Friday, September 24, 2010

In Your Face

Today I saw on the news that the LDS Church is introducing a new PR campaign to help American subjects become more familiar with the Corporate Church and its members. The news anchor wondered if this effort was all geared around promoting Mitt Romney to be the next President (not of the Church, but of America).

I love D&C 101 because it contains an exquisite parable about the master of the vineyard who delegates some servants to occupy a watchtower and keep watch over the vineyard. After a season, the flaky servants lose track of the purpose of the watchtower and contemplate selling it. When the master comes back, he gets pretty wroth with those servants for neglecting their mandate and letting the enemy break in.

49. Might not this money be given to the exchangers? For there is no need of these things.
50. And while they were at variance one with another they became very slothful, and they hearkened not unto the commandments of their lord.
51. And the enemy came by night, and broke down the hedge; and the servants of the nobleman arose and were affrighted, and fled; and the enemy destroyed their works, and broke down the olive-trees.
52. Now, behold, the nobleman, the lord of the vineyard, called upon his servants, and said unto them, Why! what is the cause of this great evil?
53. Ought ye not to have done even as I commanded you, and—after ye had planted the vineyard, and built the hedge round about, and set watchmen upon the walls thereof—built the tower also, and set a watchman upon the tower, and watched for my vineyard, and not have fallen asleep, lest the enemy should come upon you?
54. And behold, the watchman upon the tower would have seen the enemy while he was yet afar off; and then ye could have made ready and kept the enemy from breaking down the hedge thereof, and saved my vineyard from the hands of the destroyer.

Where am I going with this? - - - well, the Church was given the fullness of the restored Gospel. After a season, it doubted the significance of the higher principles. It mortgaged the temples, changed the scriptures, diluted the doctrines and persecuted the stalwart and humble members who clung to the original precepts. Now the nobleman is soon to return, and He cannot be pleased. Does God need PR campaigns His works to fulfill?

The Church chafed over "Big Love" since it glamorized polygamists. This Sunday we'll see the pilot of TLC's "Sister Wives" series about the Kody Brown family. I quote Salt Lake Tribune's Vince Horiuchi:

"Likely, this is the kind of portrait of polygamy that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hates. It’s a vision of plural marriage (which is illegal) that seemingly works in some cases and a reminder of a past the church wants to bury.

Yet if there is a reason to watch “Sister Wives,” it’s less for the drama in the household than for the charm and likability of the Brown family."

I have a vision of a large number of puffy men in dark blue suits in the great and spacious building (50 E. North Temple) popping blood vessels over this one. A couple of years ago, a Utah reporter went to Canada and photographed some of Winston Blackmore's children. The children were smiling, adorable, idyllic, endearing, charming and well-behaved. The reporter immediately received numerous stinging rebukes from readers who felt that it was simply intolerable for a newspaper to allow fundamentalist children to be presented in such a favorable light. I've read a number of blog commenters and noticed that they too are having unprecedented difficulty coming up with sane or sensible criticisms of TLC's polygamy reality show . . . .

"How can TLC stoop to present something so awful and so illegal?"
"Kody has awkward facial hair."
"They have to be on welfare."
"The women have big butts."
"Shame on TLC for putting this crap on TV!"
"The show is sleepy."
"We can't seem to stamp out this new and everlasting covenant."
"Isn't polygamy supposed to be illegal?"
"Polygamy is not a part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' history."
"Polygamists want the "right" to make polygamy mandatory in their society."
"The law's the law. These felons need to be arrested."
"Women in general are the victims of this system."
"Let's just call TLC 'THE WEIRDO CHANNEL'."
"This plural marriage is a direct abomination of God's love."
"I just don’t want to pay for all of this man’s children."
"This is the most outrageous show I've ever heard of... nobody will watch."
"All Mormons are republicans, so I guess this disgusting lifestyle is just fine with them."
"The other wives are nothing more than mistresses."
"Oh, UGH. These people make my skin crawl."

So, dear readers, I challenge you to come up with a better criticism of the "Sister Wives" series. Actually, no, don't bother - you can't. Polygamy might be uncommon, but it is no less normal (and sometimes boring) than monogamy.

Five cheers to the Browns for risking their normalcy to present a perfectly truthful view of a plural family; and, to the Church which so desperately yearns to distance itself from one of its core, founding doctrines, I say, "IN YOUR FACE!" "Try arguing with reality!!!"


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