Thursday, May 18, 2006

Watching the Joseph Smith Movie

For months I’ve wanted to go view the multi million dollar Joseph Smith movie produced for the Legacy Theater in the JS Memorial Building. . An enlightened friend who is also a member of my wife’s ward accompanied me. We met for lunch at a local watering hole, knowing that neither of us could view the movie without a toast to Old Joe... so after receiving some appropriate lubrication (I went for the 6 brew sampler); we drove over to the famed theater for our afternoon entertainment.

Upon arrival we went to secure tickets but were told that the entire theater had been booked way in advance and that we would need to get reservations in order to see the movie. Knowing that the movie was full of lies I decided that I would also tell alittle lie of my own... I veined disappointment and told the old missionary lady that the concierge at the Hotel had told us that we wouldn’t have any problem getting tickets.... upon hearing this the old lady perked up and asked... Oh are you from out of town? Why Yes we are, I said (we are, just not out of state and we weren’t staying at a hotel either) Well thats different she said, we reserve a few special tickets for out of state guests.

When the 1:30 show began I fully expected the theater to be bursting at the seams... needless to say... it was barley a third of the way full... what was all the fuss about telling us it was a sold out showing in the first place I wondered? As we entered the theater we were offered a kleenex...I wondered if this was to wipe my ass with?I had been warned in advance that the movie was a propaganda marvel...but I don’t think I was prepared by the amount of literal whitewashing (yeah there's even a metaphorical whitewashing scene in the movie) and depth of emotional manipulations the church would employ to create their fictional embellishment of Joseph’s amazing life. If I didn’t know his history, I would have been overwhelmed... but by the end of the movie I just needed a bag to throw up in.

Through out the movie the church used manipulative emotional triggers in the hope of felicitating some sensation... and in this they were successful... the movie put a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach...but the main thing it did, through out the movie, was cause me to ask the question WHY?? Why was Joseph in Harmony PA? (treasure seeking) Why did his father in law hate him so? (Cuz he didn’t stop glass looking as promised and he eloped with his daughter) Why was Joseph tarred and feathered? (hitting on the Johnson girl) Why did Joseph leave Kirkland? (running from law due to bank fiasco) Why did the Missourians hate the Mormon's so? (complicated but both parties share some blame...Mormon’s weren’t innocently persecuted due to their religion as portrayed in the movie) Why the problems of choosing a successor after Joseph’s death if BY WAS set apart as such as portrayed in the movie? (he wasn’t) Why no gun in Joseph’s hand in Carthage Jail? (whitewash) Why did Joseph go to Carthage? (absolutely no mention that he was being charged with issues related to his polygamy activity).

I give the Morg credit... Their effort would make even Lenin proud... Propaganda is alive and well in America Today... But I was surprised that they left out the scene where Joseph walks on water...

The movie presupposes that Mormon history or more specifically the history of Joseph Smith took place in a vacuum. The movie shows various scenes from the life of JS based on the very scrubbed up version of events generally taught in Mormon Sunday School and Seminary classes etc.

But these things, did no take place in a vacuum... events don’t just take place all by themselves.... they are generally a reaction based on some other event. Much like a queue ball hitting a grouping of pool balls.... human events are generally a reaction to other events....This in my humble opinion is one of the major flaws of this movie.... it is a white washed, scrubbed, distortion of events...and it fails to tell the whole story...the story behind the story... and left me asking.... yeah BUT WHAT caused that to happen...But what can you expect from an organization led by men that publicly dismiss the value of truth in its own history...

Now where is that Bag!


ChristFollower said...

I haven't seen the movie, but I have heard reports before. The "pistol" thing really bothers me, because it's one distortion I can testify to has having changed over my time in the church. I can't prove Fanny Alger or Helen Mar Kimball from personal experience, but I can prove that the pistol has disappeared from correlated accounts of Carthage Jail.

Ozarka said...

The ensign published a whole series of articles in 1994 about Joseph Smith to commemorate 150 years since his death. In those articles (written AFTER correlation), the author plainly describes the whole carthage scene with Joseph holding a pistol (and discharging 5 shots or so into the mob) and John Taylor beating down arms at the door with a big stick.

In fact, the Ensign describes that there was not just one, but TWO firearms among Joseph and his companions in the Carthage Jail. What, if anything, is more correlated than the Ensign?

But, don't take my word for it- why don't you read it yourself:

"The four men had two firearms among them, left behind by friends: a single-shot pistol Joseph had passed to Hyrum and a six-shot pistol, called a pepperbox, which the Prophet retained. They also had two walking canes: a large hickory stick called a “rascal-beater” and a smaller walking cane. Joseph’s companions had used both to beat back the rabble while making their way from the Hamilton House to the jail two days earlier."

[. . .]

The deep look of sympathy on Joseph’s face [seeing his slain brother Hyrum on the floor] fastened itself to Elder Taylor’s mind. The Prophet then stood, and with a firm step he went to the door, pulled the pepperbox from his pocket, and, reaching around the door casing, fired blindly into the hallway. He snapped all six shots. Half discharged, striking three men.

[. . .]

"Those pressing the doorway followed their bayonets, and Elder Taylor, using the rascal-beater, beat down the arms."

[. . .]

"From behind [John Taylor], the Prophet said, “That’s right, Brother Taylor, parry them off as well as you can.” They were the last words he heard the Prophet speak."

(Reed Blake, "Martyrdom at Carthage," Ensign (June 1994) (emphasis added).

How can anyone claim that the Church is "hiding" this stuff? It's right there in the gospel of modern Latter-day Saints, the living version of the prophets to the Latter-day Saints today- the Ensign. And not just any Ensign, the post-correlation Ensign! And, lo and behold, it IS STILL THERE- the Church has not deleted it. If the Church is trying to hide this, it is doing a piss-poor job.

Maybe, just maybe, there is an imagined conspiracy here on the part of people who have decided that, for whatever reason, they do not wish to be a part of the Church (not that there is anything wrong with that). Because there is no distortion about a pistol- it's all right there in the Ensign, the one real authoritative document in today's Latter-day Saint Church.

Personally, I find that there are enough misleading things about history from pretty much any source trying to promote itself (the Church, the Government, any corporation, etc., etc.) that it is stupid and pointless to focus on "distortions" that the Church has not actually distorted.

How about concentrating on Joseph's sexual perversions and his appetite for young women and other men's wives, instead of concentrating on things that have been (RECENTLY!!) openly acknowledged and taught in official Church documents. Getting all pissy over the supposed omission of a pistol from a stupid film is pointless.

Darque said...

You did well watching it with only the brew to steel your respolve! I think i would require IV valium to get through it.

Speaking of which, i think ozarka should make an appointment with his physician.


naturalskincarewe said...
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Joe Berenguer said...
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Anonymous said...

As someone who recently left the Morg, the bishop got my letter two weeks ago. I find your blog very entertaining, funny, and I can relate to your experiences as I have a TBM wife as well. I need to get over and see the film as well. Before going I plan on hitting a local pub to get some liquid courage.

As for Ozarka, one thing the church realizes just as politicians do nobody remembers stuff written or said in the past, and most Mormons will not take the time to study these topics. They just accept the party line and go along for the ride. Most Mormons cannot defend their faith and when presented with facts they get frustrated and start yelling, it's happened to me twice in two weeks. I am glad you can evaluate these issues and defend your position, but don't think for a moment the history doesn't matter it does and if you know the truth and refuse to accept it your teeth will be gnashed. See you in hell.

Have a great day!

Zen LDS said...

How ironic, you leave the Church only to keep going back to it. If the Church is wrong why go see the Joseph Smith movie. Seems that you are trying to find some justification for leaving the Church. Your attempts at proving the Church wrong seems to make you doubt your own beliefs, not the Church's veracity. If you really want to leave the Church, walk away, get a life, get a hobby. All you have to say is "I don't like the Church and I will live my own life!" Just try it, repeat it to yourself over and over. Your obsession with the LDS Church is not healthy. Best wishes in finding a life away from the LDS Church.

hasitaname? said...

Good post. I'm just concerned that you had 6 beers and then drove to the movie. Not good.

As a side note, Zen LDS is not zen at all- very judgmental.

Anonymous said...

i agree with what zen-lds said. if you really have left the church and refuse to have anything do to with it, why see the movie?
it's funny how you even had to drink a few beers before seeing it (to numb yourself up, i think). i haven't seen the movie yet, but i have heard from other people that it was brilliantly done. get a life, man. people like you who try to prove themselves right by pointing out what they don't like in others have to start looking at themselves. tell me, what have you achieved in doing this? that the church is wrong and that you made the right decision by choosing not to become part of it? how many more movies like this do you have to see in order to establish your point?

yes, i am a member of the church of jesus christ of latter day saints. i have been for ten years. i wonder if you HAVE finished reading the book of mormon, or even thought really hard, or prayed about it. please don't make any more excuses or justifications. the world is already full of people who fill their lives with seemingly important things and activities, only to feel empty and alone inside.

oh, and btw, your blog WAS funny. i just hope you'd use your talents for more meaningful and uplifting articles.

call me when you get your life back.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Zen and the anonymous poster before me. It's so funny how people who go inactive and rebuke the church can't just get on with their lives. Instead, they seem so obsessed with the church and can't let go. Not a mentally healthy way to live.

Anonymous said...

I looked up your blog after a friend of mine came accross it this afternoon and told me about it. I feel so sad for you and your family. I don't know how you have fallen so far after after knowing so much. I understand you have hurt feelings because of transgression and I am sorry you are taking that out on the church. I would encourage you to go back and see the movie again without the alcohol and lying. Take your family this time. See what changes and if nothing then great. I just think your family deserves so much more then you are giving them right now. I know you don't see them crying on the outside, but you don't see their inside do you? I know they see what you can be, that you are better then you are acting, and that is why they are staying by your side through your rebellious period. I hope that you can gain a softer heart, from one stranger to another, I know you can and I know you know how!

sunflower said...

It seems to me like you just have an ax to grind because your mad about being excommunicated, and by the way, you should know that being excommunicated doesn't mean you have to leave the church, it's not like they shun you. All you have to do is repent, if you really mean it, and get re-baptised. It actually feels quite amazing. You can have all your sins washed away and start over. I know because I've been there.

Best Wishes to you and your family,

Jay said...

I read this post by mistake, but felt like I should post a comment. When I was younger I would be trying to tell you how wrong you are and that you should change your ways. Now that I feel that I have more understanding of the things that I know to be true, I try to be more like the person that I center my faith on. As I figure Christ would do, I just want to say that you are free to follow God according to your own consience and to try and allow others to do the same with your post. Just remember that you are not the first nor will you be the last person to be offended by the truth. As Joseph Smith once said about earlier Saints that turned away (not in his exact words), if you do not humble yourself your ambition will only fuel hatred and despair within yourself and eventually torment and hell. I know these things to be true and have been very extensive in my own personal research about said history. There is only so much you can put into a movie without it taking all day to watch. It may not be completely accurate for sake of time, but the church is not attempting to hide truths by it nor is their intention to lie about history. Just remember that if you ever decide to humble yourself and return, the church and Christ will welcome you with open arms.

Jake said...

When is this movie going to be on DVD? I saw this on Youtube but it got deleted.