That’s the full movie above. It’s just over an hour long, so unless you’re 95 years old or suffer from an irritable bowel syndrome, you should be able to sit down with some popcorn and a gallon of root beer without having to get up and use the bathroom before the thing is over.
I thought this movie would be fitting since those of us in Utah celebrated the origins of our state this week. And aside from the fictional character of William Callahan, whose interview with Wilford Woodruff serves as a roadmap for the movie, the events depicted in this film are quite accurate.
OH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: If you skip to 33:29 in the embedded clip above, you’ll discover that the man who plays General Johnston speaks in a fashion rather reminiscent to Mad Murdoch from the A-Team. (And if you didn’t get that joke then you should feel terrible about yourself for having neglected the most fundamental fabric of 1980s American culture.)
Unlike other films about Mormon pioneers, this one focuses less on the journey and more on one of the great purposes of the journey: finding a place where Latter-day Saints could live and worship without the fear of being beaten, raped and tortured by malicious mobs and paranoid politicians.
And the crown jewel to the Mormons’ new life in this new mountainous territory was the Salt Lake Temple.
It was on July 28, 1847, just a few days after the Latter-day Saints arrived, that Brigham Young was walking along the valley floor and stuck his cane in the ground, declaring, “Here we will build a temple to our God.”
That was exactly 166 years ago today.
There are many reasons why Mormons build temples, but ultimately it’s about the happiness of all of God’s children:
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4:5-6)
The covenants associated with baptism are just the beginning in God’s kingdom. There are deeper, more specific truths associated with the laws and covenants found in God’s holy temples.
And just as Malachi prophesied in the Old Testament, God sent Elijah the prophet to restore the power and authority associated with all the temple covenants and ordinances that seal (or bind) us to God and our ancestors.
Because God loves all of His children, all of His children will have the opportunity to receive the ordinances of the temple.
Thus the importance of Latter-day Saint temples—around the world and here in the Rocky Mountains.
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains…” – Isaiah 2:2