Our new film project begins, while our earlier project continues to produce

Our new film project begins, while our earlier project continues to produce July 30, 2022


JS and OC with JGJ
Joseph Smith (Paul Wuthrich) baptizes Oliver Cowdery (Caleb Spivak), with James Jordan filming in the foreground, in a scene from the Interpreter Foundation’s dramatic film “Witnesses,” which is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray, as well as via streaming.


The latest in the Interpreter Foundation’s series of short-video features relating to the witnesses of the Book of Mormon has now gone up:


Witnesses of the Book of Mormon — Insights Episode 15: Are Prophets Perfect?

God uses human beings as his leaders on the earth. Do these people need to be perfect to be prophets, seers, and revelators?

This is the fifteenth in a series compiled from from the many interviews conducted during the course of the Witnesses film project. This series of mini-films is being released each Saturday at 7pm MDT. These additional resources are hosted by Camrey Bagley Fox, who played Emma Smith in Witnesses, as she introduces and visits with a variety of experts. These individuals answer questions or address accusations against the witnesses, also helping viewers understand the context of the times in which the witnesses lived. This week we feature Gerrit Dirkmaat, Associate Professor of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University. For more information, go to https://witnessesofthebookofmormon.org/ or watch the documentary movie Undaunted.

Short clips from this episode are also available on TikTok and Instagram.

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/theinterpreterfoundation and our other social media channels on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and TikTok.




Moreover, our Six Days in August film project is now actually underway.  We spent the late morning and early afternoon today recording an interview with James B. Allen, former Assistant Historian of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, former chairman of the Department of History at Brigham Young University, retired holder of the Lemuel Hardison Redd Jr. Chair in Western American History, and longtime friend.  Jim is the author or co-author of, among many other things, Trials of Discipleship: The Story of William Clayton, a Mormon; Manchester Mormons: The Journal of William Clayton, 1840 to 1842 (with Thomas G. Alexander, another good friend); and Men With a Mission, 1837-1841: The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the British Isles (with Ronald K. Esplin and David J. Whittaker).  Some neighbors of ours, fellow ward members, kindly allowed us to do the filming in their house.


The interview focused to a large degree on how their mission to the United Kingdom affected Brigham Young and the Twelve, as well as on how that mission affected the Church and its membership.  Another theme was the attitude of Brigham Young and the other apostles to Joseph Smith.  Jim Allen is in his ninety-seventh year, I believe, but his mind is still clear and his speech still fluent.  We recorded some very good material today.


Our plan, at this point, is to more or less replicate in Six Days in August the pattern of what we did with the Witnesses project — that is, to create a dramatic or theatrical film, followed by a supporting documentary or docudrama and a series of explanatory short features and accompanied by a website to provide historical background.


After the completion of the interview, and after I had taken Jim Allen home, my wife and I met over lunch with two of the members of our principal filmmaking team, Russ Richins and Mark Goodman (the third of the trio, James Jordan, being ill today).  It was, I think, a productive meeting.  Very soon now, though, I have to begin serious fundraising for Six Days in August.  I don’t like asking people for money, but I believe in the project and in the other things that the Interpreter Foundation does.  And you can’t have them without the funds to pay for them.  As the proverbial expression goes, whoever says A must say B.  Or, perhaps more apropos in this particular case, I should say that, if a second step is to be taken, a first step must inescapably be taken beforehand.




Speaking of Joseph Smith, here are links to a couple of articles about that recently announced daguerreotype:


“Is the Joseph Smith picture real: Next steps and reaction from historians: Historians, experts weigh in on image


“Joseph Smith headlines went too far”




Hugh B. Brown (1883-1975) served as the first counselor in the First Presidency of the Church during the years in which I first became aware of such things.  And, of course, because time passes relatively slowly during childhood, adolescence, and even early youth, that First Presidency — of which, by the way and rather curiously, two members of the three (including President Brown) were Canadians — seemed to have been in place forever and likely to last well into the future.  However, by the time I was paying attention, the venerable President David O. McKay was in fact beginning to fade from public view and it was his white-haired, intellectually-inclined, and eloquent first counselor, President Brown, was the highest regularly visible authority in the Church, the spokesman for God’s living prophet.  I had, and I continue to have, enormous respect for Hugh B. Brown.  Here is a passage from him that I like very much, and that I take quite seriously:


“We should all be interested in academic research. We must go out on the research front and continue to explore the vast unknown. We should be in the forefront of learning in all fields, for revelation does not come only through the prophet of God nor only directly from heaven in visions or dreams. Revelation may come in the laboratory, out of the test tube, out of the thinking mind and the inquiring soul, out of search and research and prayer and inspiration. We must be unafraid to contend for what we are thinking and to combat error with truth in this divided and imperiled world, and we must do it with the unfaltering faith that God is still in his heaven even though all is not well with the world.” — “A Final Testimony,” from Edwin B. Firmage, ed., The Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown: An Abundant Life (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1988).



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