“‘Families Are Forever’: New Church Film for Sharing the Gospel,” Ensign, Oct. 1982, 79–80
“That’s what it’s all about—reaching out and caring about others,” explains narrator Gordon Jump in the recently released Church film Families Are Forever. Focusing on the Church’s love for the family, the individual, and people everywhere, the film is a documentary on what the Church does for its several million members worldwide and on its concern about sharing the gospel with all mankind.
Beginning with a montage of a multitude of Saints around the world, the film takes the viewer through numerous actual, representative experiences of members as narrator Gordon Jump explains its main concerns—that members are taught who they really are as God’s children; that they learn how to live healthy, happy lives; and that they share what they have with their neighbors everywhere.
This relatively fast-paced, one-half hour film features non-professionals, mostly Church members, in actual situations. The only professional actor in the film is Brother Jump, a Sunday School teacher in his own ward.
“One of the most fascinating things about the documentary,” says John Kinnear, director of media programming, a major division of the Church’s Public Communications Department, “is the variety of people featured, all of whom are of the same faith, have the same testimony of the gospel, but come from all kinds of backgrounds.”me faith, have the same testimony of the gospel, but come from all kinds of backgrounds.” Some of the Saints featured are highly respected in their various fields of endeavor—pro-golfer Johnny Miller, pro-football player Danny White, a champion young woman swimmer from one of the Latin American countries, a ballet adjudicator in Australia, a major professional Australian Rules football player who is a returned missionary. And of course there is the unsurpassed Latter-day Saint family, the dedicated homemaker, and many other dedicated members of the Church.
The Church’s belief in good physical health is documented through an explanation of the Word of Wisdom. An energetic, fast-paced scene shows members around the world engaged in numerous physical fitness activities.
Concern for a healthy sense of self-sufficiency among members is stressed, with emphasis on helping members help themselves; on food storage, Church farms, and food for the needy; and on the Church’s belief in helping people in underprivileged areas. Scenes of missionary work show missionaries, including missionary couples, carrying the gospel to many different parts of the world.
The belief in the need for members to participate in every aspect of the Lord’s Church is documented with scenes of members giving talks in meetings, teaching, singing, and so on. Members are shown helping to construct their own meeting houses.
Near the end of the film, an especially captivating and informative sequence documents what the Church’s family home evening program does for inmates at the Utah State Prison. The hope is that somehow this loving kind of sharing by dedicated families will change the lives of those involved for the better.
The bishop in the film is in fact a bishop who counsels prisoners and arranges for families to participate in the Church program. What impresses the inmates most is that the families and “this man really care about them. And maybe for them it’s a unique experience to find there are no strings attached. It is really a Christlike love and they identify with it,” says John Kinnear. The prisoners are members as well as nonmembers.
Numerous shots of Saints and families around the world, of President Spencer W. Kimball meeting many of them, of the Salt Lake Temple, with the Tabernacle Choir singing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” bring the film to a fitting close.
After viewing the film, one young woman said, “It’s the kind of movie that makes you feet good about being a member of the Church.” And it gives a boost to members in remote areas with little or no contact with other members. “Take for example, members in Australia or New Zealand, who so seldom have a chance to experience the thrill of attending general conference in person,” says Kinnear. “When they see the film, particularly young people, they realize that they are not alone. And they say to themselves, ‘I’m part of that really big, strong, worldwide organization, not just in numbers, but also in spirit, in terms of programs and activities. I’m not isolated out here alone, weak and afraid.’”
Families Are Forever can be obtained through contacting the Public Communications Department of the Church, Floor 25, LDS Church Offices Building, 50 East North Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150.