Mormonism: The Cartoon February 6, 2011

Mormonism: The Cartoon

I honestly don’t know how much of this is accurate. I’d love to know what’s true and what’s not true.

A lot of the Mormon beliefs depicted below fits in with my own understanding of the faith (not to mention the South Park Mormonism episode and Julia Sweeney‘s explanation of the faith from Letting Go of God).

According to the description (written by an atheist):

[T]his is an old video used during Bible Study in Mormon youth groups. The claims contained within are what the Mormon religion actually taught. Many modern Mormons now try to distance themselves from these views simply because of their blatant absurdity…

***Update***: Commenters are saying the description above is incorrect. The clip is actually from an anti-Mormon film called The God Makers.

So what’s accurate and how do current Mormons explain away these beliefs (if they do)? And why are their current beliefs any more believable than those?

And how is it that Mormonism is on the rise…?

(Thanks to Nick for the link!)


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  • Hi Hemat.

    It’s a segment from a 1970’s anti-Mormon film called ‘The Godmakers’. It’s mostly accurate in the ‘Christians are cannibals’ realm of inter-faith discourse, except for the killer ‘Joseph Smith is more important than JESUS CHRIST’ at the end of it. That’s just a lie.

    Actual Mormon films from this era are equally funny, but with far more schmaltz.

  • thebigj_a

    This fits with what I’ve read about Mormonism.

    However, I have serious doubts that this video was shown to Mormon children. There are far to many uses of words like ‘claim’ and ‘supposedly’. From what I’ve seen in my onwn former Catholicism, and in what I’ve seen from theists of all stripes, they always claim to know the Truth. Doubt is verboten. I can’t see them making a video using terminology like this. It also refers to Mormons in the third person. And, unlike most religious videos I’ve seen, especially those aimed at children, it never addresses the viewer.

    I think this is a video meant to show how ridiculous Mormon beliefs are. (At which it succeeds, even if it isn’t). The funny thing is, the things Catholics and other theists believe aren’t much less absurd, when you look at them with open eyes.

  • Anon

    This has GOT to be a joke. Endless celestial sex? ROFLMAO!!!

  • It is very hard to believe that this was used in “Mormon Youth Groups”. We need sources !
    I agree with the above commentor.

    Now, have someone make a video showing Star Trek clips illustrating how many atheists have a dreaming vision of science solving all world problems and spreading our seed among the planets.

    BTW, my exposure to Mormonism says that those are accurate opinions — I will try to get some Mormons to visit and comment. We all think each other’s fantasies are weird. And I think their is a matter of degree, but we should recognize the fantasy in our own thoughts too.

  • Lana

    I don’t know who did this, but it’s not actually mormon. I mean, the beliefs related are most definitively mormon — but a few factors lead me to believe this is not a mormon-made cartoon, used to teach mormon kiddies:

    1. They kept referring to them as “mormon” teachings, “the mormon jesus,” and “mormon” beliefs. This is odd on two counts — one, mormon’s generally refer to themselves (especially in church materials/ teachings) as LDS or Latter-Day Saints, or more simply, the Saints. Two, (as noted in comments above) it’s a third-person sort of accounting, like if I were to say, “the Catholic Jesus.”

    2. Mark 4:25 — the narrator says, “The Nephite’s records were supposedly written on gold plates.” There is no ‘supposedly’ about this to the mormons. This is a fact to them, and one their entire religion is based on. There is no way a mormon-used teaching tool would present this as anything less.

    3. They used the word “sex” at least twice. Being raised in the extremely sex-phobic church, I can definitely attest to the fact that would not be used in church-approved teaching materials.

    4. They said Joseph Smith was a treasure-seeker known for his tall-tales. Those are two little factoids that are strongly repressed/ denied in the mormon church.

    So other than the description of what the video is — yes, all the information within it is accurate representations of what mormons are taught. Except for the whole space-alien tack the narrator took — it’s a lot less space-alieny at church. I mean, yeah, I was taught about the star Kolob (and there’s a hymn about it), but I wasn’t taught about any star-bases. But the multiple gods and goddesses/ spirit child to human/ Jesus having wives/ God creating spirit children with his wives, etc . . . all accurate to mormon teachings.

  • Raymond Dickey

    I think it’s a debunking video put together by more traditional Christians. But as far as I know, it’s pretty accurate.

  • David W

    The mormonism “on the rise” thing is easy to explain if one assumes that Mormons engage in procreative activity…

  • Iason Ouabache

    I am legally required to link to this video:

    Can’t Touch Mormon Jesus.

  • Claudia

    There’s no way this is made for Mormons by Mormons. It would be obvious enough with “The Mormons believe” and “The Mormons claim”, but the ominous music and the clear negative portrayal (Jesus had sex, the gods had sex, sex, sex, sex, evil sinful sex! Mormons are racists! Joseph Smith told “tall tales” but the Mormons think he’s better than Jesus!) makes it pretty clear that this is made by Christians for other Christians to try to prevent conversion and/or to create hostility against Mormons.

    Certainly most of the claims fit what I’ve read about Mormonism over the years. But there are other things that frankly make Mormonism a thousand times more moral than Catholicsm. Mormons believe that if you die a nonbeliever or someone who disobeyed the Gospel, you get another chance in the spirit world. In effect, your spirit can accept God after death and therefore go to Heaven. Most Christian doctrines maintain that if you don’t accept God in your mortal life you’re going to hell, no matter how good you are, wheras Mormons essentially give you a chance, once confronted with the observable reality that you were wrong, to change your mind.

    It’s still laughable bullshit, but more compassionate laughable bullshit in at least that respect.

  • Andrew Fox

    This is a segment from an anti-Mormon film called The God Makers. There is an entry for the film on Wikipedia.

  • There’s also a similar cartoon for Jehovah’s Witnesses: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fw1Vg8HsMK4

    It appears to be made by the same group as the Mormon video. I wonder if there’s more!

  • everettattebury

    Here is a wikipedia article about it. This is an animated segment of a 1982 film called “The God Makers”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_God_Makers_(film)#Animated_segment

  • I’ve sent this to a Mormon friend of mine to offer some insight to what is/isn’t accurate about the video.

  • I am Mormon and have come across this video quite a bit online. Everettattebury is correct, it is from “The God Makers”, an anti-mormon film. While most of the stuff in the clip is “based” on LDS beliefs, it is in no way an accurate portrayal. Current anti-mormons rarely even touch this video, which should give you an idea how “out there” it is. The first time I saw this video I don’t think I could stop laughing for about 15 minutes.

    If any of you have any (honest) questions about what we believe, just ask.

    Oh, and from the wiki link. A quote by the National Conference of Christians and Jews:
    The film does not fairly portray the Mormon Church, Mormon history, or Mormon belief. It makes extensive use of half-truths, faulty generalizations, sensationalism, and is not reflective of the true spirit of Mormon faith. We find particularly offensive the emphasis that Mormonism is some sort of subversive plot — a danger to the community, a threat to the institution of marriage, and destructive to the mental health of teenagers. We are of the opinion that the film relies heavily on appeals to fear, prejudice and unworthy human emotions.

  • Kerrie

    During the first minute of the video I immediately saw some similarity to Superman… am I wrong on that?

  • everettattebury

    More films from the same production company:
    http://www.imdb.com/company/co0109257/

  • Claudia

    If any of you have any (honest) questions about what we believe, just ask.

    I have a bunch of questions about Mormon beliefs. I’ll just ask one because it is the claim that has always striken me as most obviously wrong.

    Do Mormons still believe that Native Americans are a tribe of Israel? If so, how do they handle the issue of this being demonstrably false through genetic testing? In addition how do they deal with the utter lack of archaeological evidence for the existence of Lamanites or Nephites?

  • The Mormon beliefs aren’t the only beliefs that are strange. I found this video two weeks ago which does an excellent job of paradying Christian Bible Study/Sunday school for children. (Not really suitable for children) It’s hilarious because it summarily depicts just how rediculous the Bible really is.

  • Jon

    Jake is correct. This is from an anti-Mormon film meant to illustrate the absurdity of Mormonism. Most ex-Mormons (like me) see it as over-the-top and sensationalistic.

    It is, however, mostly accurate in the sense that almost everything discussed has support in LDS scripture or in some talk or book given by a prominent church leader… he didn’t make this stuff up. A lot of this could be considered “folk doctrine” though, meaning that it gets talked about among certain Mormons, but rarely, if ever, taught over the pulpit.

    But I think the worst part of this video is Decker’s way of describing things. It’s a little bit like calling Christianity a “cannibalistic zombie cult.” You can defend such a description, but certainly no Christian would ever identify with it.

  • DR

    As far as I know, the film is correct. The Kolob (probably a distortion by Smith of Hebrew Kokab, “Star”) story is in the “Pearl of Great Price”, one of the Mormons sacred texts. It seems to me that Mormons don’t really want to talk about this book, and that they discourage asking too many questions about it. So I wouldn’t be surprised if Mormons themselves are encouraged to not look too closely into the text until they are “spiritually ready” or some such bullcrap. Clearly the Mormons are ashamed of this piece of sci-fi in their scriptures, but they don’t want to simply set it aside, as it would mean that Joseph Smith was the nutjob we all know he was.

    Not very different from Scientology and the OTIII materials, in fact.

  • Unrein

    I can’t watch that, I’m severely allergic to bullshit. But I’m guessing those very Aryan looking fellas are the “good guys”?

  • Jon

    I have a bunch of questions about Mormon beliefs. I’ll just ask one because it is the claim that has always striken me as most obviously wrong.

    Do Mormons still believe that Native Americans are a tribe of Israel? If so, how do they handle the issue of this being demonstrably false through genetic testing?

    They deal with it the way any Creationist deals with evidence for evolution.

    One response is that there are flaws with the testing and the science. Another response is that additional testing actually does show genetic links to Israel. (Sparing the boring details, these are both pseudoscientific, the same kind of “evidence” Answers in Genesis might produce.)
    Another response is to simply ignore it. Have faith, don’t worry about that science stuff, it’ll all make sense later, keep going to church.

    In addition how do they deal with the utter lack of archaeological evidence for the existence of Lamanites or Nephites?

    The evidence has all disappeared because there wasn’t very much of it to begin with, and a jungle environment would ruin most of what was there. Maybe they’ll find something someday, but for now they must have faith. Or, again like AiG, they will go about interpreting existing artifacts or geological features in a way that fits with their story.

  • Thanks for the info on “The God Makers”! Did Jeremiah Films make the Jehovah’s Witness animation as well? Are there animated segments about other religions?

  • Hypatia’s Daughter

    Well, in one way, at least, Mormonism kicks Islam’s butt. Not only can you get 72 virgins, but they seem to be eternally young (the god-men aged to a respectable maturity but not the women) and they are all blonde!

  • Claudia,

    Your two questions are ones that have been beaten to death all over the net. I will give a brief answer as I mainly meant questions about what we believe rather than a defense of our beliefs.
    Some Mormons believe that Native Americas are a tribe of Israel. But this is not an official belief (although it was almost universally believed in the earlier days of the Church). What is official is that we believe that three small groups of people came to the Americas. And nearly every modern LDS scholar agrees that these groups were not alone in the Americas and were surrounded by a much larger indigenous population. This is where problems come into the DNA studies. Most critics who use them make the assumption that we believe Native Americans came solely, or mostly, from the small groups who came to the Americas. As for your archeology question, how do you know? What would archeology evidence from Lamanites or Nephites look like? If you really are interested in reading the dialogues that have already gone on about your questions here are some resources.
    http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=18&num=1&id=601
    http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon/Archaeology

    If you want to discuss this stuff in greater detail with actual Mormons you can do so here:
    http://www.mormondialogue.org/forum/11-general-discussions/
    Or if you prefer a site with more of an anti-theist membership:
    http://www.religiousforums.com/forum/

  • For a similar video by a different author about Christianity in general check out this one. The audio (and all credit) goes to YouTuber magx01. The images for this version were added by YouTuber TheCrescentKnight.

    Although it is easy to make Mormonism, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Christianity in general look ridiculous with these types of videos, it seems that it is easy to make them look ridiculous for a reason. They are ridiculous. Similar videos can be made about any other supernatural beliefs. For example, here is one about Scientology. Note that YouTuber VoodooSixxx has some good stuff.

    Some stuff to check out while our Christian brothers and sisters are getting their weekly theology pep-talk.

  • This video was created by an ex-Mormon with intentions of exposing the crazy beliefs of that church. I don’t know how much of what he says is really accurate and how much is smear. But my mother is an ex-Mormon, and I read some of “The God Maker” books when I was a teenager. (Mom had them around, and I was curious.)

    The LDS church totally disavows this guy, naturally. This video is surely not being shown to Mormon children…it would be like showing Christian children videos from Edward Currant.

  • John A

    Oh, and from the wiki link. A quote by the National Conference of Christians and Jews:
    The film does not fairly portray the Mormon Church, Mormon history, or Mormon belief. It makes extensive use of half-truths, faulty generalizations, sensationalism, and is not reflective of the true spirit of Mormon faith. We find particularly offensive the emphasis that Mormonism is some sort of subversive plot — a danger to the community, a threat to the institution of marriage, and destructive to the mental health of teenagers. We are of the opinion that the film relies heavily on appeals to fear, prejudice and unworthy human emotions.

    So … this video basically says about Mormorns what Mormons say about gays, atheists, mainline Christians, and anyone else who they don’t like.

    Fantastically hypocritical.

  • El Bastardo

    “Anti-Mormon”?

    Really?

    Sheesh.

  • Bryant P

    This is my first comment here, so hello everyone!

    I am a former believing Mormon and current atheist. I only resigned last year. As was already pointed out, most of the content of this video is only half true, it is confrontational, the creators had an obvious anti-Mormon agenda, and modern Mormons would probably deny any of it is true (or perhaps prefer not to discuss it on grounds that it is “sacred” or unimportant to their salvation).

    With that important caveat, I must point out that some version of almost all the strange doctrine in this video was at one time taught to Mormon congregations in the nineteenth century. Official Mormon beliefs are often difficult to pin down, however, as they have changed over time.

    Nevertheless, it is true that modern Mormons believe (1) God has a physical body (“of flesh and bone”), (2) resides on a planet orbiting a star called “Kolob,” (3) is both the literal physical and spiritual father of Jesus Christ, (4) was once a person like anyone on earth, (5) was “exalted” to godhood, and (6) created humanity in order to cultivate our own godhood, so that we can become like him, eternal gods. These doctrines are often referred to as “deep doctrines” and seldom discussed. Such discussion is somewhat taboo, as these topics are at best ancillary to the message of modern Mormonism and little understood among common members.

    In addition, while polygamy in modern Mormonism is grounds for excommunication, polygamy is part of Church canon: that is, there will be polygamists in the highest rung of heaven, the Celestial Kingdom.

    I am happy to provide as unbiased and accurate answers to other questions anyone may have!

  • Brian

    Absurdities in Mormonism? Isn’t a god sacrificing himself to himself to mollify his anger at his own creation absurd enough?

    Wanna know all you need to know about Mormonism? Google “Mountain Meadows Massacre.”

  • From what I can tell, this video is more or less accurate. A lot of this cartoon is about things not actually in the book of mormon itself, but in the extremely problematic Book of Abraham, part of the Pearl of Great Price, an official book in the mormon canon.

    That’s where “Kolob” and the notion that elohim was once a regular person are described. The Book of Abaraham is also airtight evidence that Joe Smith made the whole religion up. The scrolls he supoposedly translated BofA from still exist today and they aren’t what Joe Smith said they were, they’re just ordinary egyptian funeral scrolls.

    Of course, having HARD evidence that mormonism is a bunch of B/S doesn’t bother the truly faithful…

  • From a friend of mine – who is Mormon, had never seen the video, and was utterly appalled by the anti-Mormon propagandistic nature of it ~ said the creators take tiny grains of truth about the belief system and twist them horrifically. She suggested that anyone with questions can go here: http://mormon.org/faq/

    and “start an anonymous chat with a missionary for better answers”…

    Hope that helps somewhat.

  • Rich Wilson

    I’d be curious to know what Mormons (current or ex) think of PBS’s take: http://www.pbs.org/mormons/view/

  • Steve

    Isn’t a god sacrificing himself to himself to mollify his anger at his own creation absurd enough?

    That applies to all Christian sects though

  • Do Mormons still believe that Native Americans are a tribe of Israel? If so, how do they handle the issue of this being demonstrably false through genetic testing? In addition how do they deal with the utter lack of archaeological evidence for the existence of Lamanites or Nephites?

    If you’re a mormon and you write a book about it, they’ll excommunicate you

  • Angel

    @Iason Ouabache

    That made my Sunday. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • If any of you have any (honest) questions about what we believe, just ask.

    Ok, here’s a question: what’s the official church position on the book of abraham and the kinderhook plates?

  • Canadian Atheist, eh!

    I haven’t been to Sunday School in ages and ages! Just wish I’d been able to drink coffee and laugh about it all back then.

    ;^)

  • Don’t know about the Mormon vid, but if I remember correctly, the one on Jehovah’s Witnesses was pretty accurate. And yes, they are all ridiculous.

  • ScarletA

    ugh! I live in a town with so many mormons. Unlike the catholic church, which won’t change at all, this religion conveniently “forgets” things, and makes the rules up as it goes.

    Best part of the documentary clip? A potentially epic name for a band: Endless Celestial Sex!

  • TychaBrahe

    Do Mormons still believe that Native Americans are a tribe of Israel? If so, how do they handle the issue of this being demonstrably false through genetic testing? In addition how do they deal with the utter lack of archaeological evidence for the existence of Lamanites or Nephites?

    About ten years ago there was an article published in United Airline’s in-flight magazine where they interviewed someone high up in the LDS church who was involved in organizing archeological digs in the areas of Central America and Mexico where they believe the greatest evidence of Jesus’s visiting the Native American will be found.

    He admitted that after years of doing this work with no result, he was losing his faith.

  • Karl

    Having spent the first 35 years of my life as a Mormon, I’ll say that the theology in the cartoon is accurate, though agree with everyone’s assessment above that this isn’t a Mormon church film. There’s not anything in the film that couldn’t be backed up with either Mormon scripture or some spoken statement of some church leader — but it focuses on some of the more offbeat stuff.

    Note that most of these offbeat ideas are from statements of the very early church leaders during the first few decades when the church was still developing its theology. Joseph Smith was claiming constant revelation, and his associates were as well, but it looks more like speculation and trying on ideas for size. There wasn’t much in the way of checks-and-balances in how the theology was developed other than Smith being in charge, and he had the wildest imagination of them all.

    The church leadership since those days, and especially the last few decades, has been trying to quietly sweep these offbeat ideas under the carpet and make the church more mainstream Christian, but stuff that’s printed in the Mormon scripture is pretty hard to erase. And while Joseph Smith indeed said that god Elohim is the father of all of our spirits and lives near the planet Kolob, and this belief in in the Mormon scripture, it has always been considered one of the less-important doctrines and isn’t talked about much anymore. I would guess that if you were to compare modern Mormon and anti-Mormon writings you’d get more hits for “Kolob” among the latter. Ask a Mormon and they’ll admit that it’s there, but they just don’t care. That’s not what they talk about in church in Sunday.

  • Pureone

    During the first minute of the video I immediately saw some similarity to Superman… am I wrong on that?

    more that this and Superman are similar to the story of Moses.

  • laughed pretty hard at 5:12. I tell ya, Coca Cola will sponsor anything to get their name on it.

  • I know Coca Cola is on the list of don’ts, but it’s the only one with a question mark by it. Why is that?

  • JD

    Wow, that company really has it in for Mormons! Four out of nine titles are anti-LDS, two are anti-Jehovah’s Witnesses, one against Harry Potter, which is probably a 60 minute slam on Wiccans, who say the Harry Potter story is nothing like what they believe anyway. Only two titles appear to not be built to antagonize other beliefs.

    I’m glad I didn’t watch the video, hopefully I can find more neutral resources on the topic.

  • Karl

    re: Coca Cola. The Mormon dietary code, called the “Word of Wisdom” was strongly influenced by the 19th century Temperance movement. It outlaws the use of tobacco, alcohol, and “hot drinks”, the latter being interpreted as coffee and tea, thus outlawing any drink with caffeine. Officially cola drinks aren’t outlawed, but you can’t buy them on the BYU campus.

  • The teachings in the video are more-or-less correct, and very much in line with what I was taught in growing up in the LDS church (though the description that this video was used in Mormon youth groups is not — it was produced for mainline Christians to make Mormons look foolish).

  • I was a devout Mormon for 25 years. I can’t imagine any Mormon believer today watching this film and saying, “Yes, that’s what we believe.” It’s mostly based in things Mormons believe, but it tends to present a lot of more “out there” 19th-century speculative theology as if that’s what every Mormon believes today. It’s not.

  • Also, here’s Karen Black singing the Kolob hymn someone mentioned earlier:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aM-PeBnCLx4

    and the dance remix:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BA3SO1sokA

  • Vas

    “start an anonymous chat with a missionary for better answers”…

    Great, better answers from a teenager raised in the faith and given a set of canned answers to pass out.

    “I hope they call me on a mission
    When I have grown a foot or two
    I hope by then I will be ready
    To teach and preach and work as missionaries do

    I hope that I can share the gospel
    With those who want to know the truth
    I want to be a missionary
    And serve and help the Lord while I am in my youth”

    sound familar?
    Everything in the video is 100% true and this is the stuff they teach to kids. Any LDS who denies this is lying through their magic underwear. These folk are bigots and vile campaigners against equal civil rights.

    A quote by the National Conference of Christians and Jews:
    The film does not fairly portray the Mormon Church, Mormon history, or Mormon belief. It makes extensive use of half-truths, faulty generalizations, sensationalism, and is not reflective of the true spirit of Mormon faith. We find particularly offensive the emphasis that Mormonism is some sort of subversive plot — a danger to the community, a threat to the institution of marriage, and destructive to the mental health of teenagers. We are of the opinion that the film relies heavily on appeals to fear, prejudice and unworthy human emotions.

    Oh dear the defenders of the faith don’t like this video, go figure.

    We find particularly offensive the emphasis that Mormonism is some sort of subversive plot — a danger to the community, a threat to the institution of marriage, and destructive to the mental health of teenagers.

    Yeah I find all this stuff offensive as well, and to make matters worse it’s all true, but it seem they find it offensive only because it is laid out for all to see not because it is a false statement. LDS can make all the excuses they want for their villainy and their well funded attempts to repress others, I’m not buying the LDS public face as I’ve seen behind the curtain and it’s a bunch of bigoted misogynistic money grubbing bull shit. It’s a modern time and information flows freely, Mormans have been exposed long ago for the frauds they are, LDS is a classic scam. Go stir that into your Postum you wack jobs.

  • The Captain

    Did anyone else watch that and think the only good guy in that story was Satan?

  • @kuri Hmm, very different from my experience. Everything that was presented in this video I heard growing up. With a different tone, of course, but the substance was the same.

    I’m curious where you grew up. I’ve noticed that people who were part of the LDS church outside of Utah get a very different “version” of it, like it’s watered down to appear less weird elsewhere. I know countless people who moved to SLC to be close to the church, then left it once they got here because it was so different from what they knew.

  • The film does not fairly portray the Mormon Church, Mormon history, or Mormon belief. It makes extensive use of half-truths, faulty generalizations, sensationalism

    I’d call that an accurate assessment.

    Of course, I’d also call this an accurate assessment of the LDS church:

    it’s a bunch of bigoted misogynistic money grubbing bull shit

    In other words, the film is not an accurate portrayal of the actual bigoted misogynistic money grubbing bull shit.

  • porlob,

    I joined the church in San Diego when I was 20. I’m familiar with everything in the film. It’s not so much the substance as the presentation that I think most Mormons would find alien. “Spirit babies” in diapers? “Endless celestial sex”? God knocking on Mary’s door? Seriously?

  • I’m correcting myself upon rewatching (I’d seen this video before, and remembered it a little differently, and only listened half-assedly this time). Though most of what’s in this video is more or less Mormon doctrine, there are some things in here that are off…

    * I was never taught that the 1/3 of humanity that rebelled in the pre-existence ended up black. However, I was taught that black people were descendents of Cain and bore his “mark.”

    * I’ve never heard in Mormonism anything about God physically having sex with Mary to conceive Jesus, or of Jesus having kids.

    * Men and women don’t both become gods. Just the dudes. And indeed it USED to be taught that they MUST be in polygamous marriages, however that hasn’t been doctrine for 100+ years.

    * Mormons don’t believe that JSmith was more important than Jesus.

    Other than that, it’s pretty spot-on

  • JBrock

    I think I recognise at least some parts of the animation as authentically LDS, although given the twenty-odd years that have passed I won’t swear to it.

    Even if I’m right on that point, though, the soundtrack is definitely an added voice-over. It reflects a number of LDS teachings accurately, although in derogatory terms. I don’t recall this as being specifically aimed at children, but even if it were aimed at adults the narrator of an LDS film intended for general audiences would never have referred to “Celestial Sex”. Any specific teachings on that topic would be strictly Temple material, if they exist at all.

    Also, black skin was always explained to me as the mark of Cain; I never heard the bit about it being the punishment for attempted neutrality in the primordial Jesus vs. Lucifer Debates. At best, I think that’s an example of an officially unsanctioned folk belief, or perhaps a mainstream Evangelical propagandist conflating Africans with leprechauns.

  • * I was never taught that the 1/3 of humanity that rebelled in the pre-existence ended up black. However, I was taught that black people were descendents of Cain and bore his “mark.”

    Yeah, Blacks supposedly were semi-neutrals who just barely managed to stay in the 2/3 of spirits who get to be born. Of course, the church doesn’t teach that anymore (although they can’t quite bring themselves to openly repudiate it, much less apologize for it, either).

    * I’ve never heard in Mormonism anything about God physically having sex with Mary to conceive Jesus, or of Jesus having kids.

    Brigham Young taught the part about Mary, and I think many Mormons assume Jesus was married, but I don’t think I ever heard about his kids either.

    * Men and women don’t both become gods. Just the dudes. And indeed it USED to be taught that they MUST be in polygamous marriages, however that hasn’t been doctrine for 100+ years.

    I think it’s fair to say that the women supposedly become goddesses. But you’re definitely right about the polygamy part.

    * Mormons don’t believe that JSmith was more important than Jesus.

    Yeah, and the ending that implies that Mormons think they’re saved by Smith’s blood is pretty much an outright lie.

  • Justin Miyundees

    http://www.pbs.org/mormons/view/

    @1:18:22 “If you can get people to believe that they are doing god’s will, you can get them to do anything.”

    AMEN!

  • I remember watching this film in the evangelical church of my childhood. The entire congregation watched it on Sunday night in the sanctuary. It was designed to inform us that Mormonism was a cult and Mormons are not to be trusted. It worked. I was afraid of Mormons for years!

  • Let the mormon church tell us what it is about the vedio that’s not true to them. I was raised a mormon. I know what they believe.
    The book of mormon talks about how the societies that have secret signs, symbols, and codes or the abomination of the earth. Yet that’s what they practice in there temples. Joseph Smith got all that stuff from the Masons. The mormon church teaches there kids to be bigots. That’s for sure. I would say that I know more about the mormon church than most of them do because I’ve studied it. They believe what they are told not what was writen. The book of mormon is a big JOKE!

  • Rollingforest

    Yes this film is similar to to calling Catholicism a “cannibalistic zombie worshiping cult”. No Catholic would ever agree with that assessment and no Mormon would ever agree with this video even though much of what it says is technically acurrate.

    I would disagree with Denise that we should ask the church missionaries about thier beliefs. Mormons missionaries trained to give what in their words is “milk before meat” where they leave parts of their teaching out that they think you won’t accept and only teach it to you later when you are converted (just as the scientologists do)

    Yes, Mormonism is growing, but it is growing equal with the population so percentage-wise it is going nowhere. Christianity has lost 10.2% of its followers in the last 20 years and those with no religion have increased their numbers by 6.8%

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Us_demographics#Religions_of_American_adults

  • Jackie

    “Did anyone else watch that and think the only good guy in that story was Satan?”

    Right on Captain

    Actually at one point in the temple secret ( er, I mean sacred )ceremony where we are told to put on our aprons, I found it very strange that the only person in the film that was wearing it WAS Satan! It was the beginning of the end for me. I was also told that no matter how much something seemed to be true, if the prophet says it isn’t true….it wasn’t! You are told that you have free will but don’t EVER think you can actually USE it! well, THAT was the end for me. Now, trying to get your name removed from their member list..what a nightmare. Don’t even believe the large number of members that they claim. It makes me sick how much money they spend on political matters. This church is EVIL!!

  • Daniel

    No idea.

    I remember a friend in high school (early 90s) who was a questioning Mormon telling me about a very confusing film his church had shown him that featured the angels breaking into three groups (good, evil, and neutral) and the neutral third being punished by being made humans and sent to earth. He was unsure from that film if they were supposed to be blacks or Native Americans.

    I would love to get a copy of that old film he saw, and wondered if this was part of it (minus the voice over).

  • As to whether “Mormonism is growing,” it has been my experience that no church (even my beloved UU) is particularly diligent in removing former members from their claimed numbers. At least LDS has a formal procedure for resignation, but as Jackie tells us, they don’t make it easy; and even if they did, a lot of people are still going to drift away casually without formally saying so. Most other denominations don’t even have a procedure for it. The Southern Baptist Convention a few years ago came out with the discovery that possibly as many as a third of their members have been double-counted; they’d move to a new town, join a church there and never get taken off the rolls of their old one. It’s not necessarily that officials are being wilfully dishonest, but all church membership figures are suspect. (Yes, I know, just like everything else they say…)

  • If you enjoy reading I highly recommend a book called A Gathering of Saints by Robert Lindsay.

    It’s the story of Mark Hofmann, who was a Mormon forger and bomber in the 80’s. Aside from being a fascinating crime story it offers a very readable history of the religion and demonstrates how much power the Mormon church has over politics in Utah. It’s a well-researched and well-told account and I promise it won’t bore you.

  • ephymeris

    I’d be willing to bet this is not a cartoon from the Mormons for the Mormons. This was shown to my husband when he was in highschool (a private Assembly of God school) to “educate” them about the Mormon beliefs and reinforce the belief that Mormons aren’t “True Christians” like Ass of God. It’s a scare flick but it does line up with my understanding of Mormon beliefs (from Mormon friends and independent reading on my own) it sounds derogatory to the Mormon belief in several parts.

  • Looks like the video succeeded where the creators probably never meant it to. Not only does it spread fear of Mormons amongst mainstream Christians but it even helps anti-theists feel comfortable in their petty bigotry through confirmation bias.

  • Seth R.

    The non-denomination National Council of Christians and Jews wrote this about the film you’ve displayed here:

    “The film does not – in our opinion – fairly portray the Mormon Church, Mormon history, or Mormon belief. It makes extensive use of “half-truth,” faulty generalizations, erroneous interpretations, and sensationalism. It is not reflective of the genuine spirit of the Mormon faith.

    We find particularly offensive the emphasis in the film that Mormonism is some sort of subversive plot – a danger to the community, a threat to the institution of marriage, and is destructive to the mental health of teenagers. All of our experience with our Mormon neighbors provides eloquent refutation of these charges.

    We are of the opinion that The Godmakers relies heavily on appeals to fear, prejudice and other less worthy human emotions. We believe that continued use of this film poses genuine danger to the climate of good will and harmony which currently exists between…neighbors of differing faiths. It appears to us to be a basically unfair and untruthful presentation of what Mormons really believe and practice.”

    The film was produced based on Ed Decker’s sensational (and largely misleading) book “The Godmakers.” Decker left the LDS Church when his bishop took his ex-wife’s side in an emotional abused case. He’s harbored a bitter and paranoid vendetta against the Mormon Church ever since. He currently suffers delusions that the LDS Church is trying to have him assassinated.

    There’s a lot of point by point stuff I could do about the film demonstrating why it’s misleading or inaccurate. But for now, I’ll just suggest that you’d be rather foolish to let your perception of an entire world faith be defined by cheap low-quality material like this.

  • JustSayin’

    I may be late to the party, and someone’s probably already made this point, but I just have to comment on what Jake said earlier in the thread:

    We find particularly offensive the emphasis that Mormonism is some sort of subversive plot — a danger to the community, a threat to the institution of marriage, and destructive to the mental health of teenagers.

    Wow.

    Unholy. Fucking. God.

    Speaking as a gay man, I cannot contain my contempt at his audacity in making such a statement. The unbelievable amount of time, money and effort the Moron Church (yes, that’s intentional) spent to have Prop 8 passed in California in 2008 speaks for itself. And then he has the fucking nerve to claim offense at being accused of “threatening” marriage? After the vicious mis- and disinformation campaigns they waged? Really?

    REALLY?

  • S-Y

    According to this, Mormons are polytheists!

  • Brucey

    There are many things that are right in this video. Being a current, albeit questioning mormon I think I can give my opinion on many of the ideas shown in this video.

    Though mormons do believe that righteous (sealed in the temple, priesthood holding (husband), and in line with mormon teachings) members can become exalted as gods and create their own worlds, there is really nothing taught about previous gods before Heavenly Father (the father of Jesus and all other spirits, HF). Though I have only heard this once from my seminary teacher, the exalted members are supposed to become polygamists simply because “the number of righteous women will out number the righteous men” (his words, not mine) and since women cannot hold the priesthood they cannot be gods without a husband.

    I am 99.9% certain that the part about HF and his wife coming down to be Adam and Eve is wrong. Adam is the human manifestation of the Archangel Michael and definitely not HF.

    Oh, and the part about Joseph Smith doing more than any man is partly true. It was said by John Taylor after the martyrdom of Joseph and his brother Hyrum. However, John Taylor does not put Joseph Smith above Jesus Christ: “Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, csave Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it.” Doctrine and Covenants section 135 verse 3.

    I haven’t read all of the comments, so I don’t know if anyone else has said anything along these lines before me. These were the only major issues that I had with film.

  • Jagyr

    Woah, Jake, project much?

  • Crux Australis

    Endless celestial sex!?! That’s it, I’m converting.

  • Christophe Thill

    Is the part about the celestial job interview really what Mormons believe ? Satan proposing to save everybody, and to take credit for it ? A little vain, perhaps, but isn’t it a bit nicer than the things usually called “satanic” ? And Jesus ^proposed to save not everybody, and he took credit for it, and got the job… and he’s the good guy in the story ? Does it make sense for Mormons ???

  • OK, Hermant, after all the comments above, out of “Blogging Ethics” I think you should remove the quote below:

    “According to the description (written by an atheist):”

    It is totally inaccurate. Instead, insert the source as given by the commentor.

    (Hemant says: That is what the description of the video says on YouTube, but I have added a correction underneath that statement in the post.)

  • @Brucey
    Interesting perspective, thanks. I left the church (intellectually, anyway) when I was 14, so I’ve no idea what is actively being taught now.

    As for Adam being God… That was one of the many, MANY strange out-of-nowhere doctrines taught by Brigham Young. The LDS church has tried to paper over most of these. While I don’t know if that particular doctrine has been officially repudiated, it’s certainly not taught ans almost no Mormons believe it today.

  • Cameron

    Guess what? I asked a Mormon about this video, and he responded right on with the predictions. he told me it was a misrepresentation, and full of half truths. BAM!

  • As someone that grew up Mormon (and left about 15 years ago), and having seen The Godmakers (on my mission, on all places), I echo kuri and porlob’s comments.

    The film takes LDS gospel teachings and adds some over the top elements to them, with a few stretches along the way.

    For example, the line that Joseph Smith is more important the Jesus. The actual term was that Joseph Smith had done more for the salvation of man – save Jesus. Which puts him just under Jesus. Not exactly a Beatles/Lennon quote, but close enough for an anti-mormon to stretch it out a bit.

    As others have commented, polygamy is an integral part of the LDS teachings. While it’s not something devout and active LDS people do anymore, it’s part of the whole “Plan of Salvation” that rarely gets direct mentions, but eluded to every so often. A man can be sealed to multiple women in the Temple, which means that after the resurrection, all of those wives sealed to him get to be with him, assuming they all stayed faithful in the church. However, a woman can only be sealed to one man, which means the polygamy doesn’t work in reverse. So a woman can’t have multiple men sealed to her.

    Case in point… I am still temple married to my ex-wife. If she were to meet another LDS man and want to get married and sealed to him, my temple divorce would need to be nullified (which would be ok by me). A very male centered and dominated belief, which I admit bothers me to some degree. Since I don’t believe or practice anymore, it’s not that big of a deal to me, but it was one of those tenants of the LDS religion that struck and odd chord with me.

    Anyway, just adding my two cents here on all of this.

  • “….known for his tall tales….”

    Did it not occur to anyone to consider that perhaps he was just making shit up?

    -RF

  • steph

    this is so far beyond stupid. basically none of this is accurate. basically all that is true is that God’s name is Eloheim. God doesnt have multiple wives, didnt have sex with the virgin mary. almost NONE of this is true. this is not only ignorant, but its filled with blatent haneous lies.
    and its called the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints.
    Joseph Smith is important,but its not HIS relegion and hes not more important than christ. and we dont worship any God besides Heavenly Father.
    in church we have entire lessons dedicated to respecting the relegions of others, no matter how different from ours.
    too bad you all havent learned the same thing.
    maybe think twice before opening your mouths about something you all clearly dont understand.

  • jess

    SCARLET A,
    not to belittle your relegion, but its false to say that it has never changed.
    it used to believe that unbaptized babies went to purgatory forever. and didnt it excommunicate galileo for suggesting that the earth isnt the center of the universe?

  • Richard Wade

    steph, you said:

    in church we have entire lessons dedicated to respecting the relegions of others, no matter how different from ours.
    too bad you all havent learned the same thing.

    I’m glad to hear that there are such lessons in the LDS church. Do they also include teaching respect for people who are not convinced by any religion?

    I ask this because of my and my friends’ frequent experience at the hands of Mormons. Instead of respect, they seem to have been very carefully trained to treat atheists who have done nothing wrong to them, even atheists in their own family, like demon shit.

    Can you help to educate us about this phenomenon?

  • I have a question for the ex-mormons here. Is the church downplaying the stranger parts of Mormonism like the Book of Abraham? I’ve heard some LDS leaders make comments to the effect that the BofA isn’t important to the “restored gospel”

    What are the chances of the LDS de-canonizing the BofA?

  • All religion is silly. Check out my blogs on black atheism at http://www.thepeoplesmic.blogspot.com