Eric D. Snider

September Dawn

Movie Review

September Dawn

by Eric D. Snider

Grade: D

Released: August 24, 2007

 

Directed by:

Cast:

This much is beyond question: In 1857, a band of Mormons killed 120 men, women, and children who were passing through southern Utah on their way to California. The attack was unprovoked and unjustified. Despite the direct involvement of numerous Mormon men, only one was ever convicted and executed for it.

Those are the facts. The big question is: Were the Mormons acting on Brigham Young's orders? Was this an official church-endorsed activity, or were the murderers rogue agents who acted independently of their leaders' instructions?

Historians have debated both sides of that issue for 150 years and will probably continue to do so for another 150. But as far as director Christopher Cain is concerned, the matter is closed. In "September Dawn," his asinine chunk of Mormonsploitation that mixes historical fact with fictional romance and bald-faced anti-Mormon prejudice, he declares that Brigham Young knew of the attack, endorsed the attack, and later lied about it under oath.

Cain's justification for thinking this is all over the film. Of course the Mormons would do this, because that's the kind of people the Mormons are! Paranoid, secretive, benighted, violent, and spacey. There is no indication that the Mormons at hand were simply a misguided subsection, a zealous and murderous anomaly. Instead, Cain portrays all Mormons -- at least the ones in 1857; no telling what he thinks of them now -- as delusional, brainwashed, and just plain weird.

What he has done, with a screenplay he co-wrote with Carole Whang Schutter, is to take a factual structure and fill it with completely wrong details. The basics -- the massacre, some of the character names -- are accurate. The smaller points -- the motives, the reasons, the doctrine -- are all wrong. The Mormons portrayed here don't act, talk, or pray the way real Mormons do or ever did. The local bishop, Jacob Samuelson (Jon Voight), is stern and emotionless, dedicated to seeking out evil and punishing those who indulge in it. Every indication is that this is how Mormon bishops are supposed to be: His own son, upon hearing of a Protestant minister who is kindly and loving, can't fathom such behavior from an ecclesiastical leader.

Now, I'm not going to say there's never been a bishop like Jacob Samuelson. There are aberrations in any system. But someone as coldly, hilariously evil as this guy would obviously be the exception, not the rule. I have to think a non-Mormon watching this film would realize that. I mean, you'd have to have had NO contact with Mormons EVER to think that this is really what they're all about.

And that's how Cain has shot himself in the foot. Here he wanted to make a movie with which to share his hatred of Mormonism. (At least I assume that was his purpose. Watching the film, I really can't see any other motive.) But then he goes overboard with the demonizing -- the creepy unison chanting, the strange and unseemly religious practices -- and turns it into an unintentional farce that surely will not be taken seriously by anyone.

It doesn't help that the acting, dialogue, and story structure are really bad, too.

Cain centers the film around a Romeo-and-Juliet romance between Jonathan Samuelson (Trent Ford) the bishop's son, and Emily Hudson (Tamara Hope) the preacher's daughter. She's with the wagon train heading to California that has stopped in Mormon territory for a couple weeks to rest and gather supplies.

Bishop Samuelson has charged Jonathan and his brother, Micah (Taylor Handley), with keeping an eye on the strangers. Bishop is suspicious of them for two reasons: Some of them are from Missouri, where the Mormons faced a lot of unjust persecution; and one of their women is wearing pants. On the first night of the visitors' stay in Mountain Meadows, Cain cuts back and forth between the camp's evening prayers and Bishop Samuelson's family's prayers. The travelers, true Christians indeed, are giving thanks for the Mormons being so kind as to let them stay a couple weeks. Samuelson, meanwhile, is saying, "Curse these children of Satan" and "May they burn in hell."

Somehow, Cain expected me to watch this bizarre and absurd juxtaposition without laughing out loud. I'm sorry to report that I have failed him in that regard.

Jonathan gets cozy with Emily through his being a horse whisperer, which enables him -- in a subplot that takes up way more time than it should -- to tame a previously untamable horse owned by the travelers. But being fond of Emily puts him in conflict when his dad announces that, well, all the town's men are gonna have to get together and murder every last one of those varmints.

His rationale for this, seemingly shared by every single faithful Mormon, is that since these people aren't Mormons, that means they are wicked, and people who are wicked must be put to death. Some sins aren't covered by Christ's atonement and must be paid for in the sinner's own blood. This principle of "blood atonement" is portrayed as being taught by Brigham Young (who, as played by Terence Stamp, for some reason has a British accent), who says the Mormons have "an obligation to avenge the blood of the prophet" Joseph Smith. Since non-Mormons killed Joseph Smith, that means ... we have to kill all non-Mormons in revenge? I guess? So these people's unpardonable sin is that they are not Mormons?

I'm not really clear on the thinking here, and neither is Cain -- and that's fine with him. He doesn't need to provide the Mormons with lucid, logical reasons for their murdering; they're insane zealots, remember?! This is just how they ARE!

There's some nonsense between Jonathan and his dad over the fact that Jonathan's mother was killed years ago by some of those "blood atonement" avengers. This was her punishment for not wanting to go be someone else's polygamous wife. The avengers are hardcore like that. There's one flashback sequence where they drag an adulterous man outside, cut off his testicles, and nail them to a wall. Cain briefly shows the ball-laden scrotum hanging from the knifepoint, and my only question is why, if he was going to show it, didn't he find a set of fake gonads that looked more realistic and less like a rubber novelty item? I mean, if it were me, and I wanted to include a pair of severed testicles in my movie -- and why wouldn't I, really? -- and this was the best the props department could find, I think that's where I would start to question just how integral this particular shot was to my overall vision. "Hmm," I would think. "It's really, really vital that my film include the image of someone's ball sac stuck to a wall with a knife. But the only thing my people could produce is comically oversized and disturbingly hairless. What would Spielberg do in this situation?"

But that's just me. I am not the director here! The director here is Christopher Cain. You will remember him as also having directed such fine films as "Gone Fishin'," "The Next Karate Kid," and "Young Guns."

In closing, I offer my impression of the way this movie establishes its characters and their beliefs:

MORMON: Hey, fellow Mormon, how many wives do you have? I think you should have even more!

JONATHAN: My father has 18 wives! The prophet Brigham Young has 27! We sure do like having many wives, we Mormons do! This is because we are strange and cultish.

BISHOP: All the people who are not Mormons like us deserve to die, because that is God's will. God is crazy like that.

JONATHAN: What happened to my mother when I was very young? I want to know the truth! Even though it has nothing to do with what we were just talking about, I demand that you discuss this with me now!

MICAH: I marry many wives just because I like having sex with them! I am not in love with any of them. Mormon men do not believe in love. It is one of the many things that makes us so weird.

MORMON: Let's go to the temple and perform bizarre, outlandish rituals that bear only a passing resemblance to the actual ceremonies of actual Mormons!

EMILY: I am an innocent Christian person who is passing through Utah. I sing Christian hymns at night while the Mormons are cursing me and wishing damnation upon me.

DUMB PERSON WATCHING THE MOVIE: The date of the massacre is September 11, 1857. Oooh... spooky... September 11... OOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHH ... This is ironic, but only because I don't know what "ironic" means. The word I'm really looking for is "coincidental." But I can't help it! I'm dumb! Those Mormons sure are creepy!

Grade: D

Rated R, a lot of moderately graphic violence, brief partial nudity

1 hr., 50 min.

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This item has 104 comments

  1. Argus Skyhawk says:

    At the moment this movie is scoring 13% at Rotten Tomatoes. I am definitely not disappointed that so many critics dislike this one.

  2. Chad Snow says:

    Hilarious review of a horrible movie. Hope you don't mind that I cut and pasted the ballsac paragraph and emailed it to all my Mormon friends - one of the funniest things I've ever read. Anti Mormon prejudice is the last bastion of acceptable bigotry in this country.

  3. Steve S says:

    I just checked lds.org to see if there was an "official response" to the film. I didn't find one, but maybe if the film is this preposterous, there doesn't need to be one.

    But them I'm a big believer in the power of just ignoring stuff I don't like.

  4. Bridget says:

    They didn't dignify the movie by calling it a "response," but there is this page from lds.org.

  5. Marco B. says:

    This review is classic Snider, and I thank him for it. While I enjoy almost all Eric's review, primarily because I agree with 90% of them, his D and F reviews are phenomenally entertaining. Great work.

    On a serious note, I think I've read most reviews of this film, and almost all use the same phrases: "Made for TV acting," "Historically inaccurate," "Anti-Mormon," "Heavy-handed," "Titanic like romance," "Over the top" etc. etc. etc. You'd think if you were going to make a film so blatantly disparaging an entire religion, you'd at least attempt to make it nominally good an entertaining. Guess Cain decided to "go another route" with this film.

    Anyway, I wish Christopher Cain luck with his future film endeavors. He's going to need it after this jackassical farce.

  6. Holly says:

    I'm LDS and I wouldn't mind having this story told on film if it was done well...and fairly. What an insult to the victims of the massacre to have their stories told in this way! The 9/11 connection is ludicrous--way to exploit both the distant AND recent past, filmmakers!

    Very funny review, Eric.

    Check out Kyle Smith's New York Post review of this movie:

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/08242007/entertainment/movies/pulpit_massacre_has_whiff_of_p.htm

    It's also very funny.

  7. Lisa Brock says:

    Eric-hilarious. Had no idea you had this site...

  8. treen says:

    Thanks for that link, Holly! That made me laugh, especially the part about Brigham Young being accused of many things, but not usually of being British.

  9. card says:

    I was born on the same day (12 years later) that the Church of Satan was founded. Hmmm... creepy.

  10. Turkey says:

    It's not creepy, it's ironic. Get it right.

  11. Bret says:

    I was curious to see how you'd write about this one, Eric. Also curious to see how everyone (LDS/non) react to it. Hilarious is right. Brilliant as always. We have/had a discussion about the reaction to this movie over at the Nine-moons blog and how most of us hope apathy will rule the day instead of fuel the profits with protest-curiosity-gatherers.

  12. Nate says:

    Great review. I was surprised you gave it a D after reading it. This was definitely an F-quality lambasting.

  13. LifeOnaPlate says:

    Well played, man.

  14. Craig says:

    I think it's a testimony of how far removed the average Mormon is from his history, when the main argument against this film is that it doesn't gibe with how *modern* Mormons act.

    The Oath of Vengeance definitely existed in the pre-1930 endowment ceremony. The hatred toward Missouri was real and even appeared in the pre-sanitized version of "Praise to the Man", which once read "Long shall his blood which shed by assassins *stain Illinois* while the earth lauds his fame."

    All lines of Brigham Young's dialogue in the film are taken from his own speeches.

    As for the scrotum incident, this is based on the 1857 castration of Thomas Lewis at the order of Manti Bishop Warren Snow. Snow had expressed interest in Lewis' betrothed and the girl declined Snow's advances.

    As for the temple ceremonies in general, Eric, you clearly don't recognize them, because they have changed. If you wanted to speak to their inaccuracy, you could have commented on the fact that the attendees were essentially wearing anachronistically modern temple clothing.

    [Specific references to the LDS temple ceremony, which Mormons consider it inappropriate to discuss outside of the temple, deleted.]

    I suspect that much of what you find wrong is less a question of inaccuracy or even anachronism, but rather a question of your familiarity with the 19th-century practices of your faith.

  15. LizardWizard says:

    MORMON: Let's go to the temple, even though there's currently no Mormon Temple to go to for the next twenty years, and perform bizarre, outlandish rituals that bear only a passing resemblance to the actual ceremonies of actual Mormons!

  16. Craig says:

    And I just realized I mixed Illinois and Missouri in my example. D'oh.

    Point is still that the hatred was there for the people who persecuted them and drove them out of their homes.

  17. Craig says:

    Actually, the film line was that he was going to get his endowment.

    "Only four days after entering the Salt Lake Valley, Brigham Young selected the site for the temple there. Temporary provisions were made for giving the Endowment until this temple could be completed, and an adobe Endowment house opened on Temple Square in 1855. President Young explained that not all ordinances could appropriately be performed there, however, so in the mid-1870s he encouraged the Saints to press forward with the construction of other temples in Utah."

    http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/temples/history.html

  18. Craig says:

    I accept that you have chosen to edit my comment based on your perception of what is acceptable to be discussed outside the temple within the LDS faith. I will note that my level of detail did not exceed that of several fine books that have been carried by Deseret Book and the BYU Bookstore, nor did it exceed the Journal of Discourses.

    To comment in a fashion that will be acceptable, I will simply note that the things that would have seemed weird to modern LDS viewers in the depiction of the temple ceremonies were in fact historically accurate to the time frame of the film.

  19. Rusty says:

    Craig,
    I think your comment is a testimony of how far removed your reading of this review is from reality. If you think exactly one line in this review (that one line being part of the farsical dialogue at the end) is Eric's "main argument" then you need to figure out what your motives are for coming on to this board and bestowing us with all your knowledge of true Mormon history. You are mostly correct with your history, but your motives for proving it are a little more transparent that you might think.

    I understood his "main argument" to be that the movie was terrible.

  20. Larz says:

    Craig, you are clearly confused about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We have never hated Illinios or Missouri and you have the song wrong. Please look at www.lds.org for real information on the chuch. Eric thank you so much for the review.

  21. Nathan Barrett says:

    "All lines of Brigham Young's dialogue in the film are taken from his own speeches."

    This is patently untrue. I belong to an on-line discussion forum in which both faithful members and critics of the LDS church participate in a respectful dialogue. No one, neither LDS defender or critic, has been able to find historical reference to the following quote from the movie:

    "I am the voice of God and anyone who doesn't like it will be hewn down. God has revealed to me that I have the right and the power to call down curses on anyone who tries to invade our lands. Therefore, I curse the gentiles."

    If you want to follow the various discussions concerning this quote and the vain search for its source, you can read the discussion threads at:

    http://www.mormonapologetics.org/index.php?showtopic=25470
    http://www.mormonapologetics.org/index.php?showtopic=27263

    Also, the following link is from Hugh Hewitt's blog, posted shortly after he interviewed Cain and Voight. The filmaker and actor made some unfounded accusations and a listener wrote to Mr. Hewitt and called them on it. Quite informative, really:

    http://hughhewitt.townhall.com/blog/g/20ef1245-b980-42a1-bd85-953dbfd14988

  22. Craig says:

    Rusty, I am an old contributor to the Eric Snider Message Board, and while an infrequent contributor to the site of late, I've been around a long time. Eric's brother and I have worked together in the LDS Mission Network context. I'm not some unknown interloper.

    It's a strawman to suggest that I am merely questioning a single line of Eric's review. Although Eric explicitly made the comment you allude to in his impression of the character development, the notion that the film's Mormon characters don't act as modern Mormons or any Mormons would underpins his analysis of the film's story arc, its dialogue, and its characterizations.

    Consider this: if Eric had found the doctrine and behavior of the 19th-century Mormons depicted in the film to be consistent with his knowledge of life under Brigham Young, would he have questioned Voight's characterization of Samuelson, the dialogue, etc.?

    I submit that if one considers the content of the dramatization to be farcical, then naturally, all of the aspects of that dramatization are brought into question.

    My take on it: I don't believe that the film is a tour de force. I found several of the performances to be quite wooden. And I believe that the prayer juxtaposition scene was quite ridiculous. I also believe that Cain's film was too cut-and-dry in its formula "Christians good, Mormons bad". I'm not questioning that this film should never be on anyone's best film list.

    What I am saying is that I believe Eric gave the film a lower rating than it merited because its treatment of history is not consonant with his understanding of it, and that, in my opinion, it's not as bad on those points as Eric seems to believe.

    As for whether "[my] motives for proving it are a little more transparent that [I] might think", I would recommend just saying what you mean, rather than taking the rather passive-aggressive approach of attacking my character through my motives in lieu of addressing the points I brought up.

  23. Craig says:

    Thank you Nathan for the correction, and I look forward to further clarification regarding that quote. If what you say is so, then I have to wonder if it wasn't cobbled together out of several quotes. Also, is that quote the only sticking point?

  24. Alison Moore Smith says:

    Point is still that the hatred was there for the people who persecuted them and drove them out of their homes.

    Yea, I know personally I generally turn those who put out extermination orders on my family into guests for my next dinner party.

    ...would he have questioned Voight's characterization of Samuelson, the dialogue, etc.?

    I question his characterization, the dialog, and the sneering since the Samuelson character is fictitious.

  25. Rusty says:

    Craig,
    Okay, I'll say exactly what I mean: you're overlooking Eric's overall point (that it's a crappy movie). In your ears his "main argument" is bad history. That means bad history is really important to you if that's what you get out of reading this review. I truly don't know why bad history is that important to you (are you concerned for the poor little LDS folk who don't know every single detail of their religion's history? Are you concerned for the public perception of the Church? Are you concerned for Eric's public perception when he's not exactly right on a couple historical points? I have no idea.)

    Your very first line in your first comment is extremely condescending to "your average Mormon" especially when history is not Eric's "main argument".

  26. Brent Hartman says:

    Craig,

    If this movie represents typical Mormon behavior and attitudes of the 19th century, then surely there must have been many more examples like Mountain Meadows. Can you provide me with a list of all the other massacres that were spawned by the teachings of Brigham Young?

  27. Phouchg says:

    Larz: "We have never hated Illinios or Missouri and you have the song wrong."

    ---
    http://mldb.byu.edu/phelps4.htm

    Praise to the Man verse 2:

    Praise to his memory, he died as a martyr;
    Honored and blest be his ever great name!
    Long shall his blood, which was shed by assassins,
    Stain Illinois* while the earth lauds his fame.

    *In recent editions of the LDS hymnbook, "Plead unto heaven" has replaced the words "Stain Illinois."
    -----

    http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/135

    D&C 135:7

    ...and their innocent blood on the escutcheon of the State of Illinois, with the broken faith of the State as pledged by the governor, is a witness to the truth of the everlasting gospel that all the world cannot impeach...

    -----------

    LDS Church Hymn #248 (from 1985 Hymnal)

    Verse 1:
    Up, awake, ye defenders of Zion!
    The foe’s at the door of your homes;
    Let each heart be the heart of a lion,
    Unyielding and proud as he roams.
    Remember the trials of Missouri;
    Forget not the courage of Nauvoo.
    When the enemy host is before you,
    Stand firm and be faithful and true.

    There are many more examples of anti-Illinois and anti-Missouri sentiment.

  28. John Doe says:

    So Craig (I hate the fact that you and I share the same name), what is your response to this film getting 15% at rottentomatoes.com if it's only Mormons who are upset with it? Almost all of them have said this is bad history.

    "Remember the trials of Missouri": yeah, that is SO anti-Missouri. I can just hear the hate seething out of that phrase, infecting everything it touches. Because nobody has ever had a difficult time somewhere without hating it. Like when I tell people I had trials and hard times at BYU, it means I just hate that place and everyone there. Give me a break. People who grasp at straws like Craig and Phouchg give credible critics a bad name.

    Joseph's blood staining Ilinois is a testimony against that state. It is a fact that Joseph Smith was unjustly murdered/martyred there and his innocent blood is a testimony of the corrupt government there. The blood of those murdered in the Mountain Meadow Massacre also stain Utah. It's a fact, so why say it means hate? I guess if someone says the blood of Jews stains Germany, you'd declare this to mean we hate Germany? Again, grasping at straws.

    I end with the question I began with: What do you people say to all the non-Mormons who hated this movie and said the history is questionable at best, and a pamphlet for hate at worst?

  29. card says:

    I looked at Rotten Tomatoes the other day and read some of the reviews and viewer comments of this movie. I just wanted to pose a question: when is it time for people to stop apologizing for events that occurred in the past? There was a person who made a comment to the effect that the President of the Church should apologize for the massacre. Although certainly the effects of that horrible tragedy can be felt still today, when is it time for people to stop holding other people responsible for the tragedy, especially when they weren't even alive during that time period? Ever?

    I liked Eric's portrayal of Emily: "I am an innocent Christian person who is passing through Utah. I sing Christian hymns at night while the Mormons are cursing me and wishing damnation upon me." It reminds me of that movie "The Mountain of the Lord" when Wilford Woodruff meets his future wife. Anyone?

    I also liked Roger Ebert's comment: "This movie needs human whisperers."

  30. britt says:

    All religion has blood on it's hands, does it not?

    I have not seen the movie but have seen programs about this particular event. What some people might look over, is that people of the Mormon faith suffered extreme persecution in the very early history of the church, not only was Joseph Smith and his brother, and others killed by a Mob, there was also the Haun's Mill Massacre (look it up if you are unaware of this event). The people of the Mormon faith had many reasons to feel threatened by those who continued to push them West or anyine entering thier lives outside the church. No doubt they felt a need to be on the defensive on several occasions it was the norm. And for the most part they did turn the other cheek. The governement on several occasions failed to protect them as it should have, based on the Consitutional rights.

    No one can go back and know 100% what happened that dreadful day. And there is no excuse for using history of that distance as a political bullet. I hope people are sensible enough to realize this (I am not trying in anyway to rebutt what anyone has said thus far, this discussion has been very interesing)

    There is no excuse in the world for murdering a single person whether it is one or many. Every person will have to account to God for thier actions, and only God can know the true motivation for all persons actions.

    Also, so the lyrics of a song have changed..... Sure there is historical evidence on the anti-Missouri and Illinois front, but are you trying to prove something with it?? I am not sure if you are suggesting that because a song had lyrics as such, that that shows that through song, people are influenced to act certain ways towards others.....

    I suggest everyone get a thorough history of all playing variables before we come to any type of conclusions about how Mormons really are. I think it is also important to interact with Mormons and be open minded toward them. They might be as weird as you think.

    Unfortunately people still have stong anti-Mormon ideals, there always will be but it is because they refuse to be open and live in the present.

    Anwyay, those are just some of my random thoughts as I have read about this film.

    Thanks everyone for being open to discussion

  31. Mark says:

    It seems like Phouchg's evidence of our hatred of Illinois or Missouri are examples of us remembering the injustices we suffered there.

    If Phouchg is incapable of remembering tragic events with sorrow, as opposed to hate, then I feel for him.

  32. Phouchg says:

    So what is better, remembering injustices endured in Illinois and Missouri, or injusticed perpertrated in Utah?

  33. Queen of Everything says:

    John Doe, your comment hit the nail on the head. Not that I want to discount Craig's opinion or anything, but as far as I am concerned with this whole thing, I agree that according to what Eric and everyone else has said about this movie (I have no desire to see it at all now) it merely is a anti-mormon hate pamphlet that might be made into a DVD to be passed out in the parking lots of new temple open-houses by protesters.

    What I find ludicrous is how hypocritical (for lack of a better word) our society is. How many movies are out there that pick on Catholics like this one picks on Mormons? How many movies will dare approach picking on Jews? And by "picking on" I don't mean playful if not slightly cynical jokes or references. "No, we're respectful, but these new guys coming out with different ideas, man, they are scary people and anything black on their record we sure have to jump all over, because by now we've kind of forgiven the crusades and the witch-burnings and the Anglican persecution of the Puritans and for some the crucifixion of an extremely prominent religious figure by a certain sect...but these guys with their temples and chapels and nice young men knocking on doors and their offering to help you move in, why, they must be descendents of blood-thirsty monsters!" Ok, I'm done with that....

    As far as the blood-stained thing goes, in those times (as I will attempt to recall from distant history classes that ended....oh, last May) they didn't exactly have instantaneous communication, and different areas would develop different ideas and means of doing things because there wasn't someone there immediately to make sure the standards stayed constant, so different leaders (being men and imperfect) invariably could and obviously did develop ideas that were contrary to what doctrine taught, and thanks to them crap happened and people were hurt or killed.

    And I don't personally blame any of those early saints for being angry about Missouri and Illinois. Humans, duh? We really glorify the pioneers for their enduring faith that brought them through so much hardship and pain to Utah to escape persecution and obey what they believed to be God's commandments that they are set a little lower than the angels, and we forget how human they really were.

  34. Amp says:

    Phouchg (#32), the two aren't mutually exclusive.

    And what is wrong with remembering persecution? It reminds Mormons of the trials they, as a people, have overcome, thus giving them courage. They, as a people, didn't murder the Arkansas pioneers--some rogue Mormon militia men did. And the Church obviously does remember the massacre--hence the monument at the site and a prominent article in the September issue of its official magazine (the article has also been online since July).

    What would you prefer? That Mormons ignore the many good things their people have done in favor of dwelling on the gross errors? To what end?

  35. Dustin Fife says:

    I'm a little offended by your blatant disregard for the many different shapes and textures of testicles in today's modern world. My testicles were used as a model for Mr. Cain's film, and now after your deprecating remarks I will be even more reluctant to finally consummate my marriage!

  36. Craig says:

    #28 wrote: "I hate the fact that you and I share the same name"

    Come now, isn't that ridiculous? You might have reason to be more than a little annoyed at being named "Adolf Hitler", "Pol Pot", or "Osama bin Laden", but to *hate* the fact that you share a given name with someone who views a movie and one of its reviews differently than you do shows a complete lack of sense of proportion.

  37. Craig says:

    Queen of Everything wrote:

    "Not that I want to discount Craig's opinion or anything, but as far as I am concerned with this whole thing, I agree that according to what Eric and everyone else has said about this movie (I have no desire to see it at all now) it merely is a anti-mormon hate pamphlet that might be made into a DVD to be passed out in the parking lots of new temple open-houses by protesters."

    Please note that agreeing with a synthesis of other people's opinions is absolutely meaningless. It's no different from saying: "the filmmakers and several prominent Christian pastors have called this the most accurate depiction of Mormon history ever, and I would have to agree with their assessment." It's certainly flattering to your sources, of course, that you trust their opinion, but it's like they say about testimony, you can't live on borrowed light. Naturally, it's your prerogative to cede your thought process to whomever you wish.

  38. Dave the Slave says:

    ...but of COARSE Brigham Young had a British accent. Isn't that one of the major tells of a stupid movie, the villain has a European accent?

    Craig, defending this movie makes it painfully obvious how you feel about Mormons. Why is it that people who hate the church go through such extensive study to find something to get upset about? They're perfectly content to become highly specialized historians when it means they can find a mistake people made who happened to be Mormons at one point.

    What about the aid the church gives world-wide? What about the welfare program? What about the fact that all members are asked to fast two meals at least once every single month and donate that meal-money to the needy?

    I guess those things are worthless if some rebel mormons got excited and killed innocent people a century and a half ago. The murderers are no more members of the church than the so-called mormon polygamists nowadays. They can call themselves whatever they want, doesn't mean it has anything to do with the church.

    So to all the mormon-bashers out there, please, please find something better to do with your time than try to find fault with a religion you have no personal interest in ever understanding.

  39. Queen of Everything says:

    Well, Craig, I think you're just attacking the people who are questioning the grounds on which your opinion is based now. And if I want to cede my thought process from other sources, well, that's my way of knowing what's going on with this flick without having to waste my time and money to see it. I personally have no opinion on the movie, but the messages that are here being debated are the things I have opinions on. Should I agree with a point already stated yet feel that I should add my own thoughts? That's how opinions are formed. When someone begins attacking the debate opponents themselves and not bringing viable counter-arguments to the table, it means he's been backed into a corner, and he knows it. Or else he's only speaking in the heat of the moment before careful thought is applied.

    That's not important and these stupid arguments are what get wars started so let's all get a popsicle and cool down for a while.

    m'kay?

  40. Amp says:

    I checked out Craig's website, and in the third blog down he mentions, among other things, joining "50 other atheists" for a 4th of July barbeque. I gathered from that blog that Craig once, but is no longer, a member of the Mormon church (since being Mormon would preclude being an atheist and vice versa). I'm not saying this to demonize him at all--I can't say that emphatically enough--but I do think that regardless of whether he is currently a believing member, between what he's written here, and what I read on the blog, he appears to have an overtly negative view of the Mormon church. I think it is fair to question his motives in his contributions to the discussion.

  41. Dave the Slave says:

    Running into atheists on my mission was always a breath of fresh air to me. They were, without exception, the nicest bunch of people we talked to. (I served in northern Spain and those Catolicos were pretty vehement in their aggressive defense of the church they all belonged to, yet never attended; and by aggressive defense I mean getting in our faces and yelling, spit-flying about what a worthless piece of so-and-so we were) So you can imagine how nice it was being invited in to chat. Sure they never listened to our discussions, but they sure acted more Christ-like than countless Christians I met.

    Which leads me to my point: Why get mad about people's beliefs, when all that really matters is what people choose to do, how they choose to act?

  42. Phouchg says:

    "Why get mad about people's beliefs, when all that really matters is what people choose to do, how they choose to act?"

    You are right. Choosing to destroy a newspaper as well as killing 120 innocent people - that is what really matters.

  43. layla says:

    And sure, those mormons all over the place right now are slaughtering our innocent children and friends while torching all our newspapers, because you know that they are just bloodthirsty villainous people...

    drop it already. what's past is past, and if a bunch of rogue mormon meatheads killed 120 people out of spite or out of false leadership or whatever, it doesn't necessarily reflect on the rest of the church or its message. case in point: Warren Jeffs. Google it, if you don't know what I'm talking about.

  44. Dave the Slave says:

    Phouchg-, so the church is evil because desperate, outlaw rogue-Mormons committed an atrocity 150 years ago, and because Joseph Smith decided to destroy a slanderous newspaper? Your right, it¡¦s a lot easier to look past all the good that has come into this world through the church and its members when there¡¦s controversial stuff we can smugly mention! ƒº

    Just because we don¡¦t understand something, doesn¡¦t mean we can¡¦t still make ignorant attacks on it, right? Anyone?

  45. Amp says:

    Dave the Slave, I wasn't saying that Craig's comments should be disregarded or we should look down on him because he might be/is an atheist. I have no idea what he believes, and I don't think it matters. My point was that he appears to be someone that left the Church and now is predisposed to criticism. In that respect, I think it is fair to question whether he is contributing for the sake of the discussion or because he just wants to take the opportunity to criticize. My comment was a response to Jeff's response to your comment (#38), though I just noticed Jeff's has been deleted.

  46. Rusty says:

    Phouchg,

    Hold close to that 120 people killed because that's all you get. The number of people the Church will give relief, aid and help to will continue to increase (currently in the millions) while you're still talking about the same 120 people...a number that won't ever increase. I can only assume you keep focussed on that because it's helping you become a more patient, forgiving, charitable person.

  47. John Doe says:

    Phouchg seems fairly anti-Mormon. Any more comments toward him are equivalent to trying to convince Hitler that Jews are good people; it's wasted effort. (But good use of non-sequitor on comment #42. Logical fallacies are an anti's best friend).

    Craig: I'm glad you proved yourself to also be anti-Mormon. I asked many sincere questions and all you commented on was the throw-away remark about my name, ignoring substantial discussion in a mature way. Then you imply that Queen is incapable of thinking for herself, which is another hallmark response of an anti towards Mormons. You and Phouchg need to get together to discuss how much you hate us and love this movie. Another topic you can discuss: why over 80% of the critics who saw this movie hated it? You will forever be at a loss, just as the KKK is at a loss why most people don't hate blacks.

    Dave, I'm with you 100% about atheists. I loved chatting with them because they at least had some leg to stand on. Catholics have the Crusades and Inquisition, other churches have witch trials, and most Christians have histories scattered with acts of hate, violence, and intolerance, all in the name of God. Yet when a Mormon comes by, everyone else is pure as the snow, and only Mormons have faults. It's like when Christ talked about motes and beams. Most atheists dislike organized religion equally and see the faults in all of them, yet can still be respectful and mature.

    It amuses me that the discussions at IMDB are not about the movie, but about how evil Mormons are. It seems people just can't have mature, intelligent conversations on the net :)

  48. Dave says:

    Craig: The deaths of the 120 people at Mountain Meadows is indeed an anomaly. Tens of thousands of people came through Utah in 1857, millions have followed, and these are the only ones who died.

    People are at their most dangerous when they are frightened, and in order to understand what happened, you need to understand exactly why the Mormons were frightened.

    I recall living in Illinois in 1978 when the state's bounty on Mormon scalps was finally repealed. A nice article ran in the Chicago Sun Times discussed the history of the law--how Illinois was one of 14 states that offered bounties on Mormon scalps back in the 1850s, and how the only time anyone had tried to collect was days after the bounty was passed--a methodist minister and his aunts were traveling through Illinois and mistaken for Mormons, so the family was slaughtered and scalped. (Mormons weren't the only ones with bounties on their heads at the time--Jews and Jehovah's witnesses had them, too.)

    So you need to remember that the Mormons had been driven from state to state, that they had been threatened with annihilation a dozen times, and that virtually every Mormon male had either been beaten or shot at, or knew someone who had.

    More importantly, two incidents led up to this attack: the murder of the Apostle Parley P. Pratt was the first. Parley had been killed several months previously. The names of his killers were known. They'd been held in jail for hours, while a judge and a sheriff begged them not to go through with the murder. Yet even after the slaying, the killers were never punished.

    The second incident that led to the attack had to do with the furor of the upcoming attack by Johnson's Army. Johnson was a cold-blooded killer (as evidenced by his treatment of the Sioux and Cheyenne) when he was sent to rid the world of the Mormon problem.

    Leaders of the Mormon Church responded by putting members at high guard, and asking them not to get rid of their excess food, for they feared that it would be needed if the church had to make a mass exodus into Mexico.

    Now, it was the custom at the time for travelers to purchase fresh produce when they hit Utah. But suddenly these people got to Utah and found that the Mormons wouldn't sell. Their response, quite frankly, was to pilfer from local farmers as they came south through Mormon country, and to break into pastures to let their cattle graze, and so on.

    Antagonism apparently escalated on both sides. It is hard to separate fact from fiction eventually. There are tales of atrocities committed against Indians, and the Indians begging the Mormons to help in the attack, and so on.

    But there is one rumor that I think has some truth to it. Apparently some of the victims of the massacre threatened to send troops from California to slaughter the Mormons. Some men in the wagon train apparently vowed to join them.

    At that point, I believe that some of the local authorities became convinced that if the settlers made it to California, it would spell doom for themselves and for the church as a whole.

    Sitting here in our easy chairs, it's hard to know for sure, but given the prevailing mood of the counry (the Republican Party had recently been formed with the intent of ridding the world of polygamy and slavery at any cost) they may have been right.

    This of course should have been the kind of thing that the film dealt with, but it sounds as if the filmmaker wasn't interested in history or in putting forward an even-handed approach.

    Persecution of Mormons still persists in many forms. A couple of weeks ago, I spotted a little film called "Mormon Tackle" that came up from Shockabilly.com. It apparently hasn't raised an eyebrow that people on the streets in America engage in attacking Mormons for entertainment, and then make vidoes of it. If the filmmakers had been attacking nuns or Blacks or Jews, it would be on the evening news.

  49. Dave the Slave says:

    Sorry Amp, I didn't mean to imply you weren't being respectful of his atheist beliefs, my comment that people shouldn't get mad about others beliefs was primarily aimed at the mormon-bashers.

    I think you have a very valid point, an ex-mormon/anti-mormon debate rarely has mutual understanding as its goal.

    Anyhoo, I'm a firm believer that listening only to opinions that match my own is a sure-fire way to keep me narrow-minded, so I was hoping we'd get some feedback from readers who either a.) liked the movie, or b.) had real issues with the church in general. So far there have only been two, Phouchg and Craig, and while Craig at first seemed earnest, his condescending tone, ("Naturally, it's your prerogative to cede your thought process to whomever you wish.") shows him to be nothing more than a smug, self-congratulating hypocrite; Phouchg's comments were nothing but transparent attacks.

    Still waiting for a good debate..... :-)

  50. Carol says:

    Dave the Slave,

    You make very pertinent points. The time period was a mass of atrocities, full of inhumanity towards anyone different. Take the Sand Creek Massacre, for instance. This one was perpetrated by a Methodist Minister.

    For a read-up, follow this URL: http://www.terrain.org/articles/11/borowsky.htm

    And I don't suppose Cain will be inclined to make a film about this massacre, with Chivington only portrayed in sinister angles, frothing and drooling at the sight of the carnage he imposed. Rather, I suppose he will think that massacre didn't really count, because the victims were Indians, not good praying Christain white folk.

    What a time that must have been in America. Yikes!

  51. Lowdogg says:

    This is a great and wide-ranging interview with Elder Dallin Oaks of the LDS Church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. His appearances in the PBS documentary "The Mormons" are culled from this interview

    Link

    "The Mormons" is a great example of an evenhanded look at this incident. Also the Church has published this treatment of the event.

    Link

    #35- Your comment was awesome.

  52. GP says:

    "he (Craig) appears to have an overtly negative view of the Mormon church. I think it is fair to question his motives in his contributions to the discussion."

    Only as fair as it is to question our motives in the discussion as devout believers...

  53. Javen Tanner says:

    Holy moly. I just read all 52 comments.

  54. kevith says:

    Regardless of one's religious affiliation, it seems that most critics agree that this is a bad movie. Did the event in question occur? Yes. Does anybody know exactly how? No. Cain claims that the dialogue was directly from speeches by Brigham Young, but nobody can prove that either. He's giving his interpretation of the events and that's his prerogative as the writer/director.

    If Mormons are worried about this movie showing them in a poor light, they should refer to Roger Ebert's review: "If there is a concealed blessing, it is that the film is so bad." I doubt anybody is going to see this movie unless they already think Mormons are the evil people that the movie portrays them to be. Nobody else would be willing to pay money to see such a bad movie.

  55. Amp says:

    GP, I agree. I never said otherwise.

  56. derek says:

    I loved that you didnt want to 'demonize' Craig cuz he's an atheist.


    Har har har lafffing my rumpus off

  57. Homerific says:

    To Phouchg on comment #42:

    As an avid student of american government, I would like to make one point (which Dallin H Oaks also makes in the interview cited by #51). This specifically regards your criticism of Joseph Smith, and implicitly all Mormons, for destroying a printing press.

    The text of the Nauvoo Expositor is not a secret. I have read it on multiple occasions, and I can assure you it's content was libelous. To Joseph, the mayor of Nauvoo, and his town council, it presented a clear and present danger, with the content capable of inciting violence or even forming a mob. Destroying the printing press was an effective (though admittedly perhaps not the best) means of eliminating further propagation of this threat.

    In 1844 this was completely legal. A brief survey of constitutional history should inform you that the "freedom of the press" which appears in the Bill of Rights only applies to the federal constitution. No right from the first 10 Amendments actually was enforceable in individual states, but rather was intended on limiting a centralized government citizens feared could become too strong.

    It was not until 1868 that the 14th Amendment was ratified, and attempted to apply "equal protection" and the "priviledges and immunities" of federal laws to the states. But, even then, the Supreme Court did not agree that the Bill of Rights applied to states until 50 years later. In fact, it wasn't until a comparable press abusal reached the Supreme Court in 1931 (Near v Minnesota) that the Court constitutionally incorporated freedom of the press.

    Until then, state governments, let alone individual citizens, were not infused with the Constitutional reverence our children learn today. Instead, it was a perfectly valid argument in states and cities that freedom of the press was never intended "to protect the publishing of 'scandalous material' nor the 'defamer and the scandalmonger.'" (from Near v Minn's state supreme court ruling)

    Considering how many of these comments have been focuses on learning the true circumstances of history, I encourage you to not lambaste something the "Mormons" did based on our 21st century constitutional ideology, when everyone else all over the nation in the mid 19th-century was thinking and acting identically.

  58. Conspiracygirl says:

    When I see how some of Brigham Youngs' speeches were taken out of time and context, and twisted backwards to turn him into the film's demon, I am astounded at how malignant a person Christopher Cain must actually be.

    Here's BY's line: "If any miserable scoundrels come here, cut their throats."

    Here's the actual context of that line, said in 1855, having nothing to do with the Francher Party, who are still 2 years away....

    "While we were in Illinois, if every trangressor [transgressor] of the law of that State, in our community, had been taken up and tried and punished, every Saint could have said, "Amen, we are better without than with them." So we say here, we are far better off without wicked men than with them. I would rather be in the midst of these mountains with one thousand, or even five hundred, men who are Latter-day Saints, than with five hundred thousand wicked men, in case all the forces of the earth were to come against us to battle, for God would fight the battles of the Saints, but He has not agreed to fight the battles of wicked men.

    I say again that the constitution, and laws of the United States, and the laws of the different States, as a general thing, are just as good as we want, provided they were honored. But we find Judges who do not honor the laws, yes, officers of the law dishonor the law. Legislators and law makers are frequently the first violators of the laws they make. "When the wicked rule the people mourn," and when the corruption of a people bears down the scale in favor of wickedness, that people is nigh unto destruction.

    We have the proof on hand, that instead of the laws being honored, they have been violated in every instance of persecution against this people; instead of the laws being made honorable, they have been trampled under the feet of lawyers, judges, sheriffs, governors, legislators, and nearly all the officers of the government; such persons are the most guilty of breaking the laws.

    To diverge a little, in regard to those who have persecuted this people and driven them to the mountains, I intend to meet them on their own grounds. It was asked this morning how we could obtain redress for our wrongs; I will tell you how it could be done, we could take the same law they have taken, viz., mobocracy, and IF ANY MISERABLE SCOUNDRELS COME HERE, CUT THEIR THROATS.

    This would be meeting out that treatment to wicked men, which they had measured to innocent persons. We could meet them on their own ground, when they will not honor the law, but will kill the Prophets and destroy the innocent. They could drive the innocent from their homes, take their houses and farms, cattle and goods, and destroy men, women, and children, walking over the laws of the United States, trampling them under their feet, and not honoring a single law.

    Suppose I should follow the example they have shown us, and say, "Latter-day Saints, do ye likewise, and bid defiance to the whole clan of such men?" Some who are timid might say, "O! our property will be destroyed, and we shall be killed." If any man here is a coward, there are fine mountain retreats for those who feel their hearts beating, at every little hue and cry of the wicked, as though they would break their ribs.

    After this year we shall very likely again have fruitful seasons. Now, you cowards, if there are any, hunt in these mountains until you find some cavern where no person can find you, and go there and store up grainpage 311 enough to last you and your families seven years; then when the mob comes, take your wives and your children, and creep into your den, and there remain until the war is over.

    Do not apostatize to save your lives, for if you do, you are sure to lose them. You may do some good by laying up a little more grain than you want, and by handing out a biscuit to a brave hearted soldier passing by, hungry and fatigued. I could hide myself in these mountains, and defy five hundred thousand men to find me. That is not all, I could hide this whole people, and fifty times more, in the midst of these mountains, and our enemies might hunt until they died with old age, and they could not find us. You who are cowards, lay up your crops another year and hide them away.

    You know that almost every time that Gentiles address us in public, they are very mindful to caution the Latter-day Saints "not to fight, now don't fight." Have we ever wanted to fight them? No, but we have wanted to preach to them the Gospel of peace.

    Again, they say, "We are afraid that you, Latter-day Saints, are becoming aliens to the United States, we are afraid your hearts are weaned from the brotherhood down yonder." Don't talk about weaning now, for we were weaned long ago, that is, we are or should be weaned from all wickedness and wicked men. I am so perfectly weaned that when I embrace "Mormonism," I could have left father, mother, wife, children, and every relation I had, and I am weaned from everybody that will turn a deaf ear to the voice of revelation. We are already weaned, but remember, we are not weaned from the constitution of the United States, but only from wickedness, or at least we should be. Let every man and woman rise up in the strength of their God, and in their hearts ask no favors of the wicked; that is the way to live and then let the wicked persecute, if they choose.

    Are we going to fight? No, unless they come upon us and compel us either to fight or be slain."


    So, Cain and his people searched for fiery bits of Brigham, and selectively made him say the exact opposite of what he said. Wow. That's amazingly evil.

  59. Dave the Slave says:

    Conspiracygirl -Wow! Thanks for posting this! I've heard his quotes were twisted around but man-o-man, this is completely ridiculous. Can't this idiot Cain be sued for slander or something, especially when it's so obvious?

  60. Lowdogg says:

    Great work Conspiracygirl.

  61. Mormon Sympathizer says:

    This is really funny, found this on http://en.fairmormon.org/index.php/Mountain_Meadows_Massacre:September_Dawn_film

    On 29 August 2007, Carole Schutter, creator of the film's story and co-writer of its screenplay, sent the following email to several ex-Mormon critics:

    I am the co-writer of the Screenplay "September Dawn," and Author of the book by the same name. We have been heavily slammed in the press and perhaps I'm being paranoid but the apparent sameness of their opinions are too coincidental. I have heard floating rumours of Mormons being told to slam the movie in reviews and one blog reporting it on yahoo.com has been pulled. Would like to correspond with anyone who can give me any info on this.

    I did two years of research, talked to many ex-Mormons, and descendents of the perpertrators [sic]. We are being called liars by the press and the user movie reviews on yahoo are very interesting. Any help you can give me would be appreciated. And, may I say, although we have taken literary license, our facts are facts supported by sermons by Brigham Young and Joseph Smith, confessions of Danite Chiefs, letters by Supreme Court Judges and military officers, speeches by Presidents Buchanan, Pierce and Lincoln, etc., etc., etc. Would like to fight this smear campaign and banning. I believe everyone has the right to free speech, but we have the right to fight back.

    I am a Christian and have attached for those of you who are Christians a statement that will go on the religious wire. I am aware of persecution of ex-Mormons who have become Christians in Utah. My brother-in-law pastors a church with many ex-Mormons including ones whose families were involved in the Mountain Meadow Massacre.

    I understand this movie is helping ex-Mormons who feel persecuted, giving them the strength to remove their names from the lists and face ostracism.

    Please help me try to learn the truth as to whether or not the church is directing their members to help destroy our movie and credibility. Thank you


    Ummmm.... so there's a Mormon Conspiracy to give this movie bad reviews? Look out Roger Ebert, you must be one of them.

  62. Ben C. says:

    I'm a Christian and I do like Mormons. I believe my wife and I are the only non-LDS people that live on my block, so I get into some good discussions with my neighbors. Myself, and other non-violent hate filled Christians, don't have a problem with the violent past of Mormons because you all are right, every religion has that same history at one point. That's what happens when humans get involved in God's work. We screw it up and some people think that the only way to protect their way of life is to take someone else's. Here's my problem, and most other Christian's problem, with the Mormon religion though (and I've discussed this with my neighbors without pissing them off, so I hope it comes across ok here): They claim to be Christians, they claim to believe in the Bible, and they claim to believe in the salvation that is taught in the Bible. This is highly offensive to me as a Christian because (to an outsider) it appears to be a marketing campaign because once you enter the Mormon church that's not how it is, but they've done their job. You've come through the door.

    Christians believe in salvation through Jesus Christ and that God is the one and only true God. Mormons believe in salvation by works, as Dave the Slave said in his comment on #41 "Which leads me to my point: Why get mad about people's beliefs, when all that really matters is what people choose to do, how they choose to act?" (I'm assuming Slave is a Mormon based on his previous comment on his Mission work). And in believing this, how can they say they believe in the Bible and everything it teaches? Mormonism also teaches that a man can become a god. My neighbors don't like to talk about it and downplay it a lot, but read some of the old sermons by Joseph Smith, or Brigham Young and you'll eventually run across them preaching it. And Young preached that every word from his mouth is scripture and I'm assuming the father of the religion had some authority also, so when Smith preached it they must still believe it today. I believe (though can not site at this moment) that Bruce McConkie wrote something about becoming a god in his Mormon Doctrine book. This is called polytheism, but Mormons claim to be monotheists.

    That's just a few examples. I don't have a problem with LDS folks. They are probably the nicest people I've ever met and there's no doubt that the Mormon church does some great service work for needy people. I would just appreciate it if they would be up front about what they believe. I think a lot of people are misled and don't even know what the religion they belong to believes (which can probably be said about most religions also though, this one is just personal to me).

    Well, I hope I've added to the discussion and not broken it down. Like I said, I've discussed this with my LDS neighbors and they were very open to talk about it and didn't seem upset.

  63. Jeff J. Snider says:

    Ben,

    It's interesting that you see the ability to become gods as somewhat of a hidden or secret doctrine of the LDS Church. It is a key point of our doctrine, and I can't imagine someone who has been active in the Church for any significant amount of time not knowing about it. I have also never even considered hiding that doctrine from non-LDS people when I am talking with them. We don't see it as polytheism, because God is the only God we have any dealing with. I see it somewhat like a country: we here in America refer to George Bush as THE president, even though other countries have presidents too. But because we aren't connected to them in any way, they don't count. (I am not trying to convince you of anything, just trying to explain a little bit what we believe.)

    As for the "saved by works" thing, I agree with you that sometimes we individual Mormons put too much emphasis on works. We believe that we are saved through the grace of Christ -- after all we can do. It's not that our works are saving us; it's that we are showing, through our works, that we accept and value the Atonement of Christ. It's not that the grace of Jesus Christ CAN'T save everyone regardless of what they do or what kind of life they live; it's that His grace is only available to those who repent, and part of true repentance is trying your hardest to keep the commandments. So yes, in a way we believe you have to "earn" the grace of the Savior, but we in no way believe that WE are saving OURSELVES.

    And as for the Bible, the position of the Church is very clear: "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly." We believe that over the centuries, some parts of the Bible have been corrupted (either through mistranslation or deliberate change). For that reason, we are grateful to have the Book of Mormon ("Another Testament of Jesus Christ") and living prophets.

    There will always be differences of opinion between people of different religions, because we all come from different perspectives. Those are my perspectives on the issues you brought up.

  64. Ben C. says:

    Jeff,

    In my experience, the LDS people I have talked to have really downplayed the "becoming gods" doctrine, hence my view on it. Thanks for correcting me on that topic. However, polytheism is the belief in more than one god, or many gods, so I believe it is incorrect to say that you are a monotheist just becuase you only have contact with one god, but you also believe there are many other gods out there somewhere.

    That's just it though, the Bible clearly states that we only need to have faith, repent and believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and that by him dying on the cross he has taken all our sins upon himself and we are washed clean. I know the LDS church only endorses the King James Bible, but even in there it will tell you the same. That is the whole reason God sent Jesus down to Earth as the perfect God/man. You don't need to "earn" anything. Now, that's not to say we shouldn't do anything good or nice. We are called to do that as Christians also. It's just not a condition for salvation. Even if you go back to the original Greek or Hebrew(which, I assume, would also be acceptable to the Mormon Church since that's what the KJV is translated from) it will tell you the same thing. To say any different is to deny the entire Bible because you've missed the whole point!

  65. Jeff J. Snider says:

    "That's just it though, the Bible clearly states that we only need to have faith, repent and believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and that by him dying on the cross he has taken all our sins upon himself and we are washed clean."

    My interpretation is this: TRUE faith and TRUE repentance involve keeping the commandments. So if you aren't making the effort to live by the teachings of Christ, you don't truly have faith in Him, nor are you truly repenting if you have no intention of being a better person.

    As for the monotheism/polytheism, that "I believe/you believe" thing is what I was talking about with different perspectives. Do I believe that there are gods of other worlds? Yes. Do I worship them? No. Are they MY gods? No. To me, polytheism would mean worshiping all these other gods; I worship only one God, and therefore, I am a monotheist. (But like I said, I don't expect people with different perspectives to necessarily agree with my interpretation.)

  66. G says:

    Ben,

    In your own comment you stated that you believe in polytheism.

    "That is the whole reason God sent Jesus down to Earth as the perfect God/man."

  67. Ben C. says:

    Jeff,

    I see what you're saying on the polytheism thing. I think it's technically defined as believing in multiple gods, but I can see your point also.

    I agree that people SHOULD keep the commandments and I try my hardest to all the time, but as we see in the sinner on the cross next to Jesus it is not required. I guess only God can know if we've truly repented, huh? I just don't see works as a way into Heaven as a requirement based on the Bible.

    G: ever heard of the Trinity?

  68. Amp says:

    Ben,

    James chapter 2 makes it clear that works do play some part in salvation--he says not just that "faith without works is dead" (v17) but also that works are faith made perfect (v22). This doesn't necessarily contradict your belief that salvation is wrought solely by faith, belief and repentance. I think we would both agree that someone who professes faith, belief and repentance but lacks all Christian kindness does not really have them. Works are necessary to shows one's faith: hence our calling to act like Christians. Also, I assert that repentance is "work". It surely takes action on the part of the sinner hoping for forgiveness: at the very least you must ask for it. While faith et al may be technically all that is required, their manifestations are in works. In that light, one could rightly believe that works are necessary for salvation. The key point, I believe, has to do with primacy. As Jeff stated in his excellent explication, we believe that Christ has already saved everyone. It just up to us to live worthy of His sacrifice.

    (And let me add that the fact that two well-read students of the Bible can have opposite views of Christ's teachings shows the need for continuing revelation via a prophet chosen by the Lord Himself, who we believe is currently President Hinckley.)

  69. John Doe says:

    Ben,
    No disrespect intended but:

    Monotheism=1
    Polytheism = x>1
    Trinity=3
    3>1

    Christ told the young rich man to sell all he had and follow Christ. Sounds like works to me. He told the woman taken in adultery to go her way and sin no more. John repeatedly states that a man who says he loves God but hates his brother is a liar and doesn't know God. These are all works in the Bible. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that without Christ, we could never save ourselves through works. But Christ as the author of our salvation sets the terms that we follow. The 10 commandments were the beginning of those terms. Then Christ gave a higher law to follow, and those who have faith in him and do the works that he did are worthy to obtain salvation based on his own words.

  70. JB Las Vegas says:

    Ben,

    While I realize that you don't recognize the Book of Mormon as scripture, it is replete with examples of how we view grace. Following are two examples, which I believe are in line with the discussion at present.

    2 Ne 10:24: Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.

    2 Ne 25:23: For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

  71. JB Las Vegas says:

    Sorry, last one. From http://www.ldsfaq.byu.edu/view.asp?q=165


    Q. How do Latter-day Saints understand grace?

    a. One of the most controversial issues in Christian theology is whether salvation is the free gift of unmerited grace or is earned through good works. Latter-day Saint (LDS) doctrine requires both grace and works for salvation. The Church's emphasis on personal responsibility and the need for self-disciplined obedience may seem to de-emphasize the role of Christ's grace, but all LDS theology reflects the premise that without grace there is no salvation. Since the Middle Ages, Christian theology has been rooted in the belief that because of the effects of original sin, humankind has an inherently evil nature. Whereas Martin Luther relied solely on faith for the reception of God's saving grace, LDS doctrine contains an affirmative sense of interaction between grace and works. In LDS teachings, the Lord revealed to Adam that "the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt" (Moses 6:54). Individuals become accountable for their own sins beginning at age eight. Thus, one may choose to accept or reject Christ's grace through the Atonement by faith, repentance, and baptism. God's grace brings about three categories of blessings. First, Jesus Christ has provided unconditional blessings by atoning for original sin and assuring the resurrection of all humankind. Second, the Savior has atoned for personal sins, conditioned on an individual's repentance and acceptance of necessary ordinances. Third, after baptism the individual receives further grace and the capacity to develop a Christlike character as he or she consciously obeys the Lord's commandments, receives the higher ordinances performed in temples, and continues the repentance process as needed.

    abstracted from "Grace," in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, ed. Daniel H. Ludlow, 4 vols. (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 2:560–63.

  72. sulla says:

    I'm LDS, but between September Dawn and the the Romney campaign, I'm all Mormoned-out. I see the same arguments unfold everywhere I look, and the wisdom of Christ's comment in 3 Nephi 11 that "contention is not of me" is more evident with each passing day.

    Keeping a sense of humor is a gift, and Eric's review is greatly appreciated.

  73. St. Thomas says:

    To my knowledge, the words "polytheist" and "monotheist" nor any of their variants appear in any version of the Bible.

    On the other hand, my Bible has this “And God said, Let US make man in our image.” (Emphasis mine.)

    There are other such “anomalies”. For example, who did Jesus pray to? Himself? Do you mean to tell me that everyone who witnessed Jesus praying (not a few), were thinking, “He’s talking to himself.” Or, “Someone should tell him there’s no one else up there.”

    When Jesus cried on the Holy Cross, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Was he just verbally making a mental note to himself for later follow up? Or, is He just another confused non-creedal Christian?

    Praise the Bible. It gives me all the wiggle room I need to feel perfectly comfortable in my polytheistic worship habits.

    And, Grandpa, if you’re up there, and you’ve already become a god somewhere, skiing upon the mountains of your dreams and canning the largest peaches the Universe has ever known, please understand that I won’t be worshiping you anytime soon. (Oh, you already know that. Doh!)

  74. dave says:

    Ben,

    I wonder if you realize how ludicrous it sounds to us when you talk about "Christians" and "Mormons" in the way that you do. It would be like me referring to myself as a "doctor" and referring to practicing physicians as "citizens". Yes, they could be called citizens, but it would seem bizarre to them if I referred to myself as a doctor in a way that implied that they were excluded from the reference. To be quite frank it is offensive. You quote McConkie. I would suggest reading his final discourse The Purifying Power of Gethsemane, then try to tell me that that man was not a Christian.

    I realize that you can argue this point by simply making an arbitrary definition of "Christian". I won't post again.

    -Dave

  75. Jeff J. Snider says:

    I don't know if Eric wants his site used for religious debate -- I'm pretty sure he's been on the road all day, and I'm the one who started it -- but I am pretty sure he doesn't want it used for disrespectful religious debate. So let's refrain from using words like "ludicrous." And if you are a Mormon who is offended by something, take a minute to re-read Elder Bednar's talk from last October's General Conference, then take another minute to get over it, and then move on with your life.

  76. Craig says:

    Let's begin at the beginning. First, I have left the Church and I am now an atheist.

    However, these facts do not make me an anti-Mormon, and nor could they ever do so. Indeed I find it funny that some of you suggest that I hate the Church. I still have great respect both for members of the Church and for the Church itself. Criticism of the Church, of its history, or of the individual acts of its leaders does not and cannot make one an anti-Mormon no matter how much mud-slinging some of you seem to wish to engage in.

    Now, I stand by what I said originally, and I felt this back when I was still an active member, especially back when I was engaged in online apologetics for the Church, that the rank-and-file members do not know enough about their history. It was true when I believed, and it's still true now.

    My point of commenting on this particular film is no different from anywhere else that I've contributed, viz. I had something to say, and having seen the film, and believing that reviews by Church members including Eric might be jaded by ignorance of 19th-century Church history, I commented to that end.

    I did not comment because I think that this film is a reason to abandon the Church, nor to encourage people to do so. People's faith is their decision and as I acknowledged in comment #23, I'm open to correction, which I have to say does not appear to be the case of those of you who wish to vilify me.

  77. Dave the Slave says:

    Ben,
    How can you possibly say you believe the Bible and everything it teaches? I wish you would be more honest about your own beliefs.
    See how offensive that sounds turned around at you? Just because I don't understand your particular beliefs, I'm not trying to call you out as a liar.
    *".. how can they say they believe in the Bible and everything it teaches?"
    *"I would just appreciate it if they would be up front about what they believe."

    The reason some Mormons are hesitant talking about the concept of eternal progression is because it's the kind of subject that can be easily misunderstood, especially by people who have no intention of trying to understand. I'm not saying you're that kind of person, only explaining why you feel mormons are reluctant to talk about it.
    Jeff's got it right though, its one of the fundamental beliefs of the LDS church. As a father, I hope my little boy does well in school, learns all he can and gets good grades. I'd be absolutely thrilled if he gets interested in art, science, mathematics, linguistics, etc. I love him, and the more he learns and grows, the more I want to share my knowledge with him. The more he learns, the prouder pop I become. (Considering the most advanced thing he can do so far is wave his right arm around when he sees his mom and I dance, I can't imagine how proud I'll be when he actually does something like use the toilet or tie his own shoe! :-)
    I personally believe our Heavenly Father feels much the same way about us, only much stronger than you or I could ever imagine. The belief that after we die we'll float around on clouds playing harps for all eternity not only sounds boring, but it makes our Father sound childish and cruel. Whats the point of all our trials here on Earth if not to teach us to become more patient, meek, and full of love; more like our Heavenly Dad?
    Just food for thought. And anyone who vehemently calls me a non-Christian sounds pretty silly to me. After we die, we'll both be hugging our Savior with just as much love and gratitude as the other, in my opinion.

  78. Amp says:

    Craig,

    I won't argue that rank and file Church members are ignorant of their history to some extent. However, your use of the phrase "do not know enough" makes it sound like an indictment. I am wondering why you think it matters how much we know. The process of becoming Christlike isn't dependent on knowing the minutiae of Church history; it's dependent on learning about Him and His commandments.. I am content with knowing a basic framework of history--if I'm studying something Church-related, I'd rather it be the teachings in the scriptures or from modern-day prophets. Why is this wrong? Do you think there is an onus on Church members to be well-rehearsed in Church history? Why? For everyone, or just members in the States? At what point would a member be considered knowledgeable enough?

  79. John Doe says:

    I agree with Jeff. If you look at IMDB, nobody is talking about the movie. All debates are the usual "Are Momrons Christians" "Are Mormons Evil" and "How could anyone ever believe the crap that Mormons believe". I'd rather that not happen here on this review, since it's about a movie.

    That said, Craig says "reviews by Church members including Eric might be jaded by ignorance of 19th-century Church history" yet he does not explain why 85% (according to IMDB) of movie reviewers gave this film a 'rotten' review. Metatcritic did the same (averaged a score of 25%). So to say that Eric and his ilk need to be corrected because they are ignorant Mormons doesn't jive. It seems the overwhelming majority of critics hated this movie for it's bad history, bad acting, bad writing, and poor visuals. So I really don't understand where he is coming from at all unless he went to those 39+ other critics who were not LDS and told them they were mistaken (which I'm sure he did not).

    I'm glad so few people know this movie even exists. I'm glad it's getting such poor reviews from critics and people (not so hot at the box office, 4.9/10 stars at IMDB, C at boxofficemojo).

    Whether Craig is anti or not is irrelevant to me at this point. His previous posts have been condescending to the few people he bothered to respond to, and he happily ignores questions that poke holes in his theories. I guess that just means he has poor critical thinking skills or debating skills. If he could admit fault in his argument (as people have proven his assertion that Mormons hated Illinois and Missouri is open to interpretation and that the quotes taken from Brigham Young were grossly taken out of context) he would seem less anti and more mature. That won't happen :)

  80. John Doe says:

    Oops, I meant to say rottentomatoes for the 85% hating it, not IMDB.

    While I'm hear, does anyone know if the woman wearing pants and offending Mormons by doing so, or the killing of a woman who didn't want to be polygamous has any basis in truth? If not, it's just more reason to say this film is anti, but there's usually some truth (look at how they butchered quotes from Brigham Young as an example).

  81. Amp says:

    John Doe,

    Come now. While Craig's pretext for entering the debate might have been suspect at first (hence my comments #40 and #45), he has made it plainly clear in his last comment that his motive was simply to point out that the movie is not as historically inaccurate as Eric (and possibly other LDS critics) claimed it to be. Disagree if you want, but there is no need to bring the discourse down to the level of petty insults.

  82. CG says:

    "Mormonism also teaches that a man can become a god. My neighbors don't like to talk about it and downplay it a lot, but read some of the old sermons by Joseph Smith, or Brigham Young and you'll eventually run across them preaching it. And Young preached that every word from his mouth is scripture and I'm assuming the father of the religion had some authority also, so when Smith preached it they must still believe it today. I believe (though can not site at this moment) that Bruce McConkie wrote something about becoming a god in his Mormon Doctrine book. This is called polytheism, but Mormons claim to be monotheists."

    Ben, Just for the record, I am LDS and I don't believe in more than one God. Not all do. What Jeff described doesn't match up with my personal beliefs at all. "Godhood" is a nebulous doctrine at best, and although some of the past presidents of the church made statements about it, you won't hear the same thing preached today. LDS scripture talks about becoming "gods" - lower-case G. To me this means immortal, glorified, inheriting a portion of God's kingdom (which is a Biblical concept.) Not becoming God, with a big G. I personally hold as true what is written in scripture (canonized texts) and take everything else with a grain of salt.


    Oh, and Eric, this was a great review. :)

  83. Craig says:

    Amp says: "I am wondering why you think it matters how much we know. [....] At what point would a member be considered knowledgeable enough?"

    That's a fair question. And you're right from a doctrinal standpoint, that one's relationship with Christ and one's obedience toward his commandments are all that matters for one's personal salvation.

    As for the salvation of others, the issue becomes more complicated. Non-members often have objections that are grounded in what they've learned of the history of the faith, and these objections and their knowledge of that history have become more profound as the use of the internet has expanded. Historical sources that were once confined to dusty libraries are available at their or their pastor's fingertips.

    Now, Mark E. Peterson had recommended turning all objections back to study of and prayer over the truth of the Book of Mormon, in order that the investigator might feel the Spirit. But as the aphorism goes - and as seems appropriate in the context of this film - you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.

    There are ever-growing numbers of sincere people who would never willingly study the Book of Mormon, nor pray about Mormonism, nor even let missionaries cross their threshold, having been "tainted" by what they've learned of Church history from other sources. One could suggest that such people are already jaded against the Church, but their feelings on what the Church is all about don't negate their sincerity, nor their reason, nor even the value of their souls. And the member who is unready or unable to address such concerns in a fashion other than the Sunday School answers will not make headway with such people.

    And I think a member is probably knowledgeable enough when they don't recoil at new historical information, right or wrong, about the faith, but instead maturely study it and can discuss it without becoming hot under the collar.

  84. John Doe says:

    Amp:

    What petty insults? Unless you think "poor critical thinking" is worse than "it's your prerogative to cede your thought process to whomever you wish." I think the latter is insulting, the former is merely a possible explanation why he responded to my comment without addressing any of my points. He also declared that the quotes in this movie are all accurate, yet we have several instances where the quotes were mutated and taken out of context. I think it is poor critical thinking to declare something without checking your facts first (which is his own argument against the review). He also believes that a hymn remembering a murder=hate. This also makes me question his critical thinking skills. If I had said "Craig, you're a poo head and a meany face," then I'd say you have a right to censure me. It's no worse than when he said to me: "to *hate* the fact that you share a given name with someone who views a movie and one of its reviews differently than you do shows a complete lack of sense of proportion."

  85. Craig says:

    John Doe says: "He also declared that the quotes in this movie are all accurate, yet we have several instances where the quotes were mutated and taken out of context."

    I accepted, even welcomed, correction back in comment #23, and yet, you continue to ignore it sixty comments later. Your vituperative attitude is a large part of the reason that I have not responded to you and will continue to not do so.

  86. Eric D. Snider says:

    OK, I think we're at the point now where nearly everyone posting on this article is being petty and snippy. Cut it out.

    If you're going to respond to a previous comment, do so civilly and politely, or else your post will be deleted.

  87. John Doe says:

    I would like to apologize to Craig about missing comment #23. Yes, I did miss it and I see he is open to correction. "Vituperative" is a cool word.

    Eric, your review made me laugh. I guess there had to something about the movie good enough to keep it out of F range. Was it because you had to laugh at some of it because it was so one-dimensional?

    Also, I'm still waiting to see if anyone knows if the pants wearing lady offending the Saints and the killing of a woman who didn't want to be part of a plural marriage is in any way accurate.

  88. Jeff J. Snider says:

    Lest what CG said mislead anyone about what the LDS Church actually teaches as doctrine, it should be noted that CG's interpretation of godhood does not match up with the teachings of the Church, and his stance on modern-day revelation (taking everything other than canonized scripture "with a grain of salt") flies right in the face of the LDS belief in prophets. I wouldn't dare tell CG what he believes, but it is only fair to point out that in this case, his beliefs do not match the teachings of the church he belongs to.

  89. Rusty says:

    FWIW, a few days ago I wrote a post about this conversation (how much history should the average Mormon know) and there's a pretty good discussion following it.

  90. Amp says:

    John Doe, I was referring to you calling Craig immature ("he would seem less anti and more mature"). But anyway.

    Craig, my understanding of your point is that 1. members should be rehearsed enough in Mormon history in order to properly address the concerns of non-members who have been "tainted" by what they've learned about Mormon history; and 2. members should be rehearsed enough to not "get hot under the collar" when they hear new information about the Church's history.

    My reply: 1. There is such an huge amount of information available to any person studying Mormon history--especially if one includes false historical claims (which you do). It seems a remarkable feat to know enough to really engage the "tainted" people to whom you refer, since they could be tainted by any number of true or false historical claims. While it is true that pat Sunday School answers might not be enough, with the research tools available now, it should be perfectly acceptable to break off a discussion with something along the lines of "I don't know; I'm going to do some research and I'll get back to you." I have never run into anyone that is predisposed to dislike the Church based on historical information, but if I did, that would be my response. That one could do research after being confronted by historical claims is the reason I don't see the members' ignorance as a fault.

    2. I don't think the ability to remain level headed when presented with new historical claims depends on one's familiarity with Church history. I think it's a function of faith and general maturity. If one has those, I don't think a vast amount of knowledge about Church history is important. A member could be quite knowledgeable about Church history and still be unable to handle a frank discussion about it.

    For those reasons, I don't think that general ignorance about Church history--which I'm defining has only having a basic understanding, ie not much outside of the Church's Sunday School manual "Our Heritage"--shouldn't be viewed as a weakness.

  91. milkshake says:

    New religions start cult-like and they mellow over time as the become mainstream. (The current LDS seems still fairly totalitarian for my liking though it's less creepy than the mainstream Islam - not even mentioning the Jehovists or Scientologists).
    I would suspect that a century ago the zealous church leaders actually used to send out the Taliban-like squads to enforce the doctine and protect the territory, and that some of the church history and scriptures were re-written to become more sanitary. But I will not see the movie because have you pointed out how weak and tedious it is.

    I grew up under communism so I find it insulting to be served pre-digested "serious" material that leaves no uncertanity about what kind of conclusion we all must arrive to - so I will skip the propaganda lesson just as I avoided the Gore, Moore and Greenpeace "documentaries" and Mel Gibson's Passion.

  92. Ben C. says:

    Wow! I leave for the weekend and look what happens!

    Let me first say that I'm sorry if I offended anyone. I will not post again on this topic. I think it boils down to I believe in what I believe and you believe in what you believe and we're all deeply rooted in our respective faith (which is to be commended) and we're not going to change each other. Free will was one of the greatest gifts from God and continues to show his majesty every day. He could have easily created robots to worship him day and night.

    Eric, great review. I will not be seeing this movie based on it and the comments posted here about how biased it is and what a crappy movie it is in general. 3.10 to Yuma looks like it might be the Western of choice this month.

  93. Marshellep says:

    Overall, this has been a very interesting debate to read through. Degenerated a bit at the end, but for the most part this has been a respectful conversation.

    Ben, your comments were not offensive to me--you seemed to be asking sincere questions. Sure, we could debate on why we interpret the Bible one way and you another, and we could debate the definition of "polytheistic," but that so quickly turns into an argument. Enough for us to each clarify our viewpoint. Thanks for essentially "agreeing to disagree" and asking questions to gain perspective, not to degrade. I agree with what Jeff posted in response to your questions.

    Really, I think everyone, Mormon or not, could benefit from more of your attitude--try to understand what the belief is, even if you cannot personally agree with it. Approach others from different faiths with respect, and most of all, focus on the good they do and the good intentions they have. Thanks for being a good example!

  94. Thoughtful Observer says:

    Just a thought on the whole polytheistic/monothestic idea (not meaning to take one side or the other, just some history): Most polythestic cultures included the worship of one main deity while aknowledging other deities. In ancient Roman culture, most people would mainly worship one of the pantheon, usually the deity associated with the town in which they lived. However, they knew about the other gods. Priests and priestesses would be of only one god or goddess, they would not worship any others. Also, Catholics are "monotheistic" while most people pray regularly to a saint or other entity, which is not considered a God but has the ability to help the person out. Maybe the difference between monotheistic and polytheistic isn't as cut and dry as most people think. Maybe it is a distinction that only has meaning to the person who is doing the believing - if you think you are monotheistic and if that has meaning to you, then that's all that anyone needs to know. Maybe Eric should create a message board on his site so that all of us with too much time on our hands can debate these and other interesting topics.

  95. card says:

    Thoughtful Observer: Have you seen that link at the bottom of the page that says "Message Board?"

  96. Stephanie says:

    That's a terrible review, Eric. Did you forget you were supposed to be reviewing a MOVIE, and not opining on whether or not you agree with what you think is Cain's opinion of Mormons?

    The theme of the movie was religious extremism, and how that element can infiltrate society and become the cause or the catalyst for the rotten things human beings are capable of. It's a timely and relevant theme, and Cain chose to explore that theme using an incident in America's history.

    The reason the movie was not as "factual" as you would want it to be is because the movie is not a documentary. Moreover, it's not a documentary made by Mormons. It's a work of historical fiction made to a) entertain; and b) explore the theme of religious extremism in a context that modern viewers can understand.

    I think that to zero in on "Mormons didn't pray that way back then" is to miss the point of both the movie, and the idea of movie reviewing.

  97. Chrystle says:

    Stephanie, don't you think that if you're going to do a movie with the theme of religious extremism and what it can lead to, that the movie would be more effective if it showed religious extemism accurately? If the beliefs and actions shown were the actual beliefs and actions of the group? Otherwise, you're just working with stereotypes, and manipulating what people believe to show your own biases either for or against that group. I believe (not that I speak for Eric) that's what Eric was pointing out. Cain's interpretation of the events at Mountain Meadows, from what I've read from various critics, deals with stereotypes that have been moulded to what HE believes Mormons are like, or at least were like at that time. Yes, this wasn't a documentary, but Cain was not setting this up as mindless entertainment - he was looking to be thought provoking and informative. And if that is your stated goal, then you have a duty to the truth.

  98. Stephanie says:

    He has no duty of the sort. It's a fictional movie.

    You ask, "...don't you think that if you're going to do a movie with the theme of religious extremism and what it can lead to, that the movie would be more effective if it showed religious extemism accurately?" And the answer is no.

    Look at the film, "The Day After Tomorrow." It deals with the theme of global climate change, and the catastrophic events displayed in it, along with the speed at which they overtake the planet, and the theatrical destruction that takes place, are not at all "accurate." The critics who wasted time debating whether or not an ice sheet could cover New York City in the span of 8 hours entirely missed the point of the movie.

    George Orwell's "1984" is, as we all now know, completely inaccurate. But that of course doesn't at all diminish what Orwell was trying to say, nor has it proven "less effective" because his scenario didn't come true.

    Some of Eric's critiques are perfectly reasonable; but most are repetitions of the same thing: He doesn't like the way Mormons were portrayed in the film. Fine, he's certainly not required to. But it seems like it's more than that -- he and other "critics" are upset that Mormons weren't represented neutrally, a.k.a. in a good light. And that's more than within the range of what a filmmaker is allowed to do.

  99. Stephanie says:

    Those ads by Google are cracking me up! "Mormon Ring Tones" ... Ha!

  100. Dave the Slave says:

    Yes Stephanie..."The Day After Tomarrow" was indeed truly a gem of movie-going entertainment. :-P

    You make a good point, I'd just avoid backing it up with such a stinky-poo movie! :-)

    And (if you ever read this) could you tell me why you are so free to defend the Director's decisions to portray Mormons inacurately while calling out Eric's decision to not like the Director's decision? Could it possibly be that you agree with the Director, and not the movie critic, due solely to your opinion of the Mormon Church in general?

    Just wondering..

  101. Josh says:

    My birthday was on 9/11. It happened on my 16th birthday. Does that make me evil?

  102. Curious george says:

    Does anyone know what the song is called at the end of the movie? the one by Lee anne Womack? and does anyone know if it's a new song?

  103. Francesca says:

    That scrotum segment went on way too long. Skip the details. I'm glad I arrived late for this movie.

  104. LisAway says:

    I just think it's funny that the guy's name is Cain.

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