Please support Richard’s lastest film Triptych by donating here, and by purchasing his DVD collection here.

Richard Dutcher burst into Mormon cultural consciousness ten years ago with the release of his independent film hit, God’s Army. During the ensuing decade, he has remained an intriguing figure to many Latter-day Saints, not only because of the high quality of the films he has continued to make, but also because of his public distancing himself from “Mormon cinema,” a film genre launched primarily because of his successes, as well as his more private (yet also public) distancing himself from the LDS Church and its teachings.

In this five-part interview conducted by Mormon Stories correspondent Dan Wotherspoon, Richard Dutcher speaks with remarkable candor about his upbringing and marriage, his career as a filmmaker, including extensive comments about each of his completed films (as well as ones, such as his planned film on Joseph Smith, that have not yet been made), the rise and decline of Mormon cinema, and his own faith journey.

This interview is available in both audio and high-quality video formats. The video version includes scenes from Dutcher’s films that play over the interview audio.

Episodes: (available below, on Youtube via HD video, and on iTunes):

  • Part 1 – Growing up Mormon, Serving a Mission, and Getting Married
  • Part 2 – Getting Started in Filmmaking and God’s Army
  • Part 3 – Brigham City, the Joseph Smith Movie, and Mormon Cinema
  • Part 4 – States of Grace, Falling, and Evil Angel
  • Part 5 – Spiritual Journey and Final Thoughts

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 1

Download MP3

Part 2

Download MP3

Part 3

Download MP3

Part 4

Download MP3

Part 5

Download MP3


  1. campeche October 3, 2010 at 12:39 pm - Reply

    I can’t wait to listen to this podcast. I started Oprah’s new book club selection (Freedom) on audio but I may never finish it. Mormon Stories, Mormon Expression, and Being (aka Speaking of Faith) are so much more interesting than ANY of the other stuff out there. Kudos to you, John, for getting this interview.

  2. Jordan October 3, 2010 at 11:30 pm - Reply

    Richard, your integrity and courage are inspiring. Thank you for articulating the complicated array of feelings and thoughts that accompany disillusionment. At moments I had the strange sensation that I was listening to myself speak. Afterward I had to feel my bald head to verify that I don’t have long hair and glasses. The world is a richer place because you and your films are in it.

  3. Arthur October 4, 2010 at 8:35 am - Reply

    I think Dutcher rubs Mormon cinema types the wrong way because he’s absolutely right. Mormon Cinema does seem to be dead. I don’t think it’s permanently dead of course, but let’s face it, the movies were so horribly bad that we all just got sick of dealing with them. I hope he’s wrong about all Mormon efforts into art, particularly music and literature. I think those might have a better chance. We’ll see.

  4. Josh October 4, 2010 at 9:49 am - Reply

    I don’t think the leaders of the church or the scriptures have put any emphasis on the quality of literature or movies, but on the quality of a persons character. I think with all of the problems in the world, we can do better to help our neighbor rather than worry over entertainment.

  5. Richard Allen October 4, 2010 at 10:50 am - Reply


    Literature and Movies along with other arts inspire people which in turns help out our fellow man. Are you saying you have never seen a film or read a book that inspired you to go out and be a better person?

    Are the movies that the Church puts out including the movie “Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration” that they show at the visitor center meant to be just “entertainment”? If so, they should of used the money to feed the homeless and help out those that are struggling instead of making “entertainment”.

    The arts inspire people.

    I also recommend you read this talk given by Spencer W. Kimball over at entitled “The Gospel Vision of the Arts”

  6. Arthur October 4, 2010 at 12:23 pm - Reply


    Of course the Church emphasizes good film and literature. What scripture is not also literature? The Old Testament? The New Testament? The Book of Mormon? Don’t our leaders ask us to keep detailed journals? Is that not literature? Doesn’t the Church produce countless videos, DVDs, plays, and books of hymns? Aren’t our temples filled with beautiful art and architecture? If art is simply “entertainment”, I wonder why the Church would waste all that time and effort on it.

  7. Davey October 4, 2010 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    Wonderful, wonderful interview. Thank you guys.

  8. Glen Dutcher October 4, 2010 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    Excellent interview. It took the better part of two days for me to watch it in its entirety, but it was time well-spent. Thanks for mentioning the acting lessons, but I wish I could have been there for you when you hit the wall. I left the pack so long ago that I failed to grasp the despair you were experiencing.

  9. Marshall Bond October 4, 2010 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    Hey Josh, how about a trip to historic Social Hall in downtown Salt Lake? That would be very educational. Brigham Young knew the value of entertainment; how about you?

    All kidding aside, I can (kind of) see your point, but do you realize how powerful a medium cinema is? There’s a reason why the Church built the Legacy Theater. They know how to use film to get their message across. Perhaps what is shown there is not technically “entertainment,” but the emotional impact has been powerful, despite the inaccuracies in the movies.

    If movies are going to be made anyway, why not have a good representation by Mormon filmmakers?

  10. mike chandler October 4, 2010 at 9:03 pm - Reply

    Richard Dutcher is fascinating. I too had Charles Metten at BYU in 1990. Funny short fellow that loved Frank Capra. My hat is off to Richard. My favorite film is Brigham City and I keep waiting for Falling and more.

    Richard, the boat analogy I use as my own now. Thanks. Bless Gwen for sticking with you!


  11. Josh October 4, 2010 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    Boy, I sure said a lot more than I thought in that short paragraph.

    I did use the word ’empahsis’. And I will stand by it. The church doesn’t place emphasis on the quality of movies or literature. This last weekend I listened to conference and the emphasis was on Christ, the spirit, salvation, doing good and avoiding the ways of the world, etc. I have read the scriptures and the emphasis is about the same.

    My point is, if the members of the church are making terrible films, then oh well. It’s not the emphasis. If Hollywood is making wonderful films, then that makes sense, it is their way of life and it is their emphasis.

    Because of the difficult nature of film making, it requires the lifestyle to make wonderful films. My brother plays for a Major league team, and he doesn’t live a normal life. Baseball requires a lifestyle.

    The church requires a lot from its members. Christ requires a lot from his disciples. Christ requires a lifestyle and it makes complete sense why the church members wouldn’t have time to make Casablanca.

    As I think of all that Christ was, I think it requires a lot of time to discipline oneself into a disciple; study, concentration, always willing to serve and be out doing good. To let go of ones pride takes at least a lifetime to conquer, if one is diligent.

    When we die, I don’t think we are going to care how many movies we missed, but how good we were, how we helped and gave. And, I wish that was the emphasis of all. I guess that is quite an ideal.

  12. Arthur October 5, 2010 at 7:47 am - Reply


    You know, that makes a lot of sense now, and I agree with you. Thanks for clarifying. I still think art is a powerful tool in the hands of God, but I agree with you about all that.

    In any case, my response to Dutcher’s remarks and how they relate to my passion, music, can be found here:

  13. Oz October 5, 2010 at 11:04 am - Reply

    Dan and John…GRANDSLAM!!!!!! That was an awesome interview.

  14. Steve October 5, 2010 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    Part 5 at about 29min: “…from the most fundamental part of me was the answer that said ‘of course it’s not true’.” Having had a similar experience, it is validating to hear someone describe it so well. For me it was like the scales of darkness falling from my eyes and seeing the world as it actually is for the first time. There are many emotions that accompany an experience like this, and not all of them are pleasant. But it certainly feels irreversible. The science fiction metaphor of two ships disengaging and drifting away is spot on. “It felt like a piece of me was leaving and I would never get it back.”

    Thanks for an amazing interview!

  15. Jeff Ricks October 6, 2010 at 5:46 am - Reply

    An excellent interview!!! Thank you, Richard, for taking the time to do this. It’s a very fascinating and informative seven hours! I’ll be re-listening in the future.

    I’m employed as a product designer by day, and I consider film-making another form of product design. It’s one reason I have an interest in film-making. In any form of product design the designer has to understand the customer need. In the case of film-making it’s the ‘need’ to be entertained and emotionally stimulated. The designer also has to be aware of production and financial constraints when designing a product. So for me, it was thoroughly fascinating (and then some) to learn how you, Richard, have dealt with those issues and have been able to get your products produced. Thank you so much for providing a peek behind the screen and revealing some of the nuts and bolts of how you make it happen.

    Dan, I think you did an excellent job too. I was quite impressed with your ability as an interviewer.

  16. Stone October 6, 2010 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    An incredible interview! Thank you Richard for being so open about your experiences both as a film-maker and about your personal spiritual journey. I bought your box set a few months back and I still need to break out States of Grace – I look forward to it.

    I enjoy your work and cannot wait to see your rendition of the Joseph Smith story!

    Thank you Dan and John for having Richard on and for doing ANOTHER excellent job! I personally enjoy these longer interviews.

  17. Richard Dutcher October 6, 2010 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the good words, everyone. If you are facebook users, please “friend” me. (Funny how that word has become a verb).

    There are some exciting things in the works, and I’ve found facebook to be an excellent way to spread the word.

  18. erico October 6, 2010 at 7:53 pm - Reply

    Thank you Richard and Dan. Richard, I had a very similar loss of faith moment where the universe suddenly imploded within a matter of 10 minutes during the Summer of 2003 and I was left wondering “who the hell am I, and what am I doing here?”. I can definitely relate. Thank you for sharing your experience. I’ve been looking forward to your Joseph Smith film for a long time. It’s hard to believe that no one has yet made a decent film on Joseph Smith’s religious life considering how incredibly interesting the subject matter is, for Mormons and non-Mormons alike.

  19. MattJ October 6, 2010 at 8:55 pm - Reply

    Fantastic interview. Good work!

    Gees I’d love to see Richard’s take on Joseph Smith. I think the controversy alone would generate a massive amount of interest.

  20. Aaron October 7, 2010 at 11:32 am - Reply

    I really like Richard Dutcher after listening to all these interviews. Does he see problems with Mormonism? Yes, that is why he left. However, he didn’t see a reason to create large amounts of controversy or be vocal about what he saw wrong with the church. I know most of us who listen to Mormon Stories have had that crisis of faith and many people have chosen to leave the Church because of it. I always wondered why people still watch or listen to these podcasts after leaving, but I am starting more and more to see why they do. We all are part of the Mormon experience irregardless of whether we are believers or non-believers. In a way, listening to open discourse about the Mormon community is good for all of us. I have a strong appreciation for the non-believers, the people who are struggling, and even the TBMs now. I still agree with many that I would love to see Richard Dutcher make the first Joseph Movie that is objective. Even as a believer, I would watch a movie that shows Joseph Smith as the man, warts and all.

  21. Eric Comstock October 8, 2010 at 10:42 am - Reply

    I loved the interview. I loved how you had this ”all or nothing” mentality as you made your first film, Girl Crazy. I wonder if that personality trait came through as you came to the conclusion that the church was not what it claimed to be. It seemed like it was the case. I was 39 when I came to the same conclusion. It was especially hard when I saw my daughter being baptized a few months later and I could not perform the baptism not because of sin but because of integrity.

    One question for you Richard, in God’s Army, you have a scene in there where a Sister Missionary is talking to the lead actor and she asks which books are his favorite. She mentioned “My Name is Asher Lev”. Does the book have special meaning to you? Why did you include that book in the script? I read that book when I was 18 and it had a huge impact on me. In fact I’ve thought of the book often as I have left the Mormon religion behind.

    Thanks for all of your time in this interview.

  22. D. Michael Martindale October 9, 2010 at 8:28 am - Reply

    Josh, your comments are absurd. In any other profession, you would expect people to invest the time and effort to achieve excellence. Do you have the same attitude toward LDS doctors–it’s not the emphasis, so if LDS doctors keep killing their patients, then oh well?

    You talk about Jesus. Even Jesus had a career–he was a carpenter. You think he produced shoddy work and that was okay because his focus was elsewhere? Somehow I doubt that.

    Mormons are not full-time preachers. They are expected to have careers, and they are expected to excel at those careers. Film makers are no different than any other profession. If you’re going to be an LDS film maker, then you damn well better be the best LDS film maker you know how to be.

  23. Polly Anna October 10, 2010 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    I wouldn’t have seen States of Grace if John Dehlin hadn’t posted the sun stone interview about it. I didn’t even know it existed being out east. I’m so glad John posted it because I got it on netflix and I LOVED it! I do think it’s better than God’s Army.

  24. Terry Anderson October 11, 2010 at 5:57 am - Reply

    I jumped straight to the 5th part of the interview to see why Richard left the church. I can relate to his experiences, but unlike Richard I didn’t leave the church. I realised that my smug, self righteousness, know-it-all style Mormonism was offensive to others and to God. I hit the wall of faith for the first time in my life and learnt what humility and true faith is all about. I think there is a little voice in all of us telling us it’s not true. I have tried the mind experiment of thinking as an atheist and found this to be a cathartic experience and I think those who discover religion also have this experience coming from the other direction. I believe Richard (and apologists in general) had stretched his brain for 30+ years defending the “truth” and when he released the tension, it felt good. I respect his decision to act on that feeling in the way he did, but for me, I interpreted the loss of tension differently . Now I try not to defend the indefensible, resulting in a more genuine religious experience and an ability to relate to others. I can definitely relate to the brain washing remark with our children. It makes me cringe and I don’t think it prepares them for reality.

  25. Legrand October 11, 2010 at 4:54 pm - Reply

    I respect Dutcher as an artist and great “market timer”. He was the first to really capitalize on the lack of films going for the mormon market. Unfortunately he got caught up in what a genius he was, and got into bashing his own audience.
    Saying that mormon cinema is dead until a new generation in another 20 years or so comes along is pretty egostical of Dutcher to say.
    Newsflash: a mormon murder mystery/borderline slasher would never play well to your audience. They wanted to support you but wasn’t ready to see something edgy like that in the brand new genre you helped create.
    Whenever an artist slams his own audience or blames them for the lack of success for a film I think they deserve to fail. Go ahead and make a film for a select few hard-core fans, but don’t go blaming the mainstream b/c you made a bad choice.
    If he would have kept with the same instincts that made God’s Army a success, and gone more for what the audience wanted, he would have done much better. It might have also paved the way for more involvement in future film projects.
    Yes, many of the other movies out there suck. But there are also some great ones that eclipsed God’s Army, like the Best Two Years and Other Side of Heaven.
    The market has become saturated, but I anticipate it will revive, and that quality films will again be in theaters soon.

  26. drew October 12, 2010 at 8:01 am - Reply

    @legrand: “borderline slasher”? you’re either being deliberately deceptive or you didn’t watch ‘brigham city’ at all.

    the lds community had, and has more than ever, a great need for what richard does as a filmmaker. ‘states of grace’ and ‘brigham city’ were deeply moving films. i’ve been around the block, and not much gets to me, so these days i judge movies by whether or not they can make me cry.

    richard hits the target every time.

    thank you, richard, and thank you mormon stories.

  27. Jason October 12, 2010 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    Wow, it took me a forever to get through these, but it’s been worth it. Thanks Richard, Dan, John, any anyone else involved. It was great to hear and see Richard clarify things and set the record straight, in his own words. Thanks

  28. Christopher King October 13, 2010 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    Richard, Dan, thank you. I listened to the entire podcast series on several most entertaining bike rides. After all this, and having heard Richard make the same point at Sunstone a few years ago, I still don’t buy into the idea that movies like Singles Ward killed Mormon cinema. It’s like saying Rob Schneider films could kill Scorcese films. They’re different brands, different genres. From where I stand, it just looks like Richard is peeing in Hale’s pool. So why did Richard’s movies fail? My take is that the first God’s Army hit a very special spot in Mormondom. It was faithful and it lifted the veil on mission life. As an RM, I really related to it. Brigham City was a great film with a superb ending but the Mormon aspect was almost incidental. It didn’t hit the same spot. No wonder it failed in Utah. States of Grace was too mature and eceumenical. Won’t Utah audiences respond to another TBM movie that is well made and insightful?

  29. Living and Learning October 13, 2010 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    Mormon Stories Crew,

    I listened to the entire podcast on a drive from San Francisco to Las Vegas and came away with a few observations.

    First, Richard I have always respected your movies but this podcast could have easily been turned into a movie script like unto a Christopher Guest production (i.e. Spinal Tap, Best in Show, Waiting for Gufman). C’mon, they’re just movies!

    Second…Dan, thanks for the interview but stop answering your own questions before Richard can respond. We would like to hear his take before yours.

    Third… I would love to see a quality film about JS Jr but the enormity of it is overwhelming. A Ken Burns endeavor might make the most sense.

    Third, Richard, voices come from many sources.

  30. Joe Blow October 13, 2010 at 10:09 pm - Reply

    Richard, I hate to admit this, but I was one of those people that thought you left the Church because members stopped supporting your movies. At the time, I believed there was no good reason to leave the Church so it made sense. Now I can hardly believe that I thought something so stupid.

    Great interview and I am looking forward to your Joseph Smith movie. If I ever hit it big, I will definitely invest in the film.

  31. shano October 14, 2010 at 11:08 am - Reply

    Richard, I think I hated God’s Army when I saw it years ago – and this is part of the reason I was curious to hear this interview. (I write “I think” b/c i have a horrible memory of movies and don’t remember a lot about it.) Listening to the interview segments, I was able to get a lot of boring housework done that I normally wouldn’t have stuck with for long had I not been listening to the podcast. So it was beneficial in that way, but also gave me a better understanding of who you are, which now makes me really want to see God’s Army again and see how my perception of it changes now that I understand where you were coming from in making the movie. I was impressed and touched by your candor in this interview. It can’t be easy to share such personal details, but I appreciate your willingness to share all that you did. I might also add that I am our ward’s Primary president and had to chuckle when you mentioned being creeped out hearing 60 kids singing “Follow the Prophet” – after the experience you had it probably would have creeped me out too! But, being the still-believing Mormon I am, it delights me to hear the kids sing it with gusto (sorry if that creeps you out again ;)

  32. Melissa October 14, 2010 at 7:02 pm - Reply

    Hi John,

    I just watched the video interview of Richard Dutcher and I thought it was really really good. I think his journey out of the church has been really tough for him. There are two comments I wanted to make about it that I thought might help him:

    1) He mentioned a period when he was a teenager and he was praying in the corner of the house and he thought he heard the front door banging and felt a malicious spirit near him. He said that he could have imagined it. He wasn’t sure because his friend didn’t hear it. I think I know what that might have been, of course, he knows himself better than I do but this could be an explanation. He mentioned the epiphany he had when he asked himself the question, “What if it all isn’t true?” and he answered himself immediately with, “Of course it isn’t.” And after that he experienced a lot of pain, depression and despair. I think maybe he has lived with this question and answer all his life but it was just locked in a closet, so to speak, in the back of his mind and he was running from it. During his prayer time as a teenager that night, he heard it banging on the door to get out and the malicious spirit he felt was the “demon” inside of him and the threat of the anxiety, pain, despair and suffering that he knew he would go through if he opened the door, so he ran outside and ran away from it. The terror that he felt that night was the terror he had of opening that door and facing the question. The reason he associated it with a malicious spirit is because the LDS are taught from birth that to question the truthfulness of the Joseph Smith story is to be tempted by Satan himself or one of his minions. They are taught to repress it and never question. You see this “evil in paradise” come out in the movie Brigham City – the doubt, the guilt, the fear and the repression. I haven’t seen the movie but I can guess who the killer is – the Sheriff. I believe that movie may have been a reflection of Richard grappling with his “demon.” This “demon” wasn’t a demon at all but was the truth wanting to come out. It was his psyche wanting to break free of the burden of the lies that he was brainwashed to believe all his life. I see this same fear in my LDS friends, two people who are very close to me, when they think I am going to start talking about the history of the church. They are terrified of it. They all have that question repressed in the back of their minds but don’t want to face it. I have huge admiration and respect for Richard because he did face it. It wasn’t easy but the truth never is. Now he is free. And as Jesus said, “The Truth shall set you free.”

    2) The other comment I had was that he said he reads a lot now and is searching for what he believes in. I recommend a really good book called Beyond Death’s Door by Maurice Rawlings who is a cardiologist and was an atheist until he started case studying his patients that he revived from death. In the book, he recounts what his patients told him when they came back. It is a very interesting book.

    Anyway, I hope this helps. I wish him the best of luck on his journey and with his career.

    God Bless,

  33. Nathan October 15, 2010 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Someone should make a movie about Richard’s life and everything he has gone through as both a film maker and a Mormon. What a movie it would be!

  34. Legrand October 15, 2010 at 7:55 am - Reply

    @ Christopher King said:
    “It’s like saying Rob Schneider films could kill Scorcese films. They’re different brands, different genres. From where I stand, it just looks like Richard is peeing in Hale’s pool. So why did Richard’s movies fail? My take is that the first God’s Army hit a very special spot in Mormondom. It was faithful and it lifted the veil on mission life. As an RM, I really related to it. Brigham City was a great film with a superb ending but the Mormon aspect was almost incidental. It didn’t hit the same spot. No wonder it failed in Utah. States of Grace was too mature and eceumenical. Won’t Utah audiences respond to another TBM movie that is well made and insightful?”

    Spot on, Christopher, this is what I was trying to get across. I have known several local artists, stand up comics, and filmmakers, and hear a lot of negative talk directed at the audience if their art doesn’t do well or the audience doesn’t respond as they would like.
    This, I think, stems from being self-absorbed and getting too wrapped up in yourself and the value of your art.

    In his interview Dutcher basically damns the whole genre, says it’s dead, will be dead for twenty years or so. Give me a break. The initial gold rush and novelty have worn off for now, but people will get excited about a film that is well-made, that hits the right spot for them.

  35. […] UPDATE! – Watch our interview with Richard Dutcher (10/03/2010) […]

  36. Randy October 17, 2010 at 12:36 am - Reply

    Richard and Dan, your intellect, generosity, and commitment in making this interview are astounding. I’m not all the way through it, but thank you.

    @ Nathan said:
    “someone should make a movie about Richard’s life…”
    I think this could very well be it! If Kiarostami can count “Ten on Ten,” then surely this interview itself counts as an epic film, a much needed addition to Mormon cinema.

    Despite the challenges embodied in Richard’s career I’m still optimistic about the potential for great, spiritual Mormon films, along with more (better) comedies and other things. Hopefully it just won’t take those of us attempting to follow films like “States of Grace” 20 years to do it…

  37. Ah Q October 17, 2010 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    One of the best interviews Mormons Stories has done (and that’s saying a lot). Great job guys!

  38. George Windes October 19, 2010 at 12:01 pm - Reply

    As a seventy year old man, I often heard the name Richard Dutcher. My three sons were much influenced by your work. I didn’t pay much attention. As life is strange, my path has led out of the LDS church in recent years (prop. 8 was the elephant in the room), while my sons have remained, if not TBM, then NOM. Now I will have to order your packet, and see what the fuss was all about. Thank you for the hours just finished (conversations), I consider them time well spent. As always, I am indebted to John Devlin as well.

  39. Martine October 19, 2010 at 11:16 pm - Reply

    Loved the interview. Really interesting.

    However…in the podcast with Kathy Soper, everyone ragged on Heather for talking too much. Dan W. did a good job, but his obvious admiration and fanboying got a bit tiresome. Let the interviewee answer the questions!

  40. Ryan M. October 20, 2010 at 9:45 am - Reply

    I thought Dan did a great job. In fact, I wonder if we’d even have heard Richard’s full story without the level of trust Dan/Richard have. Richard is a self-described introvert and seemed a little reticent to even talk about his spiritual turn. That was my take at least.

  41. Liz Draper Steele October 20, 2010 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    I agree, Dan did a wonderful job guiding Richard through this interview. Thanks to both of you for a job well done.

  42. J Evans October 20, 2010 at 6:31 pm - Reply

    Legrand. You are silly.

  43. Nathan Lisgo October 22, 2010 at 5:18 am - Reply

    It’s great to see that Richard has already met his funding goal on

    I listened to the podcast rather than watch the video. I stuck with it, it was all great stuff. Thank you for posting. Please donate more if you can.

  44. […] Wotherspoon did a 5 or so hour-long interview for Mormon Stories.  I am such a fan, I listened to all 5 parts of the interview.  I learned that Richard is producing a new film called Triptych.  (Here’s a preview.)  He […]

  45. HopedFor November 5, 2010 at 12:40 am - Reply

    Sure did enjoy this interview. When I first heard about Richard leaving the church, I myself was pretty true-blue. Since then, similar to Richard and after much study/prayer/fasting, I realized how different the church today is compared to what the scriptures say it should be, and different from what Joseph tried to bring forth so long ago. Instead of deciding that nothing about the church is true, I am still able to cling to some of the teachings of Joseph’s (actually his, not all those just attributed to him or the folklore that his story has become, and not those that came after the saints failed to prove ready for his higher teachings requiring their need for the prepatory gospel of laws and outer ordinances) That was a rambling sentence!!! I don’t judge that Richard came away with a different conclusion but found peace in discovering that God is found within – we are manifistations/temples of His – He is in us and we are in Him. Everything in the world around us points to how we should become one with Him as Christ is one with Him. Even the lower gospel that Joseph had to re-establish – because the people demanded those old dead works – is full of symbology that should point us to accepting that we need to become one with God – and accept Christ’s words “Ye are Gods” are true. Along our path of eternal progress (which includes multiple mortalities) we each have lessons to learn and things to experience. Richard’s experiences were fascinating to listen to and I hope that as he continues on his path, he will find greater happiness and answers to his questions. I always admire a fellow seeker of greater things and wish him all the best in life and in his career and with his family!

  46. […] Wotherspoon did a 5 or so hour-long interview for Mormon Stories.  I am such a fan, I listened to all 5 parts of the interview.  I learned that Richard is producing a new film called Triptych.  (Here’s a preview.) […]

  47. Mike December 8, 2010 at 1:42 pm - Reply

    I am just watching the interview with Richard Dutcher and I am very upset. He claims that someone high in the LDS church had a stolen copy of his Joseph Smith script, but doesn’t mention names. If he will not mention names, then his claim is not credible.

    Dutcher says people said he was arrogant. He IS!! He said “Singles Ward” was crap. Then why did he appear in the movie? Also, he criticizes anyone but himself as far as movie making. He also said the movies he saw at BYU had no nudity and that was unfortunate. Nice.

    I know I won’t get a response, but this site seems anti-Mormon. You claim to be active LDS, etc., but all you have on here are negative stories about the LDS church. You really should put on some positive experiences from LDS members and not just complaints about the church and people that leave.

  48. Joe December 8, 2010 at 7:42 pm - Reply


    Perhaps you should listen to the full 7.5 hour interview (dang Dan, that is impressive). If you did, you might find answer some of the questions that you pose.

    Also, this site isn’t anti-Mormon. You will find people who are possibly a little antagonistic. But that sometimes happens to a person when they finally read/study the unabridged LDS history (rather than the sanitized BS that we get in Sunday School and P/RS).

    You see, most people can deal with the follies and mistakes of men (even when those men are prophets). But they can’t process the perceived dishonesty that they see with The Church.

    Best of luck to you in your personal journey.


  49. Josh March 17, 2011 at 2:19 am - Reply

    just finished. Lots to talk about, but one comment is that I am surprised to hear Dutcher say that not many Mormons have expressed interest in why he left the church. I am one orthodox Mormon who thoroughly enjoyed hearing him explain it.

  50. Greg Anderson May 3, 2011 at 12:11 am - Reply

    Why does John Dehlin think that it’s Richard Dutcher’s “birthright” to make a Joseph Smith movie? If Richard has something to say about Joseph then he should just say it. Instead, he complains that he can’t express himself on this topic because he doesn’t have $15 million. He teases us with the idea that he has something to share that’s more profound than anything anyone else has discovered. But until he finds a kind donor with a fortune to blow, he can’t tell us. Meanwhile, whatever he knows about Joseph Smith becomes less relevant by the day.

    This is how life works AND how the movie business works. If you don’t have a track record that says you deserve $15 million then you’re not going to get it. So far, I see a track record of lower-and-lower box office returns. I see a filmmaker who rejects the “business” part of show business to the point where he has no discernable career, either in or out of “Mormon” storytelling. Perhaps he can put his talent to use and start writing novels. I assume he can afford word processing for somewhat less than $15 million.

    I appreciate the exhaustive (and exhausting) interview, nonetheless. I am just a year or two younger than Richard and studied in the same, flawed program at BYU. I knew Veronique and her brother, Jon. I was in an acting class with Gwen when she was co-starring with Richard in “The Foreigner”. I also knew Craig Steiner and Fred Hunting, along with a certain, very tall fellow from South Africa who shall remain nameless because I don’t think his feelings about the church are public. These people were the darlings of the various Film and Theatre programs at BYU and who would have dreamed that they’d all break from the fold? (Years later, I even crossed paths with Richard around Rick Koerber’s office.)

    Two things stand out where I am prone to personally criticize Richard. First, there’s the way you describe your statement that you felt your wife was choosing between you and Joseph Smith, the man who’d been dead for 150 years. It’s ironic that you personalized your dispute with Joseph Smith to the point where you, in effect, accused him of trying to steal YOUR wife the way you say he stole wives of other men during his lifetime. Wow! And, while I realize you didn’t tell us every detail of the story, it’s odd that you can’t seem to tolerate other people in your family having different beliefs than you do. The passive-aggressive way that you manipulate the situation (or, at least the way you tell the story of how you manipulate your household) is food for thought.

    The other thing which stands out is the way you “tested” things in your movies to see if they made you feel like you were doing something wrong. I’m certainly not the scripture expert among people I know but there are examples there encouraging people to experiment or “test” or “prove” God by doing what you think is right and observing the consequences. I can see where, logically, you feel the opposite kind of test is just as valid. But when we’re talking about being guided by spiritual whispers (which is what religion teaches), testing things you think might be wrong doesn’t work.

    You’re a talented guy, Richard. I’m serious about concentrating on writing instead of making movies for a while.

    Doesn’t anyone remember “The Work and the Story”? Someone decided that “Mormon Cinema” was mature enough for a Christopher Guest-style mockumentary. (They were wrong.) It could never have been made without Richard’s full cooperation. He was wrong to go along with it (although it does show the sense of humor which he rarely shows onscreen). But since that movie was basically ignored we can pretend that the Halestorm folks where the only ones who made bad Mormon comedies.

  51. Jim Accord June 13, 2011 at 4:43 pm - Reply

    So did this guy spend his life lying to an audience? Making money? And we want to listen to what he says about  being true to self? These guys take until they are into their 40s and 50s and well  runs dry before they “get honest.” I don’t want to listen to thieves, adulterers, and in this case a liar talk about honesty. Go away. Your movies were lame and corny and insecure.

  52. Mario Jane June 30, 2011 at 3:48 am - Reply

    Richard I really like your films. You were making history, but one day you started to be deceived and your  ego
    and pride did not allow you to notice it . Satan exploited your strenghts to lead you little by little out of the Church. You know
    as I do that God lives and Jesus is the Christ, that the Church is the only true and living Church upon the face of the earth,
    that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that today Jesus Christ is at the head of the Church and directs it through a living
    prophet Thomas S. Monson. I have known of the truthfulness of these things for 34 years by the power of the Holy Spirit. There is
    always a way back. You can be reconciled with God through repentance and  the power of the Atonement of our Lord and Savior. He
    died for you and for me, the least we can do to show gratitude for what he did in Gethsemani and the cross is to take  advantage  of the
    redeeming and enabling parts of his eternal sacrifice. You know what is currently at stake with you, your life and your family. There is something
    much more important than merely making successful movies, because as you well know God doesnt lie. So stop listening to Satan and his followers
    and make a sincere exerted effort to recognize the truths that reside within you and accept the loving invitation of coming to Him to find eternal life.
    Sincerely Mario Jane

  53. Thomas Feller August 8, 2012 at 3:45 am - Reply

    Richard, thank you for your art and talents. I won’t presume to judge or understand you, I can only judge the fruits. By their fruits ye shall know them, right? I was a young men’s president in a ward wherein your movie God’s army changed a young man’s life. I was attending school back east at the time and this young man was a convert to the church at the age of 18 or so. What impressed him was the ‘power’ of righteousness plus faith equals priesthood power, which force you have felt. This is the force behind the book of Mormon, behind Alma, Nephi, Ammon, the sons of Mosiah, which led to the stripling warriors (ironic that not one was killed but Mormon makes certain to record that Everyone of them was injured, some seriously wounded….we all get wounded in this life, everyone), etc. Joseph Smith is the translator of this book, not its author. By their fruits ye shall know them, right? The constants in my life have been the ‘power’ of God and the book of Mormon, inter alia, and we feel their power more than anything else. You said you were happier when you believed, is this not real? We can trick ourselves very easily, believe me I know, but my heart was saddened to listen to your account of falling for this good young man referenced above is falling now too. He is still good, and there is still good in you, I can feel it……throw the emperor down the energy array with his lightening bolts flaying wildly away from your loved ones. Good is universal, all good spirits will recognize it, and you can overcome just as vader did, there is great truth in the early star wars movies. You have made excellent movies as well, but I fear your best movies will remain unmade until you embrace the ‘power’ of God once again since without Him we are nothing and no true miracles can happen without this power, which requires righteousness and faith. If you look for faults in the church you will always find them because it is ran by humans, and even the best ones make mistakes, even big mistakes, so stop focusing on them! God is over all and all will be judged by Him (not us), and He needs you, and we all need the God’s army man back, we need you back to the good side my friend, as does your family, most of all I am sure. God bless you my friend, I wish the best for you and your good family.

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