Joseph and Mary make their way into the crowded city of Bethlehem, trying to find a place to stay. On the other side of the world, Helam can hardly contain his excitement when he sees a new star and remembers the many prophecies of the birth of Jesus Christ. Now flash forward 33 years. Helam has lived his life in expectation of Christ’s coming. His son Jacob, however, is more concerned with his wealthy employer’s beautiful daughter than with the traditions of his father.
While Jacob grows further and further away from the faith of his fathers, his employer’s daughter, Laneah, learns more of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And through her experiences with the scriptures she learns of Christ’s life in Jerusalem. Laneah tries to convince Jacob to seek God, but it seems as if it is too late for him.
The earth starts to quake, darkness covers both the Old World and the New, and death and destruction cover the earth. The three days of darkness end, and the Savior appears to the Nephites at the Temple in the land of Bountiful and … well, you don’t want to know the end before you see the movie, do you?
You probably don’t remember reading about a 14-year-old boy named Helam in the Book of Mormon. That’s because he did not really exist. Neither did Laneah, nor Jacob, nor any of the other Nephite characters in the new movie The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd. But the fictional characters are real in the sense that they could have existed in their time, and their stories are not very different from accounts in the Book of Mormon or from our own lives.
For now, the film is shown only in Legacy Theater in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, near Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Thousands of people have already seen this movie, which portrays Christ’s ministries in both Jerusalem and the Americas, since its release in March 2000. The movie testifies of our belief in Jesus Christ and serves as an introduction to the Church for the many visitors to Salt Lake City.
Joy Rodgers Gardener, 21, plays Laneah in the movie. She says, “All of a sudden the scriptures were so real, and I thought, Oh, I know these people.”
Playing her part hit home in other ways, too. Joy had struggled for a long time with making the right decisions, even though she knew what was right. “Even though I was always a member, I went through a period where I had to make my mind up to stick to the gospel 100 percent, and it was like I was converted all over again.” Laneah’s conversion process in the movie is similar to Joy’s real-life experiences. “That was the neatest thing about this part,” she says. “It was just who I was.”
The film is so powerful, Joy says, because it applies to everyone. “Whether we’re a member or a convert, we have to make the choice to follow and know Christ and use the Atonement in our lives.”
The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd testifies of the Savior, portraying scenes from the records of two of His folds in the Americas and Jerusalem.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
… behold, at the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people began to be astonished because there was no darkness when the night came.
19 And it came to pass that there was no darkness in all that night, but it was as light as though it was mid-day. And it came to pass that the sun did rise in the morning again, according to its proper order; and they knew that it was the day that the Lord should be born, because of the sign which had been given.
21 And it came to pass also that a new star did appear, according to the word.
And I looked and beheld the Redeemer of the world, of whom my father had spoken; and I also beheld the prophet who should prepare the way before him. And the Lamb of God went forth and was baptized of him; and after he was baptized, I beheld the heavens open, and the Holy Ghost come down out of heaven and abide upon him in the form of a dove.
5 For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.
7 And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.
9 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.
10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had palsy; and he healed them.
14 Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him.
20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.
25 And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.
45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
50 Jesus, when he had cried again in a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent.
20 But behold, as I said unto you concerning another sign, a sign of his death, behold, in that day that he shall suffer death the sun shall be darkened and refuse to give his light unto you; and also the moon and the stars; and there shall be no light upon the face of this land, even from the time that he shall suffer death, for the space of three days, to the time that he shall rise again from the dead.
21 Yea, at the time that he shall yield up the ghost there shall be thunderings and lightnings for the space of many hours, and the earth shall shake and tremble.
5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
And after Christ shall have risen from the dead he shall show himself unto you, my children, and my beloved brethren; and the words which he shall speak unto you shall be the law which ye shall do.
15 Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name.
16 I came unto my own, and my own received me not. And the scriptures concerning my coming are fulfilled.