Mormons in the media: Mormon actor to play John the Baptist

Published: Saturday, Sept. 24 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

British actor Gideon Wilkins will play the role of John the Baptist in a new LDS Church-produced movie, the Leamington Observer reported.

Leamington Observer

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A Mormon actor from England is about to make his big-screen debut.

Gideon Wilkins, a 32-year-old actor from Warwick, England, has been chosen to play John the Baptist in a movie being produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

An article in the Leamington Observer talks about how delighted the bushy-haired Mormon was to land the part. He also had fun growing out his beard.

“It has led to some funny looks, especially when I go to a client meeting in a shirt and suit," said Wilkins, who has been growing his rugged facial hair since last year. “But preparing for the part has been about more than letting my hair grow. I’ve studied the historical background of John the Baptist and the cultural context of the day. I’ve tried to imagine how he must have felt, particularly when called upon to baptize Jesus Christ.”

To learn more about the movie, go to LDS.org.

In other LDS-related news, Candi Higley, a reporter at the Provo Daily Herald, wrote an article on Sept. 23 announcing Payson City and Farmland Reserve have donated 10 acres for a veteran’s nursing home in Spanish Fork. Farmland Reserve is the real estate arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The new facility will create 140 new jobs and be paid for by state and federal funds.

"We at the Utah Department of Veterans Affairs are deeply appreciative to both Payson city and Farmland Reserve for this donation," said Dennis McFall, deputy director with the Utah Department of Veterans Affairs and project director for construction of the facility. "This is a major piece to have donated and because of it we still have our funding preserved."

Finally, the LDS Church has broken ground on a new stake center in Sahuarita, Ariz. Reporter Philip Franchine of the Green Valley News and Sun documented the groundbreaking, which included more than 100 people.

The 24,000-square-foot building will cost $3.5 million, Franchine wrote, and will cover seven acres.

Email: ttoone@desnews.com Twitter: tbtoone

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