Catch this morning’s interview with “Joseph Smith”

Catch this morning’s interview with “Joseph Smith” January 21, 2021

 

Our movie poster
The new movie poster for the Interpreter Foundation’s rapidly approaching “Witnesses” theatrical film, featuring (from left) Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Joseph Smith

 

If you would like to see the nearly five-minute interview with Paul Wuthrich that aired this morning on ABC Television ‘s Salt Lake City affiliate, you can do so at the link just below.  Paul Wuthrich is the actor who portrays Joseph Smith in the forthcoming Interpreter Foundation theatrical film, Witnesses:

 

ABC 4 Utah (KTVX, Salt Lake City): “Portrayal of Joseph Smith in Witnesses shows humanity”

 

This has been a long time coming, not only because of the intrinsic difficulties of raising the funds and creating the film, but because of the additional challenges thrown in our way by the coronavirus pandemic.  I’m grateful to all of those who have contributed in any way the effort.  We hope that it will do some real good.

 

We are moving steadily and even, in a way, at an increasing pace toward the theatrical release of this dramatic feature film and toward completion of the two-part, two-hour documentary and other related materials that will accompany it.  More and more, as the release date approaches, we can use the assistance of the wider community.  In this matter, there really will be strength in numbers.

 

At our Witnessesfilm.com, there are now three buttons indicating ways in which you can help us to get the film onto screens throughout and beyond the Wasatch Front:

  • Own a Theater?  Book Witnesses Here.
  • Buy a Private Screening: Families, Church, Community
  • Bring Witnesses to Your City This Summer

 

Now, there is probably not a single one of you out there who owns a theater of his or her own — though I could be surprised.  If you do, please click on that button.

 

I realize, of course, that only a few of you may be in a position to buy a private screening.  But please do consider it, for a ward or a youth group or a family gathering.

 

Many of you, if not in fact all of you, can be of major help in bringing Witnesses to your city.  Please, everybody, click on that link.. Please help us to bring this film to the widest audience possible, to movie-goers along the “Mormon Corridor” and well beyond it, and to people outside of the Latter-day Saint community as well as to already committed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Your help is vital to the success of the Witnesses project.

 

In connection with this initiative and in answer to a request from me that I  made back when our project was initially being launched, Professors Thomas G. Alexander, James B. Allen, Richard Lloyd Anderson, and Richard L. Bushman — friends and first-rate historians all — provided the following endorsements of the importance of the Book of Mormon witnesses.  They are still important and worthy of reflection:

 

Imagine the publication and distribution of the Book of Mormon without the testimony of the witnesses.  If there were none, Joseph Smith would have had to reply on his own word that he translated the plates.  Many, perhaps most, people would probably have rejected the word of an uneducated farm boy.  Joseph had enough difficulty even with the witnesses convincing others of the truthfulness of his story.  Other people including the eight witnesses saw the plates, but only the three witnesses saw them in the possession of the heavenly messenger who delivered them to Joseph.   The Lord asked them to testify to the truthfulness of Joseph’s ministry, which they did.  Most important, during their lifetimes all three witnesses left the church.  Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris returned to the fold, but David Whitmer remained in Richmond, Missouri, estranged from Mormonism throughout the remainder of his life.  Nevertheless, in spite of rumors to the contrary, all three continued to insist on the truth of their witness.

Thomas G. Alexander (Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley), Lemuel Hardison Redd, Jr., Professor Emeritus of Western History, Brigham Young University; former president of the Mormon History Association

 

The testimonies of the three witnesses is the closest we come to rational evidence for Mormon belief.  Three men attest to a sensory encounter with the gold plates and a divine being.  In an age of skepticism, when all religious belief is under attack, their statement becomes more relevant every day.

Richard L. Bushman (Ph.D., Harvard University), Gouverneur Morris Professor of History Emeritus at Columbia University in New York City; former Howard W. Hunter Visiting Professor in Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University in California; former president of the Mormon History Association

 

The testimonies of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon make Joseph Smith’s account much harder to dismiss than it would otherwise be.  Plainly, since others announced that they, too, had seen and “hefted” and heard, this means that, whatever else it was, Joseph’s account must reflect more than merely private imagination or simple personal dishonesty.  If the witnesses are judged to be reliable men of good character, their declarations pose a serious challenge to anyone who considers the claims of the Restoration.

James B. Allen (Ph.D., University of Southern California), Lemuel Hardison Redd Jr. Professor Emeritus of Western History, Brigham Young University; former Assistant Church Historian, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; former president of the Mormon History Association

 

Thousands of authorized copies  of the Book of Mormon have reprinted the signed experience of the eleven Book of Mormon witnesses, Three who described that an angel held and turned the individual plates of an ancient New World Bible and Eight who narrated how they were given an ordinary experience of “hefting” the record and examining the carefully crafted characters on it. About 200 reported interviews with  these eleven are collected, which report the constant affirmation of these witnesses of seeing and lifting this historic, prophetic record, with its independent account of Christ visiting America.

Richard Lloyd Anderson [1926-2018] (J.D., Harvard Law School; Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley), Professor Emeritus of Church History and Doctrine, Brigham Young University

 

 

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