July 2007 Backtalk
Letters to the Editor
I read with interest your editor's letter in the latest edition of Memphis magazine. You are 100 percent correct about the massive (no pun intended) problem of obesity in the Memphis and Mid-South area. The monumental health issues that accompany this problem are passed on to all of us in the nature of higher health insurance premiums and higher taxes to pay for medical care for the uninsured.
However, I think one issue is overlooked. While education is the issue, there is also no doubt that the very segment of the population (for the most part) that needs the information on obesity contained in your magazine will never pick up a copy.
Colorado is known to be the most fitness-conscious and fit state in the nation. I wonder where Tennessee falls in that category? Would that all Memphians would pursue education and a healthier lifestyle.
My purpose for writing is to bring to your attention a gross error in your article in the May issue of Memphis magazine, "See Gin Run". Twice in your article you referred to the HBO series Big Love as having to do with the "Mormon Church." Once, stating that Big Love was "centered around a Mormon polygamist family" and again referring to Ginnifer Goodwin's character as "an eager-to-please Mormon Lolita."
I would like to quote from a March 6, 2006 press release from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
"The central characters of Big Love are not 'Mormons', or, more properly termed, Latter-day Saints. HBO has said the script makes it clear that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints don't practice polygamy. Still, placing the series in Salt Lake City, the international headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is enough to blur the line between the modern Church and the program's subject matter and to reinforce old and long-outdated stereotypes.
"Polygamy was officially discontinued by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1890. Any Church member adopting the practice today is excommunicated. Groups that continue the practice in Utah and elsewhere have no association whatsoever with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Most of their practitioners have never been among its members."
As a member and local leader for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I find it offensive and distasteful to insinuate that a show as vile as Big Love could be associated with any religious denomination. I will assume that your reference to Mormons being polygamist was naiveté on your part and not malice towards our religion or religious beliefs.
The excerpt below is from the official Big Love website, describing the stars of the show, the Hendricksons. While the Church of the Latter-day Saints might not recognize this fictitious family as one of its own, that's how they identify themselves, hence the use of the word in my profile of Goodwin.
"Soon after Bill entered the University of Utah, he met his future wife, Barb. Together, they became entrenched in the Mormon Church and were married in a traditional temple ceremony. The family shared a fairly conventional life for a decade, before welcoming Nicki, Bill's second wife, into the family. Margene [played by Ginnifer Goodwin] joined the family soon after as Bill's third wife."