Obligatory Big Love Post
“Big Love”: Bigger Message
"Big Love," the Temple, and What is Sacred
Now, back to Sonja's instructions ...
------ Forwarded Message
From: Sonja Eddings Brown /email@example.com/
Date: Sunday, March 08, 2009 9:49 PM
To: Chino Blanco
Subject: We do not want to increase the exposure to Big Love by responding to HBO
Public Affairs Representatives:
Many of you will see or hear about the impending broadcast of LDS Temple ceremonies and exploitation of our sacred temple clothes by HBO "Big Love" this week. TV Guide will deliver an ad showing one of the "Big Love" polygamist wives dressed in full temple clothes. It is already circulating on the internet. As has been their practice, the creators of "Big Love" hijack our customs and sacred symbols and misrepresent them in settings of their own making. Please be aware that the executives of HBO made a commitment to the LDS Church at the outset of "Big Love" that they would never desecrate our sacred rites or clothing in promotion or in their drama.
Our Church leaders are fully informed and are considering whether to dignify the show with a response.
The head writer of "Big Love" this season, is Dustin Black, the recent Oscar-winner for "Milk." Raised a Mormon, he is clearly versed in our culture.
Brothers and Sisters, "Big Love" is not a ratings winner and we don't wish to build their ratings for them. TV Guide does not experience the readership it once had. Some of your friends and neighbors will see the images in print and see our temple ceremonies acted out in the drama. Perhaps the greatest position of strength for us, is to stand by our beliefs and teach the gospel. No, HBO does not represent accurately the sacred dress or beliefs or ceremonies of the LDS Church. Yes, like the Catholics, the Jews, the Muslims, the Buddhists and many other faiths, we do have some sacred ceremonial clothing for our Temples.
Our Temples are places where we unite our families forever. They are places where we go to learn the highest principles of character, honor, and devotion to God. That's what we can share with our neighbors and friends, and that kind of answer will no doubt....satisfy their questions.
Unless otherwise directed, at this sensitive time, I suggest that Public Affairs leaders NOT urge response to the TV Guide ad, or to the HBO program.....and avoid increasing the show's ratings or attention.
According to industry sources, "Big Love" will end this season.
Sonja Eddings Brown
Southern California Public Affairs Council
* Not to question Sonja's "sources," but HBO has ordered a fourth season of "Big Love." Production will begin later this year, with Season 4 episodes debuting in 2010.
** Fun fact: "Big Love" averages five million viewers.
*** Tinfoil hat fun: Per KIDK's news report, go to http://www.tvguidemagsales.com/ and click on "You've Gotta See This Week's Issue..." in the lower-left corner. Nada. Did somebody deep-six the previously available PDF version of this week's issue of "TV Guide"?
All fun facts and CTs aside: watching that news report, I had to shake my head at this line from the LDS church's statement regarding Big Love Episode 33 aka Outer Darkness:
"Certainly church members are offended when their most sacred practices are misrepresented or presented without context or understanding."I remember my first trip to the temple, and I'm not sure there's any context in which I could begin to understand that experience in a positive light. That said, I'm sure there are many faithful LDS who can and do, and to them I'd ask: is there any context in which a secular portrayal of your temple garb or ceremonies would not amount to desecration?
"There's gonna be lies, and secrets, and discoveries, and problems. Television!"
This sounds about right: No need for an HBO apology on 'Big Love'
As does this: Are ceremonies so sacred, or are Mormons insecure?
What the LDS Church leadership fails to understand is that it does not own my Temple experience. The leadership has done a very good job of cowing members into not discussing the most sacred experience in their lives outside the walls of the Temple (and not very much within). The Church seeks to extend this silence to those of us who used to be members. What the leadership and membership fails to understand is that for those of us who used to be members, the Temple is as much a part of our psyche as it is yours.A very worthy collection of Big Love commentary: Sunday in Outer Blogness: Big News Edition!
I have a very clear statement for President Monson, the General Authorities and LDS Church Public Relations:
You do not own my Temple experience.
I left your church. I am no longer bound by your oaths and covenants. If I choose not to discuss what goes on in the Temple, that’s my choice. It’s also my choice if I want to discuss it. But stop trying to silence us by your alternately sad and outraged statements.
If former members who write for “Big Love” want to write about their Temple experience through the fictional Barb Henrickson, that is their right. I’m sure they’ll give your ceremonies their proper deference, probably far more deference than those ceremonies deserve. (As a former lawyer, the phrase “unconscionable contract” comes to mind when I think of the oaths and covenants of the Temple.) And it is their right to do so.
But stop trying to browbeat us former members into not discussing the experiences we had within your Temple walls. They are part of us and we can talk about them if we want. You do not own our experiences. You do not own US.
And a media dump: