“The Mormons” on PBS, April 30 and May 1

Jessica Smith of PBS’s Frontline kindly sent me the following message to share with Mormanity readers regarding their broadcast of “The Mormons” on April 30 and May 1. I hope you’ll all watch it!

Here’s hoping “Mormanity” readers might appreciate the following reminder about the upcoming FRONTLINE/AMERICAN EXPERIENCE co-production, “The Mormons,” airing this Monday (April 30) and Tuesday ( May 1) on PBS, and online at http://www.pbs.org/mormons after the broadcast.

For your convenience, I have provided links to the trailer and a sampling of critical reviews:

Watch the trailer:

Read the reviews:
“There is no doubt that, simply because of its subject matter, “The Mormons” will draw criticism from both sides. Which is probably an indication that Whitney has done a lot right with the documentary.” — Deseret Morning News

“This film is a breath of fresh air, in a genre filled with misunderstanding.” BYU NewsNet

“A gripping look at the foundations of Mormon faith” — Boston Globe
(story at boston.com/news/globe/living/)

“..it’s as if thousands of years of world religion had been compacted into two centuries—and right here in America, for us to study.” World Magazine

Here’s hoping you’ll tune in, and visit our site after the broadcast for more on “The Mormons,” including:

* Frequently asked questions and answers about the intricacies of the Mormon religion, its core tenets, its history, growth and controversies, and its contemporary issues and realities;
* An interactive map on the Mormons’ westward trek;
* Profiles of key people and events in Mormon history;
* The extended interviews with leaders and members of the church, leading writers and historians, and supporters and critics;
* The major themes explored in this report, with commentary drawn from the extended interviews;
* Teachers Guides on Mormon history and the issues of religion, politics and the separation of church and state;
* A “Join the Discussion” area for viewers;
* And, the full four-hour program video streamed for viewing online.

Please let me know if you have any questions or need anything.


Jessica Smith
Publicist, Interactive Media
Tuesdays on PBS


Author: Jeff Lindsay

15 thoughts on ““The Mormons” on PBS, April 30 and May 1

  1. My fear is that if the documentary isn’t 100% positive, more orthodox members will dismiss it or brand it as the label of “anti”.

  2. I don’t think the documentary is aimed at the more orthodox members of the church.

    I think, and I hope, that the documentary will put the church more in the public eye. And that’s a good thing.

  3. Trouble brewing in Southern California. I’m a member living in Los Angeles. I’ve heard from several independent sources that the following is accurate:

    Dennis Holland, a Regional Public Affairs Director for the Church, (Jeffrey Holland’s Brother) is supposed to have written the following email following a preliminary screening of the broadcast:

    “a less than firmly grounded Mormon seeing the first two
    hours of “The Mormons” might well feel ashamed to be a Mormon, and
    non-Mormons would carry away a strong distaste for Mormons. There is
    little in the segment being shown on the 30th that gives a positive
    Latter-day Saint viewpoint.”

    “While I had hopes that the program would be a fair-minded treatment of
    the Mormons, I learn instead that it is an ‘expose’ of the ‘wrongs’ in
    Mormon history. It is a smooth but bigoted and
    unprincipled assault on the Church.”

  4. I was somewhat disappointed, I felt that it gave a lot of credence to some of the “anti” talking points.

    and more then a bit relived to find my non member parents did not watch it. I do not feel like rebutting every negative thing that was brought up.

    I suppose it was as fair a presentation as we will ever get, and I probably will watch part 2, but it certainly was not as good has what I had hoped for.

  5. I just finished watching “The Mormons” and I am disappointed. Why is it that people who look at us always go to those on the outside of the church for an interpretation of the church? How can they go to people who don’t believe in continuing revelation for “insightful comments” on a church whose very core is continuing revelation?

  6. I hope those watching who know little about the church will keep an open mind when given the opportunity to hear the gospel. What we heard tonight was historians with some facts, many opinions, and slanted views. Does the Joseph Smith story sound crazy. It sure does when you tell the story without the Spirit present. What this documentary missed was a member of the Church bearing testimony, testimony of its’ truthfulness. Spencer W. Kimball explained once that things of God can not be explained by man, but must be taught Spirit to spirit. That is why I am glad they mentioned personal revelation. That is why members of the church follow a prophet, why they followed Joseph
    Smith…not because he had some magical hold on them, but because they had individually recieved and we have recieved personal revelation. That is something that can not be adequately described in a documentary presented by someone who has never experienced it.

  7. I felt the strange imagery and creepy music made for less than “objective reporting”

  8. I’m reminded “If it’s true…nothing else matters”! It is true, so this film doesn’t matter. I knew it be twisted! What piecing and editing. Amazing! I’m blow away of how you could actually present yourself and this film, as the truth about Mormons. What a mess. Oh well, my only regret is that I watched it and now PBS etc. may think you got allot of viewers. I give you a “D” on truthful and balanced content. An “F” on creepy music. And what’s this polictical stuff. Showing skulls and then a picture of Mitt Romney, that was messed up! Oh well, par for the coarse!
    I’m ashamed for you.

  9. there were many points made that disappointed me. I felt that it was four hours full of half-truths, lies, and then some full truths all mixed into one program which only confused viewers more. many of the people interviewed were those with strong anti-mormon views, or those who have been excommunicated, which only added to the negativity. i suggest airing a program about the Mormons, by the Mormons. Church leaders were not given the opportunity to respond to some of the most debatable content on this program. The “different” accounts Joseph Smith gave about the first vision were twisted into suggesting that he fabricated the idea and changed it many times. This is not so. Brigham Young did NOT tell the Mormons to “have at” the people who were killed in the Massacre. They way in which many of these stories were told, along with the creepy music, did not allow true light to be shed on the story of the Mormons. I did enjoy a lot of it, but I was dissapointed in the majority of this program.

  10. When will people realize that the attacks on Joseph Smith’s character is simply another arrow in satan’s arsenal of half-truths, the goal being to thwart the Kingdom of God here and hereafter.
    Joseph taught virtue from the pulpit and in his writings. Why would he not live a virtuous life? The answer is, he DID. Circulating stories are just that- stories; defaming gossip to fuel the fires or give the malcontent his 5 minutes of fame. Rubbish- almost all of it! Shame on PBS for airing “The Mormons” and for sensationalizing parts of his life and the mormon experience by featuring obvious ex-mormon dissidents whose purpose it is to justify their own disobedience to gospel principles..and for creating a musical score that underscores their true intent- to perpetuate the out-of-context lies about the church and it’s leadership.

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