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The Da Vinci Code wasn't the only movie sparking protests and religious debates this spring. Some filmgoers were surprised by States of Grace, a film advertised as "a quantum leap forward for Christian cinema," with music by gospel artist Kirk Franklin. It turned out that States of Grace was a sequel to the 2000 film by Mormon filmmaker Richard Dutcher, God's Army, and both movies focused on Mormon missionaries.

Filmgoers in San Diego were especially surprised when a ticket agent asked them, "Are you a Christian?" After answering yes, they were told that States of Grace is "being advertised as a Christian film, but it's really a Mormon film."

Outraged Latter-day Saints from across the West descended on the theater, ready to protest with signs: "MORMONS ♥ JESUS, Too" and "MORMONS ARE CHRISTIANS, TOO." Organizers called off the protest only after a last-minute call from the film's director.

"I was kind of riled up," Steven Greenstreet, another LDS filmmaker who had helped to organize the protest, told The Daily Herald of Provo, Utah. But, he said, "the way we were approaching it wasn't the most Christian way. We decided it would look better to turn the other cheek."

Mormons have had plenty of reason to be riled up this spring. HBO's drama Big Love, about a polygamous family, and the real-life drama of the FBI's pursuit of polygamist Warren Jeffs and his Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have sent the church's media relations department into overdrive. It has had to remind reporters that the Mormons outlawed polygamy after a "divine revelation" in 1890.

That didn't stop Fox News's Andrew Napolitano from suggesting that if the Utah attorney general pursued Jeffs, he would risk a Mormon backlash. Or stop ...

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July 2006

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