Anyone like myself who has studied Mormonism has been anxiously awaiting the film September Dawn. Not so much to learn something new about the horrific event that transpired on September 11, 1857, but to see how the historical truth would be depicted in this film. Well the wait is finally over. My wife and I went to see the movie opening day! I rarely ever go to the movies, since Hollywood only knows how to produce trash nowadays, and I haven’t been to the theaters since Narnia, so this was an all around treat: an anticipated movie and hot buttered popcorn.
The comes out of the gate swinging! No holding back. Not only does the movie pull no punches regarding the doctrine of Blood Atonement that contributed to the murder of the 120 men, women and children, but it also highlighted polygamy and Joseph Smith’s demise in a gunfight (where he also shot and killed two men). The movie even shows the very reason Joseph Smith was shot and killed while being held in the Carthage Jail; for having the Nauvoo Printing Press burned because the paper dared to print information about Polygamy in the Mormon Church. This movie even shows part of the secret temple ceremony (yes, I said secret, not sacred) in the Mormon Temple.
Another pleasantly shocking surprise is that there are those in the movie that are Christians and are depicted praying, wearing crosses, etc. but here’s the shocking part: They’re pictured in a neutral if not favorable light! That’s right, you heard me correctly. The Christians in this movie are not depicted as crazed child molester like is so often the case in Hollywood movies.
Now bare in mind, this movie was done in “Titanic” style. It combines a love story with an actual historical event as the backdrop. It all flowed together splendidly.
One of my favorite parts is when the main (Mormon) character calls the main (Christian) character a Gentile. She questions him about why he says that when he’s not even Jewish. (Gentiles are what Mormons call all non-Mormons).
The movie has an R rating for violence, although there is one scene in which the main male character enters a tub. His unclothed backside is exposed. And because this movie is interwoven with a love story, there is a moment of sensuality where the two main characters run into each other at the river at night, which ends up in them kissing fully-clothed while sitting atop a horse. Aside from that, there is no sex or profanity in this movie (outside of the words “damn” and “hell” used in their proper context).
Those who are interested in the history of the Mountain Meadows Massacre will enjoy this film. And allow me to go out on a limb here, but I don’t think the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is going to be promoting or even encouraging the viewing of this movie.
I invite your comments.
September Dawn Theatrical Trailer (1:44)
Behind the scenes of September Dawn ( 5:44)
I have no wife whom I love so well that I would not put a javelin through her heart, and I would do it with clean hands.
Journal of Discourses
Volume 3 Page 247