Lehi's Journey of Faith Topic of
FARMS has teamed with award-winning Latter-day Saint filmmaker Peter Johnson to produce a documentary on Lehi and company's route from Jerusalem to the New World.
Based on the most recent research, the 90-minute DVD documentary will feature Latter-day Saint scholars commenting on proposed sites for the party's first base camp near the Red Sea; Nahom, where Ishmael was buried; and Bountiful, the fertile coastal locale where Nephi directed the building of his ship. The documentary will also feature the latest findings on Lehi's ocean voyage and explore candidates for Book of Mormon sites in Mesoamerica.
"Since I was first introduced to Peter Johnson, I have come to appreciate both his superb abilities and the skills of the filming crew who accompanied us on location in the Middle East," said S. Kent Brown, the director of Ancient Studies at Brigham Young University and the lead historical consultant on the documentary. "In my opinion, this film embodies not only the best of scholarship on the trek of Lehi and Sariah but also the finest in artistic presentation."
Johnson previously worked as an executive producer with the Audiovisual Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and before that as director of the BYU Motion Picture Studio, which under his direction became one of the top-rated university film studios in the world. He has directed such films as A More Perfect Union (winner of a regional Emmy award and nominated for a national Emmy) and the highly acclaimed Mountain of the Lord.
"I look at these FARMS scholars as detectives who have for years been searching and finding amazing clues that support and bolster the Book of Mormon account," Johnson said. "They've published their findings in journal articles and books, but we now have the opportunity to present their stunning discoveries visually on film so they will be accessible in a compelling way to many, many more people."
The filming took place in Israel, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Guatemala, and Mexico. The project was delayed following the bombing of the USS Cole and again in the wake of 9/11 but has since progressed to the final stages of scoring music, creating artistic backdrops, and film editing. Barring unforeseen production delays, Journey of Faith is scheduled to be released in the fall.
Johnson has felt a keen sense of purpose in the project from the start and is excited to see it nearing completion. Experiencing parts of Lehi's trail through Arabia firsthand has heightened his appreciation not only of the hardships confronting Lehi's party but also of the Book of Mormon in general.
"Now I read Nephi's narrative with new eyes and am confident that others will too after seeing this film," he said. "Set in its real-world context through the efforts of dedicated scholars and quality filmmaking, the Book of Mormon takes on added luster."