Monday, March 16, 2009

What is Sacred?

There's been a great deal of hoopla in my home state (and beyond) about last night's episode of the HBO series Big Love. Apparently, though I do not watch Big Love, there was a depiction of an ordinance performed in the temples of my personal religion of choice, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Alice, my bestie and brilliant roommate, wrote this post about her opinions on this controversy last week. My church officially made this statement and recently posted this video on you tube:

Then, today, I listened to a local radio program conversation (Radio West) and frankly, I wasn't too impressed by the discussion that took place.

So, now that I have links galore to the official and unofficial thoughts on the matter, I couldn't help but state my own:

I suppose there was a piece of disappointment when I learned HBO would be airing such things. Not angry-disappointment--I feel there really is little reason for outrage to enter the equation (after all, what purpose would that serve me?). Not surprised-disappointment--this isn't the first time, nor will it be the last, I'm sure, that this kind of misrepresentation has occurred in the media or by other means. But a sense of saddened disappointment. Saddened because the ceremonies performed in these temples are sacred to me. So sacred, in fact, that I do not speak of them outside the walls of the temple. And while what happens here may be cause for curiosity and perhaps even confusion in others, for me it is a deeply spiritual experience separate from the other ordinary, day-to-day parts of my life. And having something so special to me used for purposes other than what they were intended is hurtful.

I'm not calling for a boycott of HBO. I'm not out to get the executive producers, the writers, or the actors in the show. That all seems really fruitless for a no-name English teacher to take on. Instead, what this whole conversation has gotten me thinking about is humanity and the sacred. It has me thinking about how we all have different definitions of what is and what is not sacred, and that is okay. It has me thinking that I could always stand to improve in this department. That, though I view myself as a respecter of all beliefs--I find religion in all its forms beautiful and filled with many truths--I could still do better. We all could.

What this experience has reminded me of is that it hurts when someone doesn't recognize how important something is to you and treats it trivially. It doesn't feel okay when, because of their own ignorance or lack of understanding, they take something of a serious nature (to you) lightly or they take it out of context or they simply misuse or misrepresent it because they don't understand.

So, rather than let my feelings of hurt transform into feelings of anger, I think I want to let my hurt transform me. Every faith has beauty in its rituals and beliefs. Every faith is sacred. Every faith deserves to be treated as such--if for no other reason than that the individuals who follow and believe in its doctrines and philosophies are beautiful and deserving of all the respect and understanding I have to give.


Rosanna said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this Brooke... I couldn't agree more!

BTW... even though I am a really lazy bad blogger, I really enjoy keeping up with yours!

Love ya!

Jen said...

I'm totally with you. I always love what the church pressroom has to say about these issues.

I heard of a book once, called "The Sacred and the Profane," and my thoughts on this matter made me want to read it.

I think you did a good job of expressing disappointment similar to what I'm feeling.

Rie Pie said...

Amen Sister Rookie.

Anonymous said...

Amazingly Put!!! Thank you for this post, we all need to listen to the truth you speak about. I too think I need to focus on what I am doing and how I can be a better human being. Thank You again. You have a gift, by the way.

The Freemans said...

Your words are very well put. Our local call-in radio show was discussing this last week. I sucked it up and called in after a guy ranted about the "secrecy" of the temple ceremony and how it SHOULD be out in the open.. I reminded people (or tried to. I don't think I got very far in our 20-second conversation) of the difference between secrecy and sacredness.
I'm sure the media attention will do more good than harm. People truly interested will find the good they've been looking for. And, now that it's halfway through the week after, everyone seems to have moved on to other things...

Ashley said...

I was really bothered by HBO. I have never seen any of the episodes of the show, but they went to far.
I agree- with any religion we all need to be respectful of what they hold sacred.

Alice said...

You my friend, always say it so perfectly. Thank you.

susette said...

I'm coming over from Mormon Mommy Blogs, asking for your help. I am in the running for a round trip airfare paid ticket to Connecticut, to meet a friend I became acquainted with through blogging. She is a super fun person and is holding this contest. I entered a funny story titled "Grapejuice Floaties, Now Marry Me." The person whose story receives the most votes will win a trip to meet this generous lady, whom I'm hoping to meet. The voting ends tonight-midnight. I used to be ahead but there is a story coming up from behind out of nowhere, and it's a tight race now. I would so much appreciate your help. Her blog is and the voting is on the sidebar on the right. "Grapejuice, Floaties" Just go there and cast a vote for me, please. Thanks so much-you're awesome! ♥♥

Stine said...

I think this is one of the most beautiful posts you've ever written. I haven't watched this season of Big Love, but I have watched the previous seasons. And while I like the show, I've always had a problem with the misunderstandings this show and it's writers have of the LDS church proper. They mix and match so many beliefs, ideas, and paradigms between the LDS church and the FLDS church, that how are people to know which is fact and fiction? Many people don't even know that there are two different sects of the Mormon religion.

I don't want to speak of the temple ceremonies proper, even though I've never been, I have researched them A LOT over the past 20 years. Whether or not I agree or disagree with Big Love putting them on the show is not important. To me, what is important, is that "if" they choose to, they need to get their facts clear as to what really takes place, and who actually can enter the temple. And to my knowledge polygamists are not allowed in the temple. It's the show not getting their facts clear that bugs me.

But again, I wanted to compliment you on a very beautiful, sincere, and eloquent post. I love you little sister.