“Mormon theology in 6 minutes” as someone called it . Its the number one rated educational video on Digg and its an old retro animation that i saw 2 decades ago when “Temple of the Godmakers” was shown at our church [Talk about the long tail . . . .] But now you can watch it and discuss it with Mormons at Mormon Stories.
Thanks for including a post on a significant new religious movement, that of the Church of Jesus Chrsit of Latter-day Saints. As the Lausanne issue group on postmodern and alternative spiritualities has argued (www.lop45.org), the new spiritualities represent significant phenemona for missional church consideration.
With the missional challenge of the new religions before us, we have a responsibility to seek out the best material possible in order to accurately and empathetically understand the new religions and their adherants. I’m afraid that “The Godmakers” film falls short in this area. While popular in the 1980s among evangelical churches, this film has been critically reviewed by scholars who have noted its problems and shortcomings. As one example that you touch on in this post, the film uses animation to portray some of the theology and sacred history of the LDS. While animation is respected as a serious art form and means of communication in some cultures, in the U.S. it tends to be associated with children’s entertainment, and would seem to be a culturally inappropriate medium for communicating the sacred for LDS.
Beyond this, the film falls within a model for responding to new religions that tends toward doctrinal and worldview refutation rather than cultural and missional engagement. As my colleagues and I argue in our Lausanne issue group paper, and in the book “Encountering New Religious Movements” (Kregel Academic, 2004), the evangelical world needs to consider moving beyond apologetic refutation paradigms in an effort to apply the insights of cross-cultural missiology and intercultural studies to the new religions in the West.
Just as many evangelicals would be unsettled by an LDS cartoon that represented “Evangelical Theology in Six Minutes,” perhaps we can recognize the shortcomings of such an approach to LDS, and in response raise the standard for engaging religious others.
good comment, john. thanks. and if you had time i am sure you would have mentioned that besides its philosophical shortcomings, the artistic quality of this movie is lame and insulting . . . and i am thankful that the mormon church did not SUE anyone for defamation of aesthetic sensiblitites.