Why spend money and time to watch a feature-length movie about Mormons? After attending a special screening of it and interviewing a few people involved with its production, I’ll propose 4 reasons to see “Meet the Mormons,” which begins showing in theaters October 10th.
#1: It’s entertaining! Unscripted, with a reality TV feel, it has many laugh out loud moments.
The initial intention of the movie was simply to replace the one showing regularly at The Legacy Theater on Salt Lake City’s Temple Square. But the church decided on nationwide distribution since it’s been a hit with previewing audiences.
“It’s a great feeling when they laugh at the right places,” Jeff Roberts, the movie’s producer, told me.
I will add that it’s beautifully filmed. And I mean beautifully.
#2: Everyone can relate. It’s about people who have just enough of the extraordinary to stand out among a few hundred families that were considered for it. Audience members I spoke with said they could easily see themselves in those who were featured.
You’ll get to know six members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their families, including Jermaine Sullivan, an African American bishop in Atlanta, Georgia, who takes time to skillfully teach youth his vibrant dance style; the head coach of the U.S. Naval Academy football team; a kickboxing mother of two in Costa Rica; the original “candy bomber,” who flew over blockaded Berlin shortly after WWII, dropping parachute-wrapped chocolates to hungry German children; and a humanitarian worker in the spine-tingling mountainsides of Nepal.
Last comes Dawn Armstrong, whose life turned from anguishing tragedy to hope and fulfillment.
“Hope is a universal need,” Dawn told the audience in person after the screening at Cinemark Mesa Riverview Theater.
When asked about her son Anthony, who is seen in the movie receiving an assignment to serve a church mission overseas, she said he is now back home. (Movie production began in early 2011.) She joked that if girls want to date him, they’ll have to join the long waiting list on Facebook and go through her screening process.
#3: You will help fund a worthy cause. All net proceeds will go to the American Red Cross. (http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Net-Proceeds-from-Meet-the-Mormons-Film-to-Support-Red-Cross)
#4: It can build understanding. “A theme of the film is to find common ground,” Blair Treu, the director and executive producer told me. Blair also pointed out that the best way to learn about a certain religion is through the people who actually practice it.
I know we live among wonderful people of the Jewish, Muslim, and a variety of faiths, who are valiantly engaged in helping our communities. I know that because I’ve extended and gladly accepted invitations to get to know them and work alongside them on goals we share in the city we share.
I cordially invite you to get a dose of humor and inspiration as you meet the Mormons in this outstanding film.
Here are some more photos I took at the movie screening. It was fun to photograph people who are so comfortable in front of a camera!
The movie will be showing at many Cinemark, AMC, and Regal theaters across the nation.
If theaters near you aren’t playing it, you can request it. They will probably get it if there are enough requests.
I am currently the Community Service Specialist for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in my area of Chandler, AZ. I was invited to the screening because I often write opinions in local newspapers. If this article sounds a lot like something you happened to have read elsewhere, it’s probably because most or some of it has been published at eastvalleytribune.com and at santansun.com.