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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

May 21, 2015

Meet The Mormons Review: Real Life Heartwarming Stories About Faith And Inspiration

‘MEET THE MORMONS’ is a full length documentary now showing in selected theatres, produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that aims to introduce the Mormon religion to non-members. It was released theatrically in the U.S. in October and the earnings were donated to the Red Cross. Made with good intentions and done not in a hardsell manner, it’s certainly worth watching.

It’s now showing in Manila and introduces six Mormons whose lives are all inspirational: the black Bishop Jermaine Sullivan who serves in Atlanta, Georgia; the Pacific Islander U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis football coach Ken Niumatalolo; the Costa Rican mixed martial arts fighter/ kick boxer Carolina Muñoz Marin; the 93-year-old retired Army Air Corps Col. Gail Halvorsen; the Nepalese humanitarian Bishnu Adhikari; and the missionary mom Dawn Armstrong whose son is shown leaving their family to become a missionary in South Africa.

The most touching story for us is that of Bishnu Adhikari, an engineer who selflessly helped build water systems, roads and schools for his poor countrymen in Nepal. Although he’s a Mormon, he remains in good terms with his own father who practises the local religion. While watching his story, we can’t help but pray for him and his countrymen now that Nepal just been ravaged by a killer quake. Probably, most of the structures shown in the movie have been demolished by now.

Another moving story is that of Col. Gail Halvorsen who began dropping candies from his plane for the desperate children of the besieged German city during the Berlin Airlift. He is now 92 years old and is still hale and strong, continuing to serve people and being a shining example to others. He stresses a valid point in his story: you can amass all the wealth you can get but you will still not be happy if you don’t serve others.
Dawn Armstrong’s heartwrming story is a perfect example of someone who made mistakes but learned to bounce back and rise again with God’s help. She was a drug addict and unwed mother at 16, abandoned by her black boyfriend. She meets members of the Mormon Church who acted as God’s channels to give her a new life. She married a one-legged Mormon who treated her son as his own and 20 years later, we see them sending off their son as a missionary.

The docu directed by Blair Treu provides good examples of service and commitment to family life that should inspire audiences of whatever religious affiliation, simply because they all just strive to help make the world a better place. “Meet the Mormons” is one of many faith-based films released last year, like “Heaven is for Real”, about a pastor’s child near death experience; “The Good Lie” starring Reese Witherspoon about Sudanese refugees who’re given the chance to resettle in Kansas City; and “God’s Not Dead”, a Christian film about a college philosophy professor whose curriculum is challenged by a Christian student; and “Left Behind” and “The Remaining” which are about the rapture where the faithful are taken to heaven on judgment day.