All LDS people are familiar with the products of a company called Living Scriptures, Inc. So much of Mormonism is next to impossible to translate for people who have never been church members, so it’s helpful to be able to look up video clips online of the horribly, deliciously bad cartoons that are Living Scriptures. You can actually learn quite a bit about subtextual Mormon beliefs from this series, namely the enshrinement of white male American-accented patriarchy as the optimal font of truth and righteousness. Being British, it was always very difficult for me to take those videos seriously when God started speaking and he sounded like a Yank. But although these videos are not official productions of the LDS Church, they are remarkable in their ability to present the mainstream interpretation of Mormon scripture and cultural attitudes. This is probably why Mormons use them heavily in Sunday School. Well, that and these videos are lifesavers when a teacher didn’t have time that week to put together a proper lesson plan.
It has been years since I watched any of those videos, which in my childhood were a mainstay of my Sunday afternoon entertainment when I was prohibited from watching “real” television and could only sit on my arse in front of the telly on the Sabbath if I was watching something “uplifting.” Living Scriptures were boring as hell, but at least they were cartoons and they were better than reading the scriptures. (Cut me some slack. I was a kid.)
I recently looked them up online when trying to explain to a friend what it was like to attend Mormon Sunday School. A quick search for “Living Scriptures” yielded <a href="http://www.yelp.com/biz/living-scriptures-inc-ogden"this amazing Yelp page whose reviews of the video production company essentially belong right on a review page for the Church itself. The highlights: The company is incredibly low rated because of its pushy door-to-door salesmen who leverage personal connections with potential customers to lock them into an expensive and exploitative long-term contract. Members who failed to read the terms and conditions before signing on are left with a bad case of buyer’s remorse. They use creepy and unethical data collection to build a profile on you and harass you to join their club until you either relent or threaten a restraining order. Sound familiar? Living Scriptures even use recently returned missionaries as their sales people. Makes sense, since they’ve already been trained in what Mormons call “the commitment pattern” to close a deal on conversion to the faith. Or buying crap videos.