Sons of Perdition is a documentary about polygamy in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that follows three boys who leave “The Crick” (or Short Creek) and highlights the challenges they face trying to adapt and survive in the real world. I watched the documentary when it played at the Logan Art Cinema in January 2012 and participated in the question and answer session with the directors Tyler Measom and Jennilynn Merten.
During the question and answer session I asked how accurate HBO’s Big Love portrays polygamy as they (Tyler and Jennilynn) perceive polygamy. They said Big Love is actually pretty accurate (other than extreme dramatization). For example, the legal arm of the FLDS church is the United Effort Plan (UEP) and is called the United Effort Brotherhood (UEB) in Big Love. Big Love also captures the schism and conflict between different sects of polygamist churches.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Sons of Perdition is how well the characters’ experiences align with the experiences of post Mormons. In fact, the directors commented on this aspect of the film. Both Tyler and Jennilynn grew up in the mainstream LDS Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and later left the Church. They felt they could identify with the kids in the documentary because they themselves felt ostracized and even exiled by their families and members of their faith. Tyler explains in his own words.
One challenge mainstream Mormons face (and probably FLDS Mormons as well) is difference of belief and religious opinion within a marriage. I really like what this couple had to say about their experience and how their experience parallels experiences discussed in the documentary. I like the hope these videos communicate: despite a crisis of faith, you can survive and so can your relationships with people you love no matter which side of the faith divide they stand on.