Meet the Mormons: a review

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (AKA The Mormon Church) just released a movie–called “Meet the Mormons”–and it’s all about Mormons.  Before you get all “Duh, Liz.” on me, it’s a movie that just shows the lives of some Mormons. It doesn’t preach. It doesn’t try to explain any doctrine or controversy.  It just shows Mormons living their lives.  

I think you should probably see it, if you have any understanding at all of who Mormons are, but, as LeVar Burton would say, “You don’t have to take my word for it!”  I asked a few of my friends to write reviews of it, and here they are. 

Laura, the caregiver:    

Pretty much everything I ever write, whether it be fact, fiction, or a movie review, ends up being about me.  The thing is, I really couldn’t say what impact “Meet the Mormons” will have on you, but I know what it means to me.

To be honest, it took me a little while to get into the movie. It’s a documentary-style film that shares the stories of six Mormon families and makes a point to explain basic tenants of Mormon belief. But, I’m Mormon. So the messages that “Mormons are real people, we believe in Jesus Christ, we don’t get paid for church service, and husbands and wives work together as equal partners” all came across a bit bland to me. It was all very pleasant, and watching the wife of “the coach” react at a game was hilarious, but I wasn’t really moved by it.

Then something happened during the third story about “the fighter.” I think it’s what the filmmakers were hoping would happen. I made a personal connection.

For me, the connection was about balancing personal interests and raising a family. It’s not something I’ve had to do yet, but it’s something I’ve thought about. Of all the things I want to do in life, having a family is at the top of my list. But I’ve worried a little about opportunities I might forego along the way. So what I saw in “the fighter” was a story of how a woman balanced those things. And I found it comforting. It gave me peace that I could do the same.

“The fighter” was immediately followed by “the candy bomber” and “the humanitarian.” These stories were powerful in different ways. I was filled with a desire to make a difference. These stories focused on two very different people, in two very different circumstances, with two very different sets of abilities. And they both made a difference, a difference only they could make. I wanted to do the same.

Like I said, I’m not very good at writing a movie review that focuses just on the movie. But I think that’s the point of this movie. It’s not really about the people on the screen, but about the viewer being able to see something of themselves in another person’s story, to make a connection and find common ground. Interestingly enough, in the end, it wasn’t the Utah-Mormon-missionary-family story that I connected with the most. It was the Costa Rican kickboxer.

Ben, the outdoorsman:

For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the new film “Meet the Mormons”, is a wonderful re-affirmation of our diversity, our bond, and the edifying power of our shared belief. The film-makers did a great job of showing three different ways that our faith can support us or even change us. The first three stories are about average people (the Bishop, the Coach, and the Fighter) who rely on their faith to keep their lives balanced. These are the people that most of us will relate best too. Their testimonies of Christ and their acceptance of revealed principles help them to prioritize their families and to be effective the time spent with their families.

The next two stories (about the Candy Bomber and the Humanitarian) present the power of the gospel to move average people to do extraordinary things. When we love the Lord we grow to love his other children too and then we can do incredible works that make a difference to hundreds, thousands, or even millions.

Just as faith can lift us up to great heights it can also lift us from great depths. The last story is also about an average person (the Missionary Mom), but what makes her different is that her life started out very sub-average. For almost 20 years her life was hard and tragic and sorrowful. And then the gospel of Jesus Christ changed her so that she could break away from that sorrow and enjoy a typical life with as much happiness as anyone else.

This film stays away from dogma and theology. It does not delve into the origins of man nor the life that awaits him in the next life. Instead it focuses on how the theology affects every day life in this world. And it does that beautifully and profoundly. It is impossible to watch “Meet the Mormons” without feeling renewed and uplifted. You will be reminded of similar experiences you have had. You will remember why the gospel of Jesus Christ is more than just blessings in heaven. It brings blessings right here right now. Peace. Contentment. Fulfillment. Purpose. Love. Service. Happiness. Joy. And balance.

Allie, my sister:

The movie “Meet the Mormons” was absolutely amazing.  It can make your life better and help us follow the Savior’s example in our lives. I highly recommend you go see this movie.

Daniel, the LDS missionary:

Once upon a time, there was a group of men that we like to call “The First Presidency”.  They were inspired to have a film created that showed who Mormons really are and what their lives are all about.  They planned to have it shown in the Visitor center in Salt Lake.  Well, the movie turned out to be REALLY good.  So they put it through some surveys.  The first survey came back and it was really, really postive.  So they thought it might be a fluke.  They did another survey.  Exact same numbers came back.  This number – 74% of non-members who saw the movie would be willing to learn more.  WHAT?! That’s unheard of.  Well, the First Presidency decided that this movie would be worth putting into theaters across the country.

I want to tell you.  It’s SOOO GOOD!  We, as missionaries got a special preview. (We got to watch the whole thing).  It’s so so so so so so so so good.  I can’t even express how much I loved it.  And I think that it will change the world.  So here’s the catch.  The hold up.  We as missionaries aren’t using it as a proselyting tool.  Because that’s not what it is.  It is our job to get the members excited about it.  To share it with everybody they know and then to like it on Facebook and twitter and any other social networking site ever.  Because we want it to be big.  We want it to have an awesome first week.  (and second and third).  So I encourage (exhort as Moroni would say) you all to go to www.meetthemormons.com right now and share it on facebook and see where it is playing near you.  Because it’s going to be great.

A few more quick stats for you.  Let’s look at the stake I’m serving it right now.  If everyone in the stake were to go and share this movie on Facebook right now, they would reach more people than our whole zone of missionaries could reach in over 1600 wks.  That’s a lot of people.  So please please, please share it with everyone, invite your friends to go see it.  And then go see it.  It’s going to be great.

Truth be told, I haven’t seen this movie yet. {My entire department at work had the opportunity to see it, but someone had to man the circulation desk, so I have yet to see it.}  From what I’ve heard from my coworkers, it’s a great movie.  Overall, it shows what Mormons are like.  If you’d like to learn more about this movie, visit meetthemormons.com. If you’d like to learn more about what Mormons believe, visit Mormon.org. If you’d like to see what the Book of Mormon is all about, you can order one FOR FREE here

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