Saturday, July 24, 2010

More about the Pope

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.


Dear *****


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.

Sincerely,

Melanie Jacobson



Hi Melanie,

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.

Best,
*****

18 comments:

Tracy said...

I love the analogy you gave. You don't mind if I borrow it, do you?

Lara said...

Excellent work, you.

I had a conversation about Big Love with some friends. I really love your analogy, I will have to remember it, because I don't think I explained it nearly so well. I only hope they came away realizing that I am not the kind of "Mormon" that is on Big Love!

Kristina P. said...

I think it's great you emailed her. I think a lot of people would have let it go.

LisAway said...

Excellent letter, awesome response.

becca said...

Fantastic. Way to stand up, in a dignified and gracious way. Well done, you. (And when I say you, I mean YOU.)

L.T. Elliot said...

Melanie, you write a killer letter. Well done! I'm glad to see how it all turned out and I suspect that some of it had much to do with how brilliantly worded your letter was. =]

DeNae said...

On behalf of all your sister wives, thank you for clarifying! Well writ~

Kazzy said...

What a great letter from you, and great response from your new friend. Very cool.

Heather Richardson said...

Awesome, way to represent! Well done and well said, I may find myself paraphrasing you at some point in the future, as I've gotten the Big Love questions before.
Thanks.

Erin said...

I hate it when e-mails I am anticipating go to my "junk" e-mail address!

What a great letter you wrote, and I appreciate her response too.

Kimberly said...

Oh that's just brilliant, your letter and her response both. A gracious lady indeed. Kudos to you for taking the time and having the moral courage to do that. It doesn't take much to defend our beliefs. It doesn't take anger and ranting and railing. Calm explanation is often enough.

Braden said...

Melanie you totally rock for doing that! Good for you. That is the kind of thing I think about all the time and never do. Good for you. And good for her. And great analogy!

Wow, who would have thought a comment on a post about "Big Love" could have so many "goods" in it!!!!!

Annette Lyon said...

Your graciousness led to her awesome graciousness. And now she'll be able to clarify for others. Yay!

戴昀黃慧婷德 said...

困難的不在於新概念,而在於逃避舊有的概念。............................................................

Baak Talk said...

Melanie, you rock!! So glad you didn't just let it go.

Valerie said...

Awesome!

Amber said...

I remember your original post and am very glad you provided this awesome ending to all of us!

Karen said...

What a polite and gracious response.

I'm quite certain I wouldn't have handled the situation nearly as well as you did.