Monday, March 9, 2009

HBO's Big Love


On Sunday March 15th, the HBO show Big Love is showing an episode containing an LDS excommunication as well as temple ceremonies.They hired an ex-member to help re-create the ceremony, rooms, and clothing.
I've never watched an episode of Big Love on HBO. First of all, I don't have HBO. Secondly, it's really not my kind of show. This is how HBO describes the show:

At first glance, Bill Henrickson seems to lead a typical suburban life. A hard-working husband and father of seven, this Salt Lake City native tries to find enough time for his family while overseeing the expansion of his successful home-improvement business. But Bill is also a polygamist and with three wives and three homes to maintain, his life is anything but ordinary.

Apparently Bill and his main wife are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but they keep their unconventional polygamy secret from the Church and their neighbors. It's a very popular show. It's interesting to see how vested viewers and how they use words like "sealing" and "ordinance."

I just learned today that an upcoming episode of Big Love will show things that happen in the LDS temple. An ex-member of the church helped the writers and producers to very realistically duplicate clothing, ceremonies, and sets. There's even a picture in the latest TV guide of a woman in the "temple" in her special clothing. This whole thing bothers me. There is no way that HBO doesn't realize how deeply troubling and even offensive this is to true members of the LDS faith, yet it's controversial so it's good TV.
If you feel so inclined, here is a link where you can write a message to HBO. However, I bet they're loving every enraged comment they get. Their viewers aren't LDS. They don't care that they offend us. In fact, our outrage is probably getting them higher ratings. Still...it is just frustrating. I know that ceremonial things are available on YouTube. I know that patterns of our sacred clothing can be found all over the internet. I know that the LDS church and its fundamentalist off-shoots have been pictured on everything from CSI to The Simpsons.

This story was posted on the comments of this LDS blog. I find it inspiring. It is from the book Go Forward with Faith.

President (then Elder) Hinkley and his wife Marjorie left for Switzerland to prepare for the dedication of the Temple there. He had the Temple film in 2 small drums in a suitcase. Of course the protection of such sacred film and audio were first in Elder Hinkley’s mind. When they arrived in Bozel (?) the customs agent asked what was in the Drums. Elder Hinkley replied “Church film and lectures”. He was told they could not let the film through customs without the approval of the Federal Film Board. The film was to be transported to Behm (?) where they would be reviewed by the board and returned in 2 days. He tried to argue, but didn’t want to cause any undue attention to the film, so he gave them to the agent.

The next day Elder Hinkley and the Swiss-Austria mission President fasted and pled with the Lord to keep the sacred film out of other’s hands. Early Monday they reported to customs to pick up the film. There they were asked a series of questions about the film. As the agent listened to Elder Hinkley’s explanation of what the film was, he became quite understanding and unusually cooperative. He stamped the papers needed to take the film on to the Temple, and not a single frame of the film was ever watched by anyone on the film board, or anyone outside of the Temple and the audio was not listened to either.

Our world is in a sad state if popular television has come to this. But it doesn't affect me and it won't really affect the Church. It is frustrating and sickening. Just like so many other things in this world.

2 comments:

Max said...

I heard about this on the news tonight, it is so maddening! All I can think about is, I pity to fool who helped HBO! Just the show itself is negative publicity for our church, now they are really pushing the envelope! It's frustrating that that kind of thing is allowed to happen. I'll make sure to comment.

mom2jjk said...

Hey Lara,
I agree that it is absolutely disgusting. Just proves even more that the church is true because Satan is trying so hard! Here is a link to the church's response about it. Basically they are asking us not to overreact and it will blow over like a lot of other bad publicity we get.
http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/the-publicity-dilemma

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