Throughout history, the Lord has commanded His people to build temples. Temples are literally houses of the Lord. They are holy places of worship where individuals make sacred promises with God. Faithful members of the LDS Church go there often to draw closer to God and to feel his power in their lives in greater abundance. I have been visiting the temple since I was 12.
Because we consider our temples sacred, we require that members of the church prepare themselves to receive the instruction and ritualized ceremony that is found within the walls. Casual members of the church and the general public may visit the temple grounds and the visitor’s centers, but admission is reserved only for those who meet the requirements.
That is why we are concerned that HBO’s Big Love has decided to air an episode of the show in which the temple ceremonies are depicted. We do not feel that the producers can treat the subject with respect that the sacred nature of the temple deserves. Besides, the context of the show is polygamous, which members of the LDS Church have not been for over a hundred years.
Official church response
The LDS Church as an institution has decided to stay out of the dialog other than to present a commentary in the Newsroom that discusses the whole idea of responding to controversy. In short, they have left it up to individual members to decide how they would like to respond. Some have suggested a boycott of AOL, which, like HBO is owned by Time-Warner.
Besides the fact that AOL is already a dying entity, such boycotts seem silly to me. I’m much more inclined to do something that turns this into a missionary opportunity. Thus I joined a Facebook group that is really nothing more than making a statement reminding my Facebook friends that I am LDS, that I am aware of the controversy, and that temples are sacred to me.
Visit the Newsroom to read the Church’s official statement on an upcoming episode of HBO’s Big Love that is said to depict temple ceremonies. You can also read what Larry Richman, director of Church Publications and Media Project Office had to say about it on his blog, LDS Media Talk. If you would like to learn more, watch the video below that explains why we build temples.
For additional information:
1. See Bryce Haymond’s Temple Study blog
2. Statement from HBO on Mormon Chronicles
3. Mormon Soprano on Hollywood Bullies
4. Big discussion over at Feminist Mormon Housewives
5. And another at Mormon Mentality