Family film tells story of Amasa Mason Lyman

Published: Thursday, Feb. 20 2014 5:00 a.m. MST

OREM — In "A Labor of Love: The Story of Amasa Mason Lyman," which premiered recently at the LDS Film Festival, the subject is presented honestly and without undue fanfare.

Historians — from the author of "Rough Stone Rolling" Richard Lyman Bushman to religion scholar Jan Shipps to family historian Edward Leo Lyman — discuss his life, his choices and his contributions in a candid and open manner.

Lyman is lauded for his contributions to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the time he was baptized by Orson Pratt through his vast and tireless missionary service "without purse or scrip" to his stalwart friendship with the Prophet Joseph Smith.

He is given credit for bringing hundreds into the LDS Church and for sealing more than 50 couples in the temple before the Mormons headed west from Nauvoo.

He stood strong when threatened with execution for his beliefs and served faithfully as an apostle and member of the church's First Presidency.

He collected tithing in the California gold fields, and calmed church members following the Mountain Meadows massacre.

He was a husband to eight wives and ancestor to what is today one of the largest LDS families in the United States.

After he gave a speech in Dundee, Scotland, that proved to be controversial, he joined the Godbeite group in 1870 that ultimately lead him to excommunication and a separation from the LDS Church.

But, later, under the direction of President Joseph F. Smith, he was re-baptized by proxy by his son Frances Mason Lyman, and his priesthood and temple blessings were restored.

Filmmakers at the festival said they want their ancestor to be remembered for the remarkable things he accomplished and his testimony of Joseph Smith and the gospel.

Prepared and produced by the History of the Saints organization, the 78-minute film is an interesting look at Lyman that was three years in the making.

One can't help but come away with a better understanding of the impressive and good man who, according to the film's host, Glenn Rawson, deserves forgiveness and respect.

Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with more than 35 years' experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.

Email: haddoc@deseretnews.com

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