Thursday, March 12, 2009

where's the "love"?

I wasn't going to post about this because it's just so stupid and I didn't want to give it more attention.

If you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ, you may have received one of those forwarded emails about an upcoming Big Love episode. I don't know much about this show, but seems it's about polygamous folks in Utah. The show has ruffled feathers in our flock because it blurs the distinction between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a worldwide church of over 13 million, and the bizarre polygamous splinter groups (about whom I know little and care less) who live out there in the western United States.

An upcoming episode of this HBO show depicts our sacred temple rites. The show hired an ex-Mormon to help them get everything "right." Why ex-Mormon? Because practicing members of our faith hold these rites sacred, and would consider it a desecration to mock it on cable TV.

Naturally, this is colossally bad taste on HBO's part. But really, it's not like the people who dictate our television entertainment have set themselves up as the guardians of all that is wholesome and goodly. What do we expect? These forwarded emails (NOT from Church headquarters--more on that presently) call upon us to cancel our subscriptions to HBO.

That I know of, I have never had a subscription to HBO. I believe we had that channel briefly for a trial period or something, back when we had cable long ago.

A couple years ago I was flipping through channels and I came across... something. I realized it was one of those reality shows. A contest. There was this guy, handsome and successful, and a large group of women. After watching pieces of this show here and there, I found that the point was for the guy (abominably conceited) to whittle down the group of women until he found "the one." This show offended me on so many levels, I can not even think about it now without foaming a bit at the mouth. Yes, I know that "The Bachelor" is a wildly popular show. I would never watch it because when stupid, pathetic people are making fools of themselves, I prefer to avert my eyes.

And that brings me to the reason I am posting about this idiotic Big Love show in the first place. I LOVED our Church's response to the whole sordid mess. Rather than urging Church members of cancel memberships or send emails, we are encouraged to avert our eyes. We are not some podunk group of weirdos. As the Church response notes, what others say of us speaks volumes about who THEY are, not so much who we are. We go along our happy way, and let others wallow in their own sick tastes, if that is what they choose to do.


Dave Thurston said...

Any religion (or person for that matter) that attempts to solve an issue by dealing with itself rather than forcing its views on others it OK in my book.

Maybe, just maybe, that'll be my Rule No. 3 for life:
1. Golden Rule
2. Make a Good Faith Effort (e.g, Try)
3. The only person that one can control is one's self - maybe I'll call this the Mirror Rule.

Ave said...

That is such a good point, to avert ones eyes speaks volumes. What I find darkly amusing is that there will be people watching this show and thinking that they know all about the LDS religion now. They will be sitting in front of their flatscreens in a soon to be foreclosed on house smackin' their chops and lickin' the cool whip lite off their fingers. What a picture.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. I keep getting emails for it and stuff, but I always just delete them. I told Mike it wasn't worth our attention and frankly, no matter how much I annoy HBO with my letters or emails, they are just going to be delighted with the feathers they've ruffled.

Gabriela said...

I totally agree about the Bachelor-I think that is the most disgusting show.

That's one thing I don't miss living out of the States-all the craze about the latest TV shows.

Ave-I am totally cracking at the image you painted. :)

Ballerina Girl said...

as a non-Mormon, let me say that I am so glad that you all are averting your eyes. I ignore whatever stupidness comes out of the flat screen (though I have to say I like my flat screen for certain home improvement shows :) ),
We always say in our house "pick your battles" and it seems to me that this doesn't even deserve an ounce of your worries or time!
if one has a question about a faith, I believe all one needs to do is ask.
thats what I do!

Anonymous said...

Those stories have been around forever. Its best not to go there.

TV channels are always trying to find things that shock people for ratings but also, being products of today's generation people say things that don't always make sense. Last night I watch a documentary on BBC about Charles Darwin. It was very interesting but near the end the narrator said that Darwin's work lead to the Nazis. I thought that was un-called for. Hate terrorism and dictatorship has been around forever. Whether Darwin lived or not wouldn't have changed that.
I understand that Darwin was a kind gentle man and very intelligent. His work shouldn’t be in the same sentence with political hate.

Chino Blanco said...

Tom Hanks puts this brouhaha into perspective (and waxes prophetic) at the 3rd season premiere of Big Love:

"There's gonna be lies, and secrets, and discoveries, and problems. Television!"

Brenda said...

Yes,yes and yes! I have sooo many things to concentrate on and am confident I don't need to take on that one(have been hitting delete since I saw the message) and loved the church viewpoint as well. I love to read your readers' comments--love thinking minds:)

Fitzhamilton said...


You - the LDS in general - should embrace this show. It could - if wisely exploited - do the work of a thousand missionaries.

It's a huge opportunity for you guys, stuff like this. It makes people who would otherwise be utterly uninterested in the LDS, interested. Grant you, the show is not Mormon propaganda.. No. But it may (if several people I respect are right, and they - imho - usually are, least about stuff like this) very well be art.. Which is far, far more potent.

(Note that I have not seen Big Love, myself, I have far too many more interesting things to do than watch t.v. - but I know some thoughtful Catholics who are fascinated by it, because it is purportedly excellent storytelling, and as much as you may - I say may, because when last we talked we were both too immature to really talk about stuff like this - want to avoid what the polygamists represent, they strike cords for many reasons.. )

You should at least be glad that the show is probably a lot more interesting artistically and intellectually than the DaVinci Code, which is just a steaming crock of crap kitsch. A silly story, terribly told. But even if Dan Brown had no idea what he was writing about, he provided an excellent opportunity for us to talk about the Council of Nicea (etc., etc., etc.) with people who would never otherwise have been interested, at all..

Note that the settings and *art* in the book (and hence movie) are all ours. Catholicism is (in its traditional expression) insanely beautiful, and they (Dan and the filmmakers) exploit all that, while fraudulently misrepresenting us culturally, historically and doctrinally. But so what. It's all a testimony to the Faith for those with ears and heart to see and understand.

You've been to Spain. You know of what I speak.

What - Who - we stand for is True, and even the devil ultimately works God's will, despite himself. As does, naturally enough, Dan Brown.

Poor Dan is a very useful tool ..

A grace gladly received and well used ..


So I say use the show to start conversations. Like with me, now, for example.

(See how this works?)

I'll pitch slow, but with spin:

The riddle of your faith for me - sorry, no, one of the many riddles - is how it seems to fuse so many eclectic elements.. A protestant culture, fused to a mock Catholic organizational structure, but with a doctrinal content that is ..

Apparently essentially gnostic, but with many, many odd inflections.. Elements of Old Testament/Islamic atavism fused with a Calvinistic morality fused with Enlightenment/Masonic ethics..

I am honestly fascinated by it all, but also deeply disturbed buy it. Your temples seem to me like mosques rendered with a star trek aesthetic..

They scare me, honestly. That someone like you, whom I know and like and trust, worships and believes things that are (to me) so strange and unsettling is, well ..

Very strange and unsettling. What's going through your head?

I mean none of what I just wrote to be offensive. Your average missionary has absolutely no idea of what I'm saying when I start to talk like this (which makes me laugh, so I always do it to them) - I think you may be a more interesting conversationalist though, L.

So talk to me. You've got my attention.


Fitzhamilton said...

Actually, L.. Sorry (twice now, in 4 weeks and 15 years) if that was offensive .. You can ignore me if you'd rather, no worries. I won't mind.

I just read part of Ave's blog.. She's pretty damn'd funny. I'm glad I know you guys, still sad we don't know each other better (My memories of A. are of her all cute on the bus, radiating personality, but still only just freaking ten ..)

She has me all nostalgic for home, with all her tales of Maine .. But I'm not sure I can ever go back ..

She says and notices some wise and true things. One, that we Mainers tend characteristically to be pretty frank, and just say what's on our minds. Some might take it for rudeness. Me, I beg, I thirst for it. Being frank's an essential act of charity and friendship, especially when treating important things..

All of which to say the prior post was kindly meant, if barbarically put..