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  1. I’ve had mixed emotions about whether I wanted to see the movie or not. The nearest viewing is a hundred miles from here. I live a midst the corn stalks of southern Minnesota and I never really got used to the ‘I’m a Mormon’ campaign. I was moved by some of panels’ confessions of snobery and how the film had changed them. I was also moved by the one of the panel who’s family was brutally hurt by Mormons and how she even said the film did have its’ merits.
    The idea was brought up about what was important, what was it?, in the message?, we present to the world. I think that was kind of it. In the begginning of the discussion, the idea came out that the film didn’t really convey the real Mormonism but by the end they were agreed that the movie did have some real potential in that, to the panel, the leaders were presenting a plan for the direction they would like to see the Church go. If I were to give a name to that direction and I think the panel said it too, I would say that name would be service. In so many words they said, expounding on doctrines isn’t what people need. They need food, water, shelter, companionship, and the list goes on and on. They concluded that they and all Mormons need to be engaged in that – in a movement that would be global in its’ range.
    Are we sure, though, that’s the message the Lord wants us to send?
    Here is what He said it is: (Section1 D&C)
    Hearken, O ye people of my church, saith the voice of him who dwells on high, and whose eyes are upon all men; yea, verily I say: Hearken ye people from afar; and ye that are upon the islands of the sea, listen together.
    2 For verily the voice of the Lord is unto all men, and there is none to escape; and there is no eye that shall not see,(that goes for the eyes of the world)neither ear that shall not hear,(that goes for the ears of the world) neither heart that shall not be penetrated (and that goes for the hearts of the world).
    3 And the rebellious shall be pierced with much sorrow; for their iniquities shall be spoken upon the housetops, and their secret acts shall be revealed.
    4 And the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in these last days.
    5 And they shall go forth and none shall stay them, for I the Lord have commanded them.
    6 Behold, this is mine authority, and the authority of my servants, and my preface unto the book of my commandments, which I have given them to publish unto you, O inhabitants of the earth.
    7 Wherefore, fear and tremble, O ye people, for what I the Lord have decreed in them shall be fulfilled.
    8 And verily I say unto you, that they who go forth, bearing these tidings unto the inhabitants of the earth, to them is power given to seal both on earth and in heaven, the unbelieving and rebellious;
    9 Yea, verily, to seal them up unto the day when the wrath of God shall be poured out upon the wicked without measure—
    10 Unto the day when the Lord shall come to recompense unto every man according to his work, and measure to every man according to the measure which he has measured to his fellow man.
    11 Wherefore the voice of the Lord is unto the ends of the earth, that all that will hear may hear:
    12 Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh;
    13 And the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth.
    14 And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people;
    15 For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant;
    16 They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.
    17 Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments;
    18 And also gave commandments to others, that they should proclaim these things unto the world; and all this that it might be fulfilled, which was written by the prophets—
    19 The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh—
    20 But that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world;
    21 That faith also might increase in the earth;
    22 That mine everlasting covenant might be established;
    23 That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers.
    24 Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding.
    25 And inasmuch as they erred it might be made known;
    26 And inasmuch as they sought wisdom they might be instructed;
    27 And inasmuch as they sinned they might be chastened, that they might repent;
    28 And inasmuch as they were humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time.
    29 And after having received the record of the Nephites, yea, even my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., might have power to translate through the mercy of God, by the power of God, the Book of Mormon.
    30 And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually—
    31 For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance;
    32 Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven;
    33 And he that repents not, from him shall be taken even the light which he has received; for my Spirit shall not always strive with man, saith the Lord of Hosts.
    34 And again, verily I say unto you, O inhabitants of the earth: I the Lord am willing to make these things known unto all flesh;
    35 For I am no respecter of persons, and will that all men shall know that the day speedily cometh; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion.
    36 And also the Lord shall have power over his saints, and shall reign in their midst, and shall come down in judgment upon Idumea, or the world.
    37 Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.
    38 What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.
    39 For behold, and lo, the Lord is God, and the Spirit beareth record, and the record is true, and the truth abideth forever and ever. Amen.

    This we need to do while we are giving them food and water. This we need to do while comforting them and tending to their every need. How do we do this while delivering such a message? Well, it might not be in the same breath, but you’ll figure it out.

  2. Interesting discussion. Random thoughts:
    1. The movie was heavily promoted by Stk and Ward leaders here (CA). I have not seen it. Maybe I’ll view it if/when it comes out on Netflix. For me, I despise being a “cog” in the “numbers” game of checking to see how “popular” we are (having grown up in UT, all too familiar with the Mormon inferiority complex). But, I’m happy to hear it can perhaps inspire members to have a broader and more Christ-like emphasis of the Gospel.
    2. I, too, wish the Church would use its resources in a positive way to repair the great damage done to the LGBT community and someone like me, who, though not gay, no gay family members, has been horrified by the Church’s involvement in a despicable campaign. I would love to see them make a movie featuring Mormon and ex-Mormon LGBT individuals and family members tell their personal stories-distributed throughout the church (at least in the U.S.)
    3. Nepali is the official language in Nepal, but I know children (at least in Kathmandu)are taught English in school.
    4. I believe the Church has purposely tried to avoid having people convert for welfare purposes, especially in countries where the needs are great, but I would be thrilled if the emphasis is really turning toward loving and doing good to/for our neighbors, near and far, regardless of religious affiliation.

    Thanks Dan and panel!

  3. Just wanted to clarify #4 above. I remembered reading an article by a former/current BYU professor(?) who had organized humanitarian missions to So. America because he saw that the Church was not adequately addressing the needs of poverty-stricken Mormon children, let alone hungry non-Mormon children.

    Richard Bushman speaking at 2007 Pew forum:

    “In fact, the word “equal” has a fairly strong place in Joseph Smith’s revelations. For example: “That you may be equal in the bonds of heavenly things, yea, and earthly things also, for the obtaining of heavenly things. For if you are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things.” At another point, he made the drastic statement that inequality was a sign that the whole world lay in sin. These Cities of Zion were to create unified, egalitarian societies and eventually fill up the world.”

  4. I remember a few years back when the MOTAB Choir came through our area, the Area Authority 70 pushed Stake Presidents to ‘sell out’ the choir performance. To the tune of members being encouraged to purchase a large set of tickets and give them away to neighbors. It was absolutely pushed through ecclesiastical channels, but it is not known where it came from. If I had to guess, I would’ve assumed that it was the Area/Regional Public Relations committee that is typically chair’d by the Area Authority 70.

    I can see a public relations local wing with their responsibility to increase visibility among communities would be interested in something like this, and yet, not see official endorsement from higher ups, or receive a message from the 1st Presidency to be read over the pulpit.

    But it is my testimony, and I know it to be true, that the MoTab Choir was pushed like this in our stake on members and the expectation was that regardless of your like or dislike for the choir it was your Mormonly duty to buy the tickets.

  5. I enjoyed these perspectives, but was hoping someone would point out the thing that I was disturbed by. The story of the Mormon mom who works, who contributes to society beyond the role of motherhood was missing. The boxer in Costa Rica was noted for her beauty and physical strength several times. The single mom’s story was profiled, but the story leaned more toward her missionary son and her husband. My gripe may be not really against the movie but probably against our culture and what womanhood means within Mormonism. Where are the Mormon women in our world? What do we do beyond supporting our husbands, mothering and working out and being beautiful? Was it just me who was bothered by the portrayal of LDS women?

    1. I just saw the film last night and thought the exact same thing. It’s what disappointed me most. I’m surprised it didn’t come up on this panel’s discussion. It was front and center to me while watching the film the entire time. Other than one brief mention of the bishop’s wife teaching online at home, the 4 men’s stories (out of 6 total) highlighted their work while their wives were the stay at home, background support to it and them. The 2 women’s stories did not do the same thing. I know the film tried to do it with the boxer’s story, but even then they were sure to include that she just did this for fun as a hobby and not for pay as her job. So I got the impression that after her morning run, she returns to be the SAHM while her husband works. Nothing wrong with this scenario, but it did not (and neither did the other woman) highlight the population of female members that are out there in the world, working in a profession and contributing in their communities like the men’s stories showed.

  6. Just an interesting observation considering the part of the conversation about “is this movie a documentary?” In BYU Magazine, Fall 2014, page 58:

    “That was and remains true, but the film’s reach has become more expansive. As Treu explored filming options, he suggested a documentary examining Latter-day Saints and how they handle the challenges of living their faith. His concept was approved, and the finished product – Meet the Mormons – was released in commercial theaters nationwide Oct 10.”

  7. Just noticed that the title of the article is: “Meet the Mormons: A new documentary, created with help from BYU alumni, spotlights the stories and faith of Church members.”

    Somebody thinks it is a documentary.

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