“Brigham Young” (1940): 20th Century Fox Studio Publicity

“I endorse it with all my heart,” Heber J. Grant said. “This is one of the greatest days of my life.”

That’s oddly strong support for a commercial movie featuring a not-entirely-accurate version of Mormon history – but that’s probably because President Grant remembered 1922’s viciously anti-Mormon propaganda film Trapped by the Mormons. In fact, he had been so concerned over the possible direction of 1940’s “Brigham Young” that he assigned Apostle John A. Widtsoe as a special ambassador to the project. Elder Widtsoe hosted Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louis Bromfield on an automobile tour through Utah with emphasis on Temple Square and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Such good relations were established that when church leaders suggested corrections to the storyline, their views were considered and sometimes implemented.

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