Our new film project begins, while our previous project continues to produce
The final episode of the Interpreter Foundation’s series of video shorts about the witnesses to the Book of Mormon is now available:
Book of Mormon Witnesses—Episode 15 Previews: Are prophets perfect?
God uses human beings as his rulers on earth. Do these people have to be perfect to be prophets, seers, and revelators?
This is the fifteenth in a series compiled from the many interviews conducted during the Witnesses film project. This series of mini-movies airs every Saturday at 7 p.m. MDT. These additional resources are hosted by Camrey Bagley Fox, who played Emma Smith in Witnesses, as she presents and visits a variety of experts. These people answer questions or make accusations against the witnesses, also helping viewers understand the context of the times in which the witnesses lived. This week we feature Gerrit Dirkmaat, associate professor of Church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University. For more information, visit https://witnessesofthebookofmormon.org/ or watch the documentary film Unwavering.
Short excerpts from this episode are also available on ICT Tac and instagram.
Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/theinterpreterfoundation and our other social media channels at Facebook, Twitter, instagramand ICT Tac.
Additionally, our Six days in August film project is currently underway. We spent the late morning and early afternoon today recording an interview with James B. Allen, former Associate Historian of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, former chair of the history department at Brigham Young University, retired Lemuel Hardison Redd Jr. Professor of History Western America and longtime friend. Jim is the author or co-author of, among other things, Discipleship Tests: The Story of William Clayton, a Mormon; Manchester Mormons: The Diary of William Clayton, 1840 to 1842 (with Thomas G. Alexander, another good friend); and Men on a Mission, 1837-1841: The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the British Isles (with Ronald K. Esplin and David J. Whittaker). Some of our neighbors, members of the parish, kindly allowed us to film in their homes.
The interview focused to a large extent on how their mission to the United Kingdom affected Brigham Young and the Twelve, as well as how that mission affected the Church and its members. Another theme was the attitude of Brigham Young and the other Apostles toward Joseph Smith. Jim Allen is in his ninety-seventh year, I believe, but his mind is still clear and his speech still fluent. We recorded some really good material today.
Our plan at this point is to more or less replicate in Six days in August the model of what we did with the Witnesses project – that is, to create a dramatic or theatrical filmfollowed by a supporting documentary or docudrama and a series of short explanatory films and accompanied by a website to provide historical context.
After the interview was over, and after driving Jim Allen home, my wife and I met over lunch with two of our core film crew, Russ Richins and Mark Goodman (the third of the trio, James Jordan, being sick today). It was, I think, a productive meeting. Very soon now, however, I have to start serious fundraising for Six Days in August. I don’t like asking people for money, but I believe in the project and the other things that the Performers Foundation does. And you can’t have them without the funds to pay for them. As the proverbial expression goes, he who says A must say B Or maybe more about in this particular case, I must say that if a second step must be taken, a first step must necessarily be taken first.
Speaking of Joseph Smith, here are links to some articles on this recently announced daguerreotype:
“Is Joseph Smith’s Image Real: Next Steps and Historians’ Reaction: Historians, Experts Weigh in on Image
“The Joseph Smith Headlines Went Too Far”
Hugh B. Brown (1883-1975) served as the First Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church during the years when I first became aware of these things. And, of course, because time passes relatively slowly through childhood, adolescence, and even youth, this First Presidency — of which, incidentally and rather oddly, two of the three (including President Brown) were Canadians — seemed to have been around forever and likely to last long into the future. However, by the time I was paying attention, the venerable President David O. McKay was actually beginning to fade from public view and it was his white-haired, intellectually inclined and eloquent first adviser, President Brown, who was regularly the higher. visible authority in the Church, the spokesman of the living prophet of God. I had, and still have, tremendous respect for Hugh B. Brown. Here is a passage from him that I like very much, and that I take very seriously:
“We should all be interested in academic research. We need to go to the research front and keep exploring the vast unknown. We should be at the forefront of learning in all areas, for revelation does not come just through God’s prophet or just straight from heaven in visions or dreams. Revelation can come from the laboratory, the test tube, the thinking mind and the inquisitive soul, research, research, prayer and inspiration. We must not be afraid to fight for what we think and to fight error with truth in this divided and perilous world, and we must do so with the unshakable faith that God is still in his heaven even if all does not not well in the world. – “A Final Testimony”, by Edwin B. Firmage, ed., The Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown: An Abundant Life (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1988).
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