Some additional information on the “Witnesses” film effort

Some additional information on the “Witnesses” film effort April 22, 2019


Messiah cover
From the official site of the Handel film.


A few days ago, I blogged a brief progress report regarding a major effort in which I’m significantly involved under the auspices of the Interpreter Foundation:


“Where things stand regarding the ‘Witnesses’ film project”


The principal reason for posting that report was that I thought enough time had passed since its initial announcement that it would be appropriate to comment on what was currently happening.  A lesser reason was to respond to a false claim circulated by an anonymous internet hater who has been inventing and circulating malicious fictions about me for many years:  The film, he recently alleged, will never be completed. It has, he said, never been my intention to complete it.  My goal is merely to fleece donors and to fatten my personal bank account.


dflaksjkajj Fires of Faith
“Fires of Faith” cover, from Deseret Book


So I indicated that we’ve already filmed a number of interviews, that we have a script in hand, and that we’ll soon be filming on location in the East.


I also noted that I will never receive so much as a single cent from the production.


First Freedom cover
Film cover from official “First Freedom” website


Ah, but even after all these years of experience I still underestimated the malignant imagination of this wretched fellow and a few of his equally anonymous pals.


I had, they noticed, not denied that my wife will be richly paid from the Witnesses project.  (My wife and I are the two executive producers for this undertaking.)  You can depend upon it, declared one, that she’ll come away heavily laden with ill-gotten money, extracted from our unwitting dupes.


JS American Prophet film
“Joseph Smith: American Prophet”


Alright.  I hereby deny that my wife will receive a single penny from the effort.  And, to avoid leaving an opening to them with that declaration, I also deny that she will receive more than a single penny from  it.


Nor will my children.  Nor will any dummy corporation set up in the name of my childhood pet dog.  Nor will any of our neighbors receive money for secret transfer to me through a Swiss bank or an account in the Cayman Islands.


as=0987dsa Groberg-related book
The companion book to the PBS documentary


Neither I nor any relative of mine, whether by blood or by marriage, will profit financially from this film project.  Period.  At all.


I can also promise that no money raised for the project will be diverted to the extermination of threatened species nor to clear-cutting the Amazon rainforest.


However, this zany bunch of malicious madcaps are also confidently predicting how horrible the film will be, even though it likely won’t ever be made at all.  Bad script.  Wooden acting.  Historical whoppers.  Avoidance of tough issues.  Slanderous smearing of enemies.  And so forth.


How they can know such things remains a mystery.


The script for the first two segments, for instance, has just been completed and is currently out to professional historians for review under a non-disclosure agreement.  The script for the third segment is still being written.  We haven’t yet chosen our cast.  The substantial materials intended to accompany the film(s) proper are still in development.


Jane Hathaway wasn't yet a superstar
“Other Side of Heaven” cover


Oddly, though, the critics to whom I’ve referred here claim not to know certain things — such as the identity of the principal film crew — that have been up on the Witnesses web page from the very beginning.  In fact, the foremost agitator among those critics has suggested that I’m actually hiding the names of the crew.  (More can be learned about the crew at Pella Media Inc — a link that (surprise!) has been up on the Witnesses web page since it first appeared.)


Four principal figures have been involved thus far in the development of this project, and they certainly appear to be serious filmmakers:  Russell Richins (producer), Mitch Davis (scriptwriter), Mark Goodman (scriptwriter and director), and James Jordan (scriptwriter and cinematographer) have worked together for years with Lee Groberg and others on such projects as Fires of Faith: The Coming Forth of the King James Bible (2012), Handel’s Messiah (2014), and, for PBS,  Trail of Hope: The Story of the Mormon Trail (1997), First Freedom: The Fight for Religious Liberty (2012) and Joseph Smith, American Prophet (2017).  And Mitch Davis, who has been a participant in many of these projects, is also well known for, among other things, his own 2001 film The Other Side Side of Heaven.


I’m really excited about the Witnesses effort and about its capacity to do good.


If you would like to contribute financially, even in a small amount, to the creation of this important project on the Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, please go to


and indicate that your donation is intended for the Witnesses film project.


I thank you in advance.



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