Friday, September 5, 2008

This Week In Mormons In The Media

I’ve been meaning to start a series about this topic for months. So few members of the church represent me the way I want to be represented that I’ve been meaning to write about it, especially the more we creep into the public eye. Unfortunately, it’s usually something that makes us look stupid.

I’ve been an Intervention loyalist since it was first broadcast. Sometimes I want to quit out of frustration over the stupidity of people, but I power through. This week’s episode was a doozy.

Jenny is a 27 year old Mormon girl who is a heroin and meth addict. If you’re not familiar with the show, it always begins with the background and family history of the addict and then facts pop on the screen that tell the story of their descent. An example would be…

“At 16, Jenny found out her sister was actually her mom.”

Then the person will comment about it for a second and then….

“Jenny began shooting up heroin. She now shoots up at least 3 times a day”

Something like that.

Well, the impetus for Jenny’s addiction was a new one for the show. Apparently, she and her sister got their Patriarchal Blessings on the same day. Her sister’s was all positive about how she would have a big beautiful family and such, while Jenny’s spoke of struggles and challenges and did not mention that she would have a family in this life. Well, not being able to be a mom in the church is like working and not getting paid.

Shortly after the blessing, she found out she had endometriosis (sp), which confirmed for her that God didn’t love her (while also confirming the blessing). This sent her into a tailspin of drug dependency, which was totally out of character for her to that point.

To those who aren’t familiar with what these blessings are, let me explain. It’s basically a one-time blessing most members receive that map out their life. We believe the blessing is given by revelation to the Patriarch. It will usually tell us what we were like before coming to earth, what we can expect while we’re here, and maybe what God has in store for us. They’re pretty powerful, not to mention intensely sacred and personal, thus having one discussed so nonchalantly on a TV show about addiction is like seeing your mom in Playboy. Not something you want out there for all to see.

The show always ends with an update on their progress and this is usually the most annoying part of the show, as many of the addicts relapse. Jenny was one of those. After completing a couple months of rehab, she fell back into it. She’s also now pregnant, but it didn’t elaborate on with who or anything.

I had heard a few years ago that Utah was the nation’s leader in meth labs on a per capita basis. Does that suck or what! You know it’s mostly disaffected Mormons, squashed under the pressures of high expectations and creative oppression rebelling against the predominant culture. Too bad more people, especially Mormons, can’t come to terms with their spiritual conflicts in less destructive ways.

Finally, I wanted to quickly mention one other show I’d like people to seek out. A recent episode of 30 Days featured an LDS woman who is totally against same-sex parenting. She lives with a gay couple with like 4 kids for 30 days to learn how they live and she’s the only person I’ve ever seen on that show who never comes around to the other person’s way of thinking. I was sick to my stomach watching this woman use the church as her excuse to be bigoted to this couple just trying to give needy kids a home and some love. She’d rather the kids be in foster care. Shameful. You can watch the entire episode here if you’re interested.


Marilyn said...

Have you ever watched Workout? The lead character is a lesbian, and her mom is a Mormon who cannot accept the daughter's lifestyle. I cringe when shows mention Utah or Mormons, because it's almost never a positive portrayal (like Keith on Project Runway). One thing you can be absolutely sure of, though - you'll never see your mom in Playboy.

AnnieB said...

Aww Mom! Never say never!! Hee hee.
Did you see that Rick Schroder's wife Andrea is on Top Design on Bravo? Gotta check it out!

Farrah said...

Yes, you should keep this column going. Fun times.

cmontroy said...

Marilyn in Playboy?! Hee Hee Hee
Thanks for the insight on these shows and expressing a mindset so many of us share, but do not have the gift of words to share it. My neighbor (fellow ward member) said a month or so ago that on there was an article about mormons in the media and reality shows, i couldn't find it (not very good at internet searching) but if you find it i would be curious as to what you think and where you found it. Keep the column going. (p.s. I LOVE Project Runway!)