The following topics are covered: history of Joseph Smith based almost entirely on 2nd and 3rd person accounts... See full synopsis »

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Episode credited cast:
Will Bagley
Alex Baugh ...
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Harold Bloom ...
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Phil Bolinger ...
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Richard Bushman
Jon Butler ...
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Alex Caldiero ...
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Ken Clark ...
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Ed. Firmage Jr. ...
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Kathleen Flake ...
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Robin Fox ...
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Judith Freeman ...
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Terryl Givens ...
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Sarah Barringer Gordon ...
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The following topics are covered: history of Joseph Smith based almost entirely on 2nd and 3rd person accounts... See full synopsis »

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30 April 2007 (USA)  »

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Fascinating look at the beginnings of the Mormon religion...
14 February 2008 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

Despite another comment here that the program was "unfair" in not giving full credit where it was due to the many accomplishments of the Mormom leadership and the positive side of the Mormon struggle, I found the historical disclosures well balanced and presented both sides of just about every important event covered. Still, as a religion, I found it to be very ambiguous in its teachings--especially the basic concept of what Joseph Smith supposedly saw in "the revelation" and how he conducted his life thereafter. The whole program raised more questions than it answered, leading one to feel that even further exploration of this ambiguous religious sect will never reveal all of its secrets.

A couple of the historians seemed to shed much light and insight into the period that began in the 1820s with Joseph Smith in upstate New York, the revelation which led to "The Book of Mormons", the flight from persecution that had him leading followers to Illinois and then Missouri, his meeting with Brigham Young who would later assume leadership and the long trek to Utah after being ousted again by angry locals, with the documentary leading up to the settlement there to construct a temple.

Along the way, all the hardships of journeys are depicted as men, women and children crossed the country in covered wagons, seeing their mission as a sort of exodus into a new land where they could freely practice their faith. There is no flinching from the brutal murder of Joseph Smith, the massacres that claimed many lives and the sad history of the Mormons as they struggled to fight the outsiders who wanted to destroy them.

Both sides of the story are given with fine commentaries from historians who obviously know their facts and interpret them in a way that makes for a fascinating documentary, filled with paintings and old photographs that bring the whole story vividly to life.


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