Movie review: September Dawn (The Mountain Meadows Massacre)

sepdawn.jpg 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.
Brigham Young
Journal of Discourses
Volume 3 Page 247

3 thoughts on “Movie review: September Dawn (The Mountain Meadows Massacre)

  1. I can’t wait to see this movie. I know someone who helped write the screenplay and they reported to me that the spiritual warfare during filming was intense. By the way, great blog 🙂


  2. What profit is there in a movie by Hollywood about a false Prophet. Christian should use more decernment. Many of these movies are made by a Anti Christ industry performed by unbeliving witches and homosexuals. John Voit is a Navaho Shamon. Terrace Stamp is wicked actor too. The unbelieving actor it is just play acting. He doesn’t care and makes all this money.

    We should not be getting our history or truth from a movie. What can be said in a movie about the false prophet Joesph Smith that discerning Christian doesn’t already know? Now we can see actors act out all sins, hersies and blasfemes of joesph Smith. This is Satan’s joke on the Church. What a good way to spend the money God has blessed us with. We need to read books by christian about the Mormon Church. Save your money.

    God bless you brother I know you mean well. Don’t be angry with me. I’m telling the truth.


    PS: Is this movie rated R?


  3. Dear DannyGirl:

    No offense taken, no anger generated.

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I actually abhor television and movies. I go to the theater about once every two to three years (and will probably go even less than that now). I think that sitting in a theater or on your couch while the world is lost and dying without Jesus is sick and many, many, many Professing Christians will have to give an account for why they never evangelized the lost but instead spent countless hours in front of a TV being entertained (to death).

    There were several reasons I went and saw this movie. One was that my wife & I haven’t had a date night in about two years (according to her record keeping). So we got a babysitter (which we rarely ever do because we are very picky in who we allow to watch our daughter) and spent a couple of hours together… without the toddler. We went to the see this particular movie because we both have a passion for Mormons and love the Mormon people. So the movie wasn’t merely to entertain us, but it was more of our passion regarding Mormonism. Furthermore, I’ve have studied Mormonism for quite sometime now, including the Mountain Meadows Massacre, so this movie sparked my interest to see how it would portray the event, the Mormons and Mormonism.

    Regarding the need to read Christian books, again, I couldn’t agree with you more. And personally, I do a whole lot more reading than I do “watching” anything, and the same concept applies to the money issue as well. So I understand your passion in what you wrote, but my post may not have been what you initially thought.

    Furthermore, I hope I made it clear in the original post (and if I didn’t, then I will now) that this movie would mostly interest those who have studied Mormonism and not just the general public. I bet most people who have a ministry to the Mormons have watched or intend on watching this movie.

    Well, I hope I covered everything. God bless you and thank you for your comments.

    P.S. And as stated in the original post, the rating was R. It was for the historical depiction of violence, not for sex or profanity.


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