Our favorite queer-vague show, HBO’s Big Love is under attack by the Church of Latter Day Saints after word got around that next week’s episode will feature a scene simulating a sealing ceremony within a Mormon temple. The show, created by gay couple Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer, follows the life of a polygamous family living near Salt Lake City that tries to ‘mainstream’ with the established Mormon Church.
The LDS issued a statement about the upcoming temple ritual, saying:
“Before the first season of the HBO series ‘Big Love’ aired more than two years ago, the show’s creators and HBO executives assured the Church that the series wouldn’t be about Mormons. However, Internet references to ‘Big Love’ indicate that more and more Mormon themes are now being woven into the show and that the characters are often unsympathetic figures who come across as narrow and self-righteous. And according to TV Guide, it now seems the show’s writers are to depict what they understand to be sacred temple ceremonies. Certainly Church members are offended when their most sacred practices are misrepresented or presented without context or understanding.”
We’re fans of the show and have been following this season, which has been more critical of the Mormon Church than in the past. One of the major plot lines is about a letter that proves that the Church never intended to give up polygamy and the Mormon sister of one of the show’s wives all but screams, “I’ll get you my pretty plural wives!” whenever she shows up on the screen.
The Church doesn’t plan a boycott saying that “it would only generate the kind of controversy the media loves” and uses the gay marriage boycotts as an example of how ignoring criticism is the LDS’ latest tactic, saying:
“In recent months, some gay activists have barraged the media with accusations about “hateful” attitudes of Latter-day Saints in supporting Proposition 8 in California, which maintained the traditional definition of marriage. They even organized a protest march around the Salt Lake Temple. Again, the Church has refused to be goaded into a Mormons versus gays battle and has simply stated its position in tones that are reasonable and respectful. Meanwhile, missionary work and Church members in California remain as robust and vibrant as ever, and support for the Church has come from many unexpected quarters — including some former critics and other churches.”
That said, there’s not much sympathy here for the Mormon Church as of late (see: Prop. 8, the Common Ground Initiative, Chris Buttars for reasons why) and if communions, briss’s (what’s the plural of ‘briss’? Help!) and Wiccan marriages all get depicted on TV, it was really only a matter of time that Momon sealing ceremonies would show up as well. In fact, in trying to think of other groups that freak out about their secret ceremonies being revealed, we could only come up with the Masons and the Scientologists.
If the Mormon Church is looking itself to become a greater part of mainstream America, it’ll have to accept that being depicted by Hollywood comes with the territory. Just be thankful nobody’s making a Mormon version of Hudson Hawk—yet.