“All Are Alike Unto God”*

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Our callings in the Church and our involvement in LDS Cinema as a vocation or hobby are independent of each other. The only area in which I see a correlation between the two is in the brief passing words of President Spencer W. Kimball, “They must be faithful, inspired, active Church members.”

This posting is in part inspired by a question of a film friend that I have not directly responded to yet, nor acknowledged on his part. It resonates or is something of a remote echo of the scriptural passage that states “a little authority, as they suppose” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:39). The question asked of me was not in presumptuous or malicious in any degree. In fact, it was asked innocently enough in my opinion. Yet the reason, the hang up for why I did not respond to it is what I wish to address. 

The question then was simple enough: “I’m also the xxxxxxxx in my ward… What do you do in the Church, by the way? ”  So why didn’t I reply with a simple, passing reply in the same spirit the question was offered? 

A few months back I found myself in a private meeting with two individuals who had most likely held higher positions of authority in their respective congregations than I ever have. In discussing the merit of one particular film, I referenced my current calling in the church as authority for endorsing my personal interpretation of the film. It was a shallow point of validation, which I realized, after the fact, had little substance in such a discussion. 

What I’m trying to illustrate here is that as member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, our effective contributions to LDS Cinema are not dependent upon, or in any way related to, the callings or positions of authority that we hold within the Church. They do not qualify us, nor necessarily prepare us, to have a valued voice in this important movement. 

I simply feel to repeat the point that our callings in the Church and our involvement in LDS Cinema as a vocation or hobby are independent of each other. The only area in which I see a correlation between the two is in the brief passing words of President Spencer W. Kimball, “They must be faithful, inspired, active Church members,” (see full quote below from The Gospel Vision of the Arts).

I hear frequently enough, never from the filmmakers themselves, but from others,  references to positions the filmmakers have held in the Church as an argument for quality of a film. I’ve heard it from distanced third parties. I’ve heard it from wives of filmmakers. The remarks perhaps are not presumptuous.

Yet, whether our callings be that of priesthood leadership or primary workers, it is as irrelevant to our participation in this film movement as it would be to anything else of more eternal significance. What matters is that we have and hold callings faithfully. Our duties to ourselves and our families are equally as important. 

If, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have worked to obtain the highest possible blessings available to us through priesthood power, especially those found in the temple,  and then seek to maintain these blessings through our constant vigilance, then we are as worthy and qualified to participate in the creation of films for the LDS Film Movement in all spiritual regards as anyone else. (Granted, a fair amount of temporal training would be highly advantageous, but is not always requisite, ie, Mark Arnett – Baby Boomerang.)

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Footnotes:

*2 Nephi 26:33

From Spencer W. Kimball’s The Gospel Vision of the Arts

…but the full story of Mormonism has never yet been written nor painted nor sculpted nor spoken. It remains for inspired hearts and talented fingers yet to reveal themselves. They must be faithful, inspired, active Church members to give life and feeling and true perspective to a subject so worthy. Such masterpieces should run for months in every movie center, cover every part of the globe in the tongues of the people, written by great artists, purified by the best critics.

 

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Brent is married to a very supportive woman, is father of a large family, and went into business for himself in 2006.

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