Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievance.
– The Bill of Rights, Amendment I
In November of 1833, the state of Missouri turned a blind eye as hundreds of its peaceful inhabitants were hunted down and driven from their homes in the dead of night. Against this impending strife, a young man with a divine vision leads a people against the aggression of an anti-hero with a vulnerable past. The Work and The Glory: American Zion sets the story of the fictional Steed family against the historically factual backdrop of the Mormon people’s move into the West. Divided by their diverse reactions to a nascent ideology, the Steeds struggle to hold together as the strength of their convictions and their filial bonds are tested.
The stirring narrative of the faith that led a persecuted people to Missouri and beyond is one of the most poignant untold tales of American history. It is the account of a valiant struggle to exercise the rights promised by a fledgling nation. The Work And The Glory: American Zion unearths the story of the passion behind the movement which eventually launched the largest American migration and the colonization of the West: the vision of a promised land in America.
From the production:
Q: Going into the film, what were your goals for how Joseph Smith would be portrayed?
Sterling Van Wagenen: In a sense, the goals were really quite simple: to make Joseph as believable as possible on a scene-by-scene basis. The character Joseph Smith is the engine that drives the changes that happen to the Steed Family – the struggles they have as a family in one way or another are all reactions to Joseph Smith and the vision he has for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In terms of making this happen with this actor, he had to be believable as a driving force.
“This series tries to draw a persecuted people out of the margins of our cultural memory. Very few people know of the injustices inflicted by the government against a group of its own citizens who wanted only to exercise their First Amendment rights. People don’t know that this exodus had such a fundamental impact on shaping the West.” – Van Wagenen
Vineyard Productions and Special Ops Media are sponsoring a giveaway of 4 American Zion t-shirts (one small, one medium, two large), bookmarks and small one-sheet posters, which I am in possession of. Winners will receive stuff! Please comment to enter and the giveaway ends 10/28/05 at 5 PM PST.
Official Website: www.americanzion.com
Official Trailers (Quicktime):