First off, I'm impressed that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints got an apology out of HBO. Sure HBO shows a variety of offensive programming, but airing a depiction of a Mormon temple ritual on a show about a Polygamist Mormon family...how dare HBO.
If you haven't heard about the controversy, basically what I stated above is it. I don't watch Big Love, and I'm not Mormon, so who am I to say anything, I suppose, but according to Brian Carlson with Salt Lake City's ABC news station, the episode "depicts one the show's main character's performing a sacred ritual that is meant to be kept private, which typically are only talked about between members of the church and only by those members who are in the temple at the time."
First off this certainly makes the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints sound like a cult. Private ceremonies, only talked about in secret?
This is apparently the first temple scene and LDS-members are outraged. Many have circulated petitions to boycott HBO and AOL, try to get the show off the air..
Is HBO really the type of network that markets to Mormons? Are Mormons the primary market for Big Love? I doubt it. And frankly, like most boycotts it only raises curiosity...how many more people are searching online to find out about this episode and what's behind this endowment ceremony, and the special undergarments the characters wear?
When Big Love first went on the air in 2006 I did a post on the show I commented on how Mormons would be displeased with the show and there was even a e-mail forward the Salt Lake Tribune published to encourage people to pass along to help boycott the show.
Three seasons later, Bill Paxton's staring vehicle is still on the air. So much for the initial protest, can't imagine this most recent one will be successful.
"Art" has been stirring up controversy forever, especially among religious leaders and groups. This does not validate art, nor excuse the messages and implications of the art. But throughout history boycotts and outrage usually have minimal effect...in fact, it's the outrage that usually in time validates the art's place in history, capturing how something caused people and groups to react.
I think LDS members are being very overly sensitive in this mater. I think more than feeling like the inclusion of the endowment ceremony compromises the sacredness of the ceremony. Instead I think Mormon's are fearful about what a non-Mormon will ascertain by watching the sacred temple scene.
Mormon's have tons of missionaries going all over the place to tell people about their faith, why the need for secrets? Why the fear in people knowing the truth about what they are getting into in the process of exploring Mormonism?
What do you think?