“100 Years of Mormonism”: Some Lingering Images

The first Mormon movie, 1913’s “100 Years of Mormonism,” may be an almost entirely lost film, but a few ghostly images linger in the newspaper stories that brought viewers to the theaters in Utah, California, Idaho, and probably elsewhere.

You can see from even these few images what a surprisingly comprehensive story it meant to tell – but realize that just because some episode didn’t happen to be caught in these few images I was able to locate doesn’t mean it wasn’t a part of the movie itself.

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Joseph Smith and His Mother Read James 1:5
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Joseph Smith Meets with Minister Following First Vision

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Engagement of Joseph Smith and Emma Hale

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Translation of Book of Mormon

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A Baptism

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Prayer at Organization of the Church

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Joseph Smith Tarred and Feathered

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Arrest of Joseph Smith

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Trial of Joseph Smith

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Haun’s Mill

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Inside Carthage

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The Martyrdom

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Blacksmithing in Preparation to Cross Big Mountain

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First Glimpse of the Salt Lake Valley

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Brigham Young, Stricken with Mountain Fever, Catches Up to the Advance Company

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Cite Keepa

Regrettably, meanies have stolen content from Keepa in the past! I'm confident you will choose honesty and cite this page like this:

MLA: Parshall, Ardis E. ""100 Years of Mormonism": Some Lingering Images." Keepapitchin.org, 31 Mar 2023, https://keepapitchinin.org/2023/03/31/100-years-of-mormonism-some-lingering-images/.

APA: Parshall, A. (2023, Mar 31). "100 Years of Mormonism": Some Lingering Images. Keepapitchinin.org. https://keepapitchinin.org/2023/03/31/100-years-of-mormonism-some-lingering-images/

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6 thoughts on ““100 Years of Mormonism”: Some Lingering Images”

  1. I was just reading about this movie in a book by Mason Allred, “Seeing Things,” and it had a still of Moroni appearing to Joseph Smith. Too bad no full copies survive, as in Corianton.

  2. Thank you, Ardis! This is fascinating! You are a discoverer of treasures!

  3. If anyone ever digs up those elusive gold plates again it will surely be you, Ardis. Bless you for this.

  4. Oh, this is fascinating! IIRC from Kathleen Flake’s work, this is right around the time that the Church started using the First Vision as a major feature in its self-narrativizations, including missionary work — I wonder how this film factored into that trajectory!

  5. Michael, I just transcribed an 1898 letter by an apostle visiting the Southern States Mission that probably fits into this:

    In some instances they seem to have tied themselves up to speaking upon such principles of our faith as would not discover that we believe in present revelation or in the Book of Mormon or in the mission of the prophet Joseph Smith. Baptism and the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands seemed to be considered as deep and dangerous doctrines. We have advised them to be outspoken enough that no one will ever go off with the idea that they are Methodists or Baptists.

    They have been very shy about mentioning the names of Joseph Smith or Brigham Young. In some instances, if an Elder should so far forget himself, as to bear testimony that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of the Lord, some of his brethren would warn him that that was dangerous ground and that he should not do so. We have felt great liberty in bearing testimony to the divinity of the mission of the Prophet, and in speaking of the distinctive features of our religion, and of the divinity of the Book of Mormon. We have urged the elders particularly to make a careful study of the Book of Mormon and of the Doctrine and Covenants. The Doctrine and Covenants is looked upon as a very dangerous book to drop into the hands of investigators.

    On the one hand, that suggests that using the story of the Restoration was a thing generally, but that some elders were afraid to tell it; on the other hand, it does confirm that in some areas, at some times, it was not being told.

    By the date of this film, no matter how much earlier, there is no doubt we wanted it told!

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