Helen Whitney’s “The Mormons” four months later
Nearly four months have passed since the airing of the PBS American Experience four-hour documentary The Mormons on May 1, 2007 (video here). I’ve found discussion about the documentary, and discussion in reaction to the documentary, to be more fascinating than the documentary itself, which I personally found excruciatingly slow paced and unexciting.
Earlier this month, UTAH Now with Doug Fabrizio rebroadcast a one-hour show called ‘Viewing the Mormons’ dealing with the reaction and responses of the documentary (listen to audio – watch video).
Here is a quick name list of speakers. This list is not exactly chronological since the Roundtable discussion punctuates the interview segments, which is a nice feature.
Helen Whitney (03:28)
Ken Verdoia and Terryl Givens (22:50)
Elder Marlin K. Jensen (45:05)
I will choose one observation Terryl Givens gives that I feel is worth highlighting about the nature of Mormon history (35:40):
“There is a long tradition to overcome though, for the first two or three generations of the church, the only people who were interested in Mormon history were those who defended and believed it, and those who attacked it. And so the church culture was formed in an environment in which the only kind of writing about church history that was done was apologetic writing. Suddenly Mormonism becomes this global phenomenon, threatens to become the next new world religion, suddenly it arouses a lot of interest, and Mormons are having to learn, ‘oh, we need to be able to participate in a wider dialogue,’ and I think we’re in many ways still in the process of learning how to do that.”