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BBC interview with LDS leader earns controversy

by Stephen Dark
- Posted // 2012-06-05 -

A BBC investigative journalist's interview with Jeffery R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, raises intriguing questions about the LDS Church and its beliefs.

The documentary, released in March but yet to be broadcast Stateside, is called The Mormon Candidate and featured a sit-down interview in the LDS Church Headquarters in downtown Salt Lake City between British reporter John Sweeney and Holland.

Among Sweeney's questions were several relating to whether U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney would have pledged to cut his own throat or disembowel himself before revealing the secrets of the LDS temple ceremonies. In edited footage, Holland said, "That's not true." He later says that vows would have been made "regarding the ordinances of the temple." Such penalty oaths were taken out of the temple ceremony some time ago, one Sweeney interview subject said, albeit after Romney would have taken his temple oaths.

Sweeney asked Holland about church members shunning those who leave their faith. Holland noted that he would choose not to cut out of family life one of his children if they decided to leave Mormonism.

Others highlights of the interview include questions relating to the baptizing of dead Holocaust victims, similarities between the LDS Church and Masonic organizations and whether the LDS Church is a cult. By this point in the interview, Holland's distinct unease had unraveled to almost cavalier frustration. "I'm not an idiot," he told Sweeney—nor, he implied, are the 14 million members-plus members of his growing church.

Sweeney also brought up the "Strengthening the Members" committee, a group within the LDS Church that polices polygamists and other vocal apostates or breakaways from the church. Holland acknowledged their continued existence as a group dedicated to protecting the church's membership from dangerous critics.

Perhaps the most interesting question is why the interview took place at all. The LDS Church is not known for allowing media to interview its hierarchy.

Given that Sweeney was responsible for a controversial BBC documentary on the Church of Scientology—including an infamous on-air rant by Sweeney against church media handlers—the wisdom of agreeing to a sit-down with Holland is a head-scratcher, particularly given the way Holland struggled to answer some of Sweeney's unabashedly direct questions.

A PR firm for the church hand-delivered to BBC offices in London a letter complaining about the "ambush" interview, according to The Guardian.

The documentary will be broadcast in the United States later this year—presumably before the election.

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Posted // June 7,2012 at 16:11

They are throwing their tantrum at the  "gotcha" questions, because they weren't given the questions ahead of time so that they could completey not answer with wordsmithing.  (anyone remember the "that's more of a Cuplet" comment by Hinkley?).  Holland was forced to say things he didn't have time to really figure out how to dance around.


Posted // June 6,2012 at 21:21

I'd like to expose some information on Mormons. I'm an African American and my father was a Mormon before the LDS church allowed the priesthood go be given to colored races. My father was a faithful member, god bless his soul, but they would make him sit in the back of church, his calling was the janitor, and they requried him to work for free at least 20-30 hours a week. I hate telling this story becuase it shakes me to the very core. I just will never understand how the Mormons have been able to rip-off all of humanity. I don't know if I should be exposing them, but while I was praying the our Lord God last night, I felt strongly that the Mormon church is lead by the father of all lies. So, I'm going to scream and shout until these false prophets are out of our land. Praise the Lord Jesus, Amen brothers and sisters!




During the 70s, the psychology department at Brigham Young University\ (Mormon religious school in Provo Utah) experimented with electroshock \ aversion therapy in an attempt to cure homosexuality. Patients who went \ through BYU's program were shown erotic pictures of people of the same \ sex. When the counselors monitoring the patient sensed he or she was \ getting aroused, an electrical shock would be delivered to the patient. \ In later sessions, if a patient felt himself or herself being aroused \ they could press a plunger to stop the shock and an image of a fully \ clothed member of the opposite sex would appear on the screen.




BYU's attempts to cure homosexuality using electroshock aversion \ therapy are better known, but they were not the only method used. \ Patients undergoing treatment for what the church still calls same-sex \ attraction could be treated with a drug that would make them nauseous \ injected into them while looking at the images depicting homosexual \ activities, and a different drug that would cause euphoria injected into\ them while viewing images that depicted heterosexual activities. \ Neither method worked.




more info: suite101. com/article/byu-electroshock-aversion-therapy-a33025




Videos on the Evergreen program at BYU. Gays in the Mormon church \ abused in the name of their god. An example of Christian Brutality and \ Nonacceptance. This video was part of a masters thesis project at a \ University in the Northwest. Short video series:




you tube. com/watch?v=pwUTVQ4mfNE


you tube. com/watch?v=bV-8BmFwGIc&feature=related


yo utube. com/watch?v=UeMKmnMfNUo&feature=related




Posted // June 6,2012 at 20:40

Awww poor JohnnyLingo62... the questions were direct, but they weren't "gotcha"  And what an assumption that the interviewer got his info from "anti-mormon" sites...  you can get most of his info from anywhere!

And as far as humanitarian aid is concerned, by it's own numbers the church only gives around $5 per member, per year.  Pretty pathetic.

Mormons are SO good at nourishing their persecution complex!


Posted // June 6,2012 at 19:48

I have seen the 'documentary' and thought it a complete travesty.

The logic went something like this:

1. Mitt Romney is a Mormon

2. Let's interview a bunch of people who are not Mormons and see what they think about Mormons.

He interviewed:

A. Polygamists who acknowleged they have no connection with the Church

B. Disaffected former members,

C. Evangelicals who have no connection with Mormons at all, and

D. Commentators

He focused on the most scurrilous, salacious and conspiracy-minded material he could focus on, showed precious little evidence for any of it, and left the bigotry in his viewers' minds to connect the dots.

It was a hatchet job and was unworthy of the BBC. There was no attempt at any meaningful understanding of Mormonism and, even worse, said nothing at all about it chief premise - ie how Mormonism might influence a Romney Presidency.


Posted // June 6,2012 at 20:44 - It's only a hatchet job if you don't like the end result. If you were doing a piece about a business, would you only interview their board of directors and current employees? NO!


Posted // June 6,2012 at 14:48

This "Documentary" style interview does appear to be an "I gotcha" type of product. I don't think Sweeney has any knowledge of the actual doctrines, beliefs, or purpose of the LDS Church. It sounds like, from these exerpts that he has read all the Anti-Mormon Blogs and Books and anything that could be "sensationalized" and provides no balance with "normal" church worship activities. 

I'm not naive to think that only "good" reports should be given about the LDS Church, however, unless his finished product includes the "positive" aspects that the current members feel as they attend church meetings, serve in their communities, provide humanitarian aid, provide free genealogy records, and try to follow the teachings of Christ, then his project is very incomplete and one-sided focusing on the edgy, non-doctrinal musings of detractors and apostates.  

We still believe in free exercise of thought and action. Free Agency means we can choose the activity, but with every activity there is an associated consequence, whether good or bad...


Posted // June 9,2012 at 17:43 - John what's there to understand about mormonism? Other than it's one of the largest MLM's in the world!


Posted // June 7,2012 at 14:42 - Yeah, right, you can choose the activity because, after all, you have Free Agency. Only it's not free agency if the consequences (excommunication, Bishop's court, family embarassment in church)are spelled out for you in advance. Then it's just gambling.