I’m sitting here after watching “Meet the Mormons” for the second time (was able to see a preview screening and then went with two of my children tonight — the show came out a day early where I live). I’ve got many thoughts swirling around in my head. What can I share about the experience I’ve had with this film?
Because, you know, I’m Mormon (a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). So what else would I say on a Mormon website except that I liked the film?
Let me say this. Honestly, I went in a little skeptical, maybe even nervous. I wasn’t sure what to expect. A movie about Mormons on the big screen? Would I like it? What if I didn’t? (That’d be awkward, being a Mormon blogger and all.)
I loved it. (And I loved it even more the second time around.)
I am a fan of documentaries, so that may have something to do with it. The cinematography is breathtaking, especially in the scenes of Costa Rica and Nepal. The stories are real and diverse. They capture the fact that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is an international faith.
As I’ve read reviews, I have seen people echo what I have felt — that “I think the [stories and the] challenges were diverse enough that somebody could identify with just about any one of them.” (There are some other gems from that article from “famous Mormons” that resonated with me as well.)
But the main reason I loved the film is because of how it made me feel. My son said something similar: “Mom, I didn’t have any major spiritual experiences with the movie, but I just felt good through the whole thing. That was evidence enough to me that truth was being shared.”
What kind of truth? Even if you take out the “Mormon” element (which is more understated than I expected it to be), the film explores the importance of family and the joy in and need for service to others. It encourages not giving up in hard times, and living life wholeheartedly. For Mormons, these principles connect to our faith in Jesus Christ, but these are true principles that can inspire regardless of religious belief, or even if you don’t identify yourself as a person of faith. They connect to so much of what it means to be human.
I left this film the way I feel when I engage with inspiring narratives. I left wanting to be a better person. I left wanting to face my own challenges with more hope. I left wanting to hear more stories!
And yes, I left feeling more surely the reality that God knows and loves all of His children. Tonight, as I watched the film, I felt that in a personal way — that He knows me. I was reminded, again, that He really is intimately involved in our lives — even when we don’t know it, see it, or even believe it. The last story about Dawn, in particular, really hit that truth home to me.
There is a very real message that we all matter to God, and that we each have something to offer this world. The song at the end of the documentary (“Glorious,” sung by David Archuleta) also reiterates this reality. The song in context of the film was one of the things my daughter loved most. She’s usually one who shares a lot with me, but Mary-like, both times we watched the film, I could see that she just wanted to ponder what was left in her heart after experiencing it all. (In fact, the first time she asked me kindly but directly to stop asking her what she thought!)
I hope you will take the opportunity to experience the film if it is in an area near you. (If it isn’t, you can request it here.) In my opinion, the film is not pushy or preachy. It’s informative without being impersonal. I do think that most people will find something that resonates, in the stories and/or in the simple yet powerful principles that are reflected in the narratives.
Note: All proceeds of the film will be donated to the Red Cross.