Lucy Harris v. Joseph Smith Jr.

Lucy Harris v. Joseph Smith Jr. September 27, 2019


James Jordan in the courtroom
Martin Harris takes the stand in the hearing occasioned by his wife’s complain against Joseph Smith. (Still photograph by James Jordan.)


My wife and I spent a large part of today up at the This is the Place Heritage Park on the east side of Salt Lake City, near the zoo, on and around the set of the Interpreter Foundation’s Witnesses film project.  The work back east — in Upper Canada Village, Ontario, and Old Sturbridge Village, Massachusetts — is now complete.  This week, the crew has been working locally.  And today was our first opportunity to be on location with them.


Filming in SLC
Some of the crew and the extras relaxing outside the “courtroom” during a break in filming. (Still photo by James Jordan)


Today was also the last day on which a relatively large number of extras are to be involved.  Work concentrated on a court case in which Lucy Harris was the plaintiff against Joseph Smith, hoping to force him to either demonstrate publicly that he had the gold plates of the Book of Mormon or to acknowledge that he was a fraud.  (It didn’t work out quite the way she had hoped.)  So it was all interior filming today.


Judge and Lucy
Lucy Harris, the plaintiff, on the witness stand in her complaint against Joseph Smith, with the judge in the foreground. Still photo of one of the monitor screens by James Jordan.


Filmmaking is a painstaking and laborious business.  Scenes need to be filmed from multiple angles, and there are multiple “takes” in order to get everything just right.  It can require hours to produce just a minute or two of high quality film.  And it can require a lot of helpers.  Today at lunch, for example, between crew and extras, there were something on the order of sixty-five or seventy people.


In the foreground, Ann Botteron.
A lot of folks were interested in the story of Joseph Smith’s “Gold Bible.” Here are roughly half of the spectators that we had in the courtroom today. (Still photograph by James Jordan.)


It’s very gratifying, after all of the preparatory work, to see this effort taking concrete form.  The reports that I hear from the core of our film people, the friends with whom we’ve been planning this for many months, tell me that they have been very pleased with the casting decisions that we, collectively, have made.  Some valuable suggestions and new ideas have also come up during the production process, so we’ll be modifying what we’re doing just a bit.  All to the good.  And for the better.



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