What to do after General Conference is Over

If you’re reading this, you’ve presumably already decided to imbibe 4 hours of boob-tube today, in addition to spending huge swathes of time cuddling with your computer, desperately hoping some esteemed BCC perma will acknowledge your witty comments. Those of you with a Y-chromosome may also make a trip to the Stake Center later and plop down in front of a make-shift movie theatre. Given your media overload, may I make a simple suggestion for how you might spend the rest of your day?

Watch. More. Television.

That’s right, no sense getting off the couch. Instead, stick around after the second session of GC (today), and check out the 5000 Days Project: Two Brothers, on BYUTV. The modern Mormon men at Modern Mormon Men were kind enough to host an advance screening with the director last week near Seattle which I was able to attend. But I refuse to summarize its contents, so I will let DB do it for me:

At the turn of the century, Award winning filmmaker Rick Stevenson, decided to track the lives of 100 children for the next 5000 Days. Two Brothers follows two of those children (Sam & Luke Nelson) in a surprisingly candid journey through time involving their adolescent struggles with brotherhood, depression, peer pressure, forgiveness, and growth in their Mormon faith. As a Protestant Christian, Stevenson got a front seat view of this oft misunderstood religion.

I confess I was a tad skeptical as the movie started. I am deeply allergic to what I like to call “Mormon cheese.” No, not the top layer of your grandmother’s funeral potatoes. I mean the eye-rolling, cheesey schlock that passes for LDS cinema in many quarters. Oh, don’t ask me to give examples. I can’t remember any. Most of Mormon cinema runs together in my mind like one big overly sentimental mess — as stinky as an over ripe Camembert, but decidedly less tasty upon ingestion. So anyway, I went into the viewing as a closet skeptic, notwithstanding the fact that I knew the filmmaker wasn’t LDS. I just cynically figured anything LDS-friendly enough to play after General Conference had to be more of the same-ole same-ole. But I came away having genuinely enjoyed myself.

Two questions have stayed with me, which I pose to those of you righteous enough to follow my advice and tune in today:

1. The director is not LDS. Can you tell? If you didn’t know otherwise (which you do, because I just told you, as did DB), would you have guessed this flick was made by a Mormon or not? Why?

2. Sam’s mission experiences are obviously the heart and soul of the film. And this is one seriously emotional dude. I found myself impressed and touched by his love and care for the people of Chile. But I wondered why he was so compelling. Was it because he epitomized what the mission experience is for so many of us who serve? Or instead, was it because his deep, enduring emotional connection to the Chilean people was the noble exception, rather than the rule?



  1. My BYU schedule shows that this isn’t on until tomorrow after the second session of conference, not today.

  2. And those of us without BYUTV, where’s the site to watch it for free?

  3. Crap. I must have misunderstood. I’ll take this down later, and put it up again tomorrow.

  4. If you’ve got internet, you can watch for free on BYUtv’s website. They’ve got live streaming for all of their programming now. You just need to create an account first (free & simple to do). You’ll just want to tune in at 4 PM MST on Sunday.

  5. You can “subscribe” to BYUTV on the internet, and then you can stream anything that is playing on BYUtv.

  6. Aaron – enjoyed reading your thoughts about 5000 Days. I also enjoyed our conversation at the sneak preview. FYI, I just signed up for a BYUtv account – it took 2 minutes. Looking forward to watching it again.

  7. This is beautiful. Thanks.

  8. Droylsden says:

    Thanks for the heads up. That was awesome. To answer your questions:

    1. Couldn’t tell the director was not LDS. Had you not said that I would have assumed that he was based on this being broadcast on BYUTV and his statement at the end saying how he eventually “got his own testimony of God” sounds very close to Mormon vernacular.

    2. Both.

  9. Thanks for telling us about this great movie. So I think the non-LDS factor was very evident. Openly discussing depression with visits to a therapist and medication vs. the mormon ad version of just making his weakness his strength. Also, loneliness in life vs. always being happy. Real trials in life–moving is hard for everyone. In Chile, Sam helped out by serving but he also made handmade tools and dressed like a convict to blend in with the crowd, etc. Made the whole thing very real–warts and all–and not as sanitized as LDS messages sometimes tend to be.

    It sounded like these boys positively impacted the filmmaker as well. Very impressive young men! Would love to take a parenting class on raising children from Sam & Luke’s parents.

  10. I thoroughly enjoyed the film. I’m not surprised the filmmaker was not LDS, but I wouldn’t have known. Very impressive young men, their parents definitely did something right. Very nice mission experience for Sam. Nice to see and show my kids.

  11. Fairchild says:

    My 13-year old was shocked when I told him the director was not LDS. He really enjoyed the movie as did his 11-year old brother. It was so good for my boys to see what real LDS teen boys older than them go through, to see their trials and emotions and how they dealt with their challenges. I think all YM should watch it.

  12. Sharee Hughes says:

    My friend and I watched this film after conference yesterday (I do have cable, so didn’t have to watch cramped up in front of my computer) and we both were very moved by it. No, I would not have known the director wasn’t LDS, especially when he “bore his testimony” at the end (maybe he has since converted).. Not all LDS directors make cheesy films. And I had not known that the reason the moon-shine on water follows you as you move is because the entire body of water reflects the moon, but you only see that single path. Learn somethig new evey day.

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