Thank you for another well-written and insightful article, Trent. These
topics~missionary work and filmmaking~are among my favorites. I have always felt
"called to serve" through these mediums, blogging, and sharing with
others via social media.Doubt anyone will read my comment after a
five-page article, but I feel I must say something in case anyone missed it:God is in charge. His plan will roll forward. No matter how corrupt the
world, governments, or individual people become, the work continues. There are
no coincidences. When Sister Payne was rejected at the tender age of
ten, God found a way to prove to her she had talent, and looked great on camera.
The Lord put Brother Reis where he needed to be, when He needed him. All He
required was a willingness to serve. Our Heavenly Father takes care of the
rest.I hope this series continues. We need to see events in foreign
lands, with elderly couples, or "impaired" missionaries. No one will be
withheld from missionary work if they are willing to serve...even if it is only
to help the missionaries in their work through your positive influence in
whatever sphere you occupy.
Any message of or about the Church is good news. If this allows more people who
like "reality" shows to participate in knowing what the Gospel stands
for ("good news") the better. It will also aid the missionaries in
their work, as when they ask the question: What do you know about the
Mormons," is answered, "I watch(or have watched) your reality show,"
all the better. Then the missionaries say," May we come in a talk more
about it?" Who would say, "No"?
The LDS Church is a very young church in comparison to Catholicism. It seems as
though Mormons are making many of the same mistakes the Catholics made centuries
ago (biblical literalism, one true faith, overzealous missionary activity, etc.)
Asking someone to make a lifetime commitment after meeting them once seems
unlikely to produce a lasting relationship. It takes a year of lessons and
study (RCIA) before a person is allowed to become Catholic. The LDS Church
should follow the Catholic example and make sure that the convert fully
understands the commitment being made.
I loved the series! More please!
Missionaries teach and testify, but the Holy Ghost converts. I've known
people who were taught by missioaries off and on over decades, but gladly set a
baptism date when they felt the witness of the Spirit.
Bruce, your concerns are valid, but show that you are completely uninformed as
to how missionary work actually proceeds in real life. There are definitely
standards that must be met before anyone is allowed to actually be baptized
after committing. They must receive all the lessons, make further commitments
that might require life changes (health code, abstinence until marriage, etc),
attend church, read the scriptures, pray, and even have interviews with other
missionaries to make sure they know what they are doing, understand what they
were taught, and have had all of their concerns resolved. We don't want
shallow converts any more than you do, so we definitely take steps to try to
make sure that doesn't happen.As for your other concerns,
Mormons aren't Biblical "literalists." There are things we know to
be literal and others figurative, and we have living prophets to clarify. As far
as believing ours is the "one true faith," Catholics still believe that,
and I can't imagine belonging to a church that didn't. Why invest
yourself in something that cannot guarantee salvation? Finally,
"overzealous" is a subjective term. What is zeal but dedication?
Coming from a Convert to the Church (I was previously Catholic), I feel somewhat
qualified to address this:Whether the Catholic Church is older than
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints really doesn't matter. To
me, trying to compare the two are like comparing apples to oranges. There is no
active missionary arm of the Catholic church, their growth rate is no where near
what the LDS Church is at least in terms of percentage. I would have to say
that perhaps the Catholic Church should borrow from the LDS church's
playbook, not the other way around. Asking for a lifetime commitment did not
deter me or any of the other Converts that I know from becoming a member. Of
course, some may fall away from the LDS Church, just like many leave the
Catholic church even after taking their year long course they are required to
take before becoming a member of the Catholic faith.
Bruce, members of the LDS church have received a revelation that states -
"The field is white, already to harvest." This means that there are
many people prepared and ready to accept the gospel right now. Some people take
longer than others to progress to baptism but the invitation usually comes
Bruce"The LDS Church should follow the Catholic example and make
sure that the convert fully understands the commitment being made."The LDS church is following God's example and shouldn't following
the example of anything else.
I realize that its not realistic, but I wish they would have made District
Videos about Missionaries in a foreign country. I was one of the first groups to
view the District 2 in the MTC. It made it seem like the missionaries in San
Diego were on a spiritual vacation. Obviously your most important obstacles are
getting people to overcome their past and to follow christ. I wish it would show
also having to deal with the language, gross foods, you know things from 3rd
world countries that a lot of missionaries deal with. Nonetheless, I still love
My name is Brian Gibson. I'm a member of the Church and a reality TV
producer living and working in L.A. I had the privilege of working on District
1 and it was a wonderful experience. I believe it was an inspired project and I
only wish the Church would do projects like this more frequently. It's
great to see the project getting some press even if it is 7 years later, and
it's refreshing to hear the perspective of the missionaries involved.
Although none of us did this project to get attention or notoriety, one producer
that isn't mentioned in the article is Marc Marriott. I believe if not for
his energy, talent, and especially his patience it never would have happened.
Kudos to the Church leaders for taking a risk on a project like this and kudos
to you Marc. Missionary work is a wonderful thing.
i've only seen a few of District and enjoyed seeing those 4. my frustration
was in the organization of Mormon Moments (or which ever set they were filed.) i
was unable to view either D1 or D2 episode to episode. i found episode 1 thru 3
but no others; then discoveed D2, but only one episode (out of sequence). maybe
Mormon Moments is better organized now bu i've lost interest when unable to
view each episode sequentially. this applies to youtube too but the missionary
dept and byu-tv as well
Thanks, Trent. Your article filled in the missing background. I may be the only
viewer who didn't understand the reason for the BYUtv episodes at first.
But now understanding makes the experience even more enjoyable. Truly, God does
move in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.
I don't get the facination with missionaries and mission life in the film
industry. Mission life is all about hard work and serving others ...that's
it folks. No drama or flash just long days and worn out shoes with lots of
rejection sprinkled with a little success. The change that happens to young men
and women is the same change the early apostles experienced in following the
Savior - transformation from dicipleship. Can't really put it on film.
Hi Trent, I have always had such an avid interest in, and love
for, what I like to call "the backstory." You outdid
yourself with your backstory on the LDS Missionary reality TV show,
"The District." I am very grateful for your highly
professional and comprehensive backstory. Not to mention your
outstanding creative talent. Thank you! It would be fun
to see/hear/feel the backstory on your career as a journalist. Kindness, Collins (Doc Meek) Neurological Learning Specialist South Jordan, Utah, and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Saturday, April
Bruce has a point. What is the retention rate of the newly baptized that were
not from families within the membership? A convert is expected to
give ten percent, quit smoking and drinking and coffee drinking and spend
virtually all of their free time in church, on a church calling, getting their
teens to ten hours of church activities to include seminary and direct them into
after school jobs where they earn about 10k before age 18 so they can serve a
mission themselves. Only a convert would understand the culture shock. Not to
mention doing all of that with little knowledge of doctrine. Imagine the errors?
The commitment to turn toward God can be made in an instant. But the
understanding of what that means takes a bit longer if you want the person to
remain a member and know what they believe. You would not want a new member to
officially join with erroneous doctrine in his mind? Then you have LDS behaving
badly and a church is judged by it's worst member, actually God so judged
by it's worse Christian.
AgmanetickThe Catholic Church has a billion people. Conversions are
not focused but the Catholic Church is growing rapidly because of families
having children who partake in the three steps of initiation that ending in
their teens and the small numbers going through RCIA. Some LDS numbers are not
converts in the field but members children making the decision at the
appropriate age. Catholics are not concerned about getting a follower of Jesus
to join because truthfully it doesn't increase Christianity. We are trusted
in nations to help with humanitarian efforts because we learned a hard lesson in
our fervor to convert centuries ago. I would find such a reality show to be
interesting to watch. I don't think reality shows need to be drama based.