Tuesday, March 10, 2009

HBO and Mormons

Apparently, HBO is going to air some of the LDS temple ceremony on their show Big Love.

Before I say what I'm going to say, I want to make sure you don't get me wrong. I strongly disagree with HBO's choice. I think it is deplorable to defile something that someone else holds sacred.

That being said... what do members of the LDS Church expect? I mean, the LDS Church constantly defiles the sacredness of, among other things, families headed by gay couples.

How can the LDS Church expect to be respected when she shows very little respect to other beliefs?

Now, I do not believe in the tit for tat, but I do believe in Karma -- and, frankly, the Church is reaping what she has sowed (if you'll forgive the rather cliché idiom).

This would not be happening if she acted respectfully to those who do not share her beliefs. This would not be happening if she weren't constantly declaring many non-LDS beliefs as "amoral," "lawless," etc.

Once again, I don't agree with HBO's choice; however, my disapproval goes equally for the LDS Church's parallel actions.


  1. While I don't disagree with what you're saying, I find myself feeling that those ceremonies are not going to make sense to those who aren't members (not that I'd know, I've never got that far in the church) and so they won't understand the significance. Well, since when does the church care what the world thinks about it's way of doing things?

    I guess ever since it's tried to buddy up to the Evengelicals...

  2. Understanding or not understanding really makes no difference.

    For example, the LDS Church not understanding the relationship between two homosexuals makes her defamatory behavior neither more nor less appropriate -- at least in my mind.

  3. I agree with much of what you write. I don't have an opinion on if HBO should show it or not, though (especially not knowing what it is exactly).

    I think I'm missing something on what in merely showing a religious ceremony could cause offense. If it is portrayed accurately, would it still be offensive or embarrassing? I think I've seen most major religion's ceremonies depicted in some way, but how is this different?

    In trying to think up something analogous--where I do something that I'd rather not have reproduced on TV--all I can come up with is if I became famous enough for someone to do a bio pic of my life and they had a sex scene in it :-). Even then though I'd not be too upset... as long as I was played by Russell Crow, or maybe Clive Owen.

  4. White berkas.

    White. Berkas.

    And baker's hats.

    Secret handshakes and weird ass names.

    This is the religion I was born into.

    After learning of what happens in the temple. I teetered dangerously toward full blown atheism.

    The shit is B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Offensive opinions and awesome alliteration aside (COMBO!).

    The church quite frankly IS a bit embarrassed about these ceremonies. They hide it behind the protective casing the word "sacred" tries to provide, however if there is nothing inherently kooky or crazy about the temple ceremonies, why have they changed it so much throughout the years? Research the blood atonement pre-1990 as well as the old anointment ceremonies. People were fucking SPOOKED after their first endowments, many members never returning, not even to church.

    It's quite a huge deal for the LDS church leaders, though for reasons they're not stating.

    The reasoning behind HBO's move can be argued deplorable, however it can also be labeled typical. Ratings sell. It's all a business. Making a business out of religion can again be called a bevy of negative words, and again one can point out that religion as a whole is a business, particularly the LDS church.

    It goes around and around, never ending.

  5. I think you have a really good point...it seems like Mormons hold their own culture and ceremonies far more sacred than those of others. For instance, while I attended BYU I had a religion class where the professor wore the entire robes of a Jewish rabbi one day when we discussed the Jewish faith. I can only imagine how many Mormons would freak if a professor taught class in Mormon temple robes at a Jewish university when they discussed Mormons.

    I believe in Karma, and since the Church hasn't exactly been a light on a hill as of late, it only seems likely that they would be used as a vehicle to higher ratings.

  6. Of course the church holds it sacred enough to keep it secret. It's the one truth, after all.


    Look, I don't appreciate anyone knocking anyone else's sacred beliefs - BUT, until we know for sure I think we ought to give the show the benefit of the doubt.

    It's a two hour long ceremony. From what I understand it might just be the clothing and not the stuff we're *really* not supposed to reveal (the signs and tokens of the priesthoods) And what if they show it? Are we afraid these people, knowing the signs/tokens, will suddenly have a sneaky way into heaven?

    That can't be how it works.

    I think it is a matter of embarrasment. It looks and sounds really, really weird. Face it.

    We're too secretive about it. Like I said, there's very little members are actually told to keep secret under covenant.

    I do think, however, that the church's response is hilarious. "A boycott would be quite effective, but don't say we officially told you to do that. Cause we didn't *wink*"

    (like it would do much good anyway: how many LDS watch this show? "we don't watch your programs, but we're gonna continue to not watch if you show this!" /rolleyes)

    It is fiction. Some see this as the exmo writer's doing exactly what they're told not to do in the temple: sell these signs and tokens for money.

    But we don't know that's what they're doing. And while it would be sad to see them do that, they obviously don't believe in it anymore and are doing so well aware of the consequences. Anyway, from what I understand, this is a respectful show.

    And uh, the FLDS and other splinter groups apparently have similar ordinaces in their temples as well.

    Just *shrug*

    Though now I do wish I had HBO.

    And Ched, I agree. I don't know that this is retaliation for Prop 8, but yeah. You've gotta give respect to receive it.

  7. Personally, I don't see what the big deal is.

    The ceremony itself would not make for good TV. The writers and producers would be shooting themselves in the foot to show more than a few brief glimpses of it. The publicity that the controversy has created would not be enough to counter the vast *YAWN* that would echo across the audience if the ceremony becomes the focus of the show. I would be surprised if there's much there (from what I understand, the whole thing is seen in a flashback, which would seem to lend itself to brief glimpses).

    I've never seen the show, but from what I understand they've done a good job so far of staying fairly accurate and respectful. If the ceremony is presented accurately and respectfully, I don't see that there's anything to be offended about.

    ... unless, of course, the few things that are actually supposed to be kept secret are blatantly shown. I can't think of any reason why doing so would benefit a plot line or strengthen a character's development, so if those things are included I would question the motives of the writers.

    But as Lisa mentioned, the things that we actually covenant not to reveal in the temple ceremony are not very many. The rest we just don't talk about because either (1) we really do feel like it's too sacred to discuss outside the temple or (2) we're afraid to talk about anything because we're not really sure what we can and can't say or (3) we realize that some of the stuff in the ceremony seems a little far-out and we're reluctant to admit to some of it (though we might couch this more in terms of "things might seem odd to those who aren't ready to understand them").

    Unless the show surprises me by being disrespectful, inaccurate and mocking, or by plainly displaying the few things that aren't meant to be displayed, I am totally and completely unoffended.

  8. Scot: Mostly, I would say the big deal is that the Church does not want such things to be aired/treated/etc. in such a manner.

    To me, it's a matter of respecting the proprietor's wishes.

    Knowing the show, they are going to be respectful about it -- and if it is going to be shown in flash-back form during an excommunication I would assume (meaning, yes, I could be wrong) that the feeling is going to either 1) actually be rather sacred, the member on trial thinking fondly of the temple ceremonies; and/or 2) a means to show exactly what kind of covenants Mormons make to really show the world what it really takes to be a Mormon.

    Really, it may be a rather positive thing; however, showing the actual ceremonies, themselves, me-thinks is disrespectful because and only because the Church doesn't want them to be shown outside the temple.