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prisonchaplain

Finding Grace - LDS-influenced movie that is simply faith-based

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So daughter, wife and I are stumbling around the streaming-movie world, and come upon Finding Grace. It's the story of an 18-year old girl facing peer-pressure from friends, dysfunction at home, and deep turmoil within. Through public service at a nursing home and through a return to Christian faith life turns around. It's a sweet movie, fairly predictable...with an interesting twist. Though the family returns to church, during counseling dad calls his pastor "bishop." Towards the end a prayer for healing is needed. The dad is acting really nervous, saying he has not done this type of thing in many years, and he's not sure he is worthy. His daughter reassures him. This all feels odd to the viewer, because we believe it is the daughter who will do the main interacting with the other character. Next we see both father and daughter laying hands on the patient and the father offering a very eloquent and rather formal blessing. Then there was the scene where the daughter ends a prayer by saying, "And I say this in the name of Jesus Christ," again in a rather familiar, yet formal manner.

So... I did some digging. The main character (teen daughter) was in the Beehive movie (title escapes me). The father was in Saints and Soldiers, and at least one other more overtly LDS movie. All this to say, this seems to have been a movie with a lot of LDS influence, yet those involved chose to produce it as a generic, faith-based movie. I doubt many caught the subtleties that I did.

The closest comparison I can come up with is The Passion of the Christ. Mel Gibson is Catholic--perhaps a traditionalist (a group the denies the authority of the current pope and of changes that came with/after Vatican II). Nevertheless, his movie appealed to most Christians, and he made heavy promotional efforts in the Evangelical community.

Thoughts?

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Speaking as myself: a LOT of my daily walk with Christ shares the same principles and beliefs as other Christians do.  I chat with friends and talk about my own scripture study lately -- unexpected blessing, trusting in God's plan, forgiveness, re-birth etc.  None of those are remotely LDS-Christian specific, and it doesn't remotely matter that the friends I'm talking with are Christians of other denominations: this we share.  There's no watering down on anyone's part.

The theme of having peer-pressure, family dysfunction, inner turmoil: those are a major themes almost all of LDS Christians go through at one at one point or another.  And we spend a lot of time talking about them: stories, scriptures, and movies too.  Same as Christians of other denominations.  And it's great to share -- if  another's heart can be uplifted by the movie you create.... what greater joy can a movie maker or a Christin of any type ask for?

 

 

PS: I am curious what platform you found this on PC.  I have a lot of spare time this weekend to check a movie out.

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Go Toward the Light.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095225/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

Story of an LDS family.  Touched lightly on faith.  But it was mostly about the struggles of dealing with a hemopheliac child during the midst of the AIDS hysteria.  The movie begins right about the time when the boy is diagnosed with AIDS.

The only subtleties that clued anyone in were:

1) When the couple is at a restaurtant, the actual wife was on set and told them they needed to replace the wine glasses with water goblets.
2) The husband is seen talking with "counselor who was depicted as "an elderly man in a suit" across a desk with "a rather thick stout book" which was leather bound and had four distinct pieces of text along the spine -- laying on the desk.
3) Once during the narrative, the mother says,"As Mormons, we always believed in an afterlife."

Edited by Carborendum

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6 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

So... I did some digging. The main character (teen daughter) was in the Beehive movie (title escapes me).

Once I Was a Beehive

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2 hours ago, Carborendum said:

Go Toward the Light.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095225/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

Story of an LDS family.  Touched lightly on faith.  But it was mostly about the struggles of dealing with a hemopheliac child during the midst of the AIDS hysteria.  The movie begins right about the time when the boy is diagnosed with AIDS.

The only subtleties that clued anyone in were:

1) When the couple is at a restaurtant, the actual wife was on set and told them they needed to replace the wine glasses with water goblets.
2) The husband is seen talking with "counselor who was depicted as "an elderly man in a suit" across a desk with "a rather thick stout book" which was leather bound and had four distinct pieces of text along the spine -- laying on the desk.
3) Once during the narrative, the mother says,"As Mormons, we always believed in an afterlife."

It was based on a true story and the family was LDS.  

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34 minutes ago, pam said:

It was based on a true story and the family was LDS.  

2 hours ago, Carborendum said:

1) When the couple is at a restaurtant, the actual wife was on set and told them they needed to replace the wine glasses with water goblets.

I guess I should have said "Real Life wife upon which the story was based."

 

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12 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

 

Thoughts?

We Latter-day Saints stumble trying through entertainment to make our doctrine and society pleasing and understandable to more traditional Christians.

I do not know if you have access but BYUtv is broadcasting a series about Christ called "Chosen".  I find the depiction of characters quite interesting - not quite as I have envisioned such characters but much closer than what I have seen in the past.  I would be very interested in your take - if this is available to you.

 

The Traveler

Edited by Traveler

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It turns out anyone with an internet browser can get this program @Travelerhttps://www.byutv.org/player/413b4c41-0bc2-405e-a10b-7fd147d3c607/the-chosen-i-have-called-you-by-name 

I'll try to watch an episode and share my thoughts soon.

Edited by prisonchaplain

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3 hours ago, Jane_Doe said:

I'm curious @prisonchaplain, do you feel/think any different of this movie knowing that it's makers were LDS Christians?

Do you think other will feel/think different?  

First, I think differently, simply in that I am fascinated at the decision of the producers not to be more overt with LDS messaging. It's an interesting niche for LDS producers to produce a faith-based, broadly Christian movie. Falling into the faith/religion category on non-religious sites probably means losing a fair number of viewers who might stumble upon it. To accept that loss, but then stick to a broadly religious approach is interesting. States of Grace was similar, but even it had main characters who were missionaries.

As for how I felt/feel, I think again of Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ. He was believed to be a traditionalist Catholic, has had some difficult incidents in his personal life, and yet produced this powerful film that we Evangelicals found anointed. The film became bigger than the producer. Finding Grace is a classic, rather low-budget faith-promoting film. Still, who's to say it won't lead to greater ventures?

As for how others might feel, it's probably good that they don't pick up on the small tells. Some would dismiss the movie out-of-hand (none of us are naïve here). Then again, there may be those who view the film and say, "They go through the same stuff we do."

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18 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

First, I think differently, simply in that I am fascinated at the decision of the producers not to be more overt with LDS messaging. It's an interesting niche for LDS producers to produce a faith-based, broadly Christian movie. Falling into the faith/religion category on non-religious sites probably means losing a fair number of viewers who might stumble upon it. To accept that loss, but then stick to a broadly religious approach is interesting. States of Grace was similar, but even it had main characters who were missionaries.

As for how I felt/feel, I think again of Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ. He was believed to be a traditionalist Catholic, has had some difficult incidents in his personal life, and yet produced this powerful film that we Evangelicals found anointed. The film became bigger than the producer. Finding Grace is a classic, rather low-budget faith-promoting film. Still, who's to say it won't lead to greater ventures?

I find it interesting that you find this interesting.  Majority of LDS Christian meetings I'm in are likewise apply to other Christians too.

Running with your high quality Passion of the Christ comparison: I also don't see this as Mel Gibson going out of his way to be generic, he's just being a Christian and telling the story.  I mean, he could have inserted some Catholic-specific thing in there (like have Mary mention "I'm still a virgin") but such would seem... incredibly awkward and artificial.  It's much more natural to simply tell the story and have it apply to everyone whom it does.  

18 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

As for how others might feel, it's probably good that they don't pick up on the small tells. Some would dismiss the movie out-of-hand (none of us are naïve here). Then again, there may be those who view the film and say, "They go through the same stuff we do."

That is a 100% honest answer. *thumbs up*

Edited by Jane_Doe

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15 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

It turns out anyone with an internet browser can get this program @Travelerhttps://www.byutv.org/player/413b4c41-0bc2-405e-a10b-7fd147d3c607/the-chosen-i-have-called-you-by-name 

I'll try to watch an episode and share my thoughts soon.

I’ll also be interested to hear your thoughts  about that show (I think we've had a thread or two about “The Chosen”, but I can’t find them off-hand).  The producers are Evangelical, I think (I believe the director’s dad wrote the “Left Behind” series?), but they have partnered with VidAngel (run by Mormons) for distribution and the Church is currently letting the producers use its “Jerusalem set” in Utah to film the second season.  They’ve apparently gotten some pushback from their mainstream Christian fans for both of those reasons.  (There’s also a remarkable scene where Nicodemus and another Pharisee are talking, and the Pharisee keeps citing scripture for the idea that there are no more prophets, and Nicodemus is basically saying “what if we’ve misinterpreted those scriptures?  Do we presume to tell God what He can and can’t do?” that is very mormon-ey, though the show creators insist that was not intentional.)

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53 minutes ago, Jane_Doe said:

I find it interesting that you find this interesting.  Majority of LDS Christian meetings I'm in are likewise apply to other Christians too.

Running with your high quality Passion of the Christ comparison: I also don't see this as Mel Gibson going out of his way to be generic, he's just being a Christian and telling the story.  I mean, he could have inserted some Catholic-specific thing in there (like have Mary mention "I'm still a virgin") but such would seem... incredibly awkward and artificial.  It's much more natural to simply tell the story and have it apply to everyone whom it does.  

That is a 100% honest answer. *thumbs up*

You're probably right about the natural similarities between our faiths. On most days we say similar prayers, read similar scriptural admonitions, and respond to life's circumstances with similar spiritual understandings. As for Gibson, he actually did include some Catholic tells---including relying on the works of a Catholic prophetess, if I am not mistaken. Still, there was enough broadly Christian content that those who recognized the inserts chose to ignore them.

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44 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

 (There’s also a remarkable scene where Nicodemus and another Pharisee are talking, and the Pharisee keeps citing scripture for the idea that there are no more prophets, and Nicodemus is basically saying “what if we’ve misinterpreted those scriptures?  Do we presume to tell God what He can and can’t do?” that is very mormon-ey, though the show creators insist that was not intentional.)

I was going to suggest that the producer may be Pentecostal/Charismatic (we still believe in and expect to hear gifts of prophesy), but Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins (Left Behind series) were more Baptist in thinking, if I'm not mistaken. :ahhh:

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On 10/17/2020 at 9:43 PM, Traveler said:

We Latter-day Saints stumble trying through entertainment to make our doctrine and society pleasing and understandable to more traditional Christians.

I do not know if you have access but BYUtv is broadcasting a series about Christ called "Chosen".  I find the depiction of characters quite interesting - not quite as I have envisioned such characters but much closer than what I have seen in the past.  I would be very interested in your take - if this is available to you.

 

The Traveler

I really enjoyed the first episode. The story line is compelling, the characters intriguing, and there's none of the heavy monologue/speech-making that often plagues low-budget faith-promoting films.

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On 10/17/2020 at 9:32 AM, prisonchaplain said:

Thoughts?

In general, I don't think movies should portray sacred ordinances, and I really don't think they should repeat the wording of covenants. These things were not given to us so we could sell them for money or any other such thing. They are to be kept sacred; we are not to cast our pearls before swine.

Other than that, I think the movie sounds good.

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5 hours ago, Vort said:

In general, I don't think movies should portray sacred ordinances, and I really don't think they should repeat the wording of covenants. These things were not given to us so we could sell them for money or any other such thing. They are to be kept sacred; we are not to cast our pearls before swine.

Other than that, I think the movie sounds good.

I would only be guessing at whether the movie did either of these. If the prayer for healing was a sacred ordinance, and if the wording were specific to a healing covenant, then such went over the head of any non-members watching it. Though a bit more formal than I am used to, the scene came off as a father and daughter with renewed faith in God praying for the healing of someone the daughter had become close to. Still...only members could discern if the producers crossed a line.

Edited by prisonchaplain

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4 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

I would only be guessing at whether the movie did either of these. If the prayer for healing was a sacred ordinance, and if the wording were specific to a healing covenant, then such went over the head of any non-members watching it. Though a bit more formal than I am used to, the scene came off as a father and daughter with renewed faith in God praying for the healing of someone the daughter had become close to. Still...only members could discern if the producers crossed a line.

A healing blessing isn't a covenant or saving ordinance in LDS eyes.  There isn't anything wrong with recording it at all, and nothing was over the line.  And there are films specificallyy produced by the LDS Church that have blessings being shown.  

But it is a special moment, and there is a traditional culture of privacy for special spiritual moments.  Example: typically normal Sunday services aren't broadcasted, let alone recorded and stored on a website like you'll see in other churches.  Even now, while Zoom meeting services are very specifically permitted, they aren't recorded and they turn things off for passing of the Lord's Supper.  

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2 hours ago, Jane_Doe said:

A healing blessing isn't a covenant or saving ordinance in LDS eyes.  There isn't anything wrong with recording it at all, and nothing was over the line.

38.2.1.5

Recording the Words of Ordinances and Blessings

Patriarchal blessings are recorded and transcribed. The exact wording of other ordinances and blessings is not recorded in writing or by recording device. However, a family may record father’s blessings.

38.2.1.6

Photographs and Video Recordings of Ordinances and Blessings

No one should take photographs or video recordings of priesthood ordinances or blessings or of baptismal services.

I should also point out that this is not strictly a matter of recording sacred ordinances, but of portraying them. The Church may commission a film that portrays the performance of an ordinance. That is the purview of the leaders of the Church, and I have no fault to find with it. But I maintain that it is inappropriate for Church members to portray a holy ordinance for entertainment purposes. That is an example of Christemporoi, which I believe is a form of priestcraft. These things are sacred, and are not to be exposed to the ignorance and ridicule of a fallen world.

Edited by Vort

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