Recent reports (apparently TV Guide) indicate the the HBO television show “Big Love” is doing what every good Mormon desires themselves to do and is going to the Temple. This has raised the ire of the LDS online community, with claims that any dramatization of what goes on in the LDS Temple is off-limits, and categorically qualifies as mockery or persecution.
For me, the critical consideration for the Temple’s use in “Big Love” is that it isn’t done for mockery, or “voyeurism”. The writers have created characters, and they must be true to the characters. If Barb is/was LDS, and going to the Temple means something to her in such a way that it’s important to her story, than the writers would be irresponsible to not show it, especially if it is something most viewers won’t be familiar with.
Based on past episodes of “Big Love”, we have every indication that the Temple ceremony will be treated seriously and with respect because Barb will be treating it seriously, and with great respect.
There are many situations where viewers can put 2+2 together, and we just need to be told what happened without being shown (like Sarah’s miscarriage). That is part of the human experience. But for uniquely Mormon things, if they are to play a part in the character’s lives, then they must be shown so we can understand why (like the baptism-for-the-dead in the hot tub). My biggest annoyance is when they get the details wrong, not when they get them right.
I think LDS frequently get their emotions about the temples a little mixed up, and mistake “I’m so embarrassed” for “I’m righteously indignant”. Technically, there are only a few, specific things that Temple participants promise not to divulge. As far as I remember, the clothing and interior design of the Temple aren’t included in these. The LDS Church itself publishes pictures of sacred ordinances getting performed all the time, without diminishing the “sacredness” of these ordinances in the slightest. So the very act of dramatizing or publicizing an ordinance can’t be considered de facto sacrelige.
Of course, “Big Love” could prove me wrong, and play the Temple for humor or mockery, but based on past episodes, I’ll wait and see.