A documentary movie about Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon religion, is due to be released this fall. According to an article on ChristianPost.com, the movie will not only explore the life of Smith and his campaign for the American presidency; it will also draw parallels with Mitt Romney, a Mormon who is seeking the Republican nomination for the U. S. presidency. The film will show how Romney’s faith might affect his run for the presidency.
The film is scheduled to be released during Mormonism’s “focus moment.” Adam Christig, the producer and director of the movie, explained that “Focus moments are when events and ideas connect to create interest in a particular topic that may have been previously neglected.” In a statement quoted by the Christian Post, Christig said that Romney’s presidential run has created a focus moment about Mormonism and an interest in its history.
Romney’s faith has been an issue for many Christians who see Mormonism as a cult and are reluctant to support a Mormon for the high office. Romney recently called the now banned Mormon practice of polygamy “awful,” and is distancing himself from some of the more controversial elements of Mormon history and practice.
Christig says the film may disturb both anti-Mormons and Mormons. On the one hand, it presents Smith as “a generous man and a visionary leader.” That is not the way many non-Mormons think of Smith. It may also bother some Mormons because it presents the story of Smith’s secret marriages to more than 30 women and his campaign for President which led directly to his murder in 1844,” Christig said in his statement.
Romney’s campaign has aroused an interest in Mormon history and has led to programs about the Mormon faith, notably a PBS show, The Mormons, and a film, September Dawn, which documents the story of the massacre of 120 immigrants by Mormon militiamen and Paiute Indians.
Quoted in the Christian Post article is Albert Mohler, Jr., the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a well-known evangelical Christian. Mohler struck a balance in how he sees Romney and his Mormon faith. Mohler sees Mormonism as a false religion when it is compared with historic Christianity. On the other hand, he says, “I’m not electing a theologian. I’m looking at electing a president, and I will have to consider all of those things in the context of what a candidate represents.”