The Mormon endowment ceremony is an ordeal in which its official events and procedures are not officially confirmed by the religion. The members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are vowed to keep the endowment ceremony rituals a secret. However, HBO must have some well placed sources about it. Big Love, already a target of the Mormon community, has sparked its biggest outrage yet from some Mormons, as this Sunday’s new episode exposes the endowment ceremony procedure.
In its third season, Big Love depicts the lives of a Mormon man, played by Bill Paxton, and his three wives, played by Jeanne Tripplehorn, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Chloe Sevigny. Big Love had already been a target of some Mormons, due to the polygamy issue and the other sordid details of the show.
But now, Big Love is about to go one step further, with its depiction of an endowment ceremony. HBO hired unnamed advisors to help the Big Love executive producers craft a re-enactment of the temple ceremony.
Though the Church members take a vow not to discuss what happens in an endowment ceremony, select few details have gotten out, and will likely be reflected in the Big Love episode.
A Mormon endowment ceremony reportedly features teachings, anointings, re-creations of Bible stories and the Church’s history, and questions posed to participants about the religion. The endowment ceremony, which prepares those who participate to get into Heaven, reportedly takes about two hours to perform.
The endowment ceremony in Big Love centers around Jeanne Tripplehorn’s Barb, the leader of the trio of wives. The ceremony comes as Barb is in danger of losing her place in the church, and is supposed to be a major plot point for her and the show, according to the producers.
HBO already had to put a disclaimer around Big Love when the show premiered three years ago, saying that the actions on the show do not reflect Mormonism, or the LDS church as a whole. Now, some Church members are accusing Big Love of being insensitive, and breaking their word to not connect the Big Love family to mainstream Mormonism.
Some individual members are calling for boycotts on the Internet, although HBO, which is well known for letting almost anything go on their show, stands by Big Love and its upcoming episode.
Already, Big Love has been renewed for a fourth season, as the third season is more than halfway finished.
Chicago Tribune- “Mormon endowment ceremony” www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/chi-mormon-endowment-ceremony-090310-ht,0,1158076.story
Cleveland Leader- “Mormons Are Fed Up With HBO’s ‘Big Love'” www.clevelandleader.com/node/9262
LDS Church Temples- “Article on the Mormon Temple Endowment” www.ldschurchtemples.com/mormon/endowment/