I was responding to a friend's initial blog reaction of last week's Rock Center with Brian Williams' "Mormon in America" piece on NBC and realized that my response was long enough to be a post of my own. So, here you have it: the glistening jewel of my opinion.
I didn't have the same negative reaction that some of my friends have had. I mean, sure, it wasn't perfect. Considering that it's coming from a national news network, and that they want to address the sensational rumors that swirl about the Church & are currently in the media (polygamy, racism, sexism, gay issues) it makes sense that it's not going to read like something KSL puts out in between sessions of General Conference.
I do wish they had not shown that photograph of the couple posing in temple garments, not only because it's disrespectful and because I don't usually wish to see people in their underwear, but also because my word that was unflattering. (As my Gentleman Husband says, "First they tell you to multiply and replenish the earth, and then they tell you to wear garments all the time." For him, at least, the latter does not inspire the former.) Why not just go with the one-pieces that some of our grandparents still wear, huh, NBC? I would have much preferred that they use the nice illustrations from the Beehive Clothing brochures, or at least found someone willing to risk their soul by posing in the new Carinessa IIs, which look about a million times better.
I wish that Abby Huntsman hadn't been given so much screen time to speak for "what Mormons believe." Was it because she is so camera-friendly with her beautiful face and her blinding white teeth? Even though she wasn't negative in her responses, I don't really feel like she is the one to ask, especially about things like temple worship, garments, etc. when that's something she may not have ever had first-hand experience with and certainly no longer believes in. Ya know?
I was glad that they focused on the Church's humanitarian programs rather than going the "Oh look how rich the Church is and how much they spend on building shopping malls while hiding their financial information" angle, which is a place they totally could have gone. That was a welcome change.
Joanna Brooks was the women they quoted talking about women's issues, and she said on her own site that although the producers were very kind and seemed sincere about wanting to portray our faith accurately, she was kind of bummed that out of their two-hour interview they zeroed in on the "some LDS women want the priesthood" thing as their one bit to put in out of everything she said.
I did think that the mixed-race family and their children came across really well in the interviews, even if they were reportedly not thrilled with it afterwards.
GH and I both felt so sad for the Broadway performer when he talked about his mission and got all emotional about what a special experience it was, but then said that he eventually left the Church because he couldn't reconcile being gay with being an active member. Even though his interview was one more example of "let's talk to somebody who isn't LDS anymore about what it means to be LDS," his story was kind of heart-breaking and I'm sure is a common one for many, many gay members of the church.
So. There you have my take. I thought that overall it tried to dispel rumors rather than perpetuate them, and the fact that they had access to the Church Historian and to Welfare Square means they did approach the Church for participation in the story. Just because you don't see a member of the Quorum of the Twelve being interviewed doesn't mean they weren't asked.
Anybody else have any thoughts?