Meet the Mormons Review

I saw Meet the Mormons over the weekend and I really enjoyed it. The idea of the movie is to showcase a few individuals who are faithful members, depicting what their daily life is like and how their choices are affected by living the gospel. So in that sense it is rather like an extended set of “I’m a Mormon” vignettes. Having said that, there are some pretty remarkable stories told here.

For myself, the introduction felt a little awkward to me–it wasn’t a really smooth transition into the vignettes. But that is alleviated by showing a number of humorous clips and comments about Mormons from various shows, including a brief clip of the famous South Park episode (“The correct answer was the Mormons”).

From the reviews I have read, many are critical because the movie doesn’t dig into the tenets of the faith–particularly the tenets that are controversial (such as the Church’s defense of traditional marriage). But the thing is, the supposedly deep, dark, controversial subjects that are such a big deal to critics and media (because those things make for a good story) simply are not what drives a faithful Mormon in their day-to-day life. But what I believe the show is really trying to put across is that the basic tenets of faith, love, service, fellowship, and family are the driving day-to-day forces in a Mormon who is honestly living their religion as best they can. And the vignettes show that in spades.

That is certainly been my own experience. From what the critics seem to imply, my daily life (as a faithful Mormon) must consist primarily of one of two things: either I spend my waking hours fretting about whatever the current controversy is, or those waking hours are spent vehemently arguing against said controversy. So of course the critics are mad that this is not portrayed in the film. And while the LDS faith certainly contains some who could be the embodiment of such caricatures, for the most part both of those ideas are simply false.

The reality is that, most of my life is spent working and familying, much like pretty much every other person. I go to church, I go to work. I come home and spend time with my family. However, because of the gospel, that working and familying is deeply affected each day by a commitment to family and gospel values that I would not otherwise have. This is what the movie portrays. And it does that quite well.

Don’t get me wrong–I do try to defend the Church that I believe strongly in. I am happy to spread gospel messages and promote and/or defend the Church through what small influence I have online. But that’s not the sole existence of my life. In fact, even in a recent talk from an apostle that was focused on increasing our use of social media and online tools to promote the gospel we were cautioned to “Not allow even good applications of social media to overrule the better and best uses of our time, energy, and resources.” The best way that I defend and promote the gospel is by living it day to day. So now we’re back to those basic ideas of love, service, family, and faith in Jesus Christ.

Especially for a first theater release from the Church, I am very impressed and would recommend this film to others. I hope they make and release more feature films.

LDS General Conference

The 179th General Conference just ended, so I wanted to put down my thoughts on it while I still have it in my head…

For me, there were a few things that really stood out. One was attending the temple regularly. There were a number of talks on this, actually. My wife and I try to get to the temple regularly, but each month it is a struggle to accomplish, and we miss more months than we should…

Another was a talk on living within your means by Elder Hales. My wife and I agreed that we tend to buy a lot more things than we really need. Part of it is that we encourage each other to get the things that the other wants, but in his talk Elder Hales told a couple stories, one about wanting to buy something for his wife when they couldn’t really afford it, and another about when he wanted to buy something for her when they could afford it. The basic idea wasn’t to never buy anything, but to live within your means, and to not buy things to try to impress others, and to save money for rainy days.

Elder Perry talked about the need for members to be major part of the missionary effort. It just struck me that I need to do more to share my feelings about the gospel to others and see if they want to know more.

Finally, Elder Scott, President Monson, and a few others talked about facing adversity–looking forward with faith. Elder Scott especially told a few very tender stories about some severe trials he has gone through in his life.