Joseph SmithThis video is clearly gonna illicit strong reactions (both very positively and very negatively), but I think it’s powerfully well done, and worth the watch.

The creator is listed as Seth Adam Smith.

Let me know what you think. For the disbelievers, please keep your comments respectful.


  1. Proud Daughter of Eve July 26, 2006 at 1:56 pm

    It’s not badly done but I think it would have been better and had more impact if there’d been some scenes of the trials and persecutions Joseph and his family suffered.

  2. Proud Daughter of Eve July 26, 2006 at 2:02 pm

    Whoops, spoke too soon. My player was having trouble with it and thought it was done. As I said earlier, over all pretty good but if you don’t know the history it won’t mean much.

  3. enochville July 26, 2006 at 3:10 pm

    Have you ever heard of the psychological construct of elevation? It is theorized as the emotion opposite of disgust. Whereas disgust alerts us to things we perceive as base, course, and animalistic; elevation draws our attention to things we consider to be far removed from our animalistic heritage to whatsoever is virtuous, lovely, and “divine” for lack of a better word.

    Elevation is experienced as a warmth in the chest and can even move one to tears. It is closely related to other emotions such as hope and joy, and when feeling elevation we are moved to be better people ourselves and draw near to those we observe acting divinely or altruisticly.

    That song, even when it is only applied to the fictional Superman moves me to elevation. The creator of this video probably wanted to impart some of that emotion to the stirring emotional scenes depicted in the paintings. In that, the creator of this film is no different than the creators of the other church films that utilize certain music and images to evoke strong positive emotions almost independent of the subject matter (Lord of the Rings: Return of the King causes me to feel elevation powerfully through music and images; the principles are real even though the story isn’t).

    I feel that much of what mainstream Mormons now believe about the Prophet is just as fictional as Superman. I acknowledge that certain events happened – he was tarred in Hiram, he was shot in Carthage. But, I do not believe his motives were pure as the song and images in this video would suggest. I am saddened by that video instead of being uplifted because mostly what I think of is fraud and deceit, which are more on the disgust end of my emotions than elevation.

    I can be elevated by the thought of Aragorn because there never was any deceit there; all know that he is a fictional hero. The principles his fictional life illustrate are not dimmed by taking advantage of the trusting natures of real people, but instead shine through.

    This is the gulf that leads me to not experience that film about Joseph Smith the way some do. But, I respect you all to look at him how ever you will.

  4. Tom Grover July 26, 2006 at 3:34 pm

    What a great post enochville. Well written, indeed. What then were JS motives?

  5. Jordan July 26, 2006 at 3:56 pm

    I really, really enjoyed that. I thought it was a moving tribute to a man I also consider a personal hero, despite his shortcomings. But then again, I don’t believe that he lied about the Book of Abraham, so I guess my ignorant sense of well-being vis-a-vis the Book of Abraham is causing me false feelings of “elevation.”

    Darn. Because I still really liked it. Paint me a deluded fool if you will.

  6. jana (aka pilgrimgirl) July 26, 2006 at 4:19 pm

    Based on the way you set up this video, I kept waiting for the part that would elicit the strong reaction. I waited, waited, waited. Hmmmmm…never happened.

    I enjoy Liz Lemon Swindle’s paintings (though I must admit that I’m much fonder of Minerva Teichert’s work). I used to have a few prints of them that I kept with my scriptures. Because she portrays Joseph as just a bit less perfect-looking than other LDS artists, I felt as if her work gave greater insight into the man, rather than the legend. Having said that, all I got out of this clip were the warm-ish sentimental associations I have with the art, not much else.

  7. John Dehlin July 26, 2006 at 4:23 pm

    “Based on the way you set up this video, I kept waiting for the part that would elicit the strong reaction. I waited, waited, waited. Hmmmmm…never happened.” — Jana

    That’s interesting. I was guessing that it would be a “love it” or “hate it” kinda thing.

    It’s always fun to be surprised!!!

  8. Matt Elggren July 26, 2006 at 4:33 pm

    That’s alright, Jordan. When it comes to these kinds of emotions, we’re all fools.

    It’s actually an amazing window on our higher nature and aspirations…the stuff that we hope for and praise when we recognize flashes of it in others. I think it’s normal to want to concentrate/focus these feelings on a single subject and it probably doesn’t hurt too much as long as we don’t make an idol of it…as long as we don’t forget that the virtues that elicit such emotions are not in one man but in all of us.

  9. Doc July 26, 2006 at 7:03 pm

    To me, the most moving part of the tribute was in fact the lyrics which indicated that being in a position to have virtues heaped upon you because of position can be inherently lonely because of our own human frailties. I thought it painted the portrait of a prophet in a genuinely human way, extremely well done.
    Yes the pedestal is dangerous because the ideas we ascribe by halo effect may indeed one day let us down when we learn or hear of things from a different perspective. But If there is one thing I have learned from the teachings of Joseph Smith, it is that there is indeed something noble, grand, and virtuous within us all.
    Thanks, John

  10. paula July 26, 2006 at 7:53 pm

    Um, I’m really out of the pop culture loop– is this a song from the Superman movie, or something written for the video? That said, I really loathe sticking pop music from our time with religious stuff of 200 years ago.

  11. Guy Murray July 26, 2006 at 10:08 pm

    John, It was powerfully well done. I liked it. Thanks for posting about it.

  12. CraigBa! July 27, 2006 at 12:18 am

    The song “Superman” is by Five for Fighting (though it’s just one guy – John Ondrasik). It’s been around since 2000. The song did well before September 11, but, with its opening lines (“I can’t stand to fly. I’m not that naive…”) it really started to resonate with a lot of people (incl. me) afterwards.

    I doubt Mr. Ondrasik and the guy who made the video have any connection.

  13. Paul Bently August 2, 2006 at 11:42 am

    I wish it had more references to his other wives. I think that they are crucial to his life as well. Maybe the song is too short to to mention his other family.

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