This short film is one strong tug on the heartstrings. Family values are seriously put forth in this video. First released in 1988, this short film is a slice of yesteryear for the LDS Church. Despite the heartstrings, LDS filmmaking has definitely come along way since the 80's. LDS films are much better these days.
The film starts with several people recounting their favorite times and how all of them must inevitably end. The meat of the film begins with a scene where an anonymous offstage interviewer asks a man (who is a husband and father) questions about happiness. This man uses these questions asked of him as a springboard to discuss what is really important, the family. Next, a similar type situation is given where a young woman dialogues on how her marriage was in trouble.
The video switches to a young man who is searching for acceptance. This is probably the most interesting portion of the film and probably the part that makes the most sense (this entire film had an awkward and disconnected feel to it; it did not flow well). This man finds acceptance from a nice Mormon family after his car breaks down. This is also where the video becomes more theological in nature.
The final family/person that gives their story is a husband and a wife that recount the loss of their daughter. The film becomes even more theological in nature here. At least twice the woman mentions how we need to "do our part," and an actual plug is given for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am not one to quickly criticize Mormons for appealing to feelings (feelings do matter), but this video was unreal. It seemed like every scene was an attempt to evoke a strong emotional response, cheesy background music and all. The sad thing is that this film attempted to strike at the heartstrings frequently, but only pulled it off a few times.
This film would seem to be a lot less effective if one did not have a family, or was not currently seeking to start one. Being single with no children of my own, the only person I could truly identify with is the young man who finds the nice Mormon family when his car breaks down. This character is the most believable in terms of acting, and his story seems to touch on universals in the human experience.
While Mormons do not have a monopoly on family values, they are well known for them as this film tries to capitalize on. It seems as though lately the LDS Church has backed off family values a little (in regard to filmmaking), and opted to stress Christ and the Bible more. Whatever the case, it is not possible to reconcile the LDS view of family with the biblical view of it. Jesus said that His family was made up of those who did the "will of [His] Father who is heaven" (Matt. 12:46-50), and that He came to "divide" (Luke 12:51), pitting members of earthly families against one another. Paul in Romans 8 says that we are not automatically children of God, but are made so through adoption.
It seems that the Bible stresses ideological loyalty over loyalty to our genetic families. Our family of Christian ideology is our true family. Even Mormons believe this to a point. Many Mormons will readily concede that not all Mormons will be worthy to dwell and reign with the Father in heaven. The followers of God will indeed be Together Forever, but it will not be as this film would have us believe. These followers are not married in heaven, but are as the angels (Matt. 22:23-30). For more on this point, see Rob Sivulka's review on A&E's Investigative Reports: Inside Polygamy.
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April 2, 2004