In the Shadow of the Temple

On October 10th (2009) a new documentary will debut at the Exmormon Foundation Conference in Salt Lake City. In the Shadow of the Temple by Pepita Productions promises to provide 55 minutes of interesting and insightful glimpses into the lives of people who have chosen to leave Mormonism. From the producer’s blog site:

Documentary Film Explores the Mormon Culture of Control

“My mother wishes I was dead!”

This plaintive account of a true believing Mormon mother’s response to her 42 year-old son, the father of her six grandchildren, who doubts the validity of the LDS church, is replicated in themes of fear, rage and renewal in the documentary, In the Shadow of the Temple.

Through dozens of interviews with active Mormons, trapped non-believers and with Ex-Mormons who have left the Church and view it as an oppressive cult, this…production explores, delineates and challenges the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ power to exploit the family as a weapon against those who choose to no longer accept what the Mormons believe to be “the One, True Church.”

For more than a year, we (Karen and Dennis, the film’s producers) have peeled away layers of LDS public relations to find a stone cold resistance to free will, exemplified by the Mormon Church’s ability to use the family as a weapon of control. We thought we were going to do a film about Mormon theological principles, but we found that this is a story about personal and family tragedies.

It’s understandable that those leaving the LDS Church may be angry when they discover the thing to which they have devoted their entire lives turns out to be a fable — a great hoax perpetrated (they may feel) by people they thought they could trust.

But at times deep anger and suspicions are exhibited against those who leave, these unrestrained emotions coming from Mormons who choose to remain in the Church. Parents, siblings, spouses, friends — sometimes they “wish” their loved-ones were dead. Sometimes they think those who have left the Church are the “bad guys.” Sometimes they won’t speak to ex-Mormon family members for years, or they go to their graves never reconciled, never accepting a loved-one’s decision to leave Mormonism to embrace a different faith. What drives such a response? What drives such a tragic wedge between those who really do love one another?

Watch the documentary’s trailer:

To see short outtakes from In the Shadow of the Temple visit the Pepita Productions You Tube Channel.


Comments within the parameters of 1 Peter 3:15 are invited.


About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
This entry was posted in Mormon Culture, Personal Stories, Truth, Honesty, Prayer, and Inquiry and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

118 Responses to In the Shadow of the Temple

  1. Ward says:

    Hank: I am confused. Perhaps you can help me understand. I have thought that the BOM was original, or claimed to be, from the plates to Joseph’s eyes. Yet, you are indicating quite comfortably that the sections of Isaiah which have been claimed to be plagiarized, and denied by other places I have read, to be revisions of Isaiah. Have I missed something? It appears from your posts that what was once a big problem (IMO) is now merely an accepted fact. Sure, Joseph used and adjusted sections of Isaiah in the BOM. Is anyone else seeing a giant leap here, or is it just because I am such an uneducated neverwas? I am having a hard time seeing how you are proving anything other than disproving your perspective. I look forward to hearing you straiten this out for me.

  2. falcon says:

    Wikipedia and Fawn Brodie

    Someone help me out here but isn’t Wiki a site that’s kind of a community encyclopedia where people write entries and then other people can add and expand on it etc. The reason I bring that up is because someone could do a hit job on somebody they didn’t particularly like. For example, the Mormon church isn’t real hot for Fawn in fact I think they excommunicated her. So if the Mormon folks were involved with the presentation of the material, I would guess it would be less than flattering. I mean, I could do an entry on Joseph Smith and point out his occult foundation and magic rock treasure hunting, his thirty three wives, some of whom were legally married to other men, his seduction of a fourteen year old girl and on and on. Now while all of this would be true, the Mormons wouldn’t like it much.

  3. liv4jc says:

    Ralph, I think the Jehovah’s Witnesses have a copyright on the term “the truth”.

    As usual, the dialogue has succombed to the “my guy verses your guy” debating tactic. While this may be the nature of apologetics, taking a narrow view of certain qualities of the BoM can always reveal similarities between it and the Bible because we can find similarities anywhere if we pick and choose at our discretion. I hardly think the presence of the word “it” or the addition of a “t” sound in later manuscripts can overcome the evidence that JS wrote the BoM. And since we do not have the plates, the Smithian is free to pick and choose at will based upon JS “translation”, which has itself morphed greatly since its original 1830 printing.

    Is a dog a man? I could make the argument that it is to an ignorant person by pointing out the similarities while ignoring the glaring differences. My description would include: The dog eats food, digests it, and eliminates the waste, just like a man. This shared trait is very complex and uses the same processes. The same goes for a circulatory system. It is very complex and the chances of it randomly appearing in two creatures that share so many other traits is highly unlikely. The dog and man both have hair, eyes, a mouth, a brain, legs, teeth, etc. They both communicate by making noise. Even their DNA is similar in many places.

    Leaving out the differences and contradictions would leave the ignorant man convinced that they are the same beings. But if I let the ignorant man see the dog and play with it the similarities would be explained and the differences would immediately stand out. When I continued to expound upon the differences between intelligence and activities, form and function, our visitor would realized that although men and dogs have many similar traits, they are indeed not the same being.

    This same BoM reasoning has been used by atheists for years to compare the bible to other myths. But are the atheists correct?

  4. Michael P says:

    Hank, I have not read all the posts following your first reply to my last post, but it is a bit of stretch your intial argument. Maybe I should read all your posts before responding, but starting like you did kind of begs the question. You assert that because there is not one united opposition then they all must be wrong. This begs the question because what must that one criticism be? Is there even one that may exist? This question has been asked of you in another form before: what would be something that would cause you not to believe? Impliedly, there is one thing that would do so.

    But the assertion you make is faulty for another reason: it could be faulty for any number of reasons. Why does it have to be just one? Why can it not be that people simply like to focus on one aspect or another of the BoM to find it faulty?

    In the end, you assertion is eventually empty, like you asseertion that you are not irrevocably tied to Smith and that the only “person” you are loyal is Jesus/God. I don’t want a rehash of that specific discussion, but it would be helpful to get some claims that have some meat to them from the get go.

    It gets tiresome doing the “Mormon Shuffle” where it is necessary to dig in to find out what is really meant.

  5. setfree says:

    The sad thing about all of this is that the Mormons, like many others for many different reasons, don’t know what they’re missing. They have their dirty old dry bone, and they’re barking like mad to keep it.
    Those of us who have been to the point of no return with God know that we barked like crazy to keep our old dry bone, but God insisted that we give it up.
    And now we’re having steak every day.
    It’s not just mormons, to be sure, but I said that already. It’s those who use anything as a replacement for God in their lives. Could be sports, drugs, relationships, work, entertainment, etc. Anything that they use to find fulfillment.
    Jesus is the Living Water, the Bread of Life. Those who are filled with Him… how can you even explain it? It’s like describing the ocean to someone who has never seen a lake.
    Is there any Mormon out here, any one at all, who cares that the EV’s are out here to get you to a place of safety, happiness, peace?
    Is there any one who won’t just sit and defend the church, but would maybe stop for a second and consider?
    I’m so praying that one of these days, there will be.
    In Him

  6. Enki says:

    What about the passage in the BOM that mentions ‘lucifer’?

  7. Enki says:

    I was raised LDS, but I often wondered about the religion of my mothers ancestry. Whenever I asked about that, my grandmother just started talking about Jesus. Not the mormon jesus, she was of a different church, but not fixated on the ‘church’, but jesus. Anyways, I was just so annoyed that she seemed to know almost nothing about her culture or religion, at least she didn’t want to talk about it.

    My ancestors were not agriculturalists, in early translations it was so difficult to translate ‘bread’ and also ‘sheep’ and ‘lamb’. I believe they translated sheep and lamb as ‘seals’ and ‘seal pups’. During one of the first communion ceremonies, they used the heart and lungs of seals as ‘the lords supper’. They did not have ‘bread’, never heard of it.

    But as an adult I have had a chance to finally read the stories of my ancestors, its very different, and there is spiritual illumination, but that was expressed in non-agricultural terms. I just thought I would contrast that with an agricultral spiritual tradition. The stories also went in a ’round’, where the last one ends, the first one starts. I don’t recall any predictions, and there wasn’t even a clear mention of ‘god’, just human events.

  8. This same comment can be found above appended to one of HankSaint’s comments, but I am repeating it here to increase the odds that Hank will see it.

    Hank, you have been told before (8/27/09) that wholesale copying and pasting of LDS apologetic material is not what we’re looking for here at Mormon Coffee. Please stop. Summarize the arguments you wish to use in your own words or you will be carded.

  9. Enki says:

    If your not familiar with a different way of looking at the world, it can be difficult to understand where another person is coming from. Its too humanly easy to misunderstand someones motivation, and perceive someone elses motives as hostile.

    “Is there any Mormon out here, any one at all, who cares that the EV’s are out here to get you to a place of safety, happiness, peace?”

    I’m not a church going LDS member,but was raised as one. When I first learned of other beliefs out there I really thought they were ‘weird’. My first exposure was to JW in the playground, some girls argueing with me about the name of God. I actually got slapped several times trying to give a name they would accept. “God” slap, “jesus” slap, “eloheim” slap. “You’re mean” slap…the name is jehovah.

    My mothers first experience with christianity was being interviewed by a missionary in a language she didn’t know. She nodded yes or no, and watched their expression to see how if they looked happy, sad or angry and changed her response. It took her about 20 years to understand the christian faith, so many strange things to learn, different customs, kind of mean judgemental people that not only wanted to change their religion, but their whole entire culture, language, foods…everything.

  10. liv4jc says:

    Enki, did you know that the name Lucifer does not actually appear anywhere in scripture? It was a name made up for the King James Version of the bible. The literal translation from Hebrew found in other bibles, except the King James Version or the New King James Version, is “morning star”, “day star”, “star of the morning”, etc.

  11. Enki says:

    I posted a commentary about this point to Hanksaint a few days ago.

    “There is a problem with the word ‘lucifer’ as it appears in the BOM, and also the LDS D&C. Its also a problem for christians, but more of a minor one. But its a major problem for mormons, because it reveals that its not divinely inspired or divinely translated.

    “The first problem is that Lucifer is a Latin name. So how did it find its way into a Hebrew manuscript, written before there was a Roman language? ”

  12. HankSaint says:

    Nothing unusual that both the Bible and Book of Mormon use fallen angel and Morning Star and translate it into Lucifer. Why would Joseph not use the same word since it is a translation that derives a proper name from Morning Star.

    It does not seem a stretch for Christians to realize that Morning star was Satan in the beginning and one who fell as a fallen angel once know in the preexistence as the Morning Star, or Lucifer.
    Please show me where both Christians and Mormons error?


  13. liv4jc says:

    Hank, they err because the Hebrew word “heylel” in Isaiah 14:12 should be “translated” literally as star of the morning, morning star, day star, shining one, or other common translations. We can “interpret” this passage internally and decide that it is speaking of Satan or Lucifer. But the BoM, which supposedly was a literal translation from the words on the plates, to Joseph’s rock, to Joseph’s eyes, from Joseph’s mouth, to his scribes’ pen, perfectly as they were written in the original language, should not have rendered the KJV insertion of Lucifer, which is the result of inference from the AV translator. Although the name, Lucifer, connotates light, or “bearer of light” it is a name not found in the wording of the original text. Furthermore, 2 Nephi 24:12 is an exact copy of the KJV wording of Isaiah 14:12. A quick biblical search across several translations will show that the word “heylel” can be translated various ways to accomplish the same meaning and so can the rest of the words in that passage of Isaiah. This is why the followers of Smith have had to resort to claiming that when Joseph recognized passages on the plates that were from Isaiah he resorted to copying from his own King James Bible instead of directly from the plates.

    This brings up a problem. JS did not actually translate the plates with a knowledge of the language. He actually acted as a medium with the assistance of his seer stone. Many times the plates were not even in the room, but were “hid up in the woods” while he was translating. The words would appear on the rock and if not copied correctly by his scribe they would remain until the translation was correct. We have to assume then that the “familiar spirit” offering the translation on the rock was reading from the KJV, and not from the plates, seeing that these anachronisms common to a modern translation exist in abundance in the BoM, which was supposed to have been scribed into metal plates long before 1611.

  14. setfree says:

    I want to return to the woman who suggested the “codependent relationship” between the Church and its members, for a second.

    An LDS couple I know (in fact, I could name quite a few) lives in a codependent relationship.

    What I’ve noticed about relationships of this nature is that the one party NEEDS the other to be sick, evil, or in some kind of bondage, so that they themselves can be the hero, the victim, or just plain have a good excuse or scapegoat when they themselves are sick, evil, in some kind of bondage.

    An example: A man mistreats his wife. The wife, instead of rebuking him in love, plays the part of the doormat. She depends on him to be the bad guy, because then she is the victim, and a lot of wrong-doing on her part is excused because it’s so hard for her to put up with her nasty husband all the time.

    I think a strong case could be made that the LDS, knowing how imperfect they are, NEED to know that their superiors and or the church itself is not perfect, because “if that’s the best there is on earth, surely I will make it (to heaven) too”.

    I can’t tell you how many times I thought like that (when I was LDS), and how many Mormons I know talk like that. “Well, so and so does this-and-such, so I must not be THAT bad”.

    I think we all know how bad we are, even if just deep down, and worry about God’s judgment.

    The LDS don’t get to know if they’ll make it. Those of us ‘in Christ’ already have. We’re positionally RIGHT WITH GOD.

    We don’t have to have someone to blame our problems on, because we’re given a clean slate each time we make a mistake, and the power to overcome.

    We don’t need someone to be worse than us to feel good about ourselves, because we know that we are all lesser than the ONE GOOD ONE, and that He is carrying the burden of being perfect for us.

    It’s blessed, so blessed, being ‘in Christ’.

    Love you guys. Praying for you.

  15. grindael says:

    In Defense of the Grand Lady Fawn Brodie, the reason that she was targeted by the critics on her book about Jefferson is because of Sally Hemings. It took DNA to prove she was right on.

    The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation issues the “Report of the Research Committee on Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings.” The report endorsed the findings reported in Dr. Foster’s 1998 Nature article.
    Although paternity cannot be established with absolute certainty, our evaluation of the best evidence available suggests the strong likelihood that Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings had a relationship over time that led to the birth of one, and perhaps all, of the known children of Sally Hemings.

    Fawn was right and she is right about Joseph Smith. It is interesting that apologists have torn her down as just another apostate, but she did the same thing I did. Researched it. Do the same Mormon Brothers! Pray about it, you will come out from among them. By the way I never read her book on JS, maybe because I was told for 13 years it was so bad…. I went to the archives and BYU Professors…. I liked her book on Jefferson… and I respect Fawn Brodie. God Bless her… all I see from the Mormons is looking for quotes that support her as inaccurate, therefore JS bio was inaccurate. Do some REAL research, not just WIKI gloss overs….

  16. Brian says:

    Dear Sharon,

    Thank you for introducing this upcoming documentary. The documentary’s subject matter is something I know about. How so? Let me share the story …

    Many years ago, I met someone whom I count a dear friend. His name was Tom. And Tom was a vibrant Christian, well established in the faith, well established in the Bible.

    We struck up a friendship. It was during our conversations that he shared with me about his earlier life. He had once been LDS. And he had been excommunicated.

    He told me of how he had been called before something called a “church court” on the charge of heresy. Of this he was found guilty by those who sat in judgment. His punishment was excommunication from the LDS religion. He told me that his bishop either advised or pressured his wife to divorce him. She did. And he lost his home, his family, his friends.

    The heresy in question was that Tom had been speaking out against something that at the time was being taught in the LDS religion (it is no longer). In essence, it was a teaching which suggested one’s skin color was an indicator of one’s standing before God. A black color meant that (in another life) one had lived a bad life, and was therefore not entitled to complete participation in the LDS religion.

  17. Olsen Jim says:


    You show a great willingness to accept everything a person says as absolute truth. Most people understand that there are two sides to any divorce, excommunication, etc. etc. And hearing one side does not always ensure one has heard the “gospel truth.”

    Several elements of the story you related- actually all of them- are very suspect. It is hard for me to believe a bishop “pressured” a wife to divorce a husband for anything short of physical abuse or repeated adultery. These guidelines are “something I know about.”

    It is also difficult for me to believe a member was excommunicated for disagreeing with a supposed teaching that skin color reflected pre-mortal righteousness. Such “teachings” have never been mainstream, let alone something that dictates whether a person is excommunicated.

    Sorry, but you my friend were likely taken for a ride by somebody who was a little less than completely honest.

    Grindael- the evidence regarding Jefferson and Hemings is limited as follows: It is conclusive that the children of Sally Hemings had genes that likely came from some male member of the family that Thomas Jefferson was a member. Did you know the living arrangements at the time Hemings lived around Jefferson? There were many uncles and male relatives of Jefferson in the vicinity and even on the same property. In my opinion, it may be jumping the gun to conclude the children were Thomas Jefferson’s.

  18. Brian says:

    Dear Olsen Jim,

    Like you, I also found my friend’s story surprising. Given my friend’s strong Christian faith, and the many detailed conversations we had, I concluded it would be more surprising if he were not telling the truth.

    I’m not sure if his wife was pressured to divorce him, or if, having been advised by her leader to divorce him, she felt she should. But he was clear the suggestion came from her leader.

    I don’t think he was brought before a court for disagreeing about the teaching in question. It was for strongly speaking out against it, publicly and repeatedly, as he was very open about having done that.

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