When Latter-day Saint father and husband John Edward Jones descended into the Nutty Putty cave with his brothers and friends in 2009, he had no idea it was the last time he would see his family.
Back home in Utah from medical school with his wife and 2-year-old daughter, Jones's Thanksgiving break started out like many others, but it ended with him stuck in an almost unreachable crevice 150 feet underground. For 28 hours. Hanging upside down.
For a few brief hours during this ordeal, rescuers were able to free Jones using a rope-pulley system. He was given an IV, food, and water. But the most touching moments came when he was able to talk to his wife over a police radio. However, the rescue equipment soon experienced a sudden failure, causing Jones to drop back into the same narrow gap.
Despite heroic efforts of rescue crews, they were not able to free Jones from the tunnel before he died.
But a new movie being released in theaters across Utah on September 16 demonstrates even though Jones didn't survive that doesn't mean that those involved in this tragedy weren't saved in a real sense that day. Based on a true story, TheLast Descent proves that the power of love and family can overcome anything—even death.
During the film, viewers are reminded that tragedies can unite people, they can bring out the best in each of us, and they give us space to turn outward, toward others and God.
After Jones' death, his family proved just that. After doing all they could to help Jones, including singing Primary songs to help him through the night, they reached out to others around them.
"We'll never fully understand how or why it was John's time to leave us. But we find comfort knowing that he fulfilled his purpose here on Earth, and that we will be reunited with him again," the family stated after his death, adding, "Thank you, and God bless all of you on this Thanksgiving Day."
Taking inspiration from this remarkable family, The Last Descent demonstrates how the bonds of love and family in this life transcend mortality.