Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Joseph Smith film now showing in Nauvoo

Apparently this is showing at visitor centers too:
Review: Joseph Smith film now showing in Nauvoo

Chris Faulkner/Staff Writer

NAUVOO, Ill. - The tissue box came in handy for many of the viewers of the
first Nauvoo showing of "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration."

The 68-minute movie debuted in Salt Lake City, Utah Dec. 17, six days befor=
the anniversary of Smith's birth in Vermont 200 years ago.

The film was shown for media and other tourists, and will be shown five tim=
daily at the Nauvoo Visitors Center for the Church of Jesus Christ, Latter-=

Portions of the movie were filmed in Nauvoo, including scenes using more th=
600 extras.

The first half of the film deals with Smith's childhood and the events that
led to his seeing the vision of God and Jesus Christ, and later, of the ang=

The film ends with the killing of Joseph Smith and his brother, Hiram, in t=
Carthage (Ill.) jail. The film does not show Joseph being killed. He is see=
comforting his slain brother, and then he looks out a window. As bullets fl=
through the windowpane, the camera cuts to the heavens and Smith's death is

Included in the several dozen people who watched the premier were the
Denninghoff family of Paris, Kentucky, a town just northeast of Lexington.

Ann Denninghoff said her older son, Mark, "talked us into making the nine-h=
drive to see the film."

Mark is a student at Brigham Young University and he is home on break. As f=
why he didn't wait to see the film back in Utah, he said, "The film is book=
clear through March."

His younger brother, Thomas, also made the trip, but their father, James, i=
s a
bishop in the church back home and had to work.

Ann's heritage in the church goes back to the beginning. Four generations a=
Isaac Behunin joined Joseph Smith's church in New York. He traveled with th=
Latter-Day Saints through the various communities until they arrived in

"The film was so well done from an artistic point of view," Ann said.

Mark, who said he has done significant study on the life of Joseph Smith,
said, "I thought it was a very accurate portrayal of the prophet. They used
everything they had him saying straight out of his journals."

"They also quoted from the doctrines and covenants," Ann said.

Thomas said he liked the film "because it focused so much more on the
spiritual aspect. It portrayed the magnitude of what the people went throug=

Mark said the film would be good for people who are not members of the chur=
to see. "You could have a good idea of what kind of person he was, and disp=
a lot of ideas that some people have."

Childhood revelation

The film shows Joseph Smith's childhood, during which he nearly loses a leg=
infection due to a serious illness. As he grows older, he starts to think m=
about death and spiritual things.

But his father doesn't take the family to church, and the local pastor
frequently implores the family to be concerned about their salvation and th=
need for baptism.

Joseph's father said the preacher teaches people to fear God too much. Jose=
is seen hearing numerous street evangelists.

Still confused, Joseph asks God to give him wisdom.

It is soon afterwards that, while praying in the woods, God and Jesus are
shown appearing to Smith. They tell him that the church at that time had go=
away from the true gospel, and that Joseph Smith was called to "restore" th=
full gospel, which is where the movie's title comes from.

Smith has other visions later and said he met with John the Baptist, Peter,
James and John (the disciples) as well as Moses and Elijah.

The angel Moroni tells Joseph that he will someday uncover ancient writings
and that he is to translate them into the new revelation from God.

Smith tells the preacher about his visions, but the pastor rejects them,
saying there are to be no new revelations outside of what is written in the

Smith eventually convinces his family and others of his newfound revelation=
and sets out to translate the discovered tablets into The Book of Mormon. H=
called it "an additional testimony" to the Bible.

The next part of the movie shows the Mormons being expelled from one commun=
after another. It's never clear in the film why the others in the community
don't like the Mormons. They go from New York to Ohio to Missouri, and it i=
there that Smith is tarred and feathered. The Mormons finally move to Nauvo=
and settle in the area that is currently used as a tourist site.

It is while setting up the community that malaria and other illnesses strik=
the Mormons. One of the members brings his dying son to Smith, who lays han=
on him and he is healed. Soon, Smith and others go around the camp, healing
all the other residents.

It is also at Nauvoo that Smith reveals to the church members that God has
revealed to him that families will stay together even in Heaven, a teaching
contrary to Jesus' New Testament statement that there is no marriage in

It's also not clear what was specifically wrong with the Christian church a=
the time that needed "correcting" or "fulfilling." Smith seems to reject th=
protestant preacher's notion that people must be baptized to be saved, but
later institutes baptism by him and the church leaders for the Latter-Day

Both the Christian church at that time and Joseph Smith profess the need to
believe in Jesus to be saved.

Also left out of the film is the fact that Smith had more than one wife. Hi=
wife, Emma, is the only one portrayed in the film. But the Latter-Day Saint=
s -
outside of a few splinter groups - no longer practice polygamy, which was a
controversial subject as the church settled in Utah.

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