In this column, I hoped to catapult some of the momentum of the new HBO film "Believer" toward other fine LGBTQ+ Mormon documentaries that feature queer folks as the protagonists.:
The new documentary “Believer,” which features as its main subject Imagine Dragons lead Dan Reynolds, debuted Monday night and is now available to stream on HBO.
The film follows Reynolds, a well-known member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as he wrestles with his growing sense of responsibility to use his fame to speak out as an ally of the LGBTQ+ community — and particularly, to challenge some of his own church’s polices and teachings.
“I am a privileged, white male in 2018 who’s just trying to contribute in my own way that I can, which is from my culture, and that’s Mormonism,” Reynolds said in a recent phone interview. “And that happens to be a culture that has been at odds with the LGBTQ community.”
I relate to Reynolds’ position as a straight Mormon who feels frustrated by the LDS Church’s policies and teachings regarding homosexuality and who hopes for change. Seeing the film at Sundance this year was something of a transcendent experience for me, because it was thrilling to see a movie on such a large scale (HBO! Film composer Hans Zimmer! Imagine Dragons!) talk frankly about concerns I have felt palpably since I was a student at BYU.
But “Believer” is far from the first documentary to highlight stories or concerns of queer Mormons, and it’s worth trying to wrangle some of the attention a movie as big as “Believer” can generate toward other movies that, unlike “Believer” feature queer people as their main protagonists.