Moving on to Part 2 of the real-life soap opera … what’s the reaction to the “Outer Darkness” Big Love episode that aired Sunday night? Time’s TV guy says this:

Part of the controversy over depicting the ceremony, whose details the LDS church prefers to keep among its own members, has to do with how the ceremony is received by outsiders …. As an outsider, … I don’t believe the ceremony qua ceremony changed my perception of the Mormon faith one way or another. It was definitely unusual, but that’s religion: I’m the product of two religious traditions, in one of which somebody changes bread into someone’s body and feeds it to you, in the other of which someone ritually blows into a ram’s horn. It’s all relative, no?

A Get Religion journalist posted a response as well:

I just finished watching this season’s second to last episode of HBO’s Big Love soap opera, and I believe there may be another hidden reason that the show makes Mormons uneasy. Much of the media’s attention has been on the fact that this episode portrayed a scene in a Mormon temple, however, the show did have one line that caught me: the main character expressly claimed that the Mormon church was just as corrupt as the show’s main antagonists who are practicing polygamy and generally in trouble with the law.

This theme has underlined the entire season of the show. Without giving away the details of the show, it is fair to say that the Mormon Church is not portrayed favorably.

Note that neither of these commentators is LDS. The bottom line seems to be: (1) that “the scene” doesn’t create a negative reaction in non-LDS viewers; and (2) the impression that some Mormon viewers have that the series unfairly portrays Mormons in a negative light has some objective basis.

The most interesting discussions are to be found on the following threads at LDS group blogs (the links are to specific posts discussing the Big Love episode):

Note: General comments and discussion welcome. But generic anti-LDS comments of the sort that some folks feel compelled to post from time to time at any LDS site will be removed, as will detailed discussion of LDS temple ceremonies (please visit other sites that welcome such discussion).

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