Glen Albert Larson, the highly-acclaimed television writer-producer best known as the creator of such 70s and 80s television series as Battlestar Galactica, Quincy, M.E., The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, B. J. and the Bear, The Fall Guy, Magnum, P.I., It Takes A Thief, McCloud, and Knight Rider, passed away on 14 November 2014 at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, California from esophageal cancer at the age of 77.
Other shows Larson created included Alias Smith & Jones, B.J. and The Bear, Switch (another series with Wagner), Manimal and The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo. He spent his early career at Universal Studios, inventing new shows and reworking others, before moving to 20th Century Fox in 1980 with a multi-series, multimillion-dollar deal.
With Lou Shaw, Larson conceived Quincy M.E., which starred Jack Klugman — coming off his stint on The Odd Couple — as a murder-solving Los Angeles medical examiner. A forerunner to such “forensic” dramas as CSI, the series ran for 148 episodes over eight seasons on NBC from 1976-83.
In a 2009 interview with the Archive of American Television, Larson commented that he was able to stay atop such a staggering workload because, “I tried to stay with things until I thought they were on their feet and they learned to walk and talk. If you believe in something, you must will it through, because everything gets in the way. Everyone tries to steer the ship off course.”
A Successful Career
Glen Albert Larson, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was born on 3 January 1937, and began his successful career in the entertainment industry as part of a pop vocal group known as The Four Preps in 1956 and as an NBC page. During his time with the group, they appeared in one of the Gidget films, had a guest shot on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and American Bandstand. Larson also wrote and composed three gold records for Capitol – “26 Miles (Santa Catalina)”, “Big Man”, and “Down by the Station.” He later collaborated with David Somerville, also a member of the group, and Grail Jensen, a session singer that he knew, to write and compose “The Unknown Stuntman” which became the theme song for the series The Fall Guy, and sung by lead Lee Majors.
Larson earned his first writing credit while working on the Quinn Martin production The Fugitive. He left Quinn Martin and signed a production deal with Universal Studios where he gained notoriety with his first hit series, Alias Smith and Jones, a Western which described the activities of Hannibal Heyes and Jedediah “Kid” Curry, concentrating on their efforts to go straight.
He also had a monumental role as an executive producer in developing The Six Million Dollar Man, based on Martin Caidin’s novel Cyborg, into a successful series. However, of all the series that Larson had a part in creating, Battlestar Galactica was perhaps the most personal to him, and the highlight of his genius.
The Insightful Messages of Battlestar Galactica
Larson began working on the concept of Battlestar Galactica in 1968, and was mentored by Star Trek producer, Gene L. Coon during the early development process. The series, originally intended to be called Adam’s Ark, was one of Larson’s most profound adventures as the show incorporated themes from Mormon theology such as marriage for “time and eternity” and a “council of twelve.” He initially renamed the series Galactica, but wanting to capitalize on the popularity of then recently released Star Wars movies, he decided to add the word “star” in the title, and eventually decided on Battlestar Galactica. He was able to secure a generous budget of $1 million per episode for the series. The series spurred a lawsuit from George Lucas for copyright infringement, however, Lucas lost the battle. Unfortunately, the series only lasted for one season (24 episodes at a cost of over $1 million per episode) on ABC from 1978-79, but its overall impact was phenomenal. Larson would later comment:
I was vested emotionally in Battlestar, I really loved the thematic things. I don’t feel it really got its shot, and I can’t blame anyone else, I was at the center of that,” said Larson, who years earlier had written a sci-fi script, Adam’s Ark, with a theme similar to Battlestar’s and had been mentored by Star Trek’s Gene Coon. “But circumstances weren’t in our favor to be able to make it cheaper or to insist we make two of three two-hour movies [instead of a weekly one-hour series] to get our sea legs.
Even with its generous budget, the series often recycled effects shots; it was canceled after one season. The pilot episode of Galactica, titled “Saga of a Star World” in the program continuity, was edited into a two-hour theatrical film released in North America and Europe (a second theatrical release, titled Mission Galactica: The Cylon Attack, was compiled by re-editing other episodes of the series). After the series was canceled, Larson went on to create a relatively low-budget sequel to the series, titled Galactica 1980, which was set many years later, when the Galactica had reached Earth. This series was less successful than the original and was canceled after 10 episodes.
Larson re-used some of the sets, props, costumes, and effects work from Galactica for the light-hearted sci-fi series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century in 1979. Based on the comic-book character created in 1928 by Philip Francis Nowlan, Larson co-developed the series with Leslie Stevens. The feature-length pilot episode was released as a theatrical film in March 1979 and grossed $21 million at the North American box office. The weekly television series began in September 1979, running for two seasons until April 1981.
Glen Larson, himself a Latter-day Saint, had infused his series mythology with too many Mormon references to ignore. His Twelve Colonies of Man were essentially the Lost Tribes of Israel whose history began at Kobol, an obvious anagram for Kolob, which, in Mormon theology, is the star nearest to the throne of God. The colonies were led by a “Quorum of 12,” and marriages were referred to as “sealings” that extended beyond mortality and “through all the eternities.” The show never shied away from religious themes, and, at one point, the characters encounter a group of angels who paraphrase LDS Church President Lorenzo Snow.
“As you are, we once were,” the angels tell the Galactica crew. “As we are, you may become.”
Battlestar Galactica was remade for the Sci-Fi channel as a miniseries in 2003, and in 2004 it was followed by a series that unlike Larson’s original creation, lasted for multiple seasons and followed the Galacticans to the planet earth. The new series was developed by Ronald D. Moore, and although Larson was not involved in the development of the series, he did receive a screen credit as “Consulting Producer.” Larson’s original series targeted the family as its general audience, whereas the new series was geared for a more mature audience.
According to the Wikipedia article:
The Cylons were now created by humans, and some of them now even looked human; there was more moral duality, complexity, and nuance in both humans and Cylons; the social commentary was more explicit; and the resolution of the “Earth” problem was different.
The series ended in 2009 and was followed by a short-lived prequel series called Caprica in 2010. Larson was not involved in the development of the prequel either, but he was given a screen credit for the creation of certain characters. In February 2009, there was buzz in the media that Larson was in negotiations with Universal Pictures to turn Battlestar Galactica into a full-length feature film possibly based on his original series. The project which was to be produced and co-directed by Bryan Singer was put on hold for some time before being re-announced in 2011 by Singer himself with the film version being a complete remake.
Criticisms, Awards, and Honors
Despite his success, the shows produced by Larson were not highly favored by critics. Their overall criticism was aimed at his “perceived general lack of originality arising from the fact that many of his television series are seen as small screen “knock-offs” of feature films.”
In a Variety.com article published following Larson’s death it was reported that Larson credited his success to “having a strong sense of the type of shows that would click with Middle America.” The article further states that Larson told the Archive of American Television in 2009 that his background was defined by shows that were “enjoyable, they had a pretty decent dose of humor and they all struck a chord out there in the mainstream.” He further commented, “What we weren’t going to win … was a shelf full of Emmys. Ours were not the shows that were doing anything more than reaching a core audience. I would like to think that they brought a lot of entertainment into the living room.”
Throughout his career, Larson received numerous awards and honors. In 1973, he won the Edgar Award for Best Episode in a TV Series Teleplay for the McCloud series episode titled “The New Mexico Connection.” In 1974 and 1975, the television series McCloud was nominated for the Emmy Award for limited series. In 1978, his television series Quincy, M.E. was nominated for the Emmy Award for outstanding drama series. In 1979, his series Battlestar Galactica was nominated for the Grammy Award for best album of original score written for a motion picture or television special. That nomination was shared with Stu Phillips, John Andrew Tartaglia, and Sue Collins. And in 1981, he won the Edgar Award for Best Episode in a TV Series Teleplay for the Magnum, P.I. series episode titled “China Doll,” with Donald P. Bellisario.
Larson also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to the television industry. And in 2004, he reunited with other members of the Four Preps for a PBS special.
In addition to his brother, Larson is survived by his wife Jeannie; former wives Carol Gourley and Janet Curtis; and nine children.
Ludmya Bourdeau Love, more commonly known as “Mia,” was born on 6 December 1975 to Mary and Jean Maxine Bourdeau in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents emigrated from Haiti in 1973 leaving their two oldest children behind. Love recalls that her birth occurred prior to the expiration of an immigration law in 1976. After the family moved to Norwalk, Connecticut, her parents brought her older siblings from Haiti.
Love attended Norwalk High School, and graduated from the University of Harvard where she actively participated in the Hartt School’s Music Theatre program, and received a degree in the performing arts. She later worked at Sento Corporation and the Ecopass Corporation. She was also a flight attendant with Continental Airlines.
Her Political Prowess
To say that Mia Love has a passion for politics is somewhat of an understatement. She served as the community spokesperson in an effort to get the developer of her neighborhood in Saratoga Springs to spray against flies, and in 2003 she became the first female Haitian-American elected official in Utah County, Utah, after winning a seat on the Saratoga Springs City Council. She took office in 2004, and after serving 6 years on the council, she was elected Mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, with an 861 to 594 win over her opponent, Jeff Francom. She served as Mayor from January 2010 to December 2013.
In 2012 she was the Republican Party nominee for the United States House of Representatives in Utah’s 4th congressional district. She was also a speaker at the 2012 Republican National Convention.
On 18 May 2013, Love announced that she would once again run for Congress in 2014, and on 26 April 2014 at the Utah Republican Convention, she won the Republican nomination in the 4th Congressional district. Following the mid-term elections held on 4 November 2014, Love is now the representative-elect for Utah’s 4th Congressional district. Once she is sworn in as a member of the United States Congress, she will be the first Haitian American and first black female Republican ever elected to Congress.
She had previously stated that if she were elected to Congress, she would “join the Congressional Black Caucus and try to take that thing apart from the inside out.” She further described the Democrat-dominated Caucus as being characterized by “…demagoguery. They sit there and ignite emotions and ignite racism when there isn’t. They use their positions to instill fear. Hope and change is turned into fear and blame. Fear that everybody is going to lose everything and blaming Congress for everything instead of taking responsibility.” Now is her opportunity to be the shining light upon the hill and fulfill her promises.
Remaining True to Her Faith
Love had been raised Roman Catholic all of her life. After graduating from college in 1998, she became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her job as a flight attendant afforded her the opportunity to move to Utah where she was able to be closer to the temple and learn more about her new found faith. She was attracted to the Church’s teachings on eternal marriage and respect for women.
Upon moving to Utah she was able to get an apartment with a Utah woman she had known as a nanny in Connecticut. She was also referred to Jason Love whom she had met briefly when he was serving his mission in Connecticut, to help her move in. They soon began dating, and in December 1988 they were married. They have three children: Alessa, 14; Abigail, 11; and Peyton, 7.
Love is pro-life and has been endorsed by the Susan B. Anthony List. She also supports domestic energy exploration, local control of education, Second Amendment rights, and state control of public lands.
I love the story of David and Goliath, because in that story, David turns toward Goliath … toward a seemingly impossible challenge. That’s the type of confidence we need to have as we take on the Goliaths of our debt, out-of-control spending, Obamacare and that Godzilla we call the federal government.
Love also recently told Newsweek, “I’m perfectly comfortable in my skin. My parents always told me, ‘In order for people to see you as an equal, you need to act as an equal and be an equal.'”
The date of 31 October is normally considered by most people as the day in which Halloween is celebrated. On this day, kids and adults alike dress up in costumes of various genres, and the kids go trick-or-treating from door-to-door, or the kids and their parents attend neighborhood Halloween parties. However, in company with all the frivolity and joviality of the ongoing celebrations which take place on Halloween night, the date of 31 October also holds a place of significance in the pages of history. That in conjunction with the history of Halloween itself is perhaps something that few people know anything about.
The History of Halloween
Halloween is believed to have begun with the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced sow-in). During the festival, people would light bonfires and wear costumes when leaving their homes in an effort to keep any ghosts that might be roaming about away.
By 43 A.D., the Roman Empire had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain. The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of “bobbing” for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.
By the eighth century, Pope Gregory III (731–741) declared November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs. The holiday became known as All Saints’ Day, also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day), and incorporated some of the traditions of the Samhain festival. The evening prior to All Saints’ Day became known as All-hallows Eve, and then later, what is today called Halloween.
Throughout the centuries, Halloween has become a nonreligious, commercialized, community-based event that is characterized by such children-centered pursuits as trick-or-treating. An interesting factoid about Halloween is that one quarter of all the candy sold annually in the U.S. is purchased for Halloween. It is reported that Americans spend an estimated $6 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country’s second largest commercial holiday.
Referring again to the history.com page on the History of Halloween:
In the late 1800s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-together than about ghosts, pranks and witchcraft. At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season and festive costumes. Parents were encouraged by newspapers and community leaders to take anything “frightening” or “grotesque” out of Halloween celebrations. Because of these efforts, Halloween lost most of its superstitious and religious overtones by the beginning of the twentieth century.
In several countries throughout the world, as the season changes from fall to winter with shorter days and colder nights, many people welcome that change with gatherings, costumes, and delectable sugary treats.
October 31 and the Course of History
Although some people may be somewhat familiar with the historical background of the Halloween celebration, there are perhaps some significant facts surrounding the date of October 31 that they may not be aware of. The following are only a few examples of significant events that occurred in History on October 31 which may also warrant celebration.
On 31 October 1517, Martin Luther, a German friar, Catholic priest, professor of theology and influential figure of the 16th-century movement in Christianity known later as the Protestant Reformation, posted his Ninety-five Theses on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. According to the history.com page on Martin Luther and the 95 Theses:
The 95 Theses, which would later become the foundation of the Protestant Reformation, were written in a remarkably humble and academic tone, questioning rather than accusing. The overall thrust of the document was nonetheless quite provocative. The first two of the theses contained Luther’s central idea, that God intended believers to seek repentance and that faith alone, and not deeds, would lead to salvation. The other 93 theses, a number of them directly criticizing the practice of indulgences (remission of the temporal punishment due to sin, the guilt of which has been forgiven), supported these first two.
Former military members who fought in Vietnam and their families may also recall that it was on 31 October 1968 when President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered an end to the U.S. Bombing of North Vietnam. The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, and also known in Vietnam as Resistance War against America or simply the American War, officially ended on 30 April 1975.
October 31st is also a day to commemorate the birth of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts, who was born on 31 October 1860.
Being born and raised as a Baptist, as I peruse the pages of Baptist history, it is noted that Lewis Peyton Little speaking of John Waller and the early Separate Baptist preachers of Virginia wrote, “preachers of that day endured the most inhuman treatment and bodily suffering in order that they might make disciples for their Lord.” However, the bodily suffering and imprisonment in the county jails proved to be superficial as compared to the bitterness of the scorn and ridicule that they endured for the cause of religious liberty. An example of such scorn and ridicule was aptly illustrated in the following announcement which appeared in the Virginia Gazette of 31 October 1771:
A Recipe to Make an Anabaptist Preacher in Two Days Time
Take the Herbs of Hypocrisy and Ambition, of each an Handful, of the Spirit of Pride two Drams, of the Seed of Dissention and Discord one Ounce, of the Flower of Formality three Scruples, of the Roots of Stubbornness and Obstinacy four Pounds; and bruise them altogether in the Mortar of Vain-Glory, with the Pestle of Contradiction, putting amongst them one Pint of the Spirit of Self-conceitedness. When it is luke-warm let the Dissenting Brother take two or three Spoonfuls of it, Morning and Evening before Exercise; and whilst his Mouth is full of the Electuary he will make a wry Face, wink with his Eyes, and squeeze out some Tears of Dissimulation. Then let him speak as the Spirit of Giddiness gives him Utterance. This will make the Schismatic endeavor to maintain his Doctrine, wound the Church, delude the People, justify their Proceedings of Illusions, foment Rebellion, and call it by the Name of Liberty of Conscience. (Lewis Peyton Little, Imprisoned Preachers and Religious Liberty in Virginia (Lynchburg, Va.: J. P. Bell Co., 1938), pp. 233-34.)
Violence erupted in Jackson County, Missouri as local citizens attempted to expel Church members.
Missouri militia officers demanded that the Saints give up their arms, pay for the cost of the war, leave the state, and surrender Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, Parley P. Pratt, and George W. Robinson. George Hinkle, colonel of the Mormon forces guarding Far West, agreed to the demands and lured Joseph Smith and the others into the mob’s camp, where they are immediately taken prisoner.
President Brigham Young of the Twelve returned to Winter Quarters from his pioneer trek to the Salt Lake Valley, having made the return trip in only 67 days.
The Willie Handcart Company was met by 10 rescue wagons full of supplies and food.
William E. Hall, later a World War II pilot and U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor recipient (1943) for helping sink an enemy aircraft carrier and managing to land his aircraft safely, all while seriously injured, was born in Storrs, Utah.
The First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and the Church Patriarch accepted and endorsed President Joseph F. Smith’s Vision of the Redemption of the Dead as the word of the Lord.
The Great Lakes Mission was organized.
The Sao Paulo Brazil Temple was dedicated by Spencer W. Kimball in one of several sessions.
The first branch of the Church in the Netherlands Antilles (two island groups in the Caribbean Sea) was organized.
Elder Thomas S. Monson dedicated Yugoslavia for the preaching of the gospel.
The Essential Question: Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?
It should be noted that there are no scriptural references that define the guidelines as to whether Christians should or should not celebrate the secular holiday of Halloween. With that as a premise, it then proves somewhat of a challenge to give a definitive answer to the question. Ultimately, it becomes an individual decision and each person must follow their own convictions about whether or not to observe Halloween.
Some families will decide not to celebrate Halloween because of the secular message that they believe is conveyed through such celebration. However, instead of focusing on the negative aspects of Halloween, there are ways to turn the day into a positive, relationship-building tradition for the family.
Some churches organize a Fall Carnival or Harvest Festival as an alternative to celebrating Halloween. This gives families an opportunity to socialize with other families in the spirit of fun and fellowship, and Bible theme costumes are worn.
Pumpkin patches and associated activities such as a pumpkin carving contest, a pumpkin cook-off, a carving demonstration, or even a pumpkin bake sale are also viable alternatives to the traditional Halloween celebrations. Another option could be to organize a pumpkin patch project with neighbors. A family might also sponsor such an event on a small scale in their own neighborhood as an alternative to trick-or-treating.
Some people may ask if members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) celebrate holidays such as Halloween, and the answer is a resounding yes. Many members use trunk-or-treats in lieu of trick-or-treating. Children are allowed to dress up in costumes that are in keeping with the standards and teachings of the Church, however masks are not allowed to be worn just because of safety issues. Instead of going from door-to-door to receive treats, members have treats in the trunk of their cars and the children go from car-to-car to receive their sugary bounties. Some wards may also hold Halloween parties for their youth groups, or families may have their own special way of celebrating that creates lasting memories while at the same time teaching valuable principles.
Whether a family chooses to celebrate Halloween or not is strictly their choice. Furthermore, the significance of the date of October 31 also depends on the person. Some may even view it as just another day. Nevertheless, Halloween is only one event that occurs on that day which gives cause for some to celebrate. History, however, declares that there is much more to know about the date than one may realize giving way for other reasons to celebrate.
Ann Romney, wife of former Massachusetts Governor and Republican nominee in the 2012 U.S. presidential election, Mitt Romney, has plans to launch the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases which will encompass research for Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig’s (ALS) and brain tumors. The center which is scheduled to open in 2016 at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts will have a staff comprised of 200 scientists led by Dr. Howard Weiner and Dr. Dennis Selkoe.
An Invested Interest
Ann has a personal interest invested in this undertaking. The mother of five sons and grandmother of twenty-two grandchildren, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis just before Thanksgiving in 1998 and credits a mixture of mainstream and alternative treatments, as well as activities such as equestrianism, with giving her a lifestyle mostly without limitations.
In a December 2002 news article on bostonherald.com, Mitt described watching his wife fail a series of neurological tests as the worst day of his life. He commented, “I couldn’t operate without Ann. We’re a partnership. We’ve always been a partnership so her being healthy and our being able to be together is essential.” Ann would later state in a news report in The Boston Globe dated 11 August 2004, “I was very sick in 1998 when I was diagnosed. I was pretty desperate, pretty frightened and very, very sick. It was tough at the beginning, just to think, this is how I’m going to feel for the rest of my life.” In an effort to combat the disease, she has employed steroids and medical procedures such as reflexology, acupuncture, and cranial-sacral therapy. Her MS has been in remission for over a decade, and is being managed by a healthy diet and exercise. She is also a board member for the New England chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
A Wake-up Call and a New Mission in Life
During Mitt’s 2012 presidential campaign, Ann’s MS flared up and she had to leave the campaign trail. In a 13 October 2014 today.com article, she stated, “I hit empty. With MS you just run out of fuel. You just stop. You can’t even go on. You can’t even talk. It was a real good warning sign for me. A wake-up call.”
Dr. Howard Weiner is Ann’s doctor at Brigham, and the idea for a new research center came about two years ago after a routine visit. She asked him about his efforts to find a cure for MS and was surprised to discover that not only was a cure within reach, but also that MS research is leading to breakthroughs in a cure for Alzheimer’s. Dr. Weiner will be the co-director of the new center.
Her goal is to raise $50 million over the next year to create a new model for necessary research and funding. She and Mitt will be contributing some of their own money as well. According to a news article in The Boston Globe dated 14 October 2014, Ann’s vision is: “Instead of researchers working independently with separate funding, what would happen if they collaborated and pooled their research dollars?” In the today.com article she further stated, “I never would have imagined myself being in a position to have an impact. I don’t think of myself as anyone except just as a little girl that rides her horse. And then grew up and was a mommy. And now all of a sudden, I can have a voice. I want to not even be talking about this [disease] in 20 years. I want this resolved.” Dr. Weiner commented, “We’re going to bring together experts that hadn’t been working together across different fields to bring new treatments and ultimately a cure to these terrible neurologic diseases.”
In his book, “A Mother First,” Joshua Romney, the third oldest of the five Romney boys, concludes his tribute to his mother stating:
Although my father has many trusted advisors who are politically savvy and has many lifetimes’ worth of knowledge about politics and business, he relies on my mother for her wisdom, love, and guidance. I’m proud to say that all of us children feel the same way.
I would venture to say that the average non-Mormon movie goer, without any prior knowledge of what the movie “Meet the Mormons” is really about, but out of curiosity decides to go see it, may at first have some preconceived ideas. No doubt there may be some who may attend expecting the movie to be a media tactic used by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to convert more people to Mormonism. However, what they experience from their movie going venture is something far beyond their expectations.
Viewing the Movie through Non-Mormon Eyes
This author has been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for over 16 years. Prior to becoming a member, I was born and raised in a Baptist home, and at one time in my life I was studying for the Baptist ministry.
As I sat and watched the movie, I opted to put aside for the duration of the movie, my knowledge about The Church of Jesus Christ and Mormonism, and objectively watch the movie “through the eyes” of that young man of years ago studying to be a Baptist minister who had a limited knowledge of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its beliefs other than what he had learned through brief encounters with Mormon missionaries prior to leaving home for military service.
As I did so, I believe that I was able to gain some insight as to how people of different faiths view Mormons in general. The movie even begins with a brief interview on the streets of New York with people being asked what they knew about Mormons and The Church of Jesus Christ. Their answers were interesting and I am almost certain that as a Baptist, I may have given some similar answers. Their responses also left me with a sense of wonderment as to how effective my own life is in letting people know that I am a Mormon, and not so much through conversation only, but more importantly by putting my beliefs into action.
Viewing the movie through the eyes of a non-member, from beginning to end, I was overwhelmed by the examples that each of the six Latter-day Saints portrayed, and how through those examples there was always the open invitation to everyone to come and “Meet the Mormons” and learn more about who they are. The overarching message of the movie is that Mormons are ordinary people who raise families, work, actively participate in their faith, and face trials and tribulations in life, the same as anyone else.
Not another Sunday Sermon
Some critics of the movie may have expected the movie to have more of a doctrinal flair. Some may have thought that this would be another documentary about Joseph Smith and the history of the Church. Still, others may have expected a more “preachy” tone to the movie – more like an expanded Sunday sermon. However, it is obvious that is not the intent of “Meet the Mormons.” Yes, the movie talks about the importance of faith in each of the character’s lives, but it does so more effectively by demonstrating how their personal faith plays a vital role in each of their lives.
This author believes that one of the main things that makes this movie stand out and capture the attention of viewers is the fact that gospel conversations were able to be held without actually having a conversation riddled with doctrine and gospel principles. I am not saying that is a bad thing, but this movie was a fulfillment of the old adage that people would rather see a sermon than hear one any day. Each of the stories that comprise the movie are mini sermons within themselves without the actual “preaching.” Each story leaves the viewers, regardless of their faith and beliefs, with something concrete to think about.
At no time during the movie are people asked to leave their faith and become members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The message that is emphasized is: “We are Mormons. This is what we believe. This is how we live our lives. Our beliefs may be differ from yours, but we are really no different than anyone else.” As the lyrics to the song “Glorious” sung by David Archuleta at the end of the movie exclaim, “It’s like a symphony, just keep listening. And pretty soon you’ll start, to figure out your part. Everyone plays a piece, and there are melodies in each one of us, it’s glorious.”
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