Helen Whitney, Producer of the PBS Film: "The Mormons"
I interviewed Helen Whitney, regarding her research, interviews, writing and production of the 4 hour PBS documentary, "The Mormons," which will air on PBS channels on 30 April and 1 May 2007. She has won a number of awards for her previous movies. We discussed a number of points regarding the movie's contents and Helen's experiences in her research and interviews.Also included is a clip from her presentation at a Sunstone meeting in San Francisco two weeks ago.During the last 30 minutes, several callers asked questions and made comments.Helen has spent three years making this movie/documentary during which she conducted more than 1000 interviews, including Mormons and non-Mormons on a wide range of topics, and from various perspectives. She received full cooperation from the Church, interviewing several General Authorities. I was sent 2 DVD's of the documentary to preview before my interview with Helen. Those who believe that Mormonism is 100% perfect and that nothing negative should ever be said by anybody about anybody or anything in Mormonism, or that an honest person could ever doubt Mormon claims may well dislike the movie. On the other hand, those who deny that there is any good to be said about Mormonism's history, doctrine, claims and leaders, and that an intelligent honest person could not be a believing Mormon, may also dislike the movie. I have already read harsh comments on the movie from several subscribing approximately to each of these perspectives. I will be interested to hear the opinions expressed after the movie has been viewed.
I am an active believing Mormon, but I take seriously Joseph Smith's many denials that neither he, nor the doctrine, nor Church are perfect. From this perspective I enjoyed the movie immensely. Helen's work far exceeded my expectations. She has woven together impressive visuals and music with clips from numerous interviews, including many well-studied individuals, who spoke to both sides of a number of controversial Mormon topics and events. To me, she has dealt with her subject in a kind and respectful manner, but not uncritical. While watching Helen's documentary, I frequently found myself feeling proud to be a Mormon.
With Mormonism caught from the beginning in a whirlwind of controversy, it is only to be expected that any documentary, no matter how well done, will generate new controversy.
Talk Show host: Van Hale, LDS
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This is the 29 April 2007 episode of the Mormon Miscellaneous Worldwide Talk Show, now in its 27th year. To listen to future Talk Shows live, go to www.k-talk.com Sunday evenings 5:00 - 7:00 pm MST. If you have a question or comment, your participation is invited, regardless of your point of view.