March 11, 2009
No Mormon Love for ‘Big Love’
Just think, if Jews objected to their wedding rituals being depicted on screen, a good bit of Hollywood’s film archives would be wiped out. “Fiddler on the Roof,” for example, would have been painfully anti-climactic. What’s a movie about shtetl Jews without the Cossack pillaging of Tzeitel’s wedding?
Mormon church leaders, however, are up in arms over HBO’s “Big Love” and its decision to film a sacred temple rite. “Only church members in good standing can enter temples to perform or witness sacred ceremonies,” wrote Variety. Church leaders argue that because they are so secretive, a television executive couldn’t possibly have accurate knowledge of these rituals. “Members take a vow not to discuss the rituals outside temple walls,” the article in Variety stated, but added, “although details of the ceremonies are widely available on the Internet.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement saying, “Church members are offended when their most sacred practices are misrepresented or presented without context or understanding.”
Not to accuse the Mormon Church of ill meddling, but—make up your mind—is the depiction forbidden or is it OK if Hollywood gets their “context” right? Producers of the popular HBO drama, about a polygamous family in Utah, swear their sensitivity to the subject. For this episode, they employed an on-set expert in Mormon rites to supervise the controversial scene. Since the show’s creation, they have consulted with the Mormon Church and promised to distinguish between the beliefs and practices of The Church of Latter-day Saints and the fundamentalist, fringe groups and individuals who merely practice polygamy.
But angry leaders dispute HBO’s religious concerns: “Despite earlier assurances from HBO, it once again blurs the distinction between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the show’s fictional non-Mormon characters and their practices,” the church statement said.
Read more in Variety’s report, Mormon Leaders Take Aim at ‘Big Love’: