latter-day saint

Jamesthemormon

Jamesthemormon: Not Your Parents’ “Mormon Rap”

By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, entertainment critic) This article originally appeared in Meridian Magazine.  In 1988 The Walter and Hays Band released the cheesily-quintessential “Mormon Rap.” The song was meant as a winking in-joke for Latter-day Saints, with lyrics like I’m a fine young man, I’m living clean, Don’t smoke, don’t drink, If you know what I mean. Don’t touch Soda Pop if It ha ...[Read More]

What Does Latter-day Saint Doctrine Really Say About R-rated Movies?

What Does Latter-day Saint Doctrine Really Say About R-rated Movies?

By Jonathan Decker (Clinical Director, LMFT) During promotion for my book 250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families I was invited to give an interview with The Student Review, an independent publication from students at Brigham Young University. This is that interview. For my interview with BYU's official newspaper The Daily Universe click here.  What started your love for movies? I can trace it di ...[Read More]

saturday's warrior

SATURDAY’S WARRIOR Family Movie Review

By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, film critic) WHAT'S SATURDAY'S WARRIOR ABOUT? Several siblings leave heaven for Earth, experiencing together the struggles of mortal life in this musical interpretation of Latter-day Saint doctrine. IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE: B) Mainstream audiences are likely unfamiliar with Saturday's Warrior, but for lifelong Mormons the musical is a staple of their culture. P ...[Read More]

singing with angels

SINGING WITH ANGELS Family Movie Review

By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, film critic) WHAT’S SINGING WITH ANGELS ABOUT? A woman finds renewed faith and strength singing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir while facing several personal and family struggles. IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE: B) With gorgeous music and beautiful cinematography, Singing With Angels is in many ways a delight for both the eyes and ears. When the choir sings, the movi ...[Read More]

persona non grata

Lindsey Stirling’s Dad Wrote the Most Exciting LDS Thriller

By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, entertainment critic) Many Latter-day Saint novels are painfully amateur. Good intentions don’t always equate good fiction. Steven J. Stirling, however, has more than enough talent with prose and storytelling to hang with the big dogs of mainstream espionage if he so chose, as evidenced by Persona Non Grata. That he uses his gifts to tell a story that is as fa ...[Read More]

Father of Lindsey Stirling Exposes How to Defeat Satan

Father of Lindsey Stirling Exposes How to Defeat Satan

By Jonathan Decker, Clinical Director, LMFT A doctrinal expose on Satan may seem like a hard sell at first. After all, most of us have a million other things we’d prefer to read about, not to mention that curiosity about the devil usually leads away from good. But Stephen Stirling’s latest offering, Shedding Light on the Dark Side, is not a book to be afraid of. Quite the contrary, this work (subt ...[Read More]

noah

Who Was Noah? Hollywood vs Gospel

By Jonathan Decker (Clinical Director, LMFT) Note: this article was written from a Latter-day Saint perspective to coincide with the release of the 2014 film Noah.  Pop culture provides us with opportunities to engage with the people around us, share our beliefs, and clear up misconceptions. The Church’s high-road response to The Book of Mormon musical (purchasing ad space in the playbill, placing ...[Read More]

batman

BATMAN’S MORMON CONNECTIONS

By Jonathan Decker (Clinical Director, LMFT) Note: this article was originally written for the site Mormon Movie Guy in 2012. It is written from a Latter-day Saint perspective. Did you know that Chris Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy feature not one, but two Brigham Young University alumni? Or that two of its actors starred in separate movies about Latter-day Saint missionaries? While this may not seem ...[Read More]

states of grace

Overlooked Gem: STATES OF GRACE (2005)

By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, film critic) Elf. A Christmas Story. Home Alone. It's a Wonderful Life. Miracle on 34th Street. The movies we watch around the holidays get us in the yuletide mood and often lift our spirits. Though I'm a fan of all those films and more, there's a nagging problem: most of our beloved Christmas movies have nothing to do with Jesus Christ. One overlooked gem hel ...[Read More]

joseph smith

JOSEPH SMITH: PLATES OF GOLD Family Movie Review

REVIEW (GRADE: A-)   This has been a prolific decade for films about Joseph Smith. Ten years ago the Church produced The Restoration, a lovely short film about the First Vision (watch it here) that improved greatly on the cheesy and dated 1976 version. Then non-Mormon actor Jonathan Scarfe brought conviction and charisma to the role in the Work and the Glory trilogy, his performance arguably the b ...[Read More]