8: The Mormon Proposition

Blog Post Also Known As: 99 Problems but a Bitch Aint One – Volume 1

8: The Mormon Proposition
Directed: Reed Cowan and Steven Greenstreet
USA, 80 min.

As far as I’m concerned, 8: The Mormon Proposition has its heart in the right place. But, I’m coming from a very biased position. 8 attacks the church in ways that will be construed as manipulative and underhanded and, therefore, will end up preaching to the choir. Then again, Mormons are up to the same techniques in their political corner, so maybe you have to fight fire with fire.

To start, I need to come right out and say that I was raised Mormon, but haven’t attended church regularly since 2002. It has been a long 7 years, full of drama and tears, and I could relate to the ex-Mormons in the film more than I can express in writing. A lot has changed in the church since I was a member, but these particular issues were raging 7 years ago, too. I’m familiar with the hurt and fury behind the issues of gay rights as they concern the LDS church. I could never write an objective review.

That said, I could still recognize the factually…um….iffy…moments in the film that will decrease its validity to those in the know. As far as I know, for example, Mormons don’t believe God had multiple wives. And it is not established doctrine that there will be polygamy in heaven. That said, it’s not gospel principles that are really the subject of the documentary (though the filmmakers certainly use their interpretations of these principles as forms of manipulation). And the information they give surrounding Proposition 8, as far as I’m aware, is accurate.

With a subject as dividing as this one, presentation is key, and 8: The Mormon Proposition does not seem to concern itself with any attempt at conversion. The first image of the film is a creepy, distorted video of prominent Mormon leaders discussing what they see to be an important moral issue at stake in 2008’s election. The video streamed via the internet through a perfectly clear webcam, so the distortion is on the part of Cowan and Greenstreet, who use such a removed, foreign image to automatically position viewers politically. 8 continues to utilize sound distortions and eerie music to manipulate viewers into thinking that the LDS church is more than just an extremely conservative group: it’s a criminal organization, akin to the mafia.

What’s frustrating, is that the film is convincing enough without all the transparent manipulations. The facts stand up on their own! The Mormon church was the leading organization behind the “Yes on Prop 8” campaigns. They contributed the most amount of money. This led to many LGBT supporters to finally leave the church. Chris Butters is an asshole. Many LGBT kids in Mormon families suffer tremendously. The interviews with the families affected by this issue should be enough without all the conspiracy theories, and would provide a much more compelling/convincing approach to a delicate issue.

8: The Mormon Proposition will be affective on both sides. On my side of the fence the film produces righteous injustice; and on the other side it produces….righteous injustice. While this kind of ranting and raving can be very therapeutic, I doubt that this is the documentary that will promote policy change.

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11 Comments

Filed under 99 Problems but a Bitch Aint One, Film Festivals, Whitney

11 responses to “8: The Mormon Proposition

  1. Sounds like the recent film Outrage, which employed many of the same techniques, and also likely won’t do more than preach to the choir. Of course, I’m part of that choir, so I’d likely enjoy this one, too, especially being so close to Mormonland.

  2. brian

    i haven’t seen this movie (and probably won’t), but i always wonder what the point of documentaries like this (ones that “preaches to the choir”). especially when it mirrors the same manipulative techniques.

    but really, who is the enemy in this case? is it the mormon church, or is it actually state and federal laws that legalize a very narrow definition of marriage to begin with. sure, we can argue that the mormon church is in the wrong for supporting the status quo, but they’re aren’t the ones who created this inequality, it was the state.

    past that, shouldn’t we try to overthrow the very definition of family rather than slightly amending it to allow another narrow definition in? like, what about non-sexual partnerships? why are they denied the same rights? like, why can’t i claim my roommate as a dependent and have him added to my health insurance? or my sister?

  3. Yes. I agree with all of your points here. But I guess there’s always a place to start, and since there’s already a platform for gay marriage, maybe it can get the ball rolling. Especially when the issue involves a group that has been so outspokenly hated in the past.

  4. Cal

    Here’s my biggest problem with the Mormon-are-why-gays-can’t-marry arguement. There are only 755,750 members of the Mormon faith living in California. The total population of California is estimated at 36,961,660 (2% of total population). We’ll be generous and say 60% of California Mormons are of voting age, and that they all voted supporting Prop. 8, that’s only 453,450 people in a vote that was won by roughly 600,000 votes.

    This makes good points in support of gay marriage, it just makes a flimsy attempt at scapegoating. Their attacks would be more founded at Christianity in general. Now there’s an attack I can really get behind.

    • I think the main beef the filmmakers have with the Mormons was their fundraising tactics and how much money the eventually raised. Allegedly, the Mormon church was behind most of the funds that went into the campaign for Prop 8, and money=votes. I think the story they tell about bishops going to members’ homes and telling them just how much to donate was anecdotal and not typical, but I know how much they pushed money donations from the pulpit and how willing Mormons are to listen to the pulpit.

  5. Dave H.

    an interesting distinction between the haters in the gay activist community and the those aligned with protecting the sanctity of marriage including Mormons, Catholics and many protestants. On the left we have those whose agenda is hate , smear and propaganda complete with physical violence and property damage and defacement. On the right we have an organized effort to use the democratic process granted by the US constitution and offer a proposition where all can vote. Even with the vote taken and prop 8 passing the left attempted to censor and silence the voice of the people by attempting to influence the liberal supreme court of California (which failed) so now comes the salty, mean spirited, propaganda filled video’s which the left thinks will influence and further their twisted cause but once again it will only go to make more clear the ugly undercurrents of the radical gay activists and their Hollywood money men. Pretty sad really.

    • I think it’s a huge mistake to think that everyone fighting for gay marriage are “haters” and everyone fighting against gay marriage just want to protect the sanctity of marriage. I saw more hate coming from both sides of the argument than I ever have in a political campaign (I live in Salt Lake). And saying that the left “attempted to censor and silence the voice of the people by attempting to influence the liberal supreme court…” is funny to me. Here you are defending the American government, and yet you don’t want anyone to ever question the majority through the court system – a vital part of American politics. There have been a lot of instances when the majority has been morally wrong – that’s why we have a supreme court and that’s why we can’t live in a true democracy.

  6. Dave H.

    One more point to make here. Even as all this hate and propaganda from the gay activist community spreads across the nation like a cancer there are even more states now with marriage protection legislation ready for passage and the membership of the LDS church continues to grow at record pace. It seems to me that in the end right will win out and the facade of gay activism will be exposed to show its ugly face.

    • Have you ever met a gay activist? Your comment makes you sound very ignorant. Also, how many blogs talking about Prop 8 do you seek out every day? Because I don’t think I know you personally, but you seem dead set on changing my mind. It won’t work.

  7. de mexico

    para empesar .. los jovenes q sirven una mision en la iglesia de jesucristo de los santos de los ultimos dias mas conosida como mormones .. no utilizan ese tipo de gafet .. oqeii .. si van a imitar porfavor que se mas original . xq si ofende

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