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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended April 28, 2000
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Letter Sent to Mormon-News: 27Apr00

Letter from: Justin Masters

Re: 'Gods Army' Invades Hollywood

Dear Editor:

God's Army

I've never been on a mission (I felt that my lack of a testimony as a teen would have been detrimental, and didn't have good role models that shared their experiences either). I was in SLC, to take my sister to the MTC the 2nd week the movie ran there.

I decided to see it (with my soon-to-be-missionary sister). We enjoyed it a lot. One of the things which I gained from the movie was that 1) I was overly critical of myself in thinking that I would have been a burden - I didn't allow for the spirit to work within me. (This was something I came to learn over the years anyway.) 2) Missionary work is tough work, subject to discouragement, but also subject to GREAT strength and growth as well as a perfect opportunity to serve the Lord AND learn about oneself.

It was a little uncomfortable watching a healing prayer on the screen, but beyond that, I felt it was a more realistic portrayal of some elements of missionary work than I'd been led to believe when I was a teen. (I always heard about the really great moments, # of converts, etc. It was because of that preconceived notion that I thought I was not good enough.)

I'd be somewhat careful about what future missionaries I might take to see the film. The rules have become tighter since my time to go, and with children, I'd want them to clearly understand that missionary work is supposed to be a refining process for oneself, as well as a great effort to preach the gospel (both well portrayed), and not a playground to have fun in.

The music was gritty, edgy, and appropriate. That may sound funny when compared to the music typically heard in church oriented productions by the church. But I think it adequately reflected the tension, the sorrow, the happiness and joy evident in some scenes.

I've been telling others around me about the opening in our area on May 12. Most look at me like I'm nuts, mostly because they've never heard of it, and with Orgazmo still on their minds as a non-church film about missionaries on their mind, they're very wary of missionary portrayals. Justifiably so, but hopefully others will see it.

I think I missed out on a great opportunity. I hope others don't shrink in thinking they cannot accomplish the work because they've judged themselves too harshly.

Justin Masters


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