“What is My Witness?”: A New Video from Deseret Book and Excel Entertainment on the Interpreter Foundation Website

“What is My Witness?”: A New Video from Deseret Book and Excel Entertainment on the Interpreter Foundation Website December 14, 2021


The principal stars of "Witnesses"
At the 2 June 2021 premiere of “Witnesses,” from the left: Paul Kandarian (older David Whitmer), Paul Wuthrich (Joseph Smith Jr.), Michael Zuccola (younger David Whitmer), Camrey Bagley Fox (Emma Smith), Lincoln Hoppe (Martin Harris), and Caleb J. Spivak (Oliver Cowdery)




The Interpreter Foundation has now posted a video of an event that Deseret Book and Excel Entertainment sponsored in Provo on the evening of 14 October 2021:


Deseret Book’s What is My Witness Event


The gathering celebrated the release of the Interpreter Foundation’s dramatic film, Witnesses, on DVD and via streaming. Most though not quite all of the program was occupied by a conversation onstage led by Tammy Uzelac Hall, who hosts the Sunday on Monday podcast for LDS Living. The participants in the conversation, which often responded to clips of specific scenes from the film, were Camrey Bagley Fox (who played Emma Smith), Mark Goodman (the director of Witnesses), Lincoln Hoppe (Martin Harris), Daniel Peterson (executive producer), Russell Richins (producer), Caleb Spivak (Oliver Cowdery), and Paul Wuthrich (Joseph Smith Jr.). Also featured on the program were the Truman Brothers, members of the Nashville Tribute Band, who performed four songs.  (Alas, owing to copyright restrictions, YouTube required that we mute the audio for two of those songs on this video.)


I hope and believe that at least some of you will enjoy and even profit from watching the program.  (It’s accessible for free!)  Among the highlights, for me, was Caleb Spivak’s response, as a nonmember of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who was previously unaware of the story of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and who even, it seems, commenced his involvement with the filming while having some negative impressions of the Latter-day Saints, to playing the pivotal role of Oliver Cowdery.  I also loved Lincoln Hoppe’s explanation of what went on in his own mind during the filming of the emotionally powerful scene in which he, as Martin Harris, is obliged to tell Joseph that he has lost the manuscript pages of the Book of Mormon that had been entrusted to him.  Another highlight — and an important data point responding to some recent criticisms of Joseph Smith’s story — is Paul Wuthrich’s discussion of running downhill and through the woods while carrying a very heavy replica of the original golden plates.


I thoroughly enjoyed the evening event back in October.  This video has been slower in coming out than we had expected, owing at least in part to the catastrophic health crisis that struck our friend Arthur Van Wagenen of Excel Entertainment almost immediately afterwards.  But it’s out now.  And, miraculously, he may be out of the hospital by Christmas.  (Hallelujah!)  The complete video lasts about two hours, I believe.  But, of course, it can be watched in smaller segments.  (Or, for that matter, binge-watched over and over and over again, if that’s your preference.)



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