Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Scripture Reading

My third film came in the mail yesterday, but we couldn't find our mail key in order to get it. In the end it didn't make a lot of difference because Julia and I spent the entire night trying to apply for a scholarship for our field study. The deadline was 11pm, but the website was terribly overloaded and running very slow and we didn't get them actually submitted until around 12. I felt really stupid for letting myself put this off for so long when it is extremely important for us to obtain more funding in order to pay for our field study. I don't know yet if our applications will be rejected or not. It sounds like they may give us some leeway because of the slowness of the website.

Either way, after that whole ordeal, there wasn't time to watch a movie, so I went down to the end of the viewing list to see what else was an option. At the bottom I saw Brad's list of scriptures to read, and I felt that I could do with a good scripture read.

The scriptures I read included the story of the sons of Mosiah, teaching and converting the Lamanites to the gospel, as well as a scripture from Jacob and one from D&C about teaching with the spirit and with truth.

Applying these to documentary, when making a documentary film, we are usually trying to find, or show "truth." This is how it really is. The story of the sons of Mosiah I felt would make a great documentary film. In a way it is very much like a documentary, only that it is the written account of these missionaries and what they did in the land of the Lamanites. You have to wonder also, however, what the story would be like if it had been written by the Lamanites as opposed to the Nephites. What would they say differently? There is a lot of value that can be taken from seeing things from more than one angle. Yet I feel like Mormon must have done a pretty good job at writing this story because of the amount of spirit that is contained within it. The other scriptures teach that the spirit will manifest the truth, and that when good and true things are taught, they will edify the learner. I feel very edified by the story of the sons of Mosiah and I feel the spirit very strongly in certain parts, which testifies to me that this story is good and probably as close to the truth as Mormon could possibly get it.

These scriptures have also motivated me to strive for goodness and truth in my own work, and not to settle for something less. I feel like the scriptures give me a challenge not to call a piece of work finished until I feel that it teaches something good, that it uses the spirit, and edifies the viewer.


  1. I agree with your statement that scriptures can help us strive for goodness and truth in our own expeditions into documentary filmmaking. It often seems overwhelming and almost impossible to sort through the clutter of the world and focus solely on the truth of the matter. As documentary filmmakers, I feel like we have the power to do great things for people by sharing the truth and beauty of the world around us, but we also have the power to use manipulation to twist people's words and actions for our own benefit. While every documentary we make is going to be influenced by us in some way, I think that it is important to remember the calls for goodness and truth from the scriptures, and prayerfully think about what we show and how we show it.

  2. This isn't the first time I've heard the question posed about what the Book of Mormon would be like if it was written by the Lamanites. Yes, it's definitely biased with the lens of the Nephites, but there would be a lot less truth because the Lamanites often times did not have the spirit.

    However, even one of the Nephite writers (I can't remember who) apologizes that his writing is not perfect because he is human. An anti-organized religion friend of mine believes that it is impossible to receive the word of God because anything that is touched by humans is tainted with our imperfections. In a sense, this is true, but this prophet admits to it and I think it is in this sincerity that truth can be found. The prophets really did their best in having the spirit to write in alignment with the will of God.

    But there are people who think of the Book of Mormon as just a story book because they don't have the spirit. Is it possible for them to still find truth? I think in reading they could grasp good principles.

    And with that, can we still find truth in fake documentaries or mockumentaries? Just a thought... I think we can.