Friday, October 17, 2014

No Thanks. We've Already Met.

So I was in Salt Lake City last weekend, my visit timed with the premiere of the documentary, Meet the Mormons.  I declined the invitation. As I said, we've already met.

Instead I hung with the mere earthlings at the ExMormon Foundation Conference where I had the amazing privilege to introduce the after-dinner speaker, Dana Dahl. She wowed us all, earning a well-deserved standing ovation for her "self-defecating humor."

I'm reasonably certain I wouldn't have learned anything new about the Mormons from watching their documentary. For that matter, I don't think anyone else would have learned anything new about the Mormons from watching their documentary.

That being said, because I haven't seen the picture, and because I don't want to align myself with the critics who reviewed The Book of Mormon without actually seeing the musical, I will refrain from commenting further on the content of Meet the Mormons.

What I will do is ask: Where are the Brethren parking their mothership these days? 

As I understand it, this is how this doozy of a fantasy evolved: 
  • The Brethren, channeling inspiration through their thick space helmets, convinced themselves that the church has been unfairly represented in the godless liberal media. 
  • Fearful that the average Joe Nonmember might not have a complete understanding of the LDS Church - and convinced that he craves one - the inspired Brethren ordered their brainiacs in PR to come up with some sort of promotional gimmick.
  • According to the Lord's apostle, Jeffrey R. Holland, the film, Meet the Mormons, was getting positive buzz from "test audiences" at the Legacy Theater on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. I don't know specifically who made up these audiences. But, as any researcher at LDS Inc. undoubtedly knows, visitors to the Legacy Theater on Temple Square are either Mormons themselves, or non-Mormons who are curious enough about the faith to sit through all or part of a free - emphasis on free - church produced promotional film.
  • Nevertheless, this alleged buzz was reason enough for these PR brainiacs and the GA's to launch Meet the Mormons as a major motion picture, one they knew would be wildly successful at the box office.
  • The reason the PR brainiacs and their higher-ups knew it would be wildly successful was because they had devised this brilliant top-secret scheme! That is, they had ward and stake leaders send out emails to local members pressuring them to see the film on opening weekend.
  • Convinced that their brilliant scheme would execute flawlessly and completely under the radar, the Brethren and their PR brainiacs leaned back and waited for what they were convinced would be a blockbuster success so momentous that it would explode onto Netflix and other outlets, and inspire every Joe Nonmember to declare, "Golly, Myrtle, I was going to go see Gone Girl until I heard about that smash hit, Meet the Mormons!"
Well, back here on planet Earth, Meet the Mormons fell short of the Brethren's inspired expectations. Sure, the numbers were good, thanks to the members who, in some cases, bought out entire theaters. 

But the godless liberal media spotted that top-secret PR scheme a mile away. The Salt Lake Tribune labeled the film an infomercial, Salt Lake City Weekly and other sources reported the church pressure on members to attend, and Rotten Tomatoes currently reports the movie's critics' consensus at 11% alongside an audience score of 92% - not the typical result from a mainstream audience. Not on this planet anyway.

But as the Brethren seem content to remain on their mothership, my guess is it will be back to the drawing board for the brainiacs in Church PR. I can't wait to see what they come up with next.

Meanwhile, I'll hang in the cheap seats with my fellow earthlings.
Me and Dana at Exmormon 2014


  1. You may well go to Hell with the heathens but I suspect wit the kind of "libruls" who run most of the Hollywood jet set you'll be in good company, especially for more entertaining and intellectually promising movies.
    I haven't yet seen "Meet the Mormons" and my fear is that the cherry picked band of overachievers and ethnically diverse folks in the infomercial will make me sorely disappointed in my average neighborly Mormons who all resemble sacks of day old oatmeal or at best a bowl of unbuttered, unsalted starchy pasta noodles. They are uniform and somewhat orderly but all the taste and texture have been boiled right out of them.

    How can the average Mormon measure up to the ideal? They could use some vegetable based body paint like I did in the Mormon Miracle Pageant and try to get a little color going but that stuff stains worse than infant poop on a temple dress.

    If you don't look like an Arnold Friberg muscle bound Nordic Jew or a younger version of Gladys Knight then you probably fall into the category of "McMormon", overprocessed, overcooked, pre-chewed, and tasteless, not to mention fatty and pressed into service like a McNugget in an assembly line.

    This film is going to send a passel of these poor folks oozing off to their local doctor for more Prozac and Valium with a chaser of Ritalyn. How can they measure up when the bar is set so high?

    1. Oh my gosh! Thank you, Dana, for continuing you hilarious conference keynote here on my blog!

      I believe you're right about the profiles in Meet the Mormons, but I hadn't thought about how it might affect the poor milquetoast Mormons in the audience. Adding insult to injury, they've been pressured into ponying up the dough to see the cursed thing. I feel for them.

  2. well spoken. My thoughts exactly Donna! Wish I could have joined you at the conference. Now that my mom is here in Oregon I don't have very many reasons to venture to Utah.

    The average Mormon will try until their dying day to live up to some perfect standard set by an imaginary Father in Heaven.

    Talk about the father you can never please:

    Better than average Mormon: 'Look what I did... I became a successful heart surgeon and saved lives...'

    God: (through His living prophet) 'Yes, but did you pay your tithing, read your scriptures daily, write in your journal daily, hold family home evening on Mondays, do your home/visiting teaching once a month, attend the Temple once a week, hold three callings in addition to being a heart surgeon??' 'Me thinks you should try harder.'

    1. Yes, and on top of that do a better job in the next documentary so I can win an Oscar!

  3. Maybe we should do our own documentary. What would we call it?

    Maybe "I Call Bullshit"

    ideas anyone?

    1. Excellent title. We could have a segment featuring ExMormons on Sundays, showing all the fun stuff we get to do now.

  4. "self-defecating humor."

    Did she really stand there and crap all over herself? Never seen a speaker do that before. Or was it just a $hitty talk?

  5. My question for Jeff Holland [middle initial, schmiddle initial] is not about how the movie was received in Salt Lake City or in any other center or corner of Mormondom, but rather, just how the movie played in Peoria. My best guess as to an answer to my own question would be "not at all."

    My not-so-humble prayer in regard to the movie is that it isn't intended as a precursor for a third and possibly successful Mitt Romney presidency bid, which I plead after duly thanking The Diety for my many blessings in the correct manner of prayer (not to be confused with the True Order of Prayer, about which I know nothing as I have not been endowed, and the existence of which I would not be aware were it not for my fellow apostates) to our Heavenly Father in the name of Our Lord and Savior, EVEN Jesus Christ.

    P.S. What the hell does EVEN Jesus Christ mean, anyway?. My grandfather cannot go to sleep at night unless he has said it aloud a bare minimum of three to four times a day while he is praying on street corners or otherwise pontificating as expressly instructed not to do in the New Testament version of The Sermon on the Mount, yet I've never understood the meaning of it in any context. If I were to ask my grandfather, EVEN in the most deferential of terms, just what he meant by it, I would surely be slapped, so I've kept my wonderings to myself up to this point. The man may be a "before" ad for Geritol,, but he still maintains more than twice my mass.

  6. The whole marketing strategy of that movie sounds like the Diantetics scam--ie, we made it, and we'll buy it just to keep ourselves in the news. The similarities between the two just keep coming. Speaking of which, I live right down the street from Scientology headquarters, which is also right next to a LDS meeting house and a high school so it's just brainwash central in that neighborhood.

  7. @Alexis, I keep telling myself that Romney won't run again, that it makes no sense, etc. But it does seem that he is at least considering it. And you're right this film is yet another reason to suspect a third run is being planned.

    Kerry, wow, you do live in a dicey neighborhood! The Mormons take lots of their cues from the Scientologists, or at least they use the same PR firm. Those "and I'm a Mormon" ads are very much like the Scientology ads that ran some years earlier.

  8. I have to add: Advertising works and I'm sure the Mormon Church is banking on it even though Meet the Mormons is ridiculously cheesy. Look at Bud Light and Michelob Ultra. People actually drink enough of that stuff to pay for the advertising and then some. I wouldn't wash my hair with it. Seriously. But then at least the ads are clever.

    The Mormon Church just needs to change its slogan. Mormonism: The horse piss of cults.

    1. Right, the beer ads are clever and people don't have to pay to see them!