True Power

True Power

Thursday, January 27, 2011

BIG LOVE Lessons

If you have no idea or have never seen the HBO series called “Big Love” then you are missing an opportunity to think about and evaluate your own religious leaning; even your own particular denomination. Big Love is about more than a particular religious doctrine, it is about looking at people LIVING out their religion, something that is actually more important than your belief system.

Big Love is an American television drama on HBO about a fictional fundamentalist Mormon family in Utah who practice polygamy. Big Love currently stars Bill Paxton, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloë Sevigny, Ginnifer Goodwin, Douglas Smith, Grace Zabriskie, Mary Kay Place, Matt Ross, and Cassi Thomson.

The polygamous family struggles to hide their true religious practices from the public due to polygamy being illegal. This family unit broke away from their fundamentalist family ties which adhere strictly to the teachings of the Prophet. The Paxton family thinks they can have the same basic religious beliefs as the practicing fundamentalist Mormons, but updated and more acceptable to mainstream America.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the principle formal body embracing Mormonism in today’s world. It had well over nine million members by the late twentieth century. It is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. Joseph smith founded Mormonism in upstate New York after he translated his revelation of “the Book of Mormon,” which recounts the history of certain tribes of Isreal that migrated to America before Christ was born.

The Mormon way of life is distinguished by order and respect for authority, church activism, strong conformity with the group, and vigorous proselytizing and missionary activity. Mormons believe that faithful members of the church will inherit eternal life as gods and even those who had rejected God’s law would live in glory.

In both of the groups of Mormons depicted in the series, the fundamentalists and the more progressives, there is one common factor THEY ARE CRUMBLING IN THEIR FAITH BECAUSE OF THEIR OWN PERSONAL AGENDAS. Each family group wants power and control. Each is willing to lie and deceive others to get what they want. Each group’s life does not shine a good light on their faith.

With all religions, it is the action of the people that draw or repel those looking at the way they live instead of the words they say. Christians have this same problem. It is not the doctrine that speaks to the masses but the way that we live and interact with others. It is our private agendas added to our religious beliefs that cause the most conflict within the society. On the show Big Love, it is not necessarily the differences of the faith of Mormonism that is destroying the followers; it is how they are living it out.

LDS Church response:

In March 2006, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) issued a public statement citing concerns over the program's depiction of abuse, polygamy, use of stereotypes, and television's depiction of moral and civic values in general. Among other things, the Church stated that, "Despite its popularity with some, much of today’s television entertainment shows an unhealthy preoccupation with sex, coarse humor and foul language. Big Love, like so much other television programming, is essentially lazy and indulgent entertainment that does nothing for our society and will never nourish great minds." In March 2009, the LDS Church stated that HBO's writers, producers, and executives were displaying insensitivity to church members by choosing to display simulated segments of the LDS Church's Endowment ceremony in an episode of Big Love. The LDS Church also stated that the show had continued to blur the distinction between the LDS Church and "the show's fictional non-Mormon characters."

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