Back in January, I blogged about an incident at a mystery writers' luncheon where I ran into an author who thought "Big Love" was somehow related to Mormons. I was frustrated and didn't have the opportunity to clarify anything at the moment, but I hunted down her website and sent her a letter. I watched for a response to my letter for a couple of weeks but didn't see one. Turned out, it showed up in my little used email account (you know, the one you give to spammers?) but she actually did respond. Since a lot of you wanted to know what she said, if she said anything, I'm including my letter and her response. She is a very gracious lady.
I enjoyed meeting you at the Cerritos library mystery event on Saturday. I hope you had time to explore the library a little. It's really cool even though it gives me a chronic case of library envy.
I wanted to clarify a little bit of conversation we had before lunch began. When you asked what I write, I said, "Mormon chick lit." You said something about how it's good that there's a television show supporting the genre and you mentioned Big Love.
I didn't feel like it was appropriate to address it at the time as you had other people who wanted to chat with you, but I wanted to take a quick minute to correct something. Big Love isn't about Mormons. It's about people who call themselves Mormons but no true Mormon would recognize themselves in that program.
I guess I'd offer this analogy to explain: Let's say that I decided to wear a yarmulke and call myself Jewish. Then imagine I ran around indulging every perverse impulse I had but sanctioned it under the cloak of Judaism even though it had nothing to do with their religion.
The faithful Jews would be hurt and frustrated by my actions, and that's pretty much how Mormons feel about Big Love. Despite the label FLDS, there's actually no such thing as Mormon fundamentalism. You don't get to slap a label on your lifestyle when you appropriate it from a people and religion who in no way share or condone your beliefs. (And when I say "you," I don't mean YOU.)
The fundamentals of Mormonism are that God lives, his Son atoned for our sins, and all of us benefit from that gift. We also believe that God still talks to a living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and through continuing revelation and careful study of the scriptures, including the revealed scripture of the Book of Mormon that strengthens what we already know from the Bible, every person can learn about God's plan for our happiness and how simple it is to live it.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and I wish you the best of success with your writing career.
I'm really appreciative of your clarification of the real Mormon response to Big Love. I'm actually glad to hear it, as I am not a fan of that show and in fact find it unwatchable -- maybe because of the excesses you describe. I find it a strange anomaly for usually brilliant HBO. My comment was just a general conversational response, and I apologize if it was offensive. (From your letter, I know you understood it wasn't meant to be.) I completely understand the frustration with untrue and hurtful representations in the media -- it's an important message to keep repeating to the viewing/reading public that what you see isn't any kind of ultimate truth, simply someone's (or a group un-educated executives') perception. Thanks for reminding me of that.
Take care and good luck with your writing.