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The Mormons

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer


    Excellent! The best, most accurate and comprehensive documentary on Mormonism produced so far. It explores 19th century Mormon history from an unbiased perspective--concentrating on Joseph Smith (Mormonisn's founder and the most influential religious leader in US history) polygamy (which after 1852 was praticed by 30% of all Utah Mormons, and which the LDS Church leadership the taught was essential for the exaltation/salvation of EVERY Mormons),and the tragic 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre (the ethical low point of Utah Mormon history.)<BR/><BR/>The film also explores the lives and beliefs of modern day Fundamentalist Mormons (which oddly enough the LDS Church leaderhsip insists do not exist--though over 40,000 now live in the intermountain western states.) There are dozens of different denominations of Fundamentalist Mormons as well as thousands of Fundamentalist Mormons who belong to no church whatsoever but practice their religion privately and independently (such as the family on the HBO series "Big Love.")<BR/><BR/>The second half of the film focuses entirely on Mormonism's largest denomination: the LDS Church in Salt Lake City. It explore the LDS missionary experience (the LDS missionaries are the young men and women who knock at your front door and ride bikes), the LDS concept of marriage, the role of women in the LDS church and the sad, often tragic experiences of homosexuals born and raised in the LDS church.<BR/><BR/>The only area in which this excellent documentary is lacking is anexploration of other large Mormon denominations. <BR/><BR/>For instance, the RLD Church--now known as "The Community of Christ" and headquarted in Independence, Missouri--is the world's second largest Mormon denomination after the Utah LDS Church. The RLDS Church was headed by ALL of Joseph Smith's immendiate family: his first wife Emma, their sons and daughters, his brothers and sister and his mother, Lucy Mack Smith. In the 20th century the US courts ruled that the RLDS Church--not the Utah LDS Church--is LEGALLY the official church that Joseph Smith originally founded in New York state in 1830. These Missouri Mormons ae found through Ohio, Missouri and Illinois (they refused to follow BrighamYoung to Utah in 1846) and the RLDS owns the most important Mormon historical sites in the Mid-west such as Joseph Smith's various homes, Joseph's grave, and the first Mormon Temple in Kirtland, Ohio.<BR/><BR/>Also ignored is the Strangite LDS Church in Michigan--to which ALL of Joseph Smith's immediate family innitially flocked following his murder. <BR/><BR/>Also ignored in the Church of Christ: Temple Lot--the Mormon denomination which own the land on which the Missouri Mormon Temple was supposed to have been built (and on which the Utah LDS Church believes a Temple WILL be built when Christ returns.)<BR/><BR/>Ignored are smaller, newer Mormon denomination that are growing at a surprising rate as more and more LDS Mormons leave the Utah LDS Church. Among these are the Seattle-based Reform Mormonism movement, and the Salt Lake City-based Restored Church of Jesus Christ. Both of these denominations are accepting of homosexuals, feminists and intellectuals, and are growing.

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