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Murder Among the Mormons on Netflix


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4 minutes ago, katherine the great said:

The Christensens sound like very lovely people. Not sure how I feel about the judge extracting a promise from him to help before he told him who it was. It may not have made any difference but seems a little bit manipulative. 🤷‍♀️

I picked up on that too (about the judge not telling him who it was for at first), but I get the sense that Mac had helped other missionaries before, and the article says he was "eager to help", not that he had promised to help before being told who it was.  And his response, "I need to talk to my family about this" gives me the idea that he was still eager to help but wanted his whole family to be on board with it. 

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16 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I think the LDS members have notoriously fascinating criminals. Not the good ones though! ;)

I thought the documentary on Netflix was extremely well made. I watched it live during the time it was on the news and read some books about it. My good friend from back then is a cousin to Steve Christensen. Her uncle was Mr. Mac. We went to the same high school Kevin! 

I found it heartbreaking to watch Shannon and Brent, especially Brent, when he mentioned he felt at fault for introducing Mark to Steve. :(

 

My Dad had been gotten to know Mr. Mac in a Bishopric in SLC, before I was born, I suppose when the family lived in Salt Lake, before the move to Bountiful, where I grew up.  Whenever it was time for suits for any of the five Christensen boys (though we were not related to Mac or Steve Christensen, despite the name), Dad took us to the store, would mention Mr. Mac, and Mac would show up to shake hands with Dad, and wink at the sales guy, and get us a good deal.   

I was at Viewmont High between  Fall of 1969 and Spring of 1972.  My Mom taught first grade at Meadowbrook Elementary near by. When I had afterschool stuff that caused me to miss the bus to home from Centerville (which I often did), I'd often walk over to ride home with Mom.   For me, Viewmont packed with intense and formative highs and lows, but ending very high.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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On 3/4/2021 at 9:34 AM, HappyJackWagon said:

Definitely on my watchlist. Maybe this weekend after I watch the Coming 2 America sequel :) 

I wish you were here to support my husband in the same list of to do's this weekend. 

We watched the first hour last night.  It's pretty slow but I'm glad to see it - I never did have enough interest to learn about the Salamander letter and now I feel all caught up.

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5 hours ago, katherine the great said:

The Christensens sound like very lovely people. Not sure how I feel about the judge extracting a promise from him to help before he told him who it was. It may not have made any difference but seems a little bit manipulative. 🤷‍♀️

I thought Dorie Olds accepting help,  conditional on not telling anyone about it, and then casually deciding to break that promise when it suited her was even creepier. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, juliann said:

I thought Dorie Olds accepting help,  conditional on not telling anyone about it, and then casually deciding to break that promise when it suited her was even creepier. 

The way it was written it did come across as her wanting to have something worthwhile to say at the meeting for whatever reason rather than to honor what he did.  There was some other sentences that felt awkward to me, so it may be the writer that is at fault...but it is strange to do that a few years later.  I could see it popping out in a private conversation.

Edited by Calm
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On 3/4/2021 at 10:34 AM, HappyJackWagon said:

Definitely on my watchlist. Maybe this weekend after I watch the Coming 2 America sequel :) 

Coming 2 America is not one to watch with kids (of any age).  I think in some ways it managed to be even more raunchy than the first one, even though it's PG-13 and the first was R.

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On 3/5/2021 at 2:13 PM, Kenngo1969 said:

 

25 minutes ago, MustardSeed said:

thank you for this - I wanted to share the story my dad told me today but didn't have a reference.

Sure, no problem.  Glad you enjoyed it. :)

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10 hours ago, bluebell said:

Coming 2 America is not one to watch with kids (of any age).  I think in some ways it managed to be even more raunchy than the first one, even though it's PG-13 and the first was R.

My wife and I watched it over the weekend and I didn't laugh as much as I did on the first one. Nowhere near as funny.

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On 3/7/2021 at 6:33 PM, bluebell said:

Coming 2 America is not one to watch with kids (of any age).  I think in some ways it managed to be even more raunchy than the first one, even though it's PG-13 and the first was R.

Good to know. I haven't seen the sequel yet...

BUT I did watch the Murder Among the Mormons Doc. It was pretty interesting. Definitely some cringeworthy moments of Mormon culture.  

I don't think it was a "hit piece" on the church. There were many interesting avenues they could have gone down but didn't that actually could have been more embarrassing.

 

BTW- I'm really sorry I hijacked this thread into a Coming 2 America thread. My bad.

Edited by HappyJackWagon
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 After the initial interest in the documentary, I think this may be a more realistic look at it.  

 

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/netflix-s-murder-among-mormons-uses-same-stereotypes-about-our-ncna1260447?fbclid=IwAR2a2d4kPLhwXyLOEn9IWQwQ9AyG7ykKLQVcvVcYU2wb88gy5LFzr8h7xZ4

Quote

 

While both filmmakers swore to Esquire that they "didn't have an axe to grind" with the church, it's clear that even if they didn't intend to lean in to stereotypes about those of the Mormon faith, they certainly didn't shy away from them — even though Hofmann, born to a longtime Mormon family, was an avowed atheist who allegedly took pleasure in deceiving members of his former faith.

For instance, the filmmakers present Mormon beliefs to their viewers by showing clips from a 1970s kooky educational film. They intersperse footage the Salt Lake Temple or Church Office Building headquarters — as well as video clips of Mormons speaking from a pulpit, playing a board game, walking into a church meeting house, teaching lessons in the home, doing missionary work or singing hymns — against dark moments in the story full of ominous music.

They also allow numerous digs against the church by critics of the faith or former members: "The church would try to hide documents that proved embarrassing to them," or, "The [leaders of the church] propagated false narratives," or that a member of the church supposedly "became visibly upset" when he saw a children's book about dinosaurs because it "promoted evolution."

Dark aspersions, innuendos and accusations against the church and its leaders are allowed to pile up as interviewees accuse the church of having nefarious motivations for wanting to purchase any of Hofmann's allegedly authenticated historical documents about its own history in the first place.

 

 

 This Vox article demonstrates how effective the "don't have an axe to grind"  innuendo was, 

https://www.vox.com/culture/22315736/netflix-murder-among-the-mormons-review-mark-hofmann-shannon-flynn

 

Quote

This could be an electrifying takeaway, especially since many viewers mainly know Mormonism only through the South Park dudes. But Murder Among the Mormons flits away from a deeper look at the Mormon church, denying us the context to really understand the relationship between the church and the forger in its midst. What does it matter that the church might have been buying documents to prevent them from wider circulation? Was the church buying documents? What would that have done to the average Mormon’s faith? Was Hofmann’s attempt to forge “authentic” Mormon documents the modern-day equivalent of “extra-canonical” books of the Bible — much like the Book of Mormon itself?

--------

With stronger world building, we could have had a fantastic geekgasmic tale about rare book collectors and the documents they yearn for, and a culty religion whose power rests on lying to its members about its origin stories. That these stories are present, but not center stage, is a dull testament to true crime’s fascination with its villains. But in this case, the villain wasn’t nearly as fascinating as the world the filmmakers didn’t quite build.

 

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7 minutes ago, juliann said:

 After the initial interest in the documentary, I think this may be a more realistic look at it.  

 

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/netflix-s-murder-among-mormons-uses-same-stereotypes-about-our-ncna1260447?fbclid=IwAR2a2d4kPLhwXyLOEn9IWQwQ9AyG7ykKLQVcvVcYU2wb88gy5LFzr8h7xZ4

 

 This Vox article demonstrates how effective the "don't have an axe to grind"  innuendo was, 

https://www.vox.com/culture/22315736/netflix-murder-among-the-mormons-review-mark-hofmann-shannon-flynn

 

 

Did you watch the documentary? That seems like an overly harsh critique as it sure didn't strike me that way.

If anything, the church appeared to be justified in falling for Hoffman's forgeries just as other collectors and even the federal government were duped. It didn't go into hardly any detail about how/why the church "should have known better" or anything like that. Did they show some quirky Mormons doing quirky Mormon things. Sure. But that adds to the context of the time and place where Hoffman flourished.

If Mormons don't like seeing Mormons do quirky Mormony things, they should stop doing those quirky Mormony things ;)  Otherwise, they should just accept it for what it is.

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I thought using the quirky 70's era media was era-appropriate and helped transport me to that time and place.  Those cheesy films were the stuff Mormons of the time were watching in Sunday school or showing to investigators.

The cringiest bit for me was a contemporary interview with a man who happened upon the aftermath of Hofmann's self-explosion.  He told the TV cameras that he gave Hofmann a blessing and "commanded him to live." 

There was one "they should have known better" comment from somebody or other, but it was immediately followed up by a rebuttal from Richard Turley.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Stormin' Mormon said:

The cringiest bit for me was a contemporary interview with a man who happened upon the aftermath of Hofmann's self-explosion.  He told the TV cameras that he gave Hofmann a blessing and "commanded him to live." 

 

And they used it twice...when the vast majority of Latter-day Saints I know would not be sharing a private, sacred moment on News at 10.  Once is storytelling what happened, twice is using it to create a picture because it added no information about those directly involved in the bombing, what led to the bombing and had no effect on the investigation etc...and it was a false picture IMO...members don’t go around publishing they have given blessings outside of church and many don’t do it there.
 

The claims the Church was hiding stuff...I don’t remember there ever being a response from the Church about it.  In one case the detective George (but I might have mixed him up) talked about the Church buying to hide, but the Church actually published it iirc.  I don’t have a problem they used those comments as it is a common perception, I just think they should have looked for something that told the Church’s POV better than they did.

Edited by Calm
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54 minutes ago, Calm said:

 

The claims the Church was hiding stuff...I don’t remember there ever being a response from the Church about it.  In one case the detective George (but I might have mixed him up) talked about the Church buying to hide, but the Church actually published it iirc.  I don’t have a problem they used those comments as it is a common perception, I just think they should have looked for something that told the Church’s POV better than they did.

How many "the church" did this or that originate from Hofmann only? I doubt the church was putting out information about what they paid or bought. 

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22 minutes ago, juliann said:

How many "the church" did this or that originate from Hofmann only? I doubt the church was putting out information about what they paid or bought. 

My brain is shutting down for some reason, so not rereading these links right now, but iirc there is quite a bit of info in them.

https://www.fairlatterdaysaints.org/answers/Forgeries_related_to_Mormonism/Mark_Hofmann

https://www.fairlatterdaysaints.org/answers/Forgeries_related_to_Mormonism/Mark_Hofmann/Church_reaction_to_forgeries#Question:_Did_the_Church_purchase_documents_such_as_Mark_Hofmann.27s_.22Salamander_letter.22_with_the_intent_of_hiding_and_suppressing_them.3F

 

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33 minutes ago, juliann said:

How many "the church" did this or that originate from Hofmann only? I doubt the church was putting out information about what they paid or bought. 

There are definitely a number of photos of the first presidency standing with Hoffman looking at documents. I wonder if those were taken by a Hoffman surrogate or by Church PR. In any case, there seemed to be stories about it ahead of the bombings since Christianson was on camera talking about it. The documentary stated multiple times that the church didn't purchase some of the documents but rather they were purchased by people like Christianson and then donated to the church. However it happened, it seems clear the church was interested in obtaining the documents and seemed to believe they were genuine.

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1 hour ago, Calm said:

And they used it twice...when the vast majority of Latter-day Saints I know would not be sharing a private, sacred moment on News at 10.  Once is storytelling what happened, twice is using it to create a picture because it added no information about those directly involved in the bombing, what led to the bombing and had no effect on the investigation etc...and it was a false picture IMO...members don’t go around publishing they have given blessings outside of church and many don’t do it there.
 

The claims the Church was hiding stuff...I don’t remember there ever being a response from the Church about it.  In one case the detective George (but I might have mixed him up) talked about the Church buying to hide, but the Church actually published it iirc.  I don’t have a problem they used those comments as it is a common perception, I just think they should have looked for something that told the Church’s POV better than they did.

Utah is a different kind of place. I remember being with my brother once at a Blockbuster checking out a movie. He didn't have his ID but he did have his temple recommend so he showed that and he was able to check out. Does that seem a bit nuts? Yes. But it was Utah County. :)   So a guy going on TV saying he gave a blessing and "commanded" Hoffman seems In Character for Utah/Mormon culture for the time. He told the story probably thinking it was faith promoting, or maybe even his missionary duty to share. I can't tell you how many odd stories I've heard over the years from relative strangers. That quote, though cringy now, illustrates the culture fairly well.

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1 minute ago, HappyJackWagon said:

He didn't have his ID but he did have his temple recommend so he showed that and he was able to check out. Does that seem a bit nuts?

I have used library cards as ID.  As long as someone knows what a temple recommend is and it is not substituting for photo ID, I don’t see it as nuts, but practical.  If they had required the guy go get his ID, chances are they would have lost a sale for at least the day, maybe even more.

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

a guy going on TV saying he gave a blessing and "commanded" Hoffman seems In Character for Utah/Mormon culture for the time. He told the story probably thinking it was faith promoting, or maybe even his missionary duty to share. I can't tell you how many odd stories I've heard over the years from relative strangers. That quote, though cringy now, illustrates the culture fairly well.

Then why don’t we see more of these every time there is an accident, etc. because chances are a good portion have people giving blessings?  As I said, once makes sense to convey the context and story.  Mentioning it twice makes it sensational IMO.  Especially coupling it with Flynn’s reaction.

Edited by Calm
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