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The Mormons

3.9 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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(Jul 17, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of America's fastest growing religions, and its influence circles the globe. Yet the birth of Mormonism and its history is one of America's great neglected narratives. This four-hour documentary brings together FRONTLINE and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE in their first co-production to provide a searching portrait of this fascinating but often misunderstood religion.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: .
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, Subtitled, Closed-captioned
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: July 17, 2007
  • Run Time: 240 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000P5FH4Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,331 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Despite the protests of some on either extreme (ultra-orthodox or anti-mormon) "The Mormons" was a balanced treatment of the LDS religion, history and dcotrine. Pro-Mormons might think it focused too much on uncomfortable history-- Anti-Mormons will think it didn't focus on those items enough. The fact that neither is fully satisfied speaks to how well the director covered the material.

It must be remembered that this is not a LDS proselyting picture produced by the Brethren. It is a secular documentary. It's goal isn't to convert but rather to inform. And so polygamy, polyandry, Mountain Meadows, and fundamentalism are as much a part of the story as the Haun's Mill, the First Vision and the importance of eternal families.

In fact, many members of the LDS church have only a cursory understanding of their own history. Because I believe that it's impossible to fully believe in something you don't fully understand I would recommend this film to all members.

Those interviewed run the range. LDS General Authorities to LDS academics to non-Mormon scholars to former Mormons. The director purposely avoids identifying the Mormon-slant of each person so that the viewer will consider their comments without bias. This has lead both pro and anti- mormons to wrongly claim that the numbers of interviews are skewed against their point of view-- when actually the numbers are pretty even.

A quote by Hugh B. Brown, counselor in the First Presidency, in closing:
"Thoughts and expressions compete in the marketplace of thought, and in that competition truth emerges triumphant. Only error fears freedom of expression."

"The Mormons" tells more of the story.
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Whether you are a believer in the Mormon faith, a skeptic, or are generally unfamiliar with this Christian denomination, you should be able to appreciate this in-depth documentary about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

This documentary, produced by PBS Frontline & American Experience, does not try to promote the faith for purposes of expanding its membership, but it takes an unbiased path to explain the Mormon religion from a historical perspective.

The lengthy documentary cover many issues regarding very relevant aspects of Mormon history and modern Mormon culture. Many opinions from knowledgeable historians are offered to help dispel the myths & misunderstandings about the faith. There are many positive aspects about the church that are introduced to those unfamiliar with Mormonism. Several topics discussed may not sit well with some modern members and believers, but they need to keep in mind that the pursuit of truth is not about denying or hiding from factual history, but about telling the whole story whether or not it is a source of pride or a source of embarrassment.

"The Mormons" deserves to be watched with an open mind, in the spirit for which it was produced. It is an important and very relevant part of our American history, whether you are a believer or not.
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As a non-Mormon living in Mormon Country (Utah, USA) I was anxious to see this PBS program when it first aired last year. I have been married to a Mormon lady for the past 37 years and during that time I have had much contact with the church and have learned much about the faith and its people, although for personal reasons I have decided the faith is not for me. This documentary holds true to what I have learned about this most unique of American religious denominations. It is a fair-minded HISTORY of the Mormon Church and its wonderful people. It does not, however, delve into church doctrine or dogma. If you are interested in learning only about doctrine, this documentary is not for you. It would behoove you to contact your local LDS missionaries or the Church in Salt Lake City itself. They will be more than happy to cater to your curiosities, I'm sure.

One of the most insightful moments in the documentary is when the narration proposes an explanation as to why the Mormons are so centered upon the temple rites of sealing your spouse and your children to yourself for "all time and eternity". To paraphrase, "The church was organized in America during a time of great westward migration and family separation. It was a period in our history when children would leave home to seek their fortunes and never be heard from by their families again. The temple endowments were aimed at keeping the family together, if not in this life, then in the next 'for all time and eternity.'" This goes a long way in explaining why the Mormons think the way they do, and why the Church is organized the way it is.

I heartily recommend this documentary for anyone who is interested in American History and the history of the the Mormon people. It is one of the best, if not THE best, films on the Mormons I have had the pleasure to watch and own.
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In two parts, Part I details the first century of the Mormon Church. In the early 19th century, a very young American named Joseph Smith claimed he saw the vision of an angel of God who told him about some gold plates that contained bible-like stories about Jews who came to the Americas long before Columbus. Smith went on to transcribe the writing on the plates, or so the story has been told, which came to be known as the Book of Mormon. Smith founded a new religion based on these texts, the Mormons or Church of Latter-Day Saints (aka Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-Day Saints). However, because of his proximity to modern times, Joseph Smith is not viewed in the same way as Moses, Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed by people outside of Mormon traditions. Smith lacks the legendary aura of other more ancient figures which is at the heart of the Mormon challenge to legitimize their religion in the eyes of others and other religious faiths. Ironically, Christians of the first century dealt with similar issues and were labeled as being superstitious by Roman authorities, such as Pliny the Younger.

Unlike historians of Judaism and Christianity who must find evidence among archaeological sites thousands of years old, the Mormons' history is well-documented, and not quite 200 years old. This history is the center-piece of the first part of a new documentary by PBS which begins with the revelations by Joseph Smith in Pennsylvania, continues with the first fledgling congregations in rural upstate New York to their flights from persecution. Mormons left the state of NY and settled in Missouri only to be ousted again by other locals and forced to migrate to Utah.
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