Playing Joseph Smith

“Playing Joseph Smith,” New Era, Nov. 2005, 24

Playing Joseph Smith

You might have seen Nick Whitaker before. He’s been in seminary videos and a few other productions during his short acting career. Now, Nick, 16, is portraying the Prophet Joseph Smith in a new movie about the Prophet’s life.

The movie will soon replace The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd at the Legacy Theater in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City. The new movie is part of the Church’s commemoration of the 200th birthday of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Nick’s real-life brother, Max, 11, plays William Smith, one of Joseph’s younger brothers. Max played the part of William Smith in The Restoration DVD as well.

The brothers enjoy working together. They say their testimonies of the Prophet have been built up by their parts in this movie. They have studied about the Smith family and the Prophet and have prayed continually about their parts.

“I’ve gotten to know Joseph Smith a lot better,” says Nick. “I only knew the highlights of his life before. But even the little parts of his life are highlights now. I know he is a true prophet.”

One of the things Nick learned is that Joseph Smith walked with a slight limp as a result of a surgery he had when he was young. Nick had to learn to walk with a small limp, too, to play his part.

Max says he can feel the Spirit when he is filming and learning more about the Prophet. “It has strengthened my testimony,” he says.

Nick and Max hope the new movie will change people’s lives and strengthen testimonies of the Prophet Joseph Smith and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Photography by Quinn Orr and courtesy of the Whitaker family

Nick Whitaker (above) will play young Joseph Smith in an upcoming Church film about the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The movie, which opens soon in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building Legacy Theater, also features Max Whitaker, Nick’s younger brother, and Joy Gardner as siblings of the Prophet (opposite page).