We have been very fortunate

We have been very fortunate November 14, 2023


John Donovan Wilson as Brigham Young, on the set of “Six Days in August”


First of all, I want to thank the readers of this blog, who continue to read it, or at least to summon it up on their computer screens, despite my manifold (and manifest) incapacities.  I read a couple of appraisals of myself online this morning that indirectly illustrate just how charitable and forgiving you are.  According to one of those appraisals, which wasn’t making any particular effort to be kind, I’m immature, stupid, and entirely without class.  According to the other, which is clearly trying to be sympathetic, I’m an uncomplicated sort who is unable to see historical nuances and who defends the Church as the result of something like an automatic, unthinking Pavlovian stimulus-and-response reaction.

So, again, thank you for dropping by this blog and reading entries here that must often, at the very least, make you blush with pained embarrassment for me.

From those who simply come to giggle, though, I ask for perhaps a shred of charity.  You really shouldn’t mock the simpleminded.

And, of course, if you’re seeking a nuanced understanding of history, you should probably turn for that to the person who, still as of this morning, continues to cite Ann Eliza Webb Dee Young Denning’s Wife No. 19 as a balanced account of detailed and unprejudiced historical fact.  I can only aspire to such penetrating historical insight!


MAAY just before marrying BY
Twyla Wilson as Mary Ann Angell at her wedding with the widower Brigham Young


We had a small gathering last night in the northern part of Utah Valley for donors and potential donors to the Interpreter Foundation’s Six Days in August film project.  Among other things, we showed those present a number of scenes that were created during our recent filming.  They were well received.  Those assembled also had what proved to be the very great opportunity to hear from our Brigham Young (John Donovan Wilson) and our Mary Ann Angell Young (Twyla Wilson), who were magnificent.

When we cast Paul Wuthrich as our Joseph Smith in the Witnesses film project, we did so solely on the basis of his audition videos.  We did not know, and we had no reason to expect, and (speaking for myself, at least) we had not even considered the possibility, that he would be a remarkably thoughtful, articulate, and willing offscreen spokesman for that project and for the message that we were trying to convey by it.  But so he has turned out to be, and so he continues to be.  And much the same can be said of our Emma Smith (Camrey Bagley Fox), to whom we also turned for the role of the interviewer in the short “Insights” videos that have flowed from the Witnesses project.  (Incidentally, both Paul and Camrey feature in this new Six Days in August film, as well — though, spoiler alert!, Paul doesn’t last to the end of the story.)

I’m delighted to say that, in John Donovan Wilson and Twyla Wilson, we have again been extraordinarily fortunate.  (Is it mere luck?  I wonder.)  We cast them on the basis of their performance in audition but, as it happens, they are gifted, thoughtful, and effective spokespeople for the intent and the undertaking of Six Days in August.  Dare I say that we’ve been blessed?  I think that I will.  I feel very much that we have been blessed.


Setting up or taking down.
It’s really quite amazing how much work goes on behind the scenes for every minute of usable “film.”


The allegation that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a kind of protected refuge for child abusers, and/or that it protects the perpetrators of child sexual abuse, continues to make the rounds as if it were unalloyed and unchallengeable fact.  This presentation, given by Jennifer Roach at the most recent FAIR Conference back in August 2023, provides an informed, empirical, and absolutely indispensable perspective on that allegation and related matters:  “Shedding Light on the Complexities: Understanding Abuse Within the LDS Church.”

For an interesting and somewhat related piece, see “Forgotten Study: Abuse in School 100 Times Worse than by Priests.”

Another continuing controversy is lucidly addressed in “The $100 Billion Question — A Conversation with Aaron Miller.”  If this matter interests you, or if it concerns you or concerns someone you know, you should not miss out on the commentary offered by Aaron Miller.


From left to right: Quinton Kapel as Heber C. Kimball, Brigham Young, Mary Ann Young, and Ted Bushman (who is, by the way, the grandson of the historian Richard Lyman Bushman) as Wilford Woodruff


Now, as is my occasional practice, I want to wrap things up today with a selection of deliciously horrifying abominations from the Christopher Hitchens Memorial “How Religion Poisons Everything” File™:

“How the Church of Jesus Christ Is Helping Build Emotional Resilience: The ‘Finding Strength in the Lord: Emotional Resilience’ manual is available in 30 languages”

“Christianity Has Anchored Free Societies. What Happens as They Deconvert?  Philosopher John Gray predicts we’re headed for an age of all-consuming moral warfare.”

“Having Water ‘Is Like a Dream’ in Rwanda: The Church of Jesus Christ and Water for People are working on completing water systems in Gicumbi District, Rwanda”

“JustServe Volunteers Help Magic Yarn Project Make Wigs for Children With Cancer: A young man who received a wig in his own cancer journey joins in project to help in California’s Bay Area”

“The Church of Jesus Christ Launches Global Effort to Nourish Children and Mothers: In collaboration with other organizations, the Relief Society will improve access to nutrition, immunizations, maternal and newborn care”

“Church Donates US$1 Million to Hurricane Relief in Acapulco: ‘The need is huge,’ says Elder Bednar during Mexico ministry”

“The Church of Jesus Christ Joins Muslim Communities in Peace-building Efforts in West Africa: Leaders focus on interfaith unity and religious freedom”

“Trees for Food Launches at Event in Kajiado North District, Kenya: Trees for Food premiers in launch event in Kajiado North District, Kenya, on 2 November 2023. First 37,000 of 200,000 fruit tree seedlings are distributed and planted”

“Church Leaders Strengthen Ties with Senator Blackburn and Others in Tennessee: President Johnson, Sister Browning and Sister Spannaus discuss religious liberty and the importance of strengthening and preserving the family”

“Church of Jesus Christ Initiates Child Nutrition Project in West Africa: Church works with local agencies to provide malnutrition screening and training on nutrition”

“See Where You Can Donate to a Light the World Giving Machine: The red giving-focused vending machines will be in 61 locations around the world to help people hold up the light of Jesus Christ through service”


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