TV shows that mention Mormons, part II

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Momma Snider
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TV shows that mention Mormons, part II

Postby Momma Snider » Mon 02 May, 2005 09:40 am

I can't find the original thread about this, but last night's Cold Case earns more than a mention.

It was appalling. I'm not easy to shock or appall, but I was both of the above. It started out just by mentioning that the crazy serial killer was from Provo, and showed his dad as an extremely stern, cold man, who demanded perfect obedience and respect for God. Okay, whatever. Then they went on to actually show the guy in his garments, and nothing but his garments, twice. They didn't even try to be ambiguous. They said straight out that he was a Mormon boy from Utah, and at one point his aunt mentioned Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, who he was named after. He was hearing voices, and because he was a Mormon, he thought the voices were from God, even though they were telling him to kill people.

So yeah, I was distressed.

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Postby Lady Celtic » Mon 02 May, 2005 11:43 am

That is disturbing, in a "Where do I write to the producers?" kind of way.

I almost watched it last night, but I'm glad I didn't. I'm far too easily worked up these days as it is.
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last night's Cold Case

Postby msparker » Mon 02 May, 2005 02:20 pm

:(
Coming out of lurkdom to express my displeasure as well. Did the ep even show in SLC?
I was thinking of calling the church PR guy in our area and asking him what action he thought would be best. He's an old seminary teacher.
Of course, he is very busy at the moment with the temple open house and all.
Hmm . . . still thinking on this one.

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Postby EricDSnider » Mon 02 May, 2005 03:42 pm

Lady Celtic wrote:That is disturbing, in a "Where do I write to the producers?" kind of way.



Well, the last thing you want to do is write to complain about a show you didn't watch. The producers are far more likely to pay attention to your complaints if you actually, you know, saw the thing you're complaining about. :-)

I haven't watched it yet, so I didn't read Mom's post about why it was upsetting. But if anyone who saw it does want to express displeasure -- in a calm, rational manner, intelligently laying out your reasons for being upset, and being sure to spellcheck before you send it -- go to:

http://www.cbs.com/primetime/cold_case/

and click on "Feedback" at the bottom of the page. There you can submit your comments to CBS (which not only airs the show but co-produces it, too).

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Postby Momma Snider » Mon 02 May, 2005 05:25 pm

Okay. And let me know what you think after you watch it, Eric.

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Postby Lady Celtic » Mon 02 May, 2005 08:49 pm

Well, the last thing you want to do is write to complain about a show you didn't watch. The producers are far more likely to pay attention to your complaints if you actually, you know, saw the thing you're complaining about. Smile


Thanks for the helpful hint. :D I wouldn't have written in for that very reason, but it is something worth writing in about. That's all I was trying to get across.
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Postby Kiersten » Mon 02 May, 2005 11:12 pm

I was also really bothered by it. And I really like that show, so it bothered me even more. If they wanted to make him some kind of general religious fanatic, okay, I can go with that, but why did they have to link him to a specific religion? I can't find an adequate way to express my dislike (I've drafted three or four replies here), but it just upset me. <bitter sarcasm>Those wacky Utah Mormons.</sarcasm>

Edited to add: Yes, it did air in SLC.
Last edited by Kiersten on Tue 03 May, 2005 08:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Grudunza » Mon 02 May, 2005 11:42 pm

Sure sounds bad, and I suppose it is regardless, but I'm not sure if we can feel particularly "picked on", because I've seen a lot of things on Law & Order and shows like that where it was a Catholic, or a Born-Again yahoo, or a Jehovah's Witness, etc. Sometimes it's not so blatant, but you know who they mean.

Did being Mormon really add anything to the character or to the story being told? If not, then it was just poor writing and sensationalist Mormon bashing. But even so, did it really bash the rest of us to imply that one Mormon was a crazy murderer who heard strange voices? There certainly have been crazy or at least very disturbed Mormons who killed people, like that guy last year. Hasn't really affected the rest of us, has it?

There are some elements to our faith that can make for interesting characterization. I think Richard Dutcher only barely touched on those possibilities in Brigham City (which is why I felt that film was a disappointment), but if used appropriately and creatively, I think there could be some decent drama involving those elements, even crime drama. Doesn't sound like anything was used appropriately in this case, though, but there's a point when the reaction is vindication for the person who created it. When some Anti jerk befouls or burns a pair of garments at Temple Square to shock bystanders, I almost think it should have no real effect on us, because those garments were no longer sacred the moment they got into his hands. You know what I mean? Sometimes, the outraged reaction is where the jerk wins.
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Postby Momma Snider » Tue 03 May, 2005 08:43 am

Shazbot, I hear what you're saying, and I thought of those things, too. I tried to see it objectively and compare it to other shows where religion is a factor in the plot. I can't remember any that particularly mentioned Jehovah's Witnesses, but the thing is, if they did do a show about them, they would likely focus on their beliefs that are unusual: no blood transfusions, for example. In this case, though, they didn't focus on anything that is part of our church except obedience, and they made that point by using a drill sergeant, cold, mean father, with no love for his son. The aunt was more loving, but she was very one-dimensional in her fanaticism. And then there was crazy boy, who had killed eight people because he thought God was telling him to, and even after being in prison for years, freely stated that he would kill again when he got out, because he was doing God's will.

As I think about it, I don't think it was a well-written show, aside from the offensive elements. They really didn't make it clear that the guy was schizophrenic, I don't think, even though he was hearing voices. His aunt never acknowledged that he had mental problems; she only realized that it wasn't God's voice he was hearing, but she said it was Satan's.

And I still think showing him in his garments (oh, and his aunt called them "garmies," which was totally out of character for her, so I felt it was gratuitous disrespect) was absolutely offensive. They even showed the fly front.

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Postby TVGM » Tue 03 May, 2005 01:52 pm

Momma Snider wrote:(oh, and his aunt called them "garmies," which was totally out of character for her, so I felt it was gratuitous disrespect).


Sorry to derail the thread, but I had a friend who used to call them "Angel Jammies." I wanted to smack her every time she said it. She's 30 years old and talking like a five-year-old and thinking it's cute.
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Postby Momma Snider » Tue 03 May, 2005 02:06 pm

See, and I know sometimes we call them different cute names, but it's like calling your kid Knucklehead or CuteButt or something -- it's a name of affection when you do it, but for a stranger, it's just disrespectful.

Angel Jammies, though?

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Postby Mike » Tue 03 May, 2005 04:31 pm

Shazbot wrote:When some Anti jerk befouls or burns a pair of garments at Temple Square to shock bystanders, I almost think it should have no real effect on us, because those garments were no longer sacred the moment they got into his hands. You know what I mean? Sometimes, the outraged reaction is where the jerk wins.


With respect, I disagree. I'm still offended for the same reasons I'm offended when someone burns a flag. If what you're saying were extended to flags, another symbol held up almost as sacred as garments (though I agree not so sacred as to limit its use), one could say, "That singular binding of cloth that has taken on the color and shape of an American flag is no longer a symbol of our nation, its people, and values because of whose hands it's in." Protesters realize that they are desecrating a particular piece of cloth that is of considerable emotional value to people.

Your comment about those particular garments not being sacred seems to be a conscious avoidance of the fact that something that is sacred is being desecrated. I thought that was the whole point of the demonstration - to desecrate the sacred. If burning garments "should have no real effect on us," I wonder by what acts you would justify taking offense. Or is moral offense unjustified in all situations? If so, what of righteous indignation, of the Lord's cleansing of the temple, of the prophets' outbursts concerning wickedness of people? Maybe I'm wrong. If so, I wonder how?

I agree with the latter part of your post. If I were to become outraged and react with gratuitous, though perhaps yet righteous, rage, the street protester/performer would win. So, I'm still offended, but I choose to react as the prophets react. I try to resolve to live better in accordance with those things the desecrated symbol stands for. Taking the higher road, perhaps. Is that self-righteous? Perhaps others may justifiably react with violence. But I don't feel that apathy is a correct reaction.

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Postby Grudunza » Tue 03 May, 2005 10:42 pm

The difference is that a flag always symbolizes a nation (the freedoms of which should allow the right to demonstrate by burning said symbol, IMO)... a garment is specifically stated to possess a sacred quality only if the bearer of it is worthy. But yes, you are right in the sense of the symbols included on the garment, which will always represent what they represent. So yeah, the garment isn't sacred anymore but the symbols are still what they are.
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Postby Mike » Tue 03 May, 2005 11:27 pm

Forgive me, but I don't understand your point. Perhaps you misunderstood the thrust of my post. I don't mean to analyze the garment. That was really ancillary and a deeper discussion would, I feel, be more appropriate in another setting.

My main point was that offense may be justified in a given situation. Do you agree? Sacred symbols' desecration is such a situation. And, in a situation where something one holds sacred is maligned, incumbent upon the offended person, when such offense is justified, is to do something - either actively or passively - to address the situation. What form the reaction would take would be resolved on a case by case basis. Whatever the reaction in such a situation, apathy would not do. Am I wrong?

Mostly, I guess I was trying to point out the difference between offense and its justifications on the one hand, and the reactions one chooses to express the offense one feels on the other. Offense isn't inherently wrong.

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Postby Marshallb » Wed 04 May, 2005 09:35 pm

Does anyone else get the feeling that Mike pretends to be polite by saying "forgive me, but ..." but then subtly insults all of us with his well chosen vocabulary? Maybe it's just me...
-Marshall

And before anyone gets mad at me or, this means you Mike, chooses to unleash any sort of written tongue lashing on me... I'm JOKING!

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Postby Dude » Wed 04 May, 2005 11:09 pm

How are garments sacred? What makes them sacred? As far as a protester burning them... is he wrong for burning them, or is he wrong for burning them in public? How do you dispose of them?

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Postby Momma Snider » Thu 05 May, 2005 08:36 am

Garments are sacred because of the covenants associated with them. Human beings should be respectful of the things other human beings consider sacred. A protester who burns garments is going to have to answer for it someday -- as will a protester who desecrates a synagogue, or burns a cross, or does any other destruction to something considered sacred. In my opinion, of course.

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Postby TVGM » Thu 05 May, 2005 12:39 pm

"Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do."

While most people would certainly consider it at least rude of them to desecrate what we believe to be sacred, I wonder if they will be held completely accountable for their actions when they obviously don't understand the extent of the sacrilege they are committing.
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Postby Tiassa » Thu 05 May, 2005 01:04 pm

But obviously they do know that they're committing sacrilege, because otherwise why would they bother?

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Postby stvngrdnr » Thu 05 May, 2005 02:24 pm

Maybe all they know is we wear funny underwear, and that's why they did it. I don't know, and you don't either. It's one thing to object to it. That's fine. To try to guess at how God will respond is none of my business.


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