Learning about other religions through film

Chantal Lawson, Staff Writer

A group of about 20 students gathered in Connell Hall to support Wayne State College’s Interfaith Action Group by learning about Mormonism last Wednesday.

President Liam Hockley led the night by introducing himself and discussing the group’s pur­pose, to help raise awareness about different religions to decrease ste­reotypes across campus. Hockley then played the movie “Meet the Mormons.”

This movie began by discussing stereotypes about Mormonism. These ranged from, “they celebrate a different Christmas” to “they all live in Utah, have lots of wives and are racists.” Throughout the movie, the stereotypes were disproven.

Some of the overlooked truths about Mormonism included: Mormon is just a title for a person who’s a member of the Church of Latter-day Saints. They’re still Christians. They read and follow teachings from the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon.

Family is a core value for them, and they believe that church atten­dance and service are very impor­tant too. However, the video didn’t directly address the truths about the Church of Latter-day Saints. It instead showed an inside look at six Mormon families worldwide.

The first family, from Atlanta, was headed by Jermaine Sullivan, an African-American who worked as a bishop. This section of the film revealed that Mormon Church workers, whether they’re the bishop, the Sunday school teacher or the janitor, do not get a salary.

The film moves to Annapolis and introduces head football coach of the U.S. Naval Academy, Ken Niumatalolo. His main message was, “Put the Lord first, and every­thing else will fall into place.”

He demonstrated this belief by canceling team meetings and practices on Sundays, encouraging players to go to church instead. He explained how religion should be looked at as well.

“The quarterback and the line­men are different, but similar. They’ve all got a job to do. Religion is like that too,” the coach said.

Overseas families were also shown, so that the viewers could get a glance at how Mormonism translates through cultures. The Marin family in Costa Rica and the Adhikari family in Nepal were culturally different. But they were both converted because of mission­ary guidance, and they both believe the same thing when it comes to family: a successful family is built out of love, charity and respect.

Carolina Marin actually became a member of the Church of Latter-day Saints when she converted from Catholicism. She said her parents had a difficult time sup­porting her at first, but they’re a good example of religious tolerance that everybody should follow.

The other two families were good examples of the way faith inspires people to develop a loving heart. The Armstrong family and the Halvorsen family showed love in their own ways. Anthony Arm­strong went on a mission to Africa, and Gail Halvorsen participated in the Berlin Airlift.

After the movie Dr. Susan Ellis, a WSC professor, discussed her personal story about being Mor­mon.

“My ancestors came from the Mormon Migration from England, Wales and Scotland. So Mormon­ism has been in my family for about seven generations. As an anthropology teacher, I struggled teaching evolution, but I prayed for understanding and answers. I think faith is evidence of things not seen, and that my life should be a mission,” Ellis said.

All of the students that went to the event were attentive and respectful.

“I’ve always wanted to learn about Mormons,” senior Megan Wimmer said. “I learned a lot and will probably attend future events.”

Hockley said at the conclusion of the event that the Interfaith Ac­tion Group will continue holding events like this for other faiths, and invites anyone to come. Look for fliers posted around campus for future Interfaith events.

Additionally, if you want to learn more about Mormonism, you can visit meetthemormons.com, or contact the Interfaith group or Dr. Ellis.