“8: The Mormon Proposition,” is a documentary detailing the large role the Mormon Church played in passing California’s Proposition 8 in 2008.That ballot initiative added an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman. While the media has naturally been praising the documentary, the movie is so biased that even some reviewers couldn’t avoid pointing out how one-sided it is.
Directed by Reed Cowan, the film first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. “8: The Mormon Proposition” is narrated by Lance Dustin, who was the screenwriter for “Milk,” the movie about California’s first openly gay elected official.
The trailer features protestors, people upset about the passage of Proposition 8, and paints the Mormon Church negatively for influencing the outcome of Proposition 8.
Cowan has not attempted to hide his bias in the documentary. He stated, “The separation of church and state in the USA is a sacred value. It’s what keeps us from being a theocracy. We are a democracy and should forever stay that way. ‘8: The Mormon Proposition’ is a crucial piece of documentary film making because it puts on record what I believe to be the greatest encroachment into matters of state by a church in American history.”
Mormon Church spokesperson Kim Farah told the Washington Post in January that although she has not seen the film, “judging from the trailer and background material online, it appears that accuracy and truth are rare commodities in this film. Although we have given many interviews on this topic, we had no desire to participate in something so obviously biased.”
Farah is not the only one who has noticed the film’s obvious bias. In a June 18 article, The Boston Globe’s Mark Feeney labeled the film as “numbingly partisan.” He explained that while over 30 people were interviewed in the documentary, only two are against same-sex marriage and he called one of them “a bombs-away bozo.”
But Feeney made sure readers knew he was no apostate from the gay agenda, explaining, “It’s so one-sided you hardly care after a while that the side it’s on is so clearly the right one.”
The Chicago Tribune also noticed how one-sided the documentary was. Author Michael Phillips stated the film, “emanates empathy for gay and lesbians who are also Mormons, or were, or are related to them, and whose relationship has been thwarted by the preachments and political influence of the Latter-Day Saints.”
Some reviewers didn’t feel the need to mention the film’s propagandist bent. In a June 18 New York Times’ review, author Stephen Holden praised the documentary as being “highly emotional.” He detailed how the, “movie shows the depth of religion-based loathing of homosexuality, like that of abortion, to be primal. In the meantime the struggle to repeal Proposition 8 is under way.”
Strange, but Holden wasn’t so receptive to another film’s depiction of “religion-based loathing” when he panned “The Stoning of Soraya M.” But then, that movie was critical of Islam, not a dangerous creed like Mormonism.
The Los Angeles Times’ review labeled the documentary as being a “straightforward presentation” and “outstanding.” The movie review continued to state how, “The words of the church’s leaders and its activists could scarcely be more homophobic.”