Heads up for those in the D.C. area. Greg Prince, co-author of David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism, hosts a great series of events at his house in Potomac, Maryland, the next of which is coming up on Sunday, June 8th.
In April, Prince screened the first Act of the “director’s cut” of Helen Whitney’s “The Mormons” and organized a fascinating interfaith discussion afterward. Steve Orton, an institute teacher in the area, gave a Mormon response to the segment followed by responses from Dr. David McAllister-Wilson, president of the Wesley Theological Seminary, and several members of the Seminary faculty. Audience members then had the opportunity to ask questions of everyone who spoke. The discussion centered in part on an analogy offered by Terryl Givens in the documentary, in which he likened the “scandal” of the Golden Plates in Mormonism to the “scandal” of the Resurrection in Christianity (the theologians unanimously held that Christianity’s scandal was the “scandal” of the Cross, not the Resurrection).
The event next week will follow up with another screening from the director’s cut followed by a similar interfaith discussion. Here is Prince’s last announcement:
Our next session (and the final one before our summer break) will be Sunday, June 8th, 7:00 p.m. at our home. We will screen Act 7 of the PBS special, “The Mormons,” which is entitled “The Great Accommodation.” It deals with the transformation of Mormonism from a national pariah at the end of the 19th century, to a quintessential American religion by the late 20th century. As was the case last session, we will have LDS and Wesley commentators, and then a group discussion. The discussion will not focus on the documentary, but instead, on three questions raised by the documentary that are equally applicable to LDS and other faith traditions:
1. How do religious traditions change?
2. Why is it necessary that these traditions change?
3. How can religious traditions change to accommodate a changing world, while at the same time preserving their identities?
I’ve only attended one event so far, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend them to anyone. The portion of the documentary we screened included a significant amount of additional material that would please most members, with more insights and background from Church leaders and scholars, and the discussion that followed was substantive and thought-provoking.
Those interested in attending should email Prince (gprince at erols.com) for more information or to RSVP. If you want to watch Act 7 before the screening, it’s online here (I don’t think the “Acts” from the documentary correspond exactly with the divided segments online, so if you’re going to watch this in preparation or to compare, you may want to watch a segment or two past “The Great Accommodation”).