I have always been an atypical visitor to Mormon Visitors Centers around the world. Visitors to the centers, which are adjacent to temples and important LDS historical sites, are almost always asked by missionaries to view movies, videos, or other media that were created to inform and inspire them. If my lovely wife wants to see the videos, I accompany her. Otherwise, I avoid them.
After all, I bought my first TV a few months ago so that my wife could improve her English by watching the news. I see at most 2-3 movies a year, always at the request of said wife. Stories told on the printed page inspire me; those told on a screen do not. With the possible exception of Johnny Lingo, which I saw as a child, I have never seen a church film that I have enjoyed.
With this in mind, you can imagine how excited I was to hear that my church had produced Meet the Mormons, a feature film that presents six interesting Mormons who live around the world. Bishops in the Los Angeles area were asked to schedule an evening at the local Visitors Center next year so that their congregants and friends can view the stereotype-busting film. I had one of our ward (congregation) leaders do this. Although I resolved to attend the screening in order to support the cause, I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy the film.
It took an article by a thoughtful Jewish writer — who else? — to get me to actually want to see the film. Yair Rosenberg, a scribe for Tablet magazine whom I met during a presentation I made at Harvard, has posted a review that is obligatory reading for anyone looking for a reason to see Meet the Mormons.
I thank Yair for his ongoing efforts to improve interfaith dialogue, and wish him and all of my Jewish readers shabbat shalom and a very happy Hanukkah.