Saturday, October 11, 2014

Meet the Mormons Review

There's been a lot of LDS-themed movies that have arrived in theaters. I reviewed one the other week. However, Meet the Mormons is unique because it's the first movie that was actually made by the church that is being released in theaters nationwide. Previous efforts by the church such as Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration, The Testaments: Of One Fold and One Shephard, and Legacy were only released in Legacy Theater in downtown Salt Lake City. This is a movie that is specifically targeted towards those who are not members of the Mormon faith as it tries to dispel some of the stereotypes that follow the Mormon church. I don't know how that target audience would react to this movie, but as a devout member myself, I loved this movie and I would recommend that all members go and check this one out.

Meet the Mormons doesn't discuss the history of the Mormon church. It doesn't even get to far into the doctrine.It's just a documentary that follows six very different members of the Mormon church and various obstacles they had to overcome or experiences that they had. The best comparison that I can think of is the "I'm a Mormon" videos that the church has put out on their YouTube channel. This movie is basically six of those put together into one movie. Except, of course, they are extended to fill the space of 78 minutes. We have a young black bishop from Atlanta, the head football coach at Navy, a young couple from Costa Rica where the woman has gained an interest in professional fighting, an older pilot who became known as the candy bomber, an older man who has done a lot of humanitarian work in Nepal, and the mother of a missionary who went through quite the hardship growing up. I really loved these stories. While the candy bomber and the missionary mom were my favorite, all six of them were great stories that were amazing to watch. Yes, this movie is made to give people that are not members of the Mormon church a positive view of the church, but I really think that the people who are going to benefit most are actually members of the church because there's a whole lot to learn from each of these stories. They could be used as teaching tools, family home evening lessons, or other various activities like this.

If I'm being super nit-picky, I wasn't a huge fan of the scenes with the narrator at the beginning and end. While I did like the media clips and the interviews with random people in New York, when it was just the narrator talking to us, it was a little cheesy and mildly uninteresting. I got the feeling that the non-members who it was geared towards wouldn't take it completely seriously. Also, reflecting back to the time I served as a missionary for the church, if I had access to this movie while I was serving, I don't know how much I would've actually used it. I loved showing movies like The Testaments or Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration to those who I was teaching, but I don't know if I would sit down and watch this whole movie with them. But like I said, I did absolutely love the individual clips of the six different members. They were great. And the movie was very well shot, too. They went around the world with all these stories and even if you aren't a fan of the subject matter, you'd have to admit that the movie is a very pretty movie. And the song at the end by David Archuleta is also a very pretty song that you'll be singing as you walk out of the theater.

So overall, I personally thought this was a very good, inspiration movie that everyone should give a shot. However, I will admit that those who are Mormons might appreciate this more than those who are not. But that's not to say non-Mormons should avoid this. I don't think it comes off as preachy or annoying, it just gives you the opportunity to explore the lives of six individuals. If you are a Mormon, though, this is definitely a must see. Although I don't think I really needed to tell you that, since most have already flocked out to theaters to see it this weekend. But if you haven't seen it, definitely make plans to do so. And if it's not in your city, go to and request it to come to your city. You could wait for it to come out on DVD if you wanted to, but you'll be supporting a good cause if you see it in theaters since the church has announced that it will donate all money it earns from this to the American Red Cross. Now I have a hard time giving a rating to a documentary since it's a different type of movie, but nevertheless I will award Meet the Mormons an 8/10.