Murder Among the Mormons is an investigative TV mini-series directed by Jared Hess and Tyler Measom. The series is produced by Ryan O’Dowd and Joe Berlinger.
If you’re looking for a story of forgery, counterfeit and deceit but based in the real world, then Murder Among the Mormons might just be the place for you. The series, which starts off a little slow, goes into heavy territory too soon, and before long you’re entangled in a web of lies and deceit, and two pipe bombs that shook Utah to its core and resulted in a terrible discovery.
Murder Among the Mormons starts off on October 15, 1985, when two pipe bombs, one going off an hour after the first one, killed Steve Christensen, a document collector, and his former business partner’s wife Kathy Sheets. It was attributed quickly to the work the Gary Sheets and Christensen were into – something that was at an all-time high at that point in time. The two were deep into discovering and selling 19th-century Mormon documents that were significant to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
When the bombs went off, Christensen was in the midst of a ground-shattering transaction which consisted of newly discovered books, letters and diaries – collectively called the McLellin Collection. Before that, Christensen and his business partner, Mark Hofmann, who had made a name for himself for his brilliant discoveries, had already discovered the Salamander Letter – an explosive revelation about how Joseph Smith discovered the golden plates, the foundation of Mormonism. The McLellin Collection was expected to be something worse than that.
Now, the key player of Murder Among the Mormons isn’t Christensen or even LDS church president Gordon B. Hinckley. It’s Hofmann, a man whose true identity shook everyone’s faith in the truth. Although himself a victim of a terrible bombing, the police soon realised that there was something very wrong with what Hofmann seemed to be talking about. A little investigation revealed that Hofmann was nothing that the world perceived him to be. Rather, he was a fraud and a sociopath – someone who did not give one bit of thought before conning others.
Murder Among the Mormons follows the usual recipe for Netflix’s other documentary series. It’s a three-part series that, even at 3 episodes long, feel a little too long. A lot of times the series feels to drag on but the revelation is what makes the journey worth it. The series takes help from narrators who were deeply linked to the events at hand and meshes it with archival footage, crime scene footage, recording and recreations. The story is interesting enough for the most part and the shadowy practices that take place, along with the secrecy that is employed behind these transactions are things to behold.
Summing up: Murder Among the Mormons
Murder Among the Mormons is an interesting watch for all those who want mystery and intrigue and want to be totally taken by surprise at the end of it. As it is based on true events, the authenticity of it, along with the knowledge of how business dealings to such big stature take place is also absolutely stunning to watch. However, the biggest star here is Mark Hofmann, the man who successfully conned hundreds of people into questioning their religion – all to appease his own ego. The motivations behind what he does are what the series does best at putting forth, as well as when the audience puts two and two together by the end of the series.
Murder Among the Mormons is streaming on Netflix.
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