PBS and the Bloggernacle

The trailer is now online for PBS’s up-coming documentary extravaganza on “The Mormons.” You’ll be happy to know that the Bloggernacle had a bit part in the series’ production. Two or three years ago I received a somewhat odd telephone call from a woman who informed me that she was doing research for a PBS documentary on the Mormons. She said that she had been Googling “Mormons” and had come across Times & Seasons and other Mormon blogs. Could I talk. There followed a series of telephone conversations and email exchanges that stretched over a couple of months. The researcher had clearly been reading the blogs, and asked me questions on a number of posts that I had written, as well as discussions that she had read on other blogs. As far as I know nothing explicitly from the Bloggernacle made it into the final product. (But perhaps I am wrong? Did any Mormon bloggers do on-camera interviews for the series?) On the other hand, we do seem to have been a “deep background” source. It will be fun to see what comes of it.

26 comments for “PBS and the Bloggernacle

  1. Greg Call
    April 4, 2007 at 12:36 pm

    A film crew from the documentary showed up in my branch last year and filmed one of our African-American members bearing her testimony. I’ll be interested to see if the clip made it past the editing room.

  2. April 4, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    Cool story Nate. Sounds like they were really trying to do their homework at least…

  3. April 4, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    Interesting. From what I have heard, it sounds like they had a great deal of official church cooperation. It seems to me like there is an attitude in SLC that it is better to cooperate and at least have an official voice present in the story, rather than try to stonewall and then dismiss unfavorable attention.

  4. April 4, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    So, should we now refer to the Bloggernacle as “Deep ‘nacle”?

    I’m hearing more and more about this series and am looking forward to it. Thanks for this update Nate as well as the trailer link.

  5. Adam Greenwood
    April 4, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    Thats a freaky trailer. Sure y’all aren’t Danite cultists? Don’t hold out on me now.

  6. April 4, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    The voice is a little “in another place and time…”, but the trailer certainly piqued my interest… funny to see Trevor Southey and, oh man, his name just escaped me… anyway, funny to see to prominent gay mormons (if culturally, only) in there.

  7. Melissa
    April 4, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    I spoke with Helen at some length too. She also interviewed my grandmother briefly about her experience opposing the ERA as a stake Relief Society President in Missouri during that heated controversy. I doubt highly that either of these conversations will be in the final piece though.

  8. Wilfried
    April 4, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    Good thing they didn’t title it “LDS at PBS”. Looks like it’s going to be Mormon through and through.

  9. April 4, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    I did a couple interviews for them too, I think it was them anyway, seems like such a long time ago, I assume it’s the same people though, how many Mormon pbs documentaries could there be? A camera crew did go and interview my bbf. I wonder if she makes the final edit.

  10. Kevin Barney
    April 4, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    They interviewed a member of my stake presidency (and friend of mine), who is black, but I have no idea whether he will make the final cut.

  11. April 4, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    Good grief, who didn’t get interviewed by these people? [Raises hand.]

  12. Aaron Brown
    April 4, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    Watch for the bit about the secret memos from SLC to all priesthood quorums, instructing Mormon elders to write their congressman and demand a ban on all coffee and tea imports. I was only kidding about this, but I think they took me seriously in my interview.

    Aaron B

  13. Ryan
    April 4, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    They came and filmed my children. Then they took them away. Except, they weren’t from PBS, their vans said “CPS”. Probably the same thing though. I’m sure the kids’ll be back after the show airs.

  14. April 4, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    You just keep thinking positive, Ryan. Good man. Pay no attention to those black helicopters; they’re just dusting crops.

  15. manaen
    April 4, 2007 at 5:19 pm

    Any word on this becoming a series a la Geico cavemen?

  16. April 4, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    (Is it just me or does anyone else conjure a mental image of some Bloom County character when Russell makes certain comments, like “[Raises hand]”?)

  17. Katie
    April 4, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    Who Moroni gots some crazy hair!

    I like the pattern of swelling upbeat music when showcasing the good stuff and then duh duh dah-queue the solemn the music for the controversial stuff.

    It looks really interesting. I’m excited.

  18. Katie
    April 4, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    Not “who” but “whoa”

  19. April 4, 2007 at 9:19 pm


    They didn’t interview me! What’s up with that?!

  20. Matt W.
    April 4, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    I watched it without sound. That was Moroni? I thought it was a picture of Joseph Smith with Horns. Where did they dig that picture up?!?

  21. April 5, 2007 at 1:43 am

    Margaret Young over at BCC was interviewed as well.

    Russell, maybe you were the only one NOT interviewed. Well… you and me.

  22. Brad Kramer
    April 5, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    The horned JS is a painting by Kirk Richards.

    During the Summer Seminar at BYU last year, Terryl Givens and Richard Bushman did several interviews with Helen Whitney and were very excited about the project. I think the doc she produced, “Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero” was one of the most astonishing films I’ve ever seen. I’m pretty excited.

  23. Wilfried
    April 5, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    The painting is part of the amazing production of J. Kirk Richards, one of our best Mormon artists of the moment, with IMO a brilliant career ahead. The painting briefly shown in the PBS trailer is entitled “IDEA”, pronounced [ee-day-ah]. It does not say it depicts a particular person. Visit his gallery at http://art.jkirkrichards.com/.

  24. April 5, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    For the record (#21), Margaret Young is still a permablogger at T&S and did a guest stint at BCC.
    So what do y’all think about this media attention the Mormons are getting? Is some kind of wave cresting? Where does it take us?

  25. April 5, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    Ah, Wilfried — thanks for the reminder. Somewhere I have notes for a blog post on the art of J. Kirk Richards. Fantastic stuff.

  26. April 9, 2007 at 11:42 pm

    FYI, I blogged about the doc over here: http://www.rhapsidiom.com/2007/04/mormons-pbs-experience.html

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