Click the image above to watch three clips from the video, Scriptures Legacy, the first video in our Video Gallery
In an inspirational new video, Scriptures Legacy, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints depicts several significant events in which individuals were called upon to make tremendous sacrifices, including jeopardizing their own lives, to preserve the scriptures we have today. The Church announced the new video in a Deseret News article, which included the press released images used in this webpage, as well as a Church News website article which includes a trailer. The video includes such accounts as William Tyndale, who suffered death for his unrelenting passion to bring common people the Holy Bible in the English language they knew; the courage of Moroni, a Book of Mormon prophet who was hunted for his unwavering determination to fulfill his destiny of completing the histories found on his gold plates, and Mary and Caroline Rollins who risked their lives to save pages of the Book of Commandments during the destruction of a printing press by an angry mob.
The first sweeping scene (below) shows Christ descending in a shaft of light to visit multitudes of Nephites who are streaming up a ramped earthen platform mound reminiscent of Monk’s Mound and the grand murals inside Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site – east of St. Louis, Missouri (see further below). The background is a vast plain with interspersed massive grass-covered mounds, wooden homes with thatched roofs and hardwood forests, while the foreground shows a large wooden temple atop a monumental ramped earth structure. The scene is one that is true to the Book of Mormon record, without stone pyramids or thick jungle vegetation since nowhere in the text is there any mention of stone buildings, palm trees, monkeys or a tropical climate. The voice of Elder D. Todd Christofferson narrates the scene saying, “We were not among the other sheep that Christ visited in America.”
Following the broad panoramic view is a close-up view of Christ (below), dressed in flowing white robes with arms outstretched while stepping down from a stone staircase that ascends a grass covered earthen mound, thereby inviting those who would come unto Him to feel the nail prints in His hands and feet and feel of His love for them. It is a truly unforgettable scene as one by one the Nephites behold the Savior of the world whose coming had been so long prophesied.
We feel that the Heartland geography research has overwhelmingly demonstrated through Book of Mormon prophesies, Joseph Smith’s writings, DNA, archaeological, linguistic and cultural evidences that the most likely location for the setting of the Book of Mormon was in America’s Heartland. However, it must be remembered that the Church has not endorsed any particular geography model, but rather is remaining neutral on the subject. There are elements of both Mesoamerican models as well as the Heartland theory, which is truly not new, but a returning back to the prophetic understandings of the prophet Joseph Smith in context with the prophecies of the ancient writers of the Book of Mormon. This model is consistent with Joseph Smith’s known and historically documented statements and actions in such accounts as the those found in D&C 28, 30, and 32, the Wentworth Letter, the American Revivalist account, the Zelph accounts, Joseph hand-written letter to his wife while on Zion’s camp, and many additional sources.
The stunning image from the film (above) is somewhat reminiscent of the image of Miamisburg Mound in central Ohio which adorns the front cover of the book, Exploring the Book of Mormon in America’s Heartland (below).
In the final scene of Scriptures Legacy, Christ is seen teaching a group of Nephites atop a mound overlooking several other large platform mounds. The image below is from the news press release and article in Deseret News.
The platform temple mounds in the background of the new film appear to be similar to those depicted in a large wall mural in the Cahokia Mounds Interpretive Center, which is also shown on page 116 of Exploring the Book of Mormon in America’s Heartland (see below).
Below: Mural on wall of Cahokia Mounds Interpretive Center, located in Collinsville, Illinois. Notice the large temple platform mound in the distance, it is quite similar to the illustration shown in the book, Exploring the Book of Mormon in America’s Heartland (pictured above) as well as that depicted in the new Church film (above).
The massive Monks Mound (pictured below), is a bi-level platform mound outside of St. Louis, Missouri having similar features as that depicted in the new LDS Church film,Scriptures Legacy. The Image below is from page 117 of Exploring the Book of Mormon in America’s Heartland by FIRM Foundation president, Rod L. Meldrum.
The FIRM Foundation applauds the films balance of neutrality. It depicts Lamanite pursuers yielding Mesoamerica type macuahuitl wooden clubs with embedded obsidian shards, which are never mentioned in the Book of Mormon, as well as Moroni using his steel sword with its hilt and sheath as is explicitly described in the text. It portrays Moroni burying the plates in a setting with fall leaves and a hint of snow as one would expect in North America, but not Mesoamerica . It shows the encounter between the prophet Alma, dressed in rather plain clothing and the Mayan feather bedecked costume of Korihor – an antichrist. Moroni is depicted pouring molten metal into stone molds in Book of Mormon time frames which has been verified in the Hopewell civilization in America’s Heartland, but the Maya in Central America were not doing any smelting of metals until hundreds of years after the Nephite extermination. A stout and powerful Moroni is found pounding thin metal sheets and assembling them together with rings into the gold plates around 400 AD, yet the archaeology of the Maya in Mesoamerica show that they were not doing any metal working until about 900-1100 AD – long after Moroni and the Book of Mormon time frames. Most of the costumes in the film are simple, textile based clothing, rather than animal skins, which is consistent with the Book of Mormon. The majority of the Book of Mormon scenes are shown in a northern climate consistent with the Heartland Model geography, but a few of the scenes are shown within stone buildings – which are never mentioned in the Book of Mormon, yet are dominant in the Mayan civilization of Mesoamerica. It is likely that the Church wanted to utilize their magnificent movie sets in Goshen, Utah which were made primarily for biblical scenes, but could be re-purposed in the making of this film.
Overall, the film is a powerful, wonderful and encouraging portrayal of the many individuals who lived their lives in the service of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It invites all to carefully read, study and ponder the value and message of the scriptures we have been blessed with in our day. The Book of Mormon is the crowning book of scripture with its account of the visit of our Savior to the Nephites of the Book of Mormon. It is fitting, then, that the final scene of the Church’s newest film is that of the Savior teaching the Nephites while sitting atop a large earthen mound overlooking the serene scene of platform temples and wooden structures so prevalent in the Heartland of America, the place we have come to understand is where the Nephites called home.