35 years ago today - May 13, 1987
The B.H. Roberts Society presents a forum entitled, ,Is Salvation a Laughing Matter? or Laugh Now. . ..It May Be Straight Beyond the Gate." It is a look at satire and LDS society. "It was also a circus of comic talent and a groundling's-eye of low comedy in the celestial fast lanes of LDS culture. Five Mormon artists presented a mixture of performance and commentary: a writer [William Wilson], an editorial cartoonist [Calvin Grondahl], a novelist [Levi S. Peterson], and two actors [James Arrington and Darryl Christensen]." Cartoonist Grondahl comments, "We are cautioned in the Church. about being light-minded, but I don't think there is anything light minded about humor. I think it is a very serious thing." The Public Broadcasting Service documentary "The Mormons: Missionaries to the World" premiers across the United States. Even before airing, the film engages controversy, culminating in a letter to all U.S. LDS wards from Howard W. Hunter, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The letter acknowledges that the Church cooperated with the film's production but distances the institution from the final product. There were also press stories about the Church's protest to PRS and KCTS, the local affiliate that produced the documentary. The documentary showcased the LDS missionary program but also had interviews from former Mormons and one missionary who left his mission early.
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