HBO and Mormans square off over airing of sacred rite

HBO’s polygamy show Big Love depicts  an endowment ceremony on an upcoming episode, where Barbara (Jeanine Triplehorn) faces being kicked out of the church.  Without ever having seen the episode, the Morman Church is understandably prickly.

“Certainly church members are offended when their most sacred practices are misrepresented or presented without context or understanding,” the church statement said.

Only church members in good standing can enter temples to perform or witness sacred ceremonies. The ceremonies are centered on religious teachings and re-enactments of Bible stories to help Mormons prepare an eternal place for themselves — and others by proxy — in heaven.

Members take a vow not to discuss the rituals outside temple walls, although details of the ceremonies are widely available on the Internet.

The dramatization of the ceremony was vetted for accuracy by an adviser familiar with temple ceremonies who was on set during filming, said series creators and executives producers Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer.

“In approaching the dramatization of the endowment ceremony, we knew we had a responsibility to be completely accurate and to show the ceremony in the proper context and with respect,” Olsen and Scheffer said in a separate statement issued through HBO. “We therefore took great pains to depict the ceremony with the dignity and reverence it is due.”

The church declined an interview request by The Associated Press on Tuesday.

As is often the case in these types of television or movies depicting religions.

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