Murder Among the Mormons, Amazement Among the Viewers
The bombing of civilians on October 15 and 16 in 1985 made international headlines. But these events did not take place in a crowded market in the Middle East, nor were they crafted by the evil minds of the usual terrorist suspects.
These events, which killed two innocent people, took place in Salt Lake City, Utah – the bedrock of the Mormons, the domain of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS).
The three-part Netflix documentary series, Murder Among the Mormons, takes viewers behind the scenes of the crime, its cover-up, and the nuances of faith that shook up Salt Lake City and the country.
A True-Crime Story About Big Lies
What happens when the very foundation and history of an organization are threatened by never-before-seen documents? This was a key question for LDS when historic Mormon documents landed in the hands of LDS member Mark Hofmann. As Hofmann rose in fame and notoriety, rare document dealers in Salt Lake City buzzed with excitement to get their hands or eyes on these historic writings that were not only rare but contradicted the history, origin, and teachings of LDS.
As LDS worked with dealers to buy and archive these troublesome documents, while the question of their authenticity eventually rises to the ranks of the FBI, two homemade bombs kill two innocent victims, and a third bomb injures Mark Hofmann himself.
This is where numerous rabbit holes begin to twist and turn.
“What Do You Think About Lying for the Lord?”
The series does a great job, almost an Agatha Christie-style murder mystery, building suspense and weaving viewers in-and-out of motives and cover-ups.
Everyone seemed to have something to lose – LDS, Mark Hofmann who was now a rock-star, but under intense investigation for forgery, even document dealers as far as New York City. Many players had tasted – if but a sip – of the concoction of greed, ambition, and deceit. When secrets are revealed, it eventually comes time to face the consequences.
Faith Viewers and the Church
For faith viewers, the quote above in Murder Among the Mormons will pierce their ears as the series uncovers the real perpetrator of the murders and why. We all scratch our heads at the depths and length of the deceit, wondering – without judgment – how those around us can deceive us for so long, and we’re none the wiser?
Who among us is not what they seem, today? Is enough attention given to the upbringing and character of our children – outside of our faith? What are we doing to answer these questions and prevent a do-over of the events of 1985?
As all of the lies are brought to the light, viewers are sure to grapple with the truth long after the credits roll.
Check out the docu-series Murder Among the Mormons, available on Netflix now. It’s a superb true-crime story for documentary enthusiasts, with lessons and warnings for believers today.