Mormon Arts Center

Journal

Board members and participants capture behind-the-scenes activities of the Mormon Arts Center in frequent posts.

You Gotta Read This...

I'm reading the most amazing book right now, and sorry, but you can't read it. 

It's not published yet. I'm reading the manuscript of a book that the Mormon Arts Center will publish in June. It's a tremendous accomplishment by author and film historian, Randy Astle. This book will cover the complete history of Mormon film, from the earliest magic lantern slide shows of James E. Talmadge to the latest Mormon filmmaker in Hollywood, London, New York, and elsewhere.

I knew there was a lot to cover with all the movies about Mormons, for Mormons, (against Mormons,) and by Mormons, but I'm completely amazed at how movies themselves shaped the development of Mormon culture and its social life. 

Not wanting to jinx it, I won't say that every member of the Church will one day have a copy of this book, but I'm sitting here in shock how much Mormon history intertwines with Mormon film history once the Saints arrived in the valley. I can't believe I didn't know all of this before. And more than that, how Mormonism influenced the movies. A simple example: the iconic image of Odgen, Utah's Ben Lomond mountain as the Paramount Studios logo. Why? Well, there's a funny story about that. It's in the book. You'll read it soon enough.

Glen Nelson