Does Tom Hanks Hate Mormons?

HawkgrrrlAnti-Mormon, Asides, Charity, christianity, church, cinema, Culture, curiosity, Discrimination, diversity, families, gay, homosexuality, inter-faith, LDS, liberal, love, marriage, media manipulation, mormon, Mormon, Mormons, movies, religion, thought 95 Comments

Tom Hanks is a beloved actor to many Mormons for his family-friendly roles and everyman quality.  Yet, his recent negative remarks (and hasty retraction) calling Mormons who supported Prop 8 “unAmerican,” and his role as executive producer on Big Love which is about to air the most sacred Mormon ritual on television begs the question:  Does Tom Hanks hate Mormons?

Interestingly enough, Tom Hanks was briefly identified as a Mormon (although he was not baptized) when his stepmother Winifred joined the church.  However, his father Amos was not interested in the Mormon church, and according to an unauthorized biography, Tom saw this as one reason they split up.  Tom stated later that he was no longer a Mormon, and he also believed his ex-stepmother had left Mormonism.  Tom made his way through several different religions over time as you can see here.

Speaking of his involvement in the show Big Love, Hanks said (with my parenthetical comments inserted):

The truth is this takes place in Utah (the truth is that it’s a fictional show), the truth is these people are some bizarre offshoot of the Mormon Church (the truth is these are fictional characters based loosely on some bizarre offshoots; but KUDOS for the “bizarre offshoot” remark), and the truth is a lot of Mormons gave a lot of money to the church to make Prop-8 happen (why do I picture someone making air quotes when they say “happen”?).  There are a lot of people who feel that is un-American and I am one of them.  I do not like to see any discrimination codified on any piece of paper, any of the 50 states in America, but here’s what happens now. A little bit of light can be shed and people can see who’s responsible (is he now talking about the Prop 8 maps that identified donors, essentially putting targets on their backs for gay activists?) and that can motivate the next go around of our self correcting constitution and hopefully we can move forward instead of backwards (I’m not even sure this sentence went forward instead of backwards). So lets have faith in not only the American (not Mormons who are UNAmerican for voting for Prop 8), but Californian constitutional process (so, have faith in Americans, but if they vote wrong, have faith in the constitutional process to correct that).

Then, Tom did a fairly nice reversal of his statement:

Last week, I labeled members of the Mormon church who supported California’s Proposition 8 as “un-American.” I believe Proposition 8 is counter to the promise of our Constitution; it is codified discrimination.  But everyone has a right to vote their conscience – nothing could be more American. To say members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who contributed to Proposition 8 are “un-American” creates more division when the time calls for respectful disagreement.  No one should use “un- American” lightly or in haste.  I did.  I should not have. (I really like the terseness and directness of the last few statements.  Apologizers, watch and learn).

Obviously, the reversal of his statements (which was doubtless prompted by those who have a financial stake in his popularity) doesn’t necessarily mean he’s ready for a group hug.  So, what are Tom Hanks’ true feelings about Mormons?  Here’s a guess:

  • He’s an activist for gay rights.  Like most of Hollywood, he’s an SSM activist and considers those not ready for SSM to be discriminatory.  It’s hard to blame him for his sheltered Hollywood existence, though.  When you spend most of your time around like-minded people, you develop group-think.  I’m sure we can all relate on some level.  In summary:  his feelings are pro-SSM, not anti-Mormon.
  • He’s spiritual, not religious.  He saw his ex-stepmother as flaky (looking at his own religious history I say “physician, heal thyself”) and therefore attracted to Mormonism as a phase; he probably doesn’t take it very seriously as a religion (see:  Hollywood).
  • He’s an artist.  We see Hollywood as a money machine; they see themselves as creative artists, holding a mirror up to the human experience.  Tom Hanks strives to make characters (even the polygamous Hendricksons) understandable, human, accurate, and relatable.  Showing the Mormon temple ceremony is not being done as payback (although he does resent Prop 8); it’s being done for accuracy and to render Barb Hendrickson more human.  And he is just an EP, not a writer for the show (that would be Dustin Lance Black, the gay ex-Mormon who gave the impassioned speech at the Oscars).

So, that’s my view.  I’m inclined to cut Hanks some slack.  Plus, I somewhat think there’s no such thing as bad press (even all that bad press out there).  Not many Mormons watch Big Love, but many do watch Tom Hanks.  I think his apology was adequate, and I don’t consider his work mean-spirited (although I hated the mullet he sported in DaVinci Code).  It’s a low bar, but high enough for me.  Discuss.

Comments 95

  1. Who cares if he hates Mormons or not?

    The issue should be the actions of him and the others who produce Big Love. I took his apology for calling Mormons “unamerican” at face value (even though he made that remark the week of the season premiere of BL).

    But this latest move can be nothing other than a serious jab at the Church. Despite claims they are surprised that some may be offended, if they were sincere in their research of the temple ceremony they would be very aware that its depiction on TV would be nothing but offensive. And to have consulted an ex-Mormon to boot!

    So who cares what Tom Hanks really thinks – I don’t think it does much good trying to read his mind.

      1. No it doesn’t.  Why do people still insist that Mormons practice or even support polygamy?  It ended over 100 years ago.  Time to let go of all the inaccuracies that people ‘know’ about Momonism.  If you have questions, do your homework, talk to a practicing Mormon, study the doctrine, don’t listen to all the heresay.

        1. So I went and studied some doctrine, D&C 132: 61-63 to be exact:

          61 And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another,
          and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they
          are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he
          cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit
          adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.

          62 And if he have ten
          virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they
          belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.

          63 But
          if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be
          with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed;
          for they are given unto him to multiply
          and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil the
          promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the
          world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may
          bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued,
          that he may be glorified.

          Sounds pretty polygamous to me. And it’s “hearsay”, by the way.

          1. The practice was renounced later. This is the benefit of having a living prophet. Why do we no longer have live sacrifice? Revelation. God never changes…it is man who does.

          2. Or perhaps Man’s understanding of God. I’ve always been one to question deity, “ask and ye shall receive”, but not for purposes of a sinful nature: only to know in my mind that what I know is in harmony with my own spirituality. Has anyone seen Cloud Atlas? It’s a good movie.

  2. A very fair post.

    I feel better now that I believe Tom Hanks does not hate Mormons. I can watch You’ve Got Mail again in peace.

  3. #2

    Why not just watch “The Shop Around the Corner” with Jimmy Stewart instead?

    Not that I’m going to boycott Tome Hanks films or anything- just pointing it out.

  4. He’s a terrific actor; he has a remarkably stable marriage; he cares about people; he doesn’t make or act in “trashy” movies; he doesn’t like Mormonism.

    He sounds like a lot of my friends.

    Btw, I love the parenthetical comments.

    1. “Remarkably stable marriage” with his second wife! Lost in all of this is Hank’s false premise that opposition to same sex marriage is codified discrimination. And  Mr. Hanks is it codified discrimination  against NAMBLA to have laws protecting children? Marriage is discriminatory, from its inception it has always been between a man and a woman. And latter day sodemites will not change its reception in Heaven.

  5. Douglas Hunter

    Left this comment below on Big Love Big News – EP stands for Executive Producer

    Working in TV and having worked for HBO on a series just last year, I may be able to give some input on the EP issue. There are different levels of EPs some are involved in the day to day running of the show, and others are involved in structuring the initial deal and are never heard from again, although they do get dailies and cuts of each episode. I suspect that Tom Hanks is not involved in the daily running of Big Love because it must be a very very small part (financially and creatively speaking) of what his production company is up to. For instance, any feature that he is a part of at any given moment is going to have much greater impact on the financial and creative success of his company. I’ll guess that the TOTAL budget for a season of Big Love is 20mil or less. Where as on a feature Tom’s OWN stake in it could be 40mi or more. That is a huge difference.

    As for using a show to grind a personal axe, that sort of thinking might seem realistic on a Mormon blog but it does not address the reality of how shows work or are made. A high level EP of a show makes a decision to trust the writers and the EPs who run the show, the scripts are written and approved by the network in advance and the ship sails from there. The job of coming up with scripts and story lines falls to specific individuals within the creative team, it would seriously compromise their integrity, their creative efforts and the integrity of the show to use the show as a tool for one individual’s peeve. This sort of thing matters a great deal to HBO as a network, and to the people who work on their shows. I know this from first hand experience.

    Finally it really is the ultimate in “its all about us” thinking to believe that Hanks even knows enough about Mormons that he would understand how to offend us by using the temple in an episode of the show. They guy works in Hollywood, he is way too busy to spend his time researching how to offend Mormons!

  6. I don’t know I could contrive a more offensive gesture to Mormons than to broadcast the highly secretive (not just sacredtive) Temple ceremonies, on television. I would expect that any organization which claims to have studied Mormon culture in depth, even to the extent of hiring a former member as a consultant, to be completely aware of this. I therefore cannot interpret this move by those in the “say” behind Big Love as anything other than a deliberate offensive play. Particularly considering that the show is no longer in it’s first seasons, which would have been a better time to introduce this portrayal for the artistic sake of character development. Methinks the timing with Prop 8 suggestst that this infact some HollyWood blowback. The question is, who is larger culprit, Tom Hanks? Or this Ex-Mormon Consultant?

  7. Fwiw, Cowboy, I agree with that. I just can’t find any outrage, as saddened as I am by it. It bothers me greatly, but perhaps the fact that I don’t expect any better lessens my sense of outrage.

  8. I agree with you on the outrage, as I am also un-outraged over this. I am just asserting that this is not a benign gesture from the decision makers behind Big Love. They have spat in the face of Mormons. Then again, HBO makes it audience by crossing boundaries so this should come as no surprise.

  9. Sometimes I wish the church was willing to boycott, but I understand why they don’t. I wish people were more willing to stand up and say something when things are blatantly wrong, but they aren’t. I have been so thoroughly disgusted by much of what is on TV that I don’t have cable or direct TV. Because we don’t get great reception we don’t really watch TV in my house. We use the internet to keep up with the news and current events.

    I am sure that as much as we prefer not to see the temple ceremony on TV, it will only get worse, and I think much of it is because most of America allows it to happen. We all figure someone else will stand up and say something. I went to a meeting for the Parents Television Council and there were only a handful of people there. People complain and say “that’s not right” but don’t tend to do much more than that. The difference it would make if people would actually stand up and say something, but just like the Children of Israel, most will sit and watch what is going on around them and do nothing. I noticed that others were mentioning on another post that they were annoyed by e-mails they were receiving about this situation. I wonder what the e-mails were about and why they were bothersome.

    As far as Tom Hanks goes, he is a part of Hollywood and wants to make money. You can’t place expectations of decency and high moral standards for Hollywood folk. You can, however, let them know what you think about what they are involved in and let it hit them in the pocketbook hard. The problem is not too many want to do this….it might interrupt their nightly TV schedule.

  10. Tom must hate Mormons because this BL stuff is getting back at them for the Prop 8 stuff. He already trashed the Catholics didn’t he? Who’s next? Tom, you suck!

  11. “You can’t place expectations of decency and high moral standards for Hollywood folk.”

    I understand the arguments generally leveled against hollywood, and would even agree that much of what passes for media entertainment is socially destructive, still I think that I disagree with the blanket nature of this statement.

  12. Cowboy-

    I would love to hear about any good and decent people in Hollywood…..and I mean that sincerely. Having watched a dear friend lose her husband to the movie industry, I have seen what it can do to a person firsthand. I’ll take any good news you have to give me.

  13. I don’t think Tom Hanks hates or even dislikes Mormons. He said, “. . . the truth is a lot of Mormons gave a lot of money to the church to make Prop-8 happen. There are a lot of people who feel that is un-American and I am one of them.” What is the “that” he’s calling un-American? I don’t think it’s “Mormons.” It think it’s “gave [giving] money to the church to make Prop-8 happen.” You can think an action–here, attempting to take away other people’s rights–is un-American, without necessarily thinking the people doing it are un-American. It’s analogous to the hate the sin, love the sinner distinction. Not that that distinction is usually very satisfying to the alleged sinner, in this or any other context. Which is probably why he (wisely) didn’t attempt to make the distinction in his apology.

  14. A couple of people (Ray, in particular) have noted that they are just not surprised.

    Having lived out here in California during the past year’s election season and the subsequent protests/boycotts/etc, I concur: My heart hurts to see the Church and the things I love and hold sacred flaunted about, but at the end of the day, I am just not shocked by anything anymore. I do not mean this in a “Well, of course…they’re evil,” sort of way, but rather as a person who simply has become weary of seeing the Church in the news out here every single day for one thing or another.

    Remember when President Hinckley was on Larry King Live and we all thought that the Church was finally becoming “understood” by other people? Yeah…those were good old days, weren’t they?

  15. re 9 and 11

    Wow, these are some of the most cynical and presumptious comments I can recall reading on this board. I understand that most of the people who are posting here would probably agree with much of what you said, and share your values, but I think it’s important to recognize that not everyone does. I think it is a serious flaw in your logic to assume as a starting point that your values are correct and the “values of hollywood” (if there is such a thing) are wrong. You cast derision on and with a wave of your hand, completely write off as essentially amoral and worthless, thousands upon thousands of people simply because of their industry. Are you seriously going to tell me that all “Hollywood Folk” are devoid of decency and high moral standards? That is an incredibly arrogant and judgmental statement. I think a more accurate statement would be to say that you can’t expect them to agree with YOUR concept of decency and high moral standards, which in light of history is probably correct. In case you haven’t paid attention to the news, there is a vast segment of the population, not contained to California or even the United States, that thinks the LDS church and its members are the ones lacking in decency, in at least one area. I venture to guess that you disagree with that, but I think at least a nod to the fact that there are differing ideas of morals and decency is in order. I personally have spoken to many individuals within the church who supported the church’s efforts with respect to Prop 8 and similar initiatives only by swallowing hard and fighting their personal misgivings on the issue. That would indicate that they shared, at least on some level, a value of the “Hollywood Folk”, namely equal rights for all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation. The church does not value this as a matter of fact – they oppose allowing homosexuals to have the right to marry. You may not see this as a value, but many, many people do.

    I would also point out that I have recently heard many people lament the fact that people within and without the church fail to act to curb the offensive things on television and in the media. I think perhaps people who make such statements again do not realize that there is a large section of the population that simply isn’t that bothered by these things. If you personally are offended by violence, language, sex and other offensive content on television or in movies, you are right to boycott them and not have them in your home, but I think it is an incorrect supposition to take it as a given that any person who is moral and decent will necessarily feel the way you do or to the level you do. Some people don’t actually enjoy these things, and others may think there are less drastic measures to combat them than to eliminate television completely from their lives. Perhaps the reason your meeting was so poorly attended was not that people are too lazy to act, but because they simply don’t care.

  16. He may or may not hate Mormons, but the fact is that he is definitely bitter. First his “Un-American” comment, now this ‘Big Love’ LDS temple fiasco. What that should show everyone is that he was never sincere in his apology the first time around and that he is filth and slime that should be avoided.

  17. Jen:

    I think you pegged my point exactly with the comment, referring to any “good and decent people”, as opposed to the generic reference to “anything” in relationship to Hollywood. I have no personal investment for being the defender of Hollywood, but I think that sometimes it serves as the undisputed dart board for self righteous rants. Please don’t misunderstand, I am not accusing anyone here of being self righteous, nor am I suggesting that social complaints against Hollywood aren’t often justified.

    What I am saying is this, I have spent a great deal of time on this blog and other Mormon boards as a skeptical and somewhat disenchanted Mormon. I have concerns about issues surrounding Church history and many of the Church’s former leaders, which I will not drudge up here. Largely as I have debated indiscretions of Joseph Smith and others, I am often challenged for expecting unrealistic levels of perfection from the Prophets. It is often rationalized that we should overlook what appear to be imperfections and take notice of the good they do. Many actors, who yes generally represent a highly liberal constituency of the US population, also are highly active in philanthropy effots across the globe. Angelina Jolie comes to mind. She will rarely pass LDS muster given her prior liberal sexual history, as well as being the “homewrecker” in Brad Pitts former marriage. I would agree that those are displays of lesser moral integrity, yet I am genuinely impressed with her humanitarian efforts. The same could be said in some regard for Bono of U2.

    I think this is indicative of human nature. If someone were to ask, “is Cowboy a good person”, there would be varying levels of response based upon my individual interactions. There are days and places where I must recognize that I have been a complete jerk, and at others I think I am at my best. I think it is the whole mote, or beam in our eye concept. I hope that the sum of my best exceed the sum of my being a jerk, and the same could be said for Hollywood actors. Again, I would be cautious of the blanket generalizations here.

    I obviously can’t respond to your situation with the friend who lost her husband to Hollywood, I’m not even sure I know what that means exactly.

    1. Cowboy– I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts. You are both thoughtful and articulate. As far as being a “disenchanted Mormon,” possibly consider the reason why we are here in the first place. If God wanted us to remain in a perfect world, we wouldn’t have left where we were. Obviously, there is something we learn from this experience on earth that we could not have gained with God. God will allow us to all stumble around a bit–and why is that? This would include leaders in the church. I have been around highly intelligent people my whole life–way smarter than I could ever hope to be. What I find interesting about truly brilliant people is that they have a tendency to overlook/over-think the obvious. What I am trying to tell you is your equation is off– For example: “How could there be a God if He allows so much suffering in the world?” –People use this argument all the time and become agnostic. Instead, perhaps the question (equation) should be, “If there truly is a God and He is all knowing, all merciful, all powerful, and there is such suffering in the world, then what does this mean?” It would mean he “allows” the suffering, but why? God has turned the laboratory (earth) over to us, so that we may come to understand things on our own. In the end after we have blown up the laboratory on our own, we will come to discover the wisdom in the ten commandments–the wisdom is struggling to find truth–the wisdom in God allowing us to stumble around a bit. In the end, we will find that goodness has less to do with living a “perfect life,” but more to do with the heart and how it changes and reacts to the experiences in earth life. The church is simply a vehicle to use to help us learn of God–his gospel may be perfect, but the people who facilitate it are not. We are the best he has to work with–thanks Heavens God can be so forgiving to even those leaders in the church who were not perfect men. The point is: He still found a way to work with them. Doesn’t that give you hope for yourself? It helped me to realize that God isn’t looking for us to be perfect, just willing to keep trying.

      1. This was extremely enlightening. ……it is true; we ARE the best he has to work with. For some reason so many people think that those who profess a religion are supposed to be perfect at living it. I think often that is to make them feel better about their own lackings. So many feel better about themselves when they are pulling others down or shining the light on others imperfections.

  18. Scott, I have sympathy for your feelings, and I understand that no one enjoys seeing the church they love or to which they belong protested and derided day after day. That said, I think it’s unfair to characterize what’s going on with the church and Prop 8 as anyone failing to understand the church. In fact I would argue just the opposite. The church made its position on homosexuality and gay marriage crystal clear in the process of supporting Prop 8. This isn’t a case of “if people just took the time to understand the church’s position on this issue, they’d agree.” No they wouldn’t. It couldn’t be clearer how the church feels, and many people just feel very strongly that the church’s position is wrong. It’s an interesting juxtaposition – the church has made efforts to move somewhat into the mainstream and to be more accepted in recent years, but ultimately the church values being a “peculiar people” and to some degree, standing on its own when it comes to critical moral issues. Unfortunately, one of the fallouts of being an island in a sea of immorality (as the church sees it) is that you are not going to be well received by those on the outside, and we’re seeing that. The church did what it felt it had to do, and I’m surprised that so many members are surprised and upset about the reaction they’ve received. It seems perfectly natural to me.

  19. Timoni, would you mind dumbing down your comments a bit? Your uber-intellectual and highly thought out arguments are hard to follow. Not to mention your overflowing compassion and christ-like love.

  20. There’s a really good way to not be offended by tv, so much of which IS offensive. Much of the rest of it is really low-quality. Even the stuff people say “oh, you’ve got to watch this, it’s so good” about, when I watch it, it’s only good in contrast to the rest of television. Compared to books it’s not good, really. Or so I’ve found. I quit watching tv regularly in the early 80s, and it’s been delightful to have that part of my life back. I just want to mention that because for most people it seems as though they don’t even recognize that as an option. Just turn it off. It’s such a huge improvement in my life I never want to go back!

    Now I don’t even have a tv. I gave the one I had away to someone who needed a small tv for their kitchen or something. But why keep it when I literally haven’t turned it on in years? I had it on in the aftermath of 9/11/2001 for a few days but now I get all my news through the web and NPR now.

  21. It’s HBO, for heaven’s sake, what do you expect? One of the things you notice with TV series that are beginning to run its course is they have to become more and more outrageous to attract viewer’s attention. Such is the case with Big Love. While the producers originally sought distance from the LDS churc hand their fiction, they have to incorporate the Church because they know it attracts an “element” to their viewing audience.

    It’s all about Money, pure and simple. And Hanks could have stopped them, if he wanted to.

  22. Brjones-

    “That is an incredibly arrogant and judgmental statement” Oh you mean like this one:

    Timoni, would you mind dumbing down your comments a bit? Your uber-intellectual and highly thought out arguments are hard to follow. Not to mention your overflowing compassion and christ-like love.

    Apparently you don’t hold yourself to the same standard you expect from everyone else. Good luck with that.

  23. You’re right, Jeff, he could have stopped them if he wanted to, plain and simple. He didn’t, and there’s something to that.

    Anna, you can argue semantics all you want, but it’s not realistic to expect people to always speak in perfect syntax or grammar to express their feelings. Many people get less coherent the more feverish their arguments. I think Tom Hanks made it very clear that, at minimum, he is very disappointed with the conduct of the LDS Church and many of its members.

    The person I’m more disappointed in is the disaffected ex-Mormon writer who felt the need to share with the world something that is very special and sacred to most of the LDS community. As long as Tom Hanks makes decent, clean movies like he has been, I very well may watch his movies once more. I’m more likely to avoid the Big Love writer (I do pay attention to that sort of thing).

  24. Cowboy-

    My friend had a wonderful marriage and then as her husband became very successful in the movie industry he began to change dramtically. Money became very important to him, as well as knowing and mingling with the ‘right’ people, and his growing desire for women who had the right sized breasts, the toned, sleek body etc. (you get the point). She began to be criticized daily by him for not wearing enough make-up and not measuring up to what was his “ideal” looking woman. This is what I am talking about in reference to my friend losing her husband to the movie industry.

    I appreciate your comments and can say that my personal experience with my friend soured me toward the whole Hollywood scene because I care so deeply for her and watched her go through a deeply painful divorce. It is never a good idea to make blanket statements about a group of people, and in this case it was not the best choice for me to do so. I am sure my statement was influenced by the personal experience I have had with the negative influence the movie industry has had on my friend. When things hit so close to home it can bring out a lot of emotion.

    Thanks for your comments and insights.

  25. BR Jones (17.)> I think it’s unfair to characterize what’s going on with the church and Prop 8 as anyone failing to understand the church. In fact I would argue just the opposite. The church made its position on homosexuality and gay marriage crystal clear in the process of supporting Prop 8. This isn’t a case of “if people just took the time to understand the church’s position on this issue, they’d agree.” No they wouldn’t. It couldn’t be clearer how the church feels, and many people just feel very strongly that the church’s position is wrong.

    That may have been your experience, but it has not been mine. I have had to clarify both our beliefs regarding the family and the reasons for involvement time and time and time and time and time and….again to people despite all of the press releases from the LDS Church. Be realistic–how many people do you think actually visit the LDS Newsroom for information on what the Mormons are doing? When was the last time any of us turned to an official Catholic release on a priest sex scandal instead of simply reading CNN or some blog post summary? The fact that the Church made clear, concise statements does not mean that anyone heard a word they said.

    That said, I was not talking solely about Prop 8–I meant the whole show. I honestly can’t remember the last time I scanned the LA Times or OC Register and didn’t see something about us in it. And please do not mistake me–I am not suggesting that if everyone understood us they would agree with us. But it can help alleviate misconceptions and soften angry hearts.

    To be plain, I almost laughed out loud when I read your statement that you would argue that the people we’re talking about here–Tom Hanks with his Big Love project–actually “understand” more clearly the Mormon people now. Wow. It just boggles the mind.

  26. I’m not inclined to cut him any slack. He’s a hypocrite, calling us bigots, but he is a bigot. He is doing this to get back at the Church. It is too convenient.

  27. Regarding my last comment, I did not mean the last sentence to imply that BRJones’ *opinion* boggles my mind, but rather that it boggles my mind that so many people would claim to *finally* understand the Mormons because of a few press releases regarding a single issue. If the producers of Big Love, and others, claim to finally grok the Mormons based on that, they clearly see us as a single-faceted, shallow group.

  28. Jen, actually I do hold myself to the same standard as I hold others. And in the event that you ever hear me describe another human being, whom I have never met, of being “filth and slime,” you have my permission in advance to point out how un-christlike my behavior is, as well as being lowbrow and ignorant.

    I would be curious to hear if you have a response to my substantive comments relative to your initial post.

  29. This would have been better posted after #15, but:

    We have a very loose moderation policy here. Disagreements are fine. Personal insults are not.

    Let’s stop the name calling now, please. That’s of each other and Mr. Hanks.

  30. I do have something to say about your response to my comments, but it will have to be tomorrow.

    I don’t agree that Tom Hanks is filth or slime, but I don’t think your response to what Timoni said was how Christ would have responded either. I see no more compassion in the response you gave to his comment than the actual comment being made.

  31. Fwiw:

    The Danger of Safe Contention

    A comment from that thread:

    It’s hard to let it go. Even now, I can think of multiple threads where I want so badly to go back and make clear that the other guy is clueless and contradicts himself and is wrong on this and that, and that my silence is not a sign of my surrendering the point.

  32. Brjones-

    “I understand that most of the people who are posting here would probably agree with much of what you said, and share your values, but I think it’s important to recognize that not everyone does” I fully recognize that, but to this extent which you have stated “I think perhaps people who make such statements again do not realize that there is a large section of the population that simply isn’t that bothered by these things”…..I disagree. I think many people are bothered by these things, they just don’t do anything about it.

    I am trying to make this short because I realize that this thread is about whether Tom Hanks hates Mormons, not about what I am about to say. For the record, I believe Tom Hanks can be a good person, just like many people can be in different ways, I just think he has crossed the line in not respecting that which is held sacred by members of the LDS faith.

    I am used to hearing these types of statements about Hollywood from people in my community….”Leave it to Hollywood to stoop that low”, or “Hollywood strikes again”, etc. When I made the comment about “Hollywood folk”, I admit the term was used loosely and with the frame of mind that it was not all inclusive of everyone from the exec producer down to the camera man (or woman). I understand that making generalizations will get you in trouble on a blog. My statement had some personal emotion attached to it (see comment # 24). Sometimes when we have emotion attached to statements we over exaggerate. For example, “You NEVER spend anytime with me” or you ALWAYS say that” etc. On a blog, you have the disadvantage of not being able to “hear” the emotion in a statement, therefore it is difficult to differentiate if it might be an over exaggeration. I am sorry for over generalizing about Hollywood folk, I am sure there are decent people sprinkled all over the world, including in Hollywood.

    Having said that (and this is getting to long already) I am an advocate of children. I feel that the public airwaves have been inundated with trash, especially during “family viewing hours” and that it is the responsibility of adults to protect children from being exposed to media that they cannot understand or process correctly. As most know, up to a certain age, children cannot differentiate between reality and fantasy. You made this comment “I think it is an incorrect supposition to take it as a given that any person who is moral and decent will necessarily feel the way you do or to the level you do”…..I am already fully aware of that and what an adult chooses to watch and bring into their home is their choice, but there are many adults out there who are being very irresponsible (including some of the Hollywood folk) when it comes to protecting children from material that is obviously damaging and destructive to their well-being. My initial comments (#9) are being made in light of this thinking, and I should have been more specific.

    You made this statement “I think a more accurate statement would be to say that you can’t expect them to agree with YOUR concept of decency and high moral standards” My concept of decency and high moral standards is based on protecting children from destructive media….I recognize that adults are going to do what they are going to do. I think many adults will agree that even though they may disagree on what is considered inappropriate for an adult, they are much more likely to agree on what is inappropriate for a child. My frustration lies in the fact that adults do not take a more involved role in protecting children, and I think this was evidenced by the lack of attendees at my meeting.

    I have to run, but to conclude, I understand that there are many decent and moral people out there and that we don’t necessarily see eye to eye on what is considered “decent and moral.” Making a distinction is easier for me because I try to follow what the Lord has stated in relation to media. I am aware that not everyone is interested in what He has to say about it and I can accept that. What I can’t accept is that same thinking for children. Children have to be protected from certain things and adults are responsible to protect them. That isn’t happening and that is what my initial comment is referring to when I say that adults aren’t willing to stand up and say something to change it.

  33. I wanted to clarify that when I stated this “What I can’t accept is that same thinking for children” I did not mean that the Lord’s standard in relation to media needed to be applied to all children.

  34. Jen, your earlier comment about your friend’s marriage: “My friend had a wonderful marriage and then as her husband became very successful in the movie industry he began to change dramtically. Money became very important to him, as well as knowing and mingling with the ‘right’ people, and his growing desire for women who had the right sized breasts, the toned, sleek body etc. (you get the point).” I’m inclined to think that while Hollywood may have brought out negative qualities in her husband, they were there nonetheless, and they likely would have come out some other way or time eventually. The truth will out, as the saying goes.

    Aboz – “He’s a hypocrite, calling us bigots, but he is a bigot.” Many have said this about Mormons who were proponents of Prop 8, especially in light of the persecution over polygamy in the early days. I’m rubber, you’re glue.

  35. hawkgrrl-

    I agree to a certain extent but I also think what a person chooses to expose themselves to over and over again can bring out negative qualities that we are all prone to if we do not watch ourselves. It is the carnal vs. the spiritual fight and if you feed the carnal it will grow and develop into something it may not have otherwise. Just like King David (who was considered a righteous man most of his life) wasn’t immune to falling, neither are any of us.

  36. Thank you Hawkgrrrl, for doing a better job of making the point I was attempting to make. Jen, obviously each of us has our own view of what is moral and what is right and wrong, and my point was not to tell you that your point of view is wrong. My point was more that it’s dangerous to paint in such broad strokes, both in terms of labeling an entire group of people as all being one particular thing, and in terms of defining “morality” in such general terms. That said, I respect the fact that you have had personal experiences that have influenced your outlook, and I apologize for the strident tone of my original response to your post. Your clarification of your initial comments was helpful.

    I’m not sorry for the caustic tone of my response to Timoni, however. There is no justification for such hatefulness in a discussion like this, in my opinion. I think it’s particularly unfortunate where Tom Hanks’s critical comments about the church were not personal in nature and were done in the spirit of defending and advancing a value that many see as worth while. That doesn’t mean he’s right, and it doesn’t even mean that the value he was attempting to defend was necessarily worth while. I do think the context is significant, though, as is the fact that he quickly recognized that his comments were inappropriate and issued an apology.

  37. Post

    Jen – “Just like King David (who was considered a righteous man most of his life) wasn’t immune to falling, neither are any of us.” I guess I always pictured King David as a horndog. It’s probably just that Richard Gere portrayal.

  38. Hawkgrrl-

    Haven’t seen the Richard Gere portrayal, but I can see why you might view him that way. Leaving the King David example out of it (which I admit may have not been the best), my point still stands that what we expose ourselves to over and over does in fact influence our thinking and in turn, our behaviors. Had my friend’s husband chosen a different line of work would he have chosen the same path? I really doubt it. The heavy influence of fame, power, plastic women, money etc. just isn’t as prevelant at an engineering firm.

  39. Post

    Jen – I think you and I are saying roughly the same thing. Someone made the analogy (maybe it was a GC talk) that we each have a specific vulnerability that is unique to us. It’s like having a bad knee. If you have a bad knee, and you take a job sitting at a cubicle all day, it’s probably not a big deal. But if you have a bad knee and you become a pro tennis player, huge problem. Either way, you had a bad knee. But I’m inclined to think that we are going to be confronted with our personal weaknesses in life, and that those are part of our essential growth. He would likely have been confronted with these issues regardless of Hollywood, but to your point, maybe he would have handled it better. Hollywood is probably diving in the deep end for someone prone to egocentricity. That’s why I prefer to toil in obscurity.

  40. Here is a question we can all ask ourselves. If you made millions of dollars practically overnight and along with it came fame, women (or men) ooing and awing over you because of your newfound fame and fortune, and a new set of famous “friends” to boot, do you think it would be hard to keep yourself in check?

  41. Hawkgrrl-
    I think because, in reality Hollywood chooses you (you’re either in or you’re out) it is hard to say how any of us would respond to that type of a situation because most of us will never had to deal with it.

    Thanks for sharing the analogy of the bad knee….I like that.

  42. I have no problem with the first Tom Hanks quote, despite your parenthetical remarks. Totally agree with Tom.

    The only criticism I’d have for Hanks would be to say that there is much more to Mormons and Mormonism than Prop 8 and their bizarre fundamentalist cousins. But I think he realizes that.

  43. These responses remind me of the old far side cartoon where a guy is lying in bed restlessly wondering repeatedly whether a girl likes him, then the next picture is the girl lying in her bed peacefully/happily wondering, “I think I like vanilla.” “Same planet, different worlds” was a caption, I think.

    Even though Tom may have been ‘briefly identified as Mormon’, I doubt that he is thinking about any of this to the depth that people here are assuming. He is financing a company that is making adult-oriented entertainment. Sure he could make them stop and threaten to pull out the money, but I doubt there is a clue as to why he should. Do you think that the executive producers of Nip/Tuck have a plot to disparage the character of plastic surgeons? HBO is trying to develop something new and shocking to attract viewers now that people are bored with family-oriented or tamer adult-oriented television dramas.

    It is also difficult to communicate why the temple ceremony is indeed sacred. The feelings/spiritual blessings/closeness to the Lord that one feels is beyond the actual motions that one goes through in the temple. Would an ex-Mormon consultant even be able to explain this to an executive producer in a way that they would understand the concerns?

    So Mr. Hanks gets caught up in this controversy unexpectedly or expectedly, it’s like Brad Paisley’s song, “Celebrity”:

    I’ll make the supermarket tabloids,
    They’ll write some awful stuff.
    But the more they run my name down,
    The more my price goes up.

    Cuz, when you’re a celebrity, it’s adios reality.
    no matter what ya do;
    People think you’re cool just ’cause you’re on TV.

  44. Post

    Rigel – “It is also difficult to communicate why the temple ceremony is indeed sacred.” I think this is a core problem for the church. Up to now, the ones publishing things that are sacred to the church have mostly been ex-members. At this point, there’s enough interest due to the church’s size that those who are simply curious from a cultural standpoint have some interest in portraying these things. The “sacred” argument just doesn’t hold much water for the majority of people, and even other religions don’t claim that concept anymore. “Sacredness” just doesn’t make sense to the majority of people in this day and age, both religious and non-religious, and we aren’t very articulate about what it means either.

  45. Madonna didn’t care about the sacredness of the Crucifix to the Catholics and she is one of them! If we don’t really understand the sacredness of various religions, we are apt to do or say things that go against that. A reasonable person, once know that, would not do want to profane the sacred of another’s religion.

    but, this is Hollywood and many think they are immune from this because they are ‘artists.’

  46. Yeah Jeff, it’s funny how it’s okay for artists to push extremes, even when it crosses this kind of border.

    I wouldn’t suggest violence as an option for the Church, but does anyone have any idea whether a possible perception that Middle-Eastern religious groups may be more violent makes people more hesitant to do things that might profane what they hold sacred? Jeff’s Madonna comparison got me thinking a little more about other religions around the world.

  47. While I am not necessarily convinced of the strength behind the arguments citing the Tom Hanks influence, I don’t think this is strictly arbitrary HBO shock and awe. I still maintain that this appears to be some type of direct assault on Mormonism. Is it that Tom Hanks has an axe to grind, or the ex-Mormon consultant perhaps, or is Prop 8? I can’t be certain, I tend to think that Prop 8 was probably the catalyst seeing as how HBO initially promised the Church that they wouldn’t be this rude with their series. Of course, that is just conjecture, but the Church chose to stand and be counted, and well, now they are.

  48. “to air the most sacred Mormon ritual on television”

    Tom Hanks, and the writers at HBO, are actually doing the church a favor (as most critics of the church do)

    What’s missing here is that the church never bothered with big love (only once at the start when the press were begging for comments). Now Barbara (character aka Bills’ first wife aka boss lady) is ratted on by her sister, to a Bishop, that she is in “plural marriage”.

    Barbara now faces excommunication, so apparently she goes to the Temple for maybe the last time (apparently since I haven’t seen the last episode yet).

    So then this particular episode is actually getting the word out that mormons in plural marriage are excommunicated just like Barb will be. It lets the viewers know that polygamy is not OK for the mormon church and the offshoot groups are actually chased and dealt with. Plus in releasing a press statement like the one they did the church will be sure to have more curious viewers than normal watching that particular episode of Big Love. .

    So Tom Hanks, as with all those who criticizes the church, are actually doing the church a favor when they do things like this, even if it involves something delicate like the Temple Ceremony. (Maybe its because of those ghost from his Mormon past, maybe they are still chasing him in his dreams?? 🙂 ?).

    But I agree that Tom Hanks is pro-gay rights, a spiritualist and above all an artist…one of the very best visual arts ‘artist’. And mormons, as a minority group, we will actually benefit from people like Tom Hanks who lobby and speak out against discrimination, although this may only come in the long term……very very long term.

  49. Pingback: Sunday in Outer Blogness: Big News Edition! | Main Street Plaza

    Here is the link to the statement Tom Hanks made about this season, even before all of this bruhaha.
    Shall I quote it? “There’s going to be lies, and *secrets,* and discoveries and problems…. TELEVISION….” Note the inflections of his voice! You cannot watch this clip, I think, realizing when it was shot (i.e. pre season 3 of Big Love) and not read into it the full meaning that we know of right now. Tom Hanks is excited in this video that it is going to share secrets our “secrets” with the world. He is blatantly ANTI.

  51. Look at this one
    Here’s another one where they say, “and Tom says this season carries special weight in light of the current debate over marriage. . .” Then they show Hanks saying, “I think you cannot go wrong examining the confines and the moral attitudes when it comes down to marriage in America.
    Next look at this one
    This seems to suggest this episode tomorrow is going to show the LDS MARRIAGE RITUAL besides possibly the endowment. HMMM. Yeah, Im intentionally interpreting these things the way I am being that I have unkind feelings towards Tom Hanks. But I cant help but see in these things that he is behind all this.

  52. I don’t know if Tom Hanks hates Mormons or not, but I quit watching him when did “Forrest Gump.” I know a lot of people liked this movie, but he poked fun in a satirical way at a class of people who deserve support and not perpetuation of stereotypes. He made money at the expense of those who could not defend themselves. I know we all make mistakes, but “Forrest Gump” was not a mistake, calling LDS people “un-American” was not a mistake, and this episode on “Big Love” is not a mistake either. Each of these reveals a little more about what Tom Hanks thinks is good for Tom Hanks.

  53. So is there something wrong with being an artist? I know it’s probably not meant that way, but the way it felt in your list of characteristics of Tom Hanks it sounded like being an artist is a character flaw. Perhaps I am a little overly sensitive. I make my living as an artist of a different sort. I am a church organist for a baptist church and go to my own (LDS church) in the afternoon. I am an artist too and I work hard at what I do to help facilitate a reverent and worshipful experience. Sometimes that requires writing a hymn prelude, or playing some of the well known classics of organ literature. It’s an artistic endeavor, but it’s not devoid of spirit or faith.

  54. I disliked Tom Hanks long before his Mormon Hating comments. He is an over-acter that loves showing his fat buttocks and thighs in his movies. The Toy Stories were ok, he did not belong in Saving Private Ryan, and all of his other movies have been lame lame lame.

    He is a hack and should be boycotted not only by Mormons but by the entire movie-loving population simply because of his poor acting skills and feminine-flamboyance.

  55. Mr. Hanks has been referred to as another “JIMMY STEWART”. Well, although I do like his work, I do not believe Jimmy would of approved of or allowed something so sacred to ANY individuals, to be broadcast for the world the way this was if it was his decision. The real culprit here is the individual who shared these sacred things to the media in the first place. To me it is asking Mr. Hanks to gather his wife and kids around and night to have a deeply private and personal discussion, and tell him….”Oh, by the way, the cameras are here to get this private and important moment to you and your family on film so we can broadcast it throughout the world……..

  56. I’m waiting for Tom to produce an HBO mini-series about the Prophet Mohamed. Show the prophet in all his glory (the prophet should preferably be played by Antonio Banderas). We now no longer care about offending our viewers, so why not offend some muslims? Who cares if they feel it’s very disrespectful to show Mohamed’s likeness, let’s show him! HBO can then claim to be the very first to ever produce a movie about Mohamed, ever! What do you say Tom!

  57. I think people get way too offended over stupid stuff. But even more so, people have built such a high image of what THEY want Tom Hanks to do or say and who THEY think he should be. He is the nicest and most responsible person in Hollywood, but the man is human. He cant always be as good as God. Like us, he has opinions. People should leave him alone. He’s going to mess up like the rest of us, and i guarentee that if someone like Brittney Spears made the same comment, no one would care, get offended, or make such a big deal about it.

  58. Now that the ‘Big Love Temple Ceremony’ has turned to yesterday’s ham. We can openly and honestly talk about Tom Hanks. You see, Tommy is throwing a hissy fit at this very moment. Tommy’s plan was to get the church in a big uproar and turn the whole thing into a big firestorm of revenge.
    Revenge for California’s Proposition 8 of course. There is no doubt in my mind that after the Gay-Marriage initiative crashed and burned in California, Tommy tried to stab the Mormon Church right in the heart. He tried. He tried and he failed. The Church leadership handled his attack 10 times better than he and the rest of Hollywood handled the democratically decided Proposition 8 election. As always, good job Salt Lake City!
    And me, well I didn’t handle it as well as Salt Lake City did, I have only one Tom Hanks DVD in my Library; Saving Private Ryan. That shall remain the only Tom Hanks movie in my DVD library.

  59. The benefit of Prop 8 is this: Our Church itself is fulfilling its own prophecies that our Constitutions will dangle by a thread. Proposition 8 cuts California’s constitution to the point where it is dangling by a thin strip of vellum.

  60. I will follow the evidence to where it seems to point. Tom Hank hates Mormons. He is now in my list of boycotted artists/institutions. In case you are wondering, that includes the actors in the MMM movie and many others, Levy Jeans, and American Girl dolls. Being anti-Mormon or militanly pro-gay gets you in that list.

  61. I just found this web site and I know I’m late with my comment, but I thought I would put it out there anyway!

    I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon). I have read many if not all of the comments on this post. What Tom Hanks said truly upset me because I love his movies, but he said he was sorry, and he regrets what he said. Now it’s time to be done with this subject matter and go on with our life. Everyone, no matter what faith you are needs to be Christlike, forgive and forget.

    Just a side note, the church does not have a movie boycott list!!!! The church does not tell their members what they can or can not watch or listen too. They guide us to make good choices, to watch and or listen to good shows/music that will not harm us, and will invite the spirit.

  62. Wow, Hanks really stepped out of line with his remarks. I dont care personally if he hates my religion or not, I can not believe that he spoke out so cruelly just because we made a statement, how much more “American” can you get then that? We were doing what we thought was good for America, though I took no place in those actions I still feel that, to some, they were kindly ment.
    I am a huge Hanks fan, what a shame that he sunk to such a level

    1. You thought you doing a good for America by taking some basic rights away from a group? Wow, amazing. What a bunch of brainwashed assholes Mormons really are!

      1. You comment on a thread that’s three years old, and then you color all Mormons with one brush? Have you really looked at this site? Way left-leaning crowd. Get informed before you come with this weak, name calling stuff.

  63. Mormon church does not actually hate gays.  I am sorry. Mormons hates other kind of people and races.  Mormons believes they are the perfect race.  Mormons hides a secret agenda. I do not know.  I believed Mormons were good.  I do not trust them anymore.  Well, I was against the President of Nicaragua, Ortega when he said, the Mormons are the CIA. I have investigated the Mormons that they are not of the CIA. Well, the CIA is not American, nor Mormon. I laughed at this day, when Ortega said this. But, who knows? The CIA is not from American Continent. Neither Germanic organization. People may guess. But, no one knows. Ortega made me angry even though, I do not understand why I did this. Because I am not of the CIA, neither I am sympathizer of the CIA.  Anyway, I was told by a friend of mine, that they are the CIA. I laughed. Because they are not. If they were of the CIA, then why are they posting religious institution.  CIA is more than religion and much more secretive.  No one knows who is the CIA.  Neither I do not know. But, what I know that the Mormons are not the CIA. Wrong, wrong and wrong! They can’t be.  Because CIA are much prettier than Americans. Hahahah, it is funny. People were crazy when they told me these things. Even though, Mormons are not nice.  They hide a secret agenda.  Only God knows and I do not know what do they hide.  God is watching over them.  Mormons is just a common religion like any religion. Mormons is not a peculiar religion anymore. Mormons are common people.

  64. I am amazed at the uneducated remarks I have read. Mormons or the actual members of  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Big Love has nothing to do with true Mormonism. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints DON ‘T practice plural marriage and have not for many years. The only reason for plural marriage was because there were so many women whose husbands died and they needed to be cared for. So for all of you that think Big Love is Mormons it is NOT

  65. The scene from Cloud Atlas where Tom Hanks kills the marauder who would was drunk brings to mind the story of Nephi slaying Laban in the Book of Mormon. Perhaps his past experience with Mormonism and spirituality helped create such an emotional scene? I’m not an art critic, but in my opinion, Cloud Atlas was perhaps the most revolutionary film ever created. I consider myself very blessed to have seen it.

  66. I liked Hawkgrrl’s comments and agree, except for the fact that once a public figure comments negatively about a religion or a certain group, it influences what some people think of those groups.

    Take a feathered pillow and rip it open during a windy day. Now recover each and every one of those feather’s…it can’t be done. Therefore apologizing, though an admirable act, can’t take back what he said or change some people’s opinions of that religion or group of people, based on his previous comments.

    And you can’t be a Mormon or any religion by association, just because a family member was briefly one. One becomes a Mormon by agreeing with the beliefs and getting baptized into the church. If Mr. Hanks or his father didn’t do that, then they were never Mormon. And an ex-Mormon or an ex anything, like the writer, would usually not be pronged to shed good light.

    I can understand rendering Barb Hendrickson as human, but not at the expense of rendering ALL Mormon’s as sub humans, UN-American or bad people. One has to realize, each Mormon is an individual, just as each gay person or anyone else. If the Mormon Church spent any promotional money or urged votes for proposition 8, it was the leaders of the church that promoted it and because they are a religion or large group, they’re being singled out. I’m not hearing of others that supported proposition 8 being persecuted.

    And I have a question. Why are they showing what goes on in Mormon temples, that is sacred to the Mormon’s. Obviously, the ex-Mormon in this scenario, Mr. Black, is not honoring the promise he made as a Mormon to keep the sacred proceedings sacred. Just because he’s no longer Mormon, doesn’t release him from a promise. If a person belonged to the Jewish faith, they wouldn’t divulge the sanctity of a synagogue and make it public, just because they decided not to be Jewish any longer. But then, from everything I see, I guess any and every group is up for ridicule, as long as it promotes the movie industries purposes. It would seem, the movie industry, isn’t as caring and understanding as it would like us to think. They seem to back down though, if it effects box office.

    It would be great, if as a society, we could just say, live and let live. But my experience of today’s society is, that there are people that want a reason to dislike or criticize others, it’s evident by some of the shows that are on, ones where people bash others and on lookers cheer them on. The consensus seems to be, if it makes money, do it.

    I like Tom Hanks and will continue to watch his movies. I’m sure he’s stating, as nicely as he can, his beliefs and his support of his industry, programs and shows. Though actors may think of themselves as artists, I believe it’s the industry they are trying to preserve and defend, and the ability to make a living acting.

    It is my opinion, actors and public figures, should refrain from expressing opinions that can be harmful. Many of us know actors are only people who have their own opinions, based on what they feel or what will benefit them. But some people see them in a different light, as everything they say is gospel, especially if those people wish to believe it. Therefore it would be best, as an actor, to make their comments brief; encompassing what they truly know to be true, not their opinions based on what someone else told them is true, especially if it will influence people to perceive someone negatively.

    At one point in history, actors were considered a lower class of people, because of their loose morals. I’m only guessing that decision was reversed, because of the money actors make and because movies are such a large part of our lives. I don’t see them as lower or higher class, just as people whose words we should take with a grain of salt. Investigate all sides for yourselves and make decisions based on that investigation.

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