The UK’s Channel 4 aired a documentary last night called “Meet the Mormons” which followed the life of a British missionary on the streets of Leeds. I haven’t yet watched it, and if I do, I’ll say something more. In the meantime, here are some Press reviews:
The Guardian: “It’s . . . dead sad. Because Josh . . . sorry Elder Field would be such a likable, normal boy if he hadn’t been indoctrinated with such nonsense, and if he was just a little more questioning. There are doubts there, clearly. He would have given up and gone home, he admits, if Elder Bauman wasn’t there the whole time, watching over him. Elder Bauman, further gone, is both less likable and less normal – a bit creepy too, to be honest.”
The Independent: “Morgan, a plump, blustering young man in a blazer and T-shirt combo . . . managed to contribute a few thoughts on pre-marital sex before being firmly led away by Des the PR man. ‘I went on a date with this girl and we went to go watch a movie and – let me tell you – that was as fun as any form of sexual relationship could be,’ he announced with confidence. ‘You haven’t had sex, presumably?’ ventured Alleway. ‘No, I haven’t. But the thing is, I know the chemical equation of it, so I can guess.’ Final score: Mormons 1 Documentaries 0.”
The Mirror: “Here are seven extraordinary Mormon beliefs the excellent doc also uncovers . . . [garments, etc.].
The Daily Telegraph: “Too often . . . we were denied what we most wanted: answers. The companion arrangement meant that Alleway could not speak to Field about his feelings alone. A member of the church’s PR team was always lurking in the background, too. The film ended, as it had begun, with Field’s faith: he was certain he would be ‘blessed’ with a perfect life after the ‘sacrifice’ he had endured. Thanks to the constraints imposed on filming, we will have to take his word for that.”
The Times: “To be blunt, Lynne Alleway’s Meet the Mormons was a PR disaster, for while it confirmed my suspicion that the Mormons mean and do no harm to others, it revealed what they inflict upon their own.”
Any Brits see it?
I have now seen it. I am a little frustrated that the church made it so easy for Channel 4 to tell the story it wanted: “Nice guy drinks the Kool Aid while being watched by creepy PR guy.” That was a documentary that needed to be made with full, private access or not at all.