I reported on Sundance documentary "Believer," which explores conflicted Mormon faith and challenges teachings and policies of the LDS Church regarding homosexuality:
When Imagine Dragons lead Dan Reynolds confronts The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on its teachings and policies about sexuality — and homosexuality in particular — he does so from the inside, as a "Believer."
That's the name of a hit Imagine Dragons song, as well as the film that debuted at the Sundance Film Festival Saturday evening at the MARC theater. Directed by Don Argott, the documentary follows Reynolds' story of interrogating his own relationship to a church he grew up in but whose policies he now views as harmful.
But "Believer" — despite being picked up by HBO for broadcast later this year — is not cut from the same cloth as "Going Clear," another HBO documentary that debuted in 2015 as an expose of the Church of Scientology.
"We knew right out of the gate we weren't looking to do the 'Going Clear' version of Mormonism," Argott said in an interview at the press line at the premiere of "Believer." "It wasn't about that. It was about telling Dan's story, and obviously, we have to get into the issues. We have to get into some of the history, but it's not a slam piece, it's not a take-down piece on the Mormon Church by any stretch. It's about people within the community wanting something more from their religion. And I think in that respect, it's kind of hard to argue with it."
And Reynolds himself — even now — still considers himself a member of his church.
"I don't feel any need to denounce Mormonism," he told reporters. "I think it would do no good for me to walk away from the faith. I think there's a lot of parts of Mormonism that I cherish and love, and I believe if a house is burning, you don't just walk away. You stay and try to put out the fire. And that's my goal."