"There Is Room for Both" : Mormon Cinema and the Paradoxes of Mormon Culture
Givens states that Mormon culture operates under certain tensions or paradoxes. The three that he describes are: searching and certainty, the disintegration of sacred distance, and isolation and integration. The first paradox arises due to members of the Church who are certain about some truths yet they are also endlessly striving to learn more and to become more. In the second, Joseph Smith brought man closer to deity and deity closer to man so there is less "sacred distance" between them. Finally, members are sometimes isolated for their unique beliefs and yet want to integrate in mainstream society. These "cultural tensions" play out in art created by members of the Church. Givens specifically study how they are handled in three films by Richard Dutcher, as well as the film "Saints and Soldiers" and the documentary "New York Doll."