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A NEW Normal Mormons will be back in a jiff! Til then, take a look at the archive! Lots of great reads!

"Big Love" to Air Sacred Temple Ceremonies

If you haven't yet heard, HBO is planning to air parts of our sacred temple ceremonies. As you may have guessed, I am extraordinarily angry. Like - really, really angry. It's not so much about the sacred temple ceremony being publicized, it's more about the fact that they are purposefully trying to disrespect us. They hired an ex-Mormon to tell them all the details of what goes on in the temple. Usually producers and directors attempt (albeit the feeblest attempt) to respect most major religions without "crossing that line." Well - they just crossed a huge one. BUT - after reading this article I feel a little better.

From the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Website:

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sometimes finds itself on the receiving end of attention from Hollywood or Broadway, television series or books, and the news media. Sometimes depictions of the Church and its people are quite accurate. Sometimes the images are false or play to stereotypes. Occasionally, they are in appallingly bad taste.

As Catholics, Jews and Muslims have known for centuries, such attention is inevitable once an institution or faith group reaches a size or prominence sufficient to attract notice. Yet Latter-day Saints – sometimes known as Mormons - still wonder whether and how they should respond when news or entertainment media insensitively trivialize or misrepresent sacred beliefs or practices.

Church members are about to face that question again. Before the first season of the HBO series Big Love aired more than two years ago, the show’s creators and HBO executives assured the Church that the series wouldn’t be about Mormons. However, Internet references to Big Love indicate that more and more Mormon themes are now being woven into the show and that the characters are often unsympathetic figures who come across as narrow and self-righteous. And according to TV Guide, it now seems the show’s writers are to depict what they understand to be sacred temple ceremonies.

Certainly Church members are offended when their most sacred practices are misrepresented or presented without context or understanding. Last week some Church members began e-mail chains calling for cancellations of subscriptions to AOL, which, like HBO, is owned by Time Warner. Certainly such a boycott by hundreds of thousands of computer-savvy Latter-day Saints could have an economic impact on the company. Individual Latter-day Saints have the right to take such actions if they choose.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as an institution does not call for boycotts. Such a step would simply generate the kind of controversy that the media loves and in the end would increase audiences for the series. As Elder M. Russell Ballard and Elder Robert D. Hales of the Council of the Twelve Apostles have both said recently, when expressing themselves in the public arena, Latter-day Saints should conduct themselves with dignity and thoughtfulness.

Not only is this the model that Jesus Christ taught and demonstrated in his own life, but it also reflects the reality of the strength and maturity of Church members today. As someone recently said, “This isn’t 1830, and there aren’t just six of us anymore.” In other words, with a global membership of thirteen and a half million there is no need to feel defensive when the Church is moving forward so rapidly. The Church’s strength is in its faithful members in 170-plus countries, and there is no evidence that extreme misrepresentations in the media that appeal only to a narrow audience have any long-term negative effect on the Church.


During the Mitt Romney election campaign for the presidency of the United States, commentator Lawrence O’Donnell hurled abuse at the Church in a television moment that became known among many Church members as “the O’Donnell rant.” Today, his statements are remembered only as a testament to intolerance and ignorance. They had no effect on the Church that can be measured.

When the comedy writers for South Park produced a gross portrayal of Church history, individual Church members no doubt felt uncomfortable. But once again it inflicted no perceptible or lasting damage to a church that is growing by at least a quarter of a million new members every year.

When an independent film company produced a grossly distorted version of the
Mountain Meadows Massacre two years ago, the Church ignored it. Perhaps partly as a result of that refusal to engender the controversy that the producers hoped for, the movie flopped at the box office and lost millions.

In recent months, some gay activists have barraged the media with accusations about “hateful” attitudes of Latter-day Saints in supporting Proposition 8 in California, which maintained the traditional definition of marriage. They even organized a protest march around the Salt Lake Temple. Again, the Church has refused to be goaded into a Mormons versus gays battle and has simply stated its position in tones that are reasonable and respectful. Meanwhile, missionary work and Church members in California remain as robust and vibrant as ever, and support for the Church has come from many unexpected quarters — including some former critics and other churches.

Now comes another series of Big Love, and despite earlier assurances from HBO it once again blurs the distinctions between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the show’s fictional non-Mormon characters and their practices. Such things say much more about the insensitivities of writers, producers and TV executives than they say about Latter-day Saints.

If the Church allowed critics and opponents to choose the ground on which its battles are fought, it would risk being distracted from the focus and mission it has pursued successfully for nearly 180 years. Instead, the Church itself will determine its own course as it continues to preach the restored gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

The Beauty of Being Involved

by April

So, contrary to what many have discussed thus far on Normal Mormons, I actually really like my ward. I didn't even have to ward shop! We've lived in the same place for a year, and it hasn't been just until recently that I've had the time and will to actually participate and go every Sunday. But as a new year's resolution, I promised that I would go to everything I possibly could, do my visiting teaching, fulfill my calling as a Mia Maids advisor, and attend enrichment meetings etc... So far, I am doing pretty awesome.

Not gonna lie though, I used to dread going to church and activities. I was always the "new" girl - and no one really knew me very well. Plus, church is boring. I'm sorry - but unless there's an extraordinarily charismatic speaker, I can't pay attention for the life of me. Even in Sunday School. Especially in Sunday School, ugh. But lately, I've found that the friendships I've made with both the youth, the leaders, and many of the women in RS that I actually look forward to showing up.

Sure, perhaps it's bad that I look forward to going to church because of friends or social activities, but honestly how many people do that? Countless. Even the older folks who are supposed to be "attentive" and all "filled with the spirit" doze off, read a book, etc... (even the Bishop!) which honestly - isn't right. At least I look like I'm paying attention instead of blatantly ignoring the speaker like most do.

My husband's view on church callings is quite different - I think I'll have him do a guest post!

What the Heck is Kolob???

Somehow, while working very hard, I was Googling stuff and came upon this image.

I was like, "Hey, that's kinda funny/mean/sad." I had to do a bad photoshop edit on it because there was top secret temple stuff included. (Rude!) But what the Hell is Kolob? If you notice in the background there are letters on the building. So I Googled that. And went to Wikipedia. And found this.

In the Latter Day Saint movement, Kolob is a star or planet mentioned in the Book of Abraham as being nearest to the throne or residence of God. The literal existence and the exact nature of Kolob is a controversial topic in Latter Day Saint movement theology, as is the Book of Abraham, which has not been canonized by the Community of Christ and several other denominations. However, the idea of Kolob has had an influence in the theology and culture of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).

So since I am sort of a "newerish" member, maybe someone could explain this to me? I mean, I read the Wiki definition, but what do you guys think? I had no idea.

Now we sound more like Scientology and their weird planet "Xenu." What gives?