Monday, August 12, 2013

Those "Nasty," "Violent" Mormons "Without Moral Principles"...

AMC's series "Hell on Wheels" is set during the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad in the late 1860s.  Its third season premier was broadcast this past weekend.  I'd actually never heard of it before yesterday when another writer for Spokane Faith & Values asked my opinion of the episode's portrayal Mormons.  So I sat down, watched the episode online, and typed up my thoughts for SpokaneFAVS.  Keep in mind that this is the only episode of the show I've seen, so I don't really have an opinion on the whole series, the main recurring characters, or the overall thematic elements of the series.  My response is a reaction specifically to the way Mormons as a people are portrayed and discussed in this episode.  Here's an excerpt from my post:

"While I certainly don’t think Mormons are the only religious group shown in a negative light in popular media, I’ll freely admit to being sensitive to the way my religious heritage is portrayed. Perhaps that’s because the depictions are so rarely positive...

"Making the reprehensible Mr. Hatch a Mormon was lazy storytelling and added nothing of value to the plotline. It was the writers’ shorthand attempt at a nefarious backstory for the episode’s antagonist, based on caricatures and stereotypes. The history of Mormonism provides a treasure trove of fascinating people like Martha Hughes Cannon, Emmeline B. Wells, my own illustrious ancestor Cornelius Peter Lott, and, yes, even a few scoundrels like Porter Rockwell. I’d love to see someone in popular media brave enough to delve into the richness of these imperfect and compelling real human beings and use them as patterns for a character who happens to be a Latter-day Saint, instead of settling for the tired old “evil Mormons” trope."

You can read the whole post here.

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