|The Mormon Church has always used technology as a means to teach and preach the gospel. James E. Faust (1920-2007) stated, “technology provides significant support to the ongoing mission of the Church. I am certain the Lord expects us to apply it to the advancement of His purposes and the blessings of mankind.” The audiovisual department of the Church has just recently completed and released its newest film, Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration. This film like all other films made by the audiovisual department are developed and approved by the First Presidency of the Mormon Church. Most of the movie was shot at the Church’s studio in Provo, Utah. On this 25-acre site are 1800s style buildings. The Church makes all of its own backdrops, costumes, and sets on-site.The movie is 68 minutes long and covers the entire life of the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. The movie highlights some of the more significant events in the Prophet’s life, such as his birth, the First Vision, the appearance of the Angel Moroni, receiving the Gold Plates, translating the Book of Mormon, Joseph’s marriage to Emma, unfair imprisonment, and his martyrdom. The project took intense planning and preparation. The managing director of the Audiovisual Department, Lyle Shamo, stated, “We’re trying to really give a feeling for the Prophet Joseph Smith in perhaps a different way than he’s been viewed in the past—not only his prophetic persona, but his personal life and the trials he had to endure.”Nathan Mitchell, who had played the Prophet Joseph Smith in another film made by the Church, was chosen for this film as well. Mitchell did extensive research into the character of Joseph Smith by reading books, journals, and speaking with Mormon Church history professors. Of his experience making the movie Mitchell stated, “I just hope that the audience can start to understand Joseph. Then they will begin to understand his love of the Savior and they will really feel his testimony.”Filming took place over several months in Nauvoo, Upstate New York, the Upper Canada Village, Lincoln’s New Salem Village, the Mississippi River, Manchester, England as well as the Church’s Motion Picture Studio in Utah. The principal cast consisted of forty members, there was a crew of more than 100 people, and more than 300 extras were hired at the different filming sites. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and Orchestra at Temple Square also offered their talents in the movie.The movie premiered on December 17, 2005, in celebration of the 200th birthday of Joseph Smith. The movie is shown in the Legacy Theater in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building on Temple Square. It is also shown in various Mormon temple visitor centers throughout the world. The film has initially been made in five different languages and plans are underway to provide the film in more languages. It is free to see the movie, but tickets must be reserved in advance. This can be done on the Church’s official website: www.lds.org under the events section.Other Links:
Faust, James E. This is Our Day. Ensign. May 1999.
Seymour, Nicole. New Joseph Smith Film Portrays Prophet as Exemplar. Ensign. January 2006.