Anti-defamation League ADL of B’nai B’rith
May 25, 1984
Dr. Richard Lindsay
Church of Latter Day Saints
50 East North Temple Street
Salt Lake City, Utah 84150
I have now seen “The Godmakers” quite a number of times, and I
thought you would be interested in my professional reaction to
First of all, I was impressed by the high production values of
the show. Clearly, this is not the work either of amateurs or
those with very limited resources. The film obviously cost a
lot of money to produce and, with the exception of the animated
sequence (which looks as if it were made by another source and
inserted) used the talents of a fairly sophisticated film-maker.
The use of a documentary format with a factual tone is a clever
ploy to convey a high degree of believability to what is in fact
merely an anti-Mormon work. I am fearful that many of those
viewing “The Godmakers,” especially those who are unfamiliar
with the tenets of the Church of Latter Day Saints, will come
away believing much of what they see.
Those who view it carefully, however, can see just how invidious
and defamatory “The Godmakers” is.
First, the producers invoke one of the longest-standing canards
of religious defamation – that one religion (or its adherents)
control a disproportionate share of our nation’s resources. This
base charge, at bottom, implies that there are those who are not
entitled to participate fully in our society and that inevitably
such ownership will be used for evil ends.
Particularly invidious about “The Godmakers” is its selection
of a very few isolated cases, which may or may not be factual,
and the implication that the characteristics of those cases are
true throughout the LDS religion. We all know that there are
unhappy and discontent people in every religion, and even if
these cases were true, they say nothing about the Church or
Mormons as a whole.
Moreover, the film repeatedly refers to the LDS Church as a cult,
yet these individual cases show people who have freely and knowingly
joined the Church and just as freely chose to leave – hardly the
mark of a cult.
121 Stewart Street, Suite 401, San Francisco, CA 94105 . (415) 546-0200
Dr. Richard Lindsay 2
Director of Public Communications.
Finally, the film makers jest of the religious beliefs and
history of the Church. It is the nature of faith, however,
that the beliefs of adherents seem ridiculous to those without
faith, A non-believer could as easily, and as disrespectfully,
ridicule the parting of the Red Sea, or the resurrection of
Jesus. “The Godmakers”‘ attempt to ridicule Mormon beliefs
In this fashion clearly Indicates the malevolent intent of
Had a similar movie been made with either Judaism or Catholicism
as its target, It would be immediately denounced for the scurrilous
piece that it is. I sincerely hope that people of all faiths will
similarly repudiate “The Godmakers” as defamatory and untrue, and
recognize it for what it truly represents – a challenge to the
religious liberty of all.
I hope you share my analysis with all those interested in “The
Godmakers” and you should feel free to copy this letter and
circulate it as you choose.
My warmest regards.
Rhonda M. Abrams,