By order of God: why a controversy around the Disney + series?

Available since July 27 on Disney +, the mini-series On orders from God with Andrew Garfield plunges into the heart of a true story: the murder in 1984 of a mother and her daughter within the Mormon community. The latter did not like it.

By order of God follows Detective Jeb Pyre, a devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as he tries to figure out what led to a brutal double murder in 1984 Utah supposedly inspired by a divine revelation.

The case becomes both a spiritual and criminal investigation for Pyre (Andrew Garfield), who is forced to confront the faith in which he was raised and the darkest episodes of that religion’s past, portrayed through historical flashbacks.

The series is based on Jon Krakauer’s non-fiction bestseller, which chronicles the murder of Brenda Lafferty and her infant daughter to better delve into the turbulent history of the Mormon religion. But Pyre is a fictional character created by the showrunner Dustin Lance Black – himself a former member of the church – to serve as the thread of the narrative.

When it aired last April in the United States, the series struck a chord with people who have abandoned their faith and recognize themselves in this spiritually conflicted family man played by Garfield and in Brenda (Daisy Edgar Jones), this young mother full of life murdered by bellicose fundamentalists because she had strayed from the mainstream of Mormonism.

On some social media, TikTok and Reddit users who identify as former Mormons praised the series for its depiction of details of the daily lives of Latter-day Church members as well as the “existential sense of what it means to experience the world through Mormon eyes“As Nadine Smith wrote in QG.

But many active church members, even some who have been openly critical of the church, feel the series denigrates their faith and twists key moments in its history, all in service of the troubling idea, like the says one character, that Mormonism”breeds dangerous men“.

By order of god: why a controversy around the disney + series?
Hulu

In the center of the photo, Sam Worthington as Ron Lafferty

For us, to say that By God’s Command is the representation of the Latter-day Saints is a bit like saying that 24 hour clock was the representation of the Islamic community“said CD Cunningham, the magazine’s editor. Public Squarea publication that examines culture and current affairs from the perspective of Latter-day Saints but has no official connection to the Church, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The LDS (Latter-Day Saints) Church has not commented on Dustin Lance Black’s series, but has issued a lengthy statement about Jon Krakauer’s 2003 book. publicationthe church provided three different responses to the book and its portrayal of Mormonism, all highly critical of how Krakauer portrayed the religion.

In one such response, Church media relations director Mike Otterson said the book makes a “huge bad service” to its readers by relying on stereotypes, reports Newsweek. He writes: “Krakauer’s depiction of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is in stark contrast to what I — and millions like me — have come to know about the Church, its goodness and the decency of its people.

This book is an attempt to tell the story of the so-called fundamentalist or polygamous groups in Utah, and to link their beliefs to the doctrines and history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The result is a frontal assault on the truthfulness of the modern Church.

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