Discussions of Book of Mormon issues and evidences, plus other topics related to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Witnesses, the Dramatic Movie About Some of the Book of Mormon Witnesses, Premiers on June 2

The powerful drama about the Three Witnesses of the gold plates of the Book of Mormon has now been captured in a movie, Witnesses, that is coming to some theaters on June 2. You can see the trailer at https://witnessesfilm.com/.

Salt Lake City’s ABC affiliate, ABC4, made a five-minute interview interview with Paul Wuthrich, who stars as “Joseph Smith” in Interpreter’s Witnesses film – yesterday morning. See it at https://www.abc4.com/gtu/portrayal-of-joseph-smith-in-witnesses-shows-humanity/

The story of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon is rooted in tangible details, not the imagination of a mystic. In the course of obtaining the revelation of the Book of Mormon, dirt would be dug, a stone moved, and a stone box opened, and then a set of gold plates with specific dimensions and weight wold be retrieved. They would be carefully protected with equally tangible means from others who wanted to steal them. As Anthony Sweat writes, "The Book of Mormon didn’t just pass through Joseph’s trance-induced revelatory mind: its palpable relics passed through a clothing frock, hollowed log, cooper’s shop, linen napkin, wooden chest, fireplace hearth, and barrel of beans." (Anthony Sweat, “Hefted and Handled: Tangible Interactions with Book of Mormon Objects,” in Largey, et al., The Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon: A Marvelous Work and a Wonder [Provo and Salt Lake City: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University and Deseret Book, 2015], 44; see Daniel Peterson, "Many Witnesses to a Marvelous Work," Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 20 [2016]: 247-260 for a more complete discussion of some of the tangible aspects of the story.) 

The plates would be hefted and touched by multiple people. Men and women would provide compelling witness to the physical reality of the Book of Mormon. But three of the many witnesses played a unique role, for they were witnesses not just to the tangible reality of the plates, but also to the divine power behind the Book of Mormon. In a majestic experience, they would see an angel and hear the voice of God, and know that this work was divine. They, like all other witnesses of the Book of Mormon, wold never deny what they had seen and experienced, though some would leave the Church in the difficult times ahead. But differences with Joseph Smith did not lead to a departure from reality, from the truth that they had experienced.

This movie seeks to stay very close to the historical record while capturing the drama of the events and lives involved. Based on the preview I saw, I'm extremely impressed with the production quality and the acting. Most impressive of all, of course, is the true story behind it. 

From an announcement at the Interpreter Foundation's website:

The film’s production team – Director Mark Goodman, Producer Russell Richins, and Executive Producers Daniel and Deborah Peterson from The Interpreter Foundation – partnered to bring this amazing story of early LDS and American history to the big screen. The film is just one prong of the broader Witnesses Project created by The Interpreter Foundation. The Witnesses Project includes the feature film WITNESSES, a documentary, UNDAUNTED, featuring scholars, skeptics and experts on all the witnesses to the Book of Mormon, and a series of “snippets” or short films about the many witnesses.

Kudos to the many people who made this important movie possible. If a theater in your community is offering it, please go see this. On the movie's website, WitnessesFilm.com, click on "Get Tickets" to buy tickets now for theaters in several states (Utah, California, Texas, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, and Idaho). 

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, there's a Mormon audience of 16million, right? We'll see how many actually show up for it. Maybe we'll, at least, get a more accurate assessment of the Mormon population at the box-office than we get from GC.

The Broadway musical,The Book of Mormon, has been running for a decade with productions in at least 7 countries. Who knows how many have seen it but it's one of the longest running and most successful productions ever. I'm pretty sure all 16million Mormons have seen it at least once. Should make for an interesting comparison.

Anonymous said...

This is great news. I've long thought that the ancient plates' witnesses -- Aaron Smith, Jirah B. Wheelan, James M. Van Nostrand, and Edward Whitcomb -- deserve more attention. The world may mock their church as founded on a hoax, but their testimony remains unshaken.

-- OK

Anonymous said...

@10:33 and like 5 million active, on a good weekend.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the film deals with the interesting conundrum of the other items that were supposedly in the box but which are never mentioned when the story of the discovery and initial hiding is told. How does one also hide/carry a sword and a breastplate with attached spectacles together with 50# of gold plates whilst being chased through the forest?

Anonymous said...

OK 9:24 - Most the Strangites are CoC (formerly RLDS) which do not number even a million. We LDS are a proof by numbers religion, so the RLDS must be wrong and confused when they feel the Spirit in the tradition of Mormonism. What's that? The SDA and JW founded around the same time as JS are more numerous than the LDS? We are LDS are proof by trustfund, we do not just get our endowments, we give to the endowment.

David Whitmer description of Moroni

Clinton said...

I'm a lifelong member (TBM). I've never seen the Book of Mormon musical. Unfortunately, I probably won't see Witnesses in the theater. I don't often see movies in the theater, maybe once every five years or less often.

Teri said...

Anonymous, you should feel better now.