is the curious never-mo who has never really thought about Mormonism before. After hearing about some of the bizarre things mentioned here, they will also research Mormonism. If I had never been a member, hearing about the death oaths in the temple would certainly have prompted me to research the Mormon temple ceremony. It is unlikely that many of these people are going to join TSCC after they do the research.

This film is not going to help the LD$ missionary work. I doubt that many never-mos who see this are going to have any interest in joining. If I were a never-mo just the segment featuring BKP and talking about the excommunication of Mormon dissenters would have turned me away - it seems too much like the treatment of Galileo by the Catholic church 500 years ago.

Overall, while I would personally have liked to see some parts done differently, I think it was a good production. While TSCC may complain about it, I don't think the unbiased viewer is going to be particularly sympathetic to their complaints. I don't think it is going to bring in many converts :-)
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My Observations On PBS "The Mormons"
Wednesday, May 2, 2007, at 08:10 AM
Original Author(s): Btgr
Topic: PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS   -Link To MC Article-
It was a rough night in our household that ended nicely. After prepping DW to watch AE last night just as we would watch any AE episode she said, "I'm not going to watch it and I want you to watch it in the basement so it isn't on for any of the children to see." Jaw dropping moment for me. Why not? "Because I read a review and it's not something I want to see." I didn't question her further to see if someone at church told her not to see it. My DW is so obedience driven to PH authority that it would be within reason.

So I took my exile to the basement and the following things stick in my head yet today in no particular order:

Did anyone notice that the professor commentators did not have their university affiliations listed like a normal AE documentary. Obviously most of the commentators were BYU profs but it was frustrating not knowing who was coming from what viewpoint. I've never seen this avoidance maneuver used on other AE or History Channel documentaries. It is the biggest lowlight IMO of the whole episode. I demand to see accredation listing with a commentator's name for their comments to have credibility. Same for the journalist. Note they didn't list him as "free-lance". So who's he typically write for? I liked his comments overall and thought they were well balanced. Same for the authors. I know what book Bagely is famous for and the same for Flake. But most other people don't.

It looks like Whitney got permission to use all the church film stock of re-enactments for all sorts of movie projects. Personally it got old after awhile but I'm sure she used it to draw viewers in.

My first trip was on the "JS is the alpha and omega of Mormonism" line. I thought that was incredibly poor scripting.

I didn't like Flake's explanation of JS polygamy that "there were easier ways for him to satisfy his sexuality than marrying all these women". No, I don't think so. I think his celestial marriage idea was genius at covering his tracks and keeping it as secret as possible. One certainly couldn't keep THAT many extramarrital affairs secret. I got the distinct impression she was thinking that JS could have masturbated his way through his urges.

Where did the dance crap come from? I liked Terryl Givens explanation on it's tie to Mormon theology but in my 20 years as LDS I never saw emphasis on dance above the general population aside from regular youth dances. Were those cuts in the background from BYU dance competitions? I've never heard any graduates from BYU talk about all the great dances or dance instructional programs offered by the church. This seemed way out in left field for me.

The Hinckley and Holland comments were well chosen to reflect church policy.

I thought comments about the Mormon persecution complex were accurate and Holland knowingly or unknowingly proved the point.

I didn't time it but I think the time spent on MMM was equivalent to the time spent on Haun's Mill.

During MMM they showed pics of Klingensmith and Haight(?) with no direct commentary as to their roles in supporting JDL or in how/why they were not punished as was JDL. It gave me the impression BY sacrificed JDL merely for the sin of being seen.

Tilley's response to Bagely on MMM and BY was weak to the point of being embarrassing. I can't fathom anyone but a TBM trusting his reply. And I don't even think BY gave the order. The absence of an order in the written history is the weakest argument one could make IMO.

Very interesting expression of regret from DHO on MMM and he clearly indicated that church members were involved. I don't think I've ever heard this degree of direct culpability on behalf of church members by a church authority previously. I thought his statement that "I hope all who have been impressed by this tragedy can find forgiveness" was a reach out to those of us who hold MMM as critical moment in church history that has not be adequately addressed. Sadly, his statement was overshadowed by the clip from the next episode that "one can never criticize a church leader even when the criticism is accurate". It seems DHO has learned nothing from the tragedy at MMM. As one commentator said, MMM demonstrates that the church system of checks and balances failed. What system of checks and balances?

I thought the focus on obedience as a belief and behavior was accurate.

I loved the segment on modern polygamy family and thought it was done very respectfully. The explanation of how fundamentalist Mormonism came into being was good enough IMO. It contrasted well with GBH proclaiming there's no such thing as a "fundamentalist Mormon". The FM polygamist woman bearing a soft testimony was impressive and thought provoking.

I was very disappointed that DW would not watch this show. As I reflected on its content it occurred to me that Helen Whitney said previously that she wanted Mormons to see themselves in this work in order for it to have credibility. I think she did a good job of that. I thought the work was balanced so well that no matter what side you went into it from, you were likely to come out of it having your viewpoint validated. I think DW could have watched it and came out of it feeling comfortable in her faith.

I think Helen Whitney regrets they day she started this project. The editing shows a torn loyalty. It must have been very difficult for her to achieve her objectives.
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Helen Whitney Responds: Why Didn't You Show The LDS Affiliation (or Non-LDS Status) Of Those Interviewed
Wednesday, May 2, 2007, at 11:14 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS   -Link To MC Article-
Allentown, Pa.: Why didn't you show the LDS affiliation (or non-LDS status) of those interviewed, which would have provided viewers with the "perspective" they were coming from. For example, most active Mormons do not know that Terryl Givens is LDS (and your documentary doesn't make that clear until Part 2). I agree that it probably doesn't matter to a non-LDS person, but it would matter to most LDS members watching it (who tend to discount the opinions of non-LDS academics and historians).

Helen Whitney: I decided not to label the religious affiliation of those being interviewed for the very reason you mentioned in your note to me. I wanted people to listen carefully and respctfully to each person -- and not automatically discount what people were saying because they were either LDS or not LDS. As you said, LDS folks "tend to discount the opinions on non LDS members and historians." This is a reflexive habit that prevents them (or anyone) from broadening their horizons.

regards,

helen Whitney
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Defanged, Deflated And Defenseless: The Official Mormon Response To The PBS Documentary Was Non-Committal Pablum
Thursday, May 3, 2007, at 07:56 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS   -Link To MC Article-
with carefully-guarded and cautiously-crafted note made of the diverse opinions and meaningful examinations presented by Whitney's damning production.

http://www.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/v/inde...

The LDS Cult apparently wants to avoid drawing any more attention than already has been done by the show to the myriad of negative, bizarre, creepy and appalling aspects of LDS doctrine, history and practice--and, thus, has obviously decided to keep a safe, and pleasantly-worded, distance from the eviceration performed by Whitney at the Cult's expense.

To get defensive at this point about what it cannot convincingly dispute or easily dismiss would only bring more focus to what was exquisitely exposed by the documentary with regard to the Mormon Cult's confirmable folk magic beginnings; its embarrassing, murderous and checkered past; its despotic, unsavory and criminal leadership; its extremist and boundary-invading followers; its strange and secret practices; and its out-of-place and parochial attitudes in contemporary mainstream American society with regard to matters of race, gender and individual expression.

Truth be told, the Morg's designated mouthpieces at this point would probably just as soon see the whole thing go away.

Barring that, it will choose to cut its losses by spinning for its masses.

In a nutshell, the Mormon Cult has been left helpless and speechless by a masterful dissection at the hands of a determined and professional documentarian.

All the LDS Cult can do now is lick its wounds, try to keep the faithful in line with soothing misdirects, make insincere cooing sounds toward the PBS producers and ultimately pray for an exteme makeover if it is going to have any hope of gaining credibility in a society that considers it to be a sacko of wackos.
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Answer To Last Nights Two Questions
Thursday, May 3, 2007, at 08:09 AM
Original Author(s): Zeke
Topic: PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS   -Link To MC Article-
In the second half of ‘The Mormons’ the producer asked two questions that at the time were not answered for me. They were:

What is it about the LDS church that still makes it hard to accept? and;

How did a religion so far from the main stream in the mid 1800’s become so far in the main stream in the mid 1900’s?

This morning at about 3 AM the dog started barking and woke me up. After calming down from the racket I started thinking about these two questions and the answer came to me.

The church went from one problem situation to another not because they were persecuted for there religion by hateful locals (church story) nor were they reviled because of polygamy, printing press breaking, taking over land and businesses (the locals side of it) – they were hated because of their politics. They did not want to share with a community that answered to a set of laws accountable only to God.

Think about it. The local people without fail first offered their hand in friendship when the Mormons moved into an area but soon after they were repelled by their theocracy. The people understood, maybe without being able to articulate it that a theocracy can be the most dangerous kind of politics in group behavior. When the purpose of a government is not the health and welfare of the governed but the glory of God the end is always a disaster.

I remembered Tal Bachman’s remark that at one point he would have strapped himself with a bomb if he had been asked to by the church. I believe what he said and the front page of any newspaper will supply examples of like minded people with the same degree of religion. We are rightly repelled by the shadow of Mullahs dispensing law direct from God.

The Mountain Meadows Massacre, when thought of in this light, is not only understandable but predictable. The local militia in the Cedar City area were all LDS and under the direct control of officials of the church. Any order given to them would be carried out without regard to a normal sense of morality because it was a direct command from God. It was therefore a free pass for these men to ignore there natural morality and to kill without mercy. “God made me do it” – the ultimate excuse.

The documentary clearly showed this was a political decision made as a way to show the federal government that it could not control the frontier and that it must allow the Mormons to control the territory without interference. The question of Brigham Young’s involvement in the specific decision not on focus. His church provided the cover to do God’s work.

As to why the church is now better received! It’s precisely because it has reduced its involvement in government but every time the church uses its power to make a political statement (kill the ERA, take over part of downtown SLC, back a specific politico) the general population senses the danger and pushes back.

The answer to these questions is clear. People understand and fear theocracy with good reason.
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Opera Singer In The PBS Special And The Lie
Thursday, May 3, 2007, at 08:10 AM
Original Author(s): Bookrats
Topic: PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS   -Link To MC Article-
The young girl with PPH who said that PPH is a 100% fatal disease, with 2-5 years life expectancy; she lied. They played that for all it was worth---perhaps so that later she could have a testimony about how she prayed to JS and was saved?

WITHOUT TREATMENT, once in the advanced stage (age 35 and later) the avg life expectancy is 2-5 years; with appropriate treatment, caught early as hers was, she can expect a 95% chance of living 5 years or more, pretty good odds.

90% chance of living 10 or more years without serious adverse affect. The most serious cases can be treated by heart or lung transplant as well.

She made it sound like if she prays hard enough JS will come cure her and wouldn't that be great?

Yes, it's serious and in rare cases, this rare disease can cause terrible problems and sudden death. But usually only when left untreated or when undiagnosed and only discovered at age 40 or later, when it's gone too far to be treated properly...but she was what, age 19 when it was discovered and she is currently being treated, so...something isn't adding up, for me.

They were disingenuous in allowing her to present it the way she did and for them to showcase her disease as if it made her story more special, more poignant, apart and better somehow, than anyone else's.

And I wish they would have told us non Mormons why everyone in her house prays by crossing their arms, while they were at it!
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Thoughts On The PBS Documentary
Thursday, May 3, 2007, at 08:12 AM
Original Author(s): Justseekingtruth
Topic: PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS   -Link To MC Article-
I felt like part 1 was well-balanced and dealt with historical truths to which many mormons have never been exposed, and for that I was grateful.

However, I did have some problems with part 2. Did anyone notice the difference between the heartelt and emotionally charged section on missions and the cold presentation of the exiles and dissenters section which only focused on "anti-intellectual strain"? In the missions section you get tear-filled testimonies against a background of beautiful, floating music. In the exiles and dissenters section you get sharp minor symphony songs against scholars discussing how they can't speak their minds within the church.

Don't get me wrong, the anti-intellectual issue is of utmost importance. But they didn't discuss some extremely important aspects of it:
  1. The accuracy of the information presented by such scholars and the probability that their conclusions are correct.
  2. The divide between what the general membership is taught in church and what top historians and leaders know to be true.
  3. How this affects members who come to terms with this information.
To me, this is one of the most critical issues within the Mormon church, and it is just as emotional for the members who become aware of it as it is for parents sending their sons and daughters on missions. And despite all of this, Tal Bachman was the only ex-mormon shown in the program who left because he no longer believes that the church "is what it claims to be."

Surely they were aware of these issues, especially since they interviewed people like Steve Benson, but they chose not to incorporate it into their program.
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PBS Holland Interview Really Gets To Me
Thursday, May 3, 2007, at 08:13 AM
Original Author(s): Alone
Topic: PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS   -Link To MC Article-
I read Jeffrey Holland's interview on the PBS site....and something that really gets me is his dancing around the revelation stuff....implying that he has had some, but not being able to talk about it.....What is this...."I am a special witness, but I really cannot tall you if I have had any revelations. He know he has never had anything beyong a "burning of the busom"....but cannot say so....Below is part of the interview, does it seem dishonest or what?????

Following is a LOMG quote from the PBS web site on Jeffrey Holland's interview.....

Can you give me an example of a thunderbolt-strike revelation?
"The really personal ones I can't. I've got some I can't tell you. Let me give you one I can. ... This was a thunderbolt; this was a lightning strike. But it's so distanced in some way that I can share it with you. I was finishing at Yale, a Ph.D. program, and ... I'd had a wonderful experience. It had been trying, taxing. ... I'd gone though quickly with a wife and two children, with limited income. I didn't spend a lot of time at cheese and sherry evenings -- I wouldn't have been able to drink the sherry anyway. ... I was to the point when I needed to make a decision. ... I could stay on for another [year], ... or I could go out on the market, so to speak, [and interview for professorships]. And a third, and almost to everybody distant consideration, was to come back to Utah. ...

So [my wife] Pat and I decided, as we did with every major decision in our lives, we would pray about it; we would fast about it. ... I went into our bedroom in our little student apartment to pray, and I had been fasting and praying through the day. But this was sort of the day. I had to tell somebody something about what I was going to do. I went in and knelt down to pray and started to pray. ... I'm going through this great elaboration of our choice and sorting it out before him, and I couldn't even finish the sentences. I could not articulate anything except "go home." The least likely [option], the least understandable down the street in the graduate hall or in the American studies department. ... It was absolutely, adamantly, unequivocally, declared in my heart and in my soul that I was to come home.

Was it a physical sensation?

It was almost so powerful as to be physical. ... I'm not telling you about other experiences, but in this case, I can't say I heard a voice or that there was some appearance; in this case it was not that."
Dancing around knowing nothing....just wonder how these people look in the mirror in the morning....

I hope this PBS issue does not go away for a long time....and people really start thinking....
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Aside From Blaringly Loud Absence Of Mormon Men Becoming Real Gods And The Masonic Rites, Here's My First Impressions Of PBS Part II
Thursday, May 3, 2007, at 08:18 AM
Original Author(s): Longgone2
Topic: PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS   -Link To MC Article-
Tal's shot under the bow was right on target and I do hope thinking people picked up on the rightious bomber comment and the "why should I send my kids to die for something that's fabricated." Subtle, so don't count on any mormons taking note. They don't think in shades of anything.

Mormon missionaries invading boundaries. Accosting people on the street, invading the privacy of homes and that Jensen story about actually invading another church's worship service to deliver their message. I kept remembering mormon reaction to the DVD's delivered in the mormon corridor and their screams of persecution so loud they even got the JDL screaming their tune. Hypocracy anyone? Reciprecal is NOT in the mormon vocabulary.

Specifically, that Jensen guys epiphany was disturbing and ironic and possibly false. He went to a Lutheran worship service and as is common in most Christian congregations, the minister or priest at the end of service will ask if there are any announcements before dismissal. Obviously Jensen and his brown-shirter companion took advantage and stood to bear their testimony about the wrongness of Christianity as practiced by Lutherans. Since he didn't expound on being chased out of the church, we can assume the obviously shocked Lutherans treated these misbegotten savages with grace. I wonder what would happen if I showed up at a mormon sacrament meeting and stood to bear my testimony about the evil of their founder? These people can't even stand someone standing across the street while they enter their general conference, but they feel that their total disrespect of another's sacred beliefs and services. This is a total outrage, but then mormonism is always like an outraged two year old who demands respect andattention, but feels no obligation to give either to anyone else. (And, BTW, he misrepresented Lutheran belief in his little faith promoting story: Lutherans do not consider Luther in any way like mormons worship their demi-god old Joe Smith).

I was appalled by the missionary who got a note stuck to his door announcing his mothers death and that he should call home. I was beyond appalled by his refusal to go home for the funeral. And then the father!!! He and his wife felt there was another spirit that needed to "belong" to them (like their children were some sort of personal slave auction), so against advice from Dr's they had another child and the mother died from it! What kind of brainless fanaticism would lead this so-called family down such a path of destruction and non-caring treatment of the the other "spirits" they brought into this world. This was as far from inspirational as the parents who would allow a child to die because their church doesn't believe in tranfusions.

Did you see the interracial couple exiting the temple? Heheheh! My thought was: good thing Brigham isn't seeing this or there would be one very dead bride and groom.

The family with the daughter who has a terminal heart problem was touching, BUT I was outraged at the implication that only mormons will be reunited with their loved ones after death and the very screwered belief that only they believed that. Bullsh*t. Using such heartbreak to tell others that they won't see their children after death is beyond cruel and ugly. I was also viscerally bothered by the background use of the song Amazing Grace. They don't believe in grace. This is NOT a mormon hymn. This is NOT a mormon idea. There is something very dishonest about stealing the words of traditional Christian belief to represent the sentiment of their totally non-Christian religion. I was deeply offended.

I was very, very impressed with the black man's quote of one of mormonisms profit's saying black people were put on the earth as devils. Pity someone didn't point out that mormon's think other religions are great whores and their ministers the devil, himself.

Did it strike any of you how obvious the so-called granting of the priesthood to blacks was? This hierarchy begged god to change his mind about letting blacks hold the priesthood???!!!! My gawd. They as much as admitted that their man-god still hated blacks but the bretheran begged for mercy on black's behalf and it was granted. If I were black, I would be as outraged as I am when I read or listen to white supremicists. Mormons really are missing some important synapse connection that prevents critical or subtle thinking skills. This is beyond unbelievable.

There are other things that struck me as very obvious problems about the mormonism behind the choir, but judging by the mormon commentary at PBS, I think there really is something missing in mormon cognative thinking skills.
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"The Mormons" Has Vindicated Me
Thursday, May 3, 2007, at 08:19 AM
Original Author(s): Freeatlast
Topic: PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS   -Link To MC Article-
Perhaps like some of you, I've used "The Mormons" in an attempt to break through the blinkered thinking of LDS family members and friends (in my case, my Mormon mother and stepfather, younger sister and her husband, and former bishop/stake president and his wife, whom I've known for 30+ years).

They're people who were taught the LDS religion of the mid-1960s to the early-1990s (pre-Internet), the Mormonism that banned blacks from holding the priesthood (pre-June 1978), of post-mortality polygamy and simulated violence (penalties) in the temple as part of the 'spiritual' endowment ceremony, of BoM Lamanites being the ancestors of native peoples throughout the Americas and the islands of the Pacific, of the BoM Hill Cumorah near Palmyra, NY and not somewhere in Central America, etc.

After I terminated my church membership in late 1993, to them (no doubt), I became one of those who had been 'led astray by Satan', who didn't have the 'spiritual strength' to 'live the Gospel', who had 'apostatized' and 'fallen into mists of darkness'. Such thinking has been the only way that they've been able to reconcile the fact (in their minds) that someone who was raised in Mormonism from early childhood, served a full-time mission, and had participated in the LDS Church for a quarter century could ever leave. Such thinking reinforced their belief that the 'problem' was with me, and not the LDS Church.

I left Mormonism because I'd woken up to the church's deception - about Joseph Smith, the origins of Mormonism and early church history, and more. Also, from '91 to '93, I became increasingly aware of priesthood abuse by some church officers, one who went on to become a General Authority, suffered by a good friend of mine. The behavior of one of the officers was criminal.

The material presented in "The Mormons" has vindicated me (at least in my own mind, which is really the only place where a vindication counts), and I must say, it feels great. With their own eyes and ears, over the past two nights, six Latter-day Saints who have known me for more than three decades and negatively judged me over the past 14 years for leaving Mormonism became aware of a key truth: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has not been truthful with them.

Having watched "The Mormons", they now know, at some level of awareness, that the 'one, true church of Jesus Christ', the 'Kingdom of God on Earth', the religious organization that has claimed for generations to be 'perfect', did not reveal the truth to them about Joseph Smith, early church history, and other major aspects of Mormonism.

I have been vindicated. Thank you Helen Whitney and PBS.
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Multiple "Face In The Hat" Book Of Mormon Versions From Daniel C. Peterson
Thursday, May 3, 2007, at 08:22 AM
Original Author(s): Lincoln
Topic: PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS   -Link To MC Article-
Daniel Peterson is apparently confused as to whether JS used a hat and a seerstone to translate the BoM. Last year he stated that it strained credulity trying to believe that JS translated out of a hat, since the golden plates wouldn't fit inside the hat. Silly Dr. Peterson. Now, on the PBS The Mormons special, he claims that JS used a seerstone and a hat. My question is: Which way is it Dan? Were you lying on FAIR, or lying on PBS? (I suspect he was lying on FAIR, because the historical accounts support the version that says JS translated the BoM out of a hat)

Here's last years version, from a FAIR thread titled "Question on Church "Misleading" people?" in response to this posting of Juggler Vain's insightful artistic rendition:


Daniel Peterson Jun 13 2006, 10:45 PM Post #49
"Another example of how artists routinely introduce inaccuracies into their work.

The plates are generally said to have weighed about sixty pounds. It strains credulity to imagine Joseph holding sixty dense pounds of metal up to his face -- otherwise unsupported, in a soft hat -- for very long in the manner shown here. Nor does any description of which I'm aware represent him as doing so. And does anyone ever claim that he dictated the Book of Mormon while sitting outdoors on a tree stump? I've seen no such claim.

According to the historical accounts, the dictation took place inside, at a table. The hat was presumably placed on the table, or perhaps a chair or on the floor.

Now, one could accuse the artist who did this drawing of a willful intent to deceive. If I were to follow the lead of some of the posters here, that is precisely what I would do. But I have no evidence of intentional deception in this case, so I won't make that accusation."
http://www.mormonapologetics.org/inde...
In Peterson's defense, he offered the weak excuse "I wasn't thinking" a few posts below, referring to his plates in the hat theory. But now, a year later, Daniel seems to have taken some classes in church history, and remedied his previous confusion on this topic. This is what he said on the PBS special regarding the BoM translation process:
"There were a couple of means that were prepared for this. One was that he used an instrument that was found with the plates that was called the Urim and Thummim. This is kind of a divinatory device that goes back into Old Testament times. Actually, most of the translation was done using something called a seer stone. The seer stone is obviously something like the Urim and Thummim. It seems to be a stone that was found in the vicinity, and I can't say exactly how it would have worked. It may have been a kind of a concentrating device or a device to facilitate concentration. He would put the stone for most of the concentration period in the bottom of a hat, presumably to exclude surrounding light. Then he would put his face into the hat. It's kind of a strange image for us today, but it sort of makes sense if you think of a computer screen, I suppose..." http://www.pbs.org/mormons/interviews...
I don't remember the last time I put my face up next to a computer screen to read it. I do remember the most recent time an apologist did a complete 180. It was when he was confronted with the facts. Welcome to my world, Dr. Peterson, where historical facts are VERY useful.
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Blacks Are Satan's Representatives - From PBS
Friday, May 4, 2007, at 07:57 AM
Original Author(s): Spongebob Squaregarments
Topic: PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS   -Link To MC Article-
My mother was shocked to hear the quote from John Taylor on the PBS special that the reason for the black race was so that Satan would have representation on earth. She believed it though as it was said by Darius Gray who she had listened to from John dehlin's podcast. Darius is a faithful LDS who tries to help blacks in the church.

I told her that they could have spent a half hour doing nothing but reciting quotes from church leaders that would be extremely offensive to blacks and to anyone really.

So I decided to send her these gems.

Brigham Young

"Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so." (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 10, page 110.)

You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, un- comely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind. The first man that committed the odious crime of killing one of his brethren will be cursed the longest of any one of the children of Adam. Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another curse is pronounced upon the same race - that they should be the "servant of servants;" and they will be, until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree. How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, [p.291] and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it untilall the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof. Until the last ones of the residue of Adam's children are brought up to that favourable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood. They were the first that were cursed, and they will be the last from whom the curse will be removed. When the residue of the family of Adam come up and receive their blessings, then the curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will receive blessings in like proportion. - (Journal of Discourses 7:290-291, October 9, 1859)

"You may inquire of the intelligent of the world whether they can tell why the aborigines of this country are dark, loathsome, ignorant, and sunken into the depths of degradation ...When the Lord has a people, he makes covenants with them and gives unto them promises: then, if they transgress his law, change his ordinances, and break his covenants he has made with them, he will put a mark upon them, as in the case of the Lamanites and other portions of the house of Israel; but by-and-by they will become a white and delightsome people" (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 7:336).

It is not the prerogative of the President of the United States to meddle with this matter, and Congress is not allowed, according to the [p.40] Constitution, to legislate upon it. If Utah was admitted into the Union as a sovereign State, and we chose to introduce slavery here, it is not their business to meddle with it; and even if we treated our slaves in an oppressive manner, it is still none of their business and they ought not to meddle with it. - JofD 4:39-40 (Aug 31, 1856)

John Taylor, President of the Church

“And after the flood we are told that the curse that had been pronounced upon Cain was continued through Ham's wife, as he had married a wife of that seed. And why did it pass through the flood? because it was necessary that the devil should have a representation upon the earth as well as God;...” Journal of Discourses, Vol. 22, page 304

Wilford Woodruff, 4th President of the Church

"And if any man mingle his seed with the seed of Cain the only way he could get rid of it or have Salvation would be to come forward and have his head cut off and spill his blood upon the ground- it would also take the life of his children." (Wilford Woodruff Journal)

Joseph Fielding Smith, 10th LDS President

"Not only was Cain called upon to suffer, but because of his wickedness he became the father of an inferior race. A curse placed upon him and that curse has been continued through his lineage and must do so while time endures. Millions of souls have come into this world cursed with a black skin and have been denied the privilege of Priesthood and the fullness of the blessings of the Gospel. These are the descendants of Cain. Moreover, they have been made to feel their inferiority and have been separated from the rest of mankind from the beginning.... we will also hope that blessings may eventually be given to our negro brethren, for they are our brethren–children of God–not withstanding their black covering emblematical of eternal darkness. " The Way to Perfection, pages 101-102. http://www.barncow.com/curseofcain/

"There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantages. The reason is that we once had an estate before we came here, and were obedient, more or less, to the laws that were given us there. Those who were faithful in all things there received greater blessings here, and those who were not faithful received less." (Doctrines of Salvation, p. 61)

”I would not want you to believe that we bear any animosity toward the Negro. "Darkies" are wonderful people, and they have their place in our church." Look magazine, October 22, 1963, page 79.

President Brigham Young, answering a question put to him by Elder Lorenzo D. Young in a meeting held December 25 , 1869, in Salt Lake City, said that Joseph Smith had declared that the Negroes were not neutral in heaven, for all the spirits took sides, but the posterity of Cain are black because he (Cain) committed murder." The Way to Perfection, pages 105-106.

"That negro race, for instance, have been placed under restrictions because of their attitude in the world of spirits, few will doubt. It cannot be looked upon as just that they should be deprived of the power of the Priesthood without it being a punishment for some act, or acts, performed before they were born." The Way to Perfection, page 43.

"Ham, through Egyptus, continued the curse which was placed upon the seed of Cain. Because of that curse this dark race was separated and isolated from all the rest of Adam's posterity before the flood, and since that time the same condition has continued, and they have been 'despised among all people.' This doctrine did not originate with President Brigham Young but was taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith .... we all know it is due to his teachings that the negro today is barred from the Priesthood." The Way to Perfection, pages 110-111.

Spencer W. Kimball

"The day of the Lamanites in nigh. For years they have been growing delightsome. . . The children in the home placement program in Utah are often lighter than their brothers and sisters in the hogans on the reservation. . .There was the doctor in a Utah city who for two years had had an Indian boy in his home who stated that he was some shades lighter than the younger brother just coming into the program from the reservation. These young members of the Church are changing to whiteness and to delightsomeness. Spencer W. Kimball; The Improvement, Era, Dec. 1960, p. 923)

Apostle Bruce R. McKonkie

"Negroes in this life are denied the Priesthood; under no circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty. (Abra. 1:20-27.) The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them... negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned, particularly the priesthood and the temple blessings that flow there from, but this inequality is not of man's origin. It is the Lord's doing, is based on his eternal laws of justice, and grows out of the lack of Spiritual valiance of those concerned in their first estate." (Mormon Doctrine, 1966, pp. 527-528)

Apostle Mark E. Petersen:

"God has commanded Israel not to intermarry. To go against this commandment of God would be in sin. Those who willfully sin with their eyes open to this wrong will not be surprised to find that they will be separated from the presence of God in the world to come. This is spiritual death…

"The reason that one would lose his blessings by marrying a Negro is due to the restriction placed upon them. "No person having the least particle of Negro blood can hold the Priesthood" (Brigham Young). It does not matter if they are one-sixth Negro or one-hundred and sixth, the curse of no Priesthood is the same. If an individual who is entitled to the Priesthood marries a Negro, the Lord has decreed that only spirits who are not eligible for the Priesthood will come to that marriage as children. To intermarry with a Negro is to forfeit a "Nation of Priesthood holders…

"The discussion on civil rights, especially over the last 20 years, has drawn some very sharp lines. It has blinded the thinking of some of our own people, I believe. They have allowed their political affiliations to color their thinking to some extent, and then, of course, they have been persuaded by some of the arguments that have been put forth…We who teach in the Church certainly must have our feet on the ground and not to be led astray by the philosophies of men on this subject…

"I think I have read enough to give you an idea of what the Negro is after. He is not just seeking the opportunity of sitting down in a cafe where white people eat. He isn't just trying to ride on the same streetcar or the same Pullman car with white people. It isn't that he just desires to go to the same theater as the white people. From this, and other interviews I have read, it appears that the Negro seeks absorption with the white race. He will not be satisfied until he achieves it by intermarriage. That is his objective and we must face it. We must not allow our feelings to carry us away, nor must we feel so sorry for Negroes that we will open our arms and embrace them with everything we have. Remember the little statement that we used to say about sin, 'First we pity, then endure, then embrace'…

"Now let's talk about segregation again for a few moments. Was segregation a wrong principle? When the Lord chose the nations to which the spirits were to come, determining that some would be Japanese and some would be Chinese and some Negroes and some Americans, He engaged in an act of segregation…

"When he told Enoch not preach the gospel to the descendants of Cain who were black, the Lord engaged in segregation. When He cursed the descendants of Cain as to the Priesthood, He engaged in segregation…

"Who placed the Negroes originally in darkest Africa? Was it some man, or was it God? And when He placed them there, He segregated them…

"The Lord segregated the people both as to blood and place of residence. At least in the cases of the Lamanites and the Negro we have the definite word of the Lord Himself that he placed a dark skin upon them as a curse -- as a punishment and as a sign to all others. He forbade intermarriage with them under threat of extension of the curse. And He certainly segregated the descendants of Cain when He cursed the Negro as to the Priesthood, and drew an absolute line. You may even say He dropped an Iron curtain there…

"Now we are generous with the Negro. We are willing that the Negro have the highest education. I would be willing to let every Negro drive a Cadillac if they could afford it. I would be willing that they have all the advantages they can get out of life in the world. But let them enjoy these things among themselves. I think the Lord segregated the Negro and who is man to change that segregation? It reminds me of the scripture on marriage, 'what God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.' Only here we have the reverse of the thing - what God hath separated, let not man bring together again.

"Think of the Negro, cursed as to the priesthood…This Negro, who, in the pre-existence lived the type of life which justified the Lord in sending him to the earth in their lineage of Cain with a black skin, and possibly being born in darkest Africa--if that Negro is willing when he hears the gospel to accept it, he may have many of the blessings of the gospel. In spite of all he did in the pre-existent life, the Lord is willing, if the Negro accepts the gospel with real, sincere faith, and is really converted, to give him the blessings of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. If that Negro is faithful all his days, he can and will enter the celestial kingdom. He will go there as a servant, but he will get celestial glory." (Apostle Mark E. Peterson, Race Problems - As They Affect The Church, Convention of Teachers of Religion on the College Level, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, August 27, 1954)

http://www.mormonthink.com/blackweb.h...
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What "The Mormons" Helped Me To Understand About The Church
Tuesday, May 8, 2007, at 10:32 AM
Original Author(s): Markj
Topic: PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS   -Link To MC Article-
The documentary certainly seemed fairly superficial. Whitney asked where Mormonism came from, how did the church manage to change as it had, and closed the program by asking what the future of the church might be. Watching the program I was initially disappointed. While I found it entertaining, I didn't learn anything new. On further reflection though, I think Whitney did a fantastic job, and in a very subtle way, she provides the answers to the questions she raises. When I pieced that together, a number of my own, long standing questions were answered.

I have never understood the General Authorities' attitude to church and doctrinal history, and how they can make statements of the kind that appeared in the documentary; "There is no such thing as Fundamentalist Mormons," or, "It is wrong to criticize church leaders, even when the criticism is valid." Nor could I understand how Kirtland, then Missouri, then Nauvoo could be abandoned, polygamy could be abandoned, the temple ceremony changed, or the doctrine of priesthood and the blacks be reversed, all apparently with no looking back. Or how, on the Larry King show, Hinckley could say about eternal progression that it is "just a couplet" and "I don't know if we teach that."

In the documentary, I was taken by how very precise and exact Hinckley, Packer, and Oaks were with their word use. They said what they meant to say, nothing was unintended. I think it was Hinckley's statement on fundamentalist Mormons that triggered the connection for me. There are no fundamentalist Mormons, simply because the fundamental law and doctrine of the church is obedience. All else is subordinate to obedience. If the president of the church says polygamy is wrong, it is wrong. Church and doctrinal history simply have no truth, meaning, or purpose in the present, unless it is interpreted and given context by the present leadership. Margaret Toscano was excommunicated, not because what she wrote was wrong, but because she continued to write after she had been told to stop. It was disobedience, not heresy, that did her in. All history, ritual, doctrine, even personal relationships, are subordinate and mutable to the present leadership of the church.

When I realized that, many other things became clear. For example, the General Authorities irritation with McConkie for coming out with "Mormon Doctrine." They were irritated because Mormon doctrine is the prerogative of the present leadership, not a book. Or the admonition to follow the prophet because he will never lead us astray. Of course, that has to be right when by definition whatever the prophet says or does is correct, even when it isn't. No other standard or reference point should be used, and history can be reinterpreted to show that he was right. That is what I think was behind Packer's statement, "If it is in print, I must have said it." He did not want to be held to account for a past statement. It is only what is most current that has any value.

Or as McConkie himself said regarding the changing of the doctrine on Blacks and the priesthood:

“There are statements in our literature by the early Brethren that we have interpreted to mean that the Negroes would not receive the priesthood in mortality. I have said the same things, and people write me letters and say, "You said such and such, and how is it now that we do such and such?" All I can say is that it is time disbelieving people repented and got in line and believed in a living, modern prophet. Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or George Q. Cannon or whoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation.”

Applying this to the Book of Mormon, it makes no difference if it has any connection to real history. In fact, the more divorced from reality it is the better, because the test is not in understanding the real world or achieving some level of personal development. The test is in being obedient, the more compliant the better. When the demands and claims become extreme, the test improves, and winnows out those who may still have some independent thinking.

Everything else in the church comes down to being window dressing to help people feel better about the church and to make them better tools for the leadership. That is why there is so little original art in the church. Originality is by its very nature different, and therefore disobedient because its originality prevents it from being congruent with the mindset of the leaders. As it can only be a reflection of the thinking of the leadership, art has to be derivative and propagandistic.

I have to give the leadership credit that they have been upfront about the role of obedience in church, and what their expectations are. I think they knew exactly what was going into the documentary, and approved. The wider disclosure of some old facts of the church's history actually liberates the leadership of the burden of controlling that information, and lets them break once again from past forms to take the church in whatever new direction they want. There was the church of Joseph Smith, then the church of Brigham Young, then the church of David O. McKay. What new god is now slouching towards Jerusalem?

It is like a fusion of "1984" and "That Hideous Strength."
 
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Helen Whitney Responds: Why Didn't You Show The LDS Affiliation (or Non-LDS Status) Of Those Interviewed
Defanged, Deflated And Defenseless: The Official Mormon Response To The PBS Documentary Was Non-Committal Pablum
Answer To Last Nights Two Questions
Opera Singer In The PBS Special And The Lie
Thoughts On The PBS Documentary
PBS Holland Interview Really Gets To Me
Aside From Blaringly Loud Absence Of Mormon Men Becoming Real Gods And The Masonic Rites, Here's My First Impressions Of PBS Part II
"The Mormons" Has Vindicated Me
Multiple "Face In The Hat" Book Of Mormon Versions From Daniel C. Peterson
Blacks Are Satan's Representatives - From PBS
What "The Mormons" Helped Me To Understand About The Church
5,717 Articles In 332 Topics
TopicImage TOPIC INDEX (332 Topics)
TopicImage AUTHOR INDEX

  · ADAM GOD DOCTRINE (4)
  · APOLOGISTS (53)
  · ARTICLES OF FAITH (1)
  · BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD (31)
  · BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD - PEOPLE (16)
  · BLACKS AND MORMONISM (12)
  · BLACKS AND THE PRIESTHOOD (11)
  · BLOOD ATONEMENT (4)
  · BOB BENNETT (1)
  · BOB MCCUE (144)
  · BONNEVILLE COMMUNICATIONS (2)
  · BOOK OF ABRAHAM (50)
  · BOOK OF MORMON (66)
  · BOOK OF MORMON EVIDENCES (18)
  · BOOK OF MORMON GEOGRAPHY (24)
  · BOOK OF MORMON WITNESSES (5)
  · BOOK REVIEW - ROUGH STONE ROLLING (28)
  · BOOKS - AUTHORS AND DESCRIPTIONS (12)
  · BOOKS - COMMENTS AND REVIEWS (44)
  · BOY SCOUTS (22)
  · BOYD K. PACKER (33)
  · BRIAN C. HALES (1)
  · BRIGHAM YOUNG (24)
  · BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY (54)
  · BRUCE C. HAFEN (4)
  · BRUCE D. PORTER (1)
  · BRUCE R. MCCONKIE (10)
  · CALLINGS (11)
  · CATHOLIC CHURCH (5)
  · CHANGING DOCTRINE (12)
  · CHILDREN AND MORMONISM (48)
  · CHRIS BUTTARS (1)
  · CHURCH LEADERSHIP (3)
  · CHURCH PUBLISHED MAGAZINES (51)
  · CHURCH TEACHING MANUALS (10)
  · CHURCH VAULTS (4)
  · CITY CREEK CENTER (23)
  · CIVIL UNIONS (14)
  · CLEON SKOUSEN (3)
  · COGNITIVE DISSONANCE (2)
  · COMEDY (128)
  · CONCISE DICTIONARY OF MORMONISM (14)
  · D. MICHAEL QUINN (1)
  · D. TODD CHRISTOFFERSON (6)
  · DALLIN H. OAKS (101)
  · DANIEL C. PETERSON (88)
  · DANITES (4)
  · DAVID A. BEDNAR (23)
  · DAVID O. MCKAY (8)
  · DAVID R. STONE (1)
  · DAVID WHITMER (1)
  · DELBERT L. STAPLEY (1)
  · DESERET NEWS (3)
  · DIETER F. UCHTDORF (13)
  · DNA (23)
  · DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS (8)
  · DON JESSE (2)
  · ELAINE S. DALTON (5)
  · EMMA SMITH (5)
  · ENSIGN PEAK (1)
  · ERICH W. KOPISCHKE (1)
  · EX-MORMON FOUNDATION (33)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 1 (35)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 10 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 11 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 12 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 13 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 14 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 15 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 16 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 17 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 19 (26)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 2 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 20 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 21 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 22 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 23 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 24 (28)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 3 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 4 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 5 (23)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 6 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 7 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 8 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 9 (26)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 1 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 10 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 11 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 12 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 13 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 14 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 15 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 16 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 17 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 18 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 2 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 20 (24)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 21 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 22 (24)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 23 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 24 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 25 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26 (61)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3 (21)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 4 (22)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 5 (24)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 6 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 7 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 8 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 9 (26)
  · EXCOMMUNICATION AND COURTS OF LOVE (19)
  · EZRA TAFT BENSON (30)
  · FACIAL HAIR (6)
  · FAIR / MADD - APOLOGETICS (70)
  · FAITH PROMOTING RUMORS (11)
  · FARMS (30)
  · FIRST VISION (23)
  · FOOD STORAGE (3)
  · FUNDAMENTALIST LDS (17)
  · GENERAL AUTHORITIES (29)
  · GENERAL CONFERENCE (14)
  · GENERAL NEWS (5)
  · GEORGE P. LEE (1)
  · GORDON B. HINCKLEY (68)
  · GRANT PALMER (8)
  · GREGORY L. SMITH (9)
  · GUNNISON MASSACRE (1)
  · H. DAVID BURTON (2)
  · HAROLD B. LEE (1)
  · HATE MAIL I RECEIVE (23)
  · HAUNS MILL (2)
  · HBO BIG LOVE (12)
  · HEBER C. KIMBALL (4)
  · HELEN RADKEY (17)
  · HELLEN MAR KIMBALL (4)
  · HENRY B. EYRING (5)
  · HOLIDAYS (13)
  · HOME AND VISITING TEACHING (9)
  · HOWARD W. HUNTER (1)
  · HUGH NIBLEY (13)
  · HYMNS (7)
  · INTERVIEWS IN MORMONISM (18)
  · J REUBEN CLARK (1)
  · JAMES E. FAUST (7)
  · JEFF LINDSAY (6)
  · JEFFREY MELDRUM (1)
  · JEFFREY R. HOLLAND (32)
  · JEFFREY S. NIELSEN (11)
  · JOHN GEE (3)
  · JOHN L. LUND (3)
  · JOHN L. SORENSON (4)
  · JOHN TAYLOR (1)
  · JOSEPH B. WIRTHLIN (1)
  · JOSEPH F. SMITH (1)
  · JOSEPH FIELDING SMITH (8)
  · JOSEPH SITATI (1)
  · JOSEPH SMITH (101)
  · JOSEPH SMITH - POLYGAMY (43)
  · JOSEPH SMITH - PROPHECY (8)
  · JOSEPH SMITH - SEER STONES (7)
  · JOSEPH SMITH - WORSHIP (13)
  · JUDAISM (3)
  · JULIE B. BECK (6)
  · KEITH B. MCMULLIN (1)
  · KERRY MUHLESTEIN (9)
  · KERRY SHIRTS (6)
  · KINDERHOOK PLATES (6)
  · KIRTLAND BANK (6)
  · KIRTLAND EGYPTIAN PAPERS (17)
  · L. TOM PERRY (5)
  · LAMANITE PLACEMENT PROGRAM (3)
  · LAMANITES (36)
  · LANCE B. WICKMAN (1)
  · LARRY ECHO HAWK (1)
  · LDS CHURCH (19)
  · LDS CHURCH OFFICE BUILDING (9)
  · LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS (22)
  · LDS SOCIAL SERVICES (3)
  · LGBT - AND MORMONISM (44)
  · LORENZO SNOW (1)
  · LOUIS C. MIDGLEY (6)
  · LYNN A. MICKELSEN (2)
  · LYNN G. ROBBINS (1)
  · M. RUSSELL BALLARD (13)
  · MARK E. PETERSON (7)
  · MARK HOFFMAN (12)
  · MARLIN K. JENSEN (3)
  · MARRIOTT (2)
  · MARTIN HARRIS (5)
  · MASONS (16)
  · MELCHIZEDEK/AARONIC PRIESTHOOD (9)
  · MERRILL J. BATEMAN (3)
  · MICHAEL D. WILLIAMS (1)
  · MICHAEL OTTERSON (1)
  · MICHAEL R. ASH (26)
  · MITT ROMNEY (71)
  · MORE GOOD FOUNDATION (4)
  · MORMON CELEBRITIES (14)
  · MORMON CHURCH HISTORY (8)
  · MORMON CHURCH PR (13)
  · MORMON CHURCH PROPAGANDA (5)
  · MORMON CLASSES (1)
  · MORMON DOCTRINE (35)
  · MORMON FUNERALS (12)
  · MORMON GARMENTS (20)
  · MORMON HANDCARTS (12)
  · MORMON INTERPRETER (4)
  · MORMON MARRIAGE EXCLUSIONS (1)
  · MORMON MEMBERSHIP (38)
  · MORMON MISSIONARIES (142)
  · MORMON MONEY (73)
  · MORMON NEWSROOM (5)
  · MORMON POLITICAL ISSUES (5)
  · MORMON RACISM (18)
  · MORMON TEMPLE CEREMONIES (38)
  · MORMON TEMPLE CHANGES (15)
  · MORMON TEMPLES (116)
  · MORMON VISITOR CENTERS (10)
  · MORMON WARDS AND STAKE CENTERS (1)
  · MORMONTHINK (13)
  · MOUNTAIN MEADOWS MASSACRE (21)
  · MURPHY TRANSCRIPT (1)
  · NATALIE R. COLLINS (11)
  · NAUVOO (3)
  · NAUVOO EXPOSITOR (2)
  · NEAL A. MAXWELL (1)
  · NEAL A. MAXWELL INSTITUTE (1)
  · NEIL L. ANDERSEN - SECTION 1 (3)
  · NEW ORDER MORMON (8)
  · OBEDIENCE - PAY, PRAY, OBEY (15)
  · OBJECT LESSONS (15)
  · OLIVER COWDREY (6)
  · ORRIN HATCH (10)
  · PARLEY P. PRATT (11)
  · PATRIARCHAL BLESSING (5)
  · PAUL H. DUNN (5)
  · PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS (20)
  · PERSECUTION (9)
  · PIONEER DAY (3)
  · PLAN OF SALVATION (5)
  · POLYGAMY (60)
  · PRIESTHOOD BLESSINGS (1)
  · PRIESTHOOD EXECUTIVE MEETING (0)
  · PRIMARY (1)
  · PROCLAMATIONS (1)
  · PROPOSITION 8 (21)
  · PROPOSITION 8 COMMENTS (11)
  · QUENTIN L. COOK (11)
  · RELIEF SOCIETY (14)
  · RESIGNATION PROCESS (31)
  · RICHARD E. TURLEY, JR. (6)
  · RICHARD G. HINCKLEY (2)
  · RICHARD G. SCOTT (7)
  · RICHARD LYMAN BUSHMAN (11)
  · ROBERT D. HALES (5)
  · ROBERT L. MILLET (7)
  · RODNEY L. MELDRUM (15)
  · ROYAL SKOUSEN (2)
  · RUNTU'S RINCON (78)
  · RUSSELL M. NELSON (14)
  · SACRAMENT MEETING (11)
  · SALT LAKE TRIBUNE (1)
  · SCOTT D. WHITING (1)
  · SCOTT GORDON (5)
  · SEMINARY (5)
  · SERVICE AND CHARITY (24)
  · SHERI L. DEW (3)
  · SHIELDS RESEARCH - MORMON APOLOGETICS (4)
  · SIDNEY RIGDON (7)
  · SIMON SOUTHERTON (34)
  · SPAULDING MANUSCRIPT (8)
  · SPENCER W. KIMBALL (12)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 1 (18)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 10 (17)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 11 (15)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 12 (19)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13 (21)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 14 (17)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 15 (12)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2 (21)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 3 (18)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 4 (25)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 5 (22)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 6 (19)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 7 (15)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 8 (13)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 9 (19)
  · STORIES (1)
  · SUNSTONE FOUNDATION (2)
  · SURVEILLANCE (SCMC) (12)
  · TAD R. CALLISTER (3)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 1 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 2 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 3 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 4 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 5 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 6 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 7 (9)
  · TALKS - SECTION 1 (1)
  · TEMPLE WEDDINGS (6)
  · TEMPLES - NAMES (1)
  · TERRYL GIVENS (1)
  · THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE (1)
  · THE SINGLE WARDS (5)
  · THE WORLD TABLE (3)
  · THOMAS PHILLIPS (18)
  · THOMAS S. MONSON (33)
  · TIME (4)
  · TITHING (63)
  · UGO PEREGO (5)
  · UK COURTS (7)
  · UNNANOUNCED, UNINVITED AND UNWELCOME (36)
  · UTAH LIGHTHOUSE MINISTRY (3)
  · VALERIE HUDSON (3)
  · VAN HALE (16)
  · VAUGHN J. FEATHERSTONE (1)
  · VIDEOS (30)
  · WARD CLEANING (4)
  · WARREN SNOW (1)
  · WELFARE (0)
  · WENDY L. WATSON (7)
  · WHITE AND DELIGHTSOME (11)
  · WILFORD WOODRUFF (6)
  · WILLIAM HAMBLIN (11)
  · WILLIAM LAW (1)
  · WILLIAM SCHRYVER (5)
  · WILLIAM WINES PHELPS (3)
  · WOMEN AND MORMONISM (86)
  · WORD OF WISDOM (7)
  · WORLD CONGRESS OF FAMILIES (1)
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