Today in Church, one of the speakers reminded me of a post I wrote a few years ago that I felt impressed to share. He was talking about the “Bread of Life.” I had an experience while working on a couple of the Bible Videos, where I got to look in the eyes the actor who was playing Christ as he said, “I am the Bread of Life.” My soul burned and my eyes filled with tears. I knew right then that even if the Savior himself was saying this to me, I wouldn’t believe it any more than I did right in that moment. I watched the people portraying Christ and His Apostles walk the dusty roads in dirty sandals. I watched animals run across set and smelled the smells and saw the scenes of Jerusalem. It was all so realistic, like I had been transported to the time period. I’m grateful for the testimony builder that it was, and wanted to share this post that I wrote after that experience, along with one of the videos here! Happy Sunday!
This past week, I have been on set of a new Church Movie being filmed in a remote part of Utah. When I got called back to be cast in it, I was surprised, and was also a little worried, because I had just cut off all of my hair!! It ended up not being a big problem, because I had to wear time-period clothing, which included a head covering. I SO WISH that I could post pictures, but it is a breach of contract! Noooo!!!!!! Haha! I wrote a hand-written letter to my brother who is on a mission in Peru, so I will type an excerpt of what I said to him here, because it explains a lot of what I would write anyway:
“Hi, Gabey Bum! How art thou!? I am on the set of a new church movie right now; it’s a stinkin’ awesome experience! We started filming yesterday. The film is called “The New Testament Project.” It’s supposed to replace the old one that has been used, and this will be used officially by the Church for the next 20 years. They’ll use it in Missionary Videos, Mormon Messages, Seminaries, Institutes, and General Conference. Crazy, huh!? I get to sit like a foot away from Jesus…it’s surreal and really cool. (Ha! Well, okay, the guy who plays Jesus.) When we start a scene, it’s not hard to get into character because all the costumes and set are identical to Ancient Jerusalem. I am so dirty from all the dust, dirt, and animals, and it makes you feel like you are there. On top of that…the guy playing Christ looks SO much like I picture him! I love it! It is super hot here, because it’s in the desert, and I really miss Tom and B, but it’s only for a couple of days before I come back for another 2 days in a couple of weeks. Yesterday when I checked in, I filled out paperwork and then got my costume. It took a while, but we finally got rolling and it was crazy hot, but then started to rain and got crazy freezing cold!!! Filming movies is definitely different than watching them, and it is totally different than I thought it would be. I had a super awkward moment yesterday when I went to use the PortaPotty. I totally forgot to lock the door because I was so worried about my costume falling down the bottomless stink hole! Anyway, right as I was dropping my drawers, an old(ish) guy walked in! (Well, not in, but he did open the door!) My dress was kind of still covering me, so I gave him a terrified look and he immediately shut it and apologized. That all would have been fine if he didn’t then proceed to take the potty RIGHT next to me and start TALKING to me! He was saying things like, “I’ll try to be quiet.” and other things that I can’t quite remember. I didn’t know what to do, so I talked right back! I told him that I was glad my pants weren’t all the way down. Also, [even MORE awkwardly enough] we got out at the same time and I looked at him and said the only thing that came to mind: “Good job.” TALK ABOUT awkward turtle!! AND WORD VOMIT!! Ha ha, I just thought you would appreciate that story.”
So, all jokes aside from the Potty story, being on set really was one of the single most spiritual experiences I have had. The second day, after getting my costume and waiting outside of the hair and makeup trailer, I was talking to a couple of ladies, when John [the one who portrays Christ] came and walked by me. I kind of did a double take, and then saw him walk back and started talking to us. We were joking around, and it was surreal to be talking to Christ. I know that may sound absolutely ridiculous, but it was incredible for two whole days to only be thinking about these types of things. I didn’t have cell service, internet, or television, and I was in the desert dressed in a costume portraying a follower of Christ. In one of the scenes, I was able to be “featured” as the director called it, and Christ was sitting less than a foot from me. As I listened to him speak, the words he said pierced my heart. I don’t know a less cheesy way to describe it, but all I could think about was me seeing Christ for real. In the flesh. Right in front of me. And the Spirit I felt right in that moment just brought tears to my eyes! It was amazing! He was saying things straight from the scriptures, unaltered, so the words I was hearing I had read before, but it completely brought it to life. We did that particular scene over and over; it was where he was teaching in the Synagogue and he is questioned by a Pharisee. As I turned to hear the Pharisee doubt and question Christ’s words, and then look back to Christ for his response, it felt so real. I felt for a moment that I was actually in Ancient Jerusalem, sitting in the Temple and listening to a man who claimed to be the Son of God. And I believed him. It is indescribable how it feels to BE there, to watch him interact with people, to watch him perform miracles, to watch him be doubted and ridiculed, to see his Apostles and the love they had for him. I realize that it was just a movie set, but I called the title of this blog “And Then, I saw Christ,” not just because I saw the man who portrayed him, but I saw Christ in my mind’s eye, walking the streets of Jerusalem, bringing a message of peace to His people. I saw him, and I talked to him, even if it was through someone else portraying him. It takes it to a whole new level when you aren’t just reading about him, but you are experiencing a taste of what it was like to be around him. I think that the actor has to be living so well, because how else can you even attempt to rise to the occasion of acting as Christ, and exude so much kindness and goodness. Although movie sets are more stressful than spiritual, honestly, there were times where you could find spiritual moments and see with spiritual eyes the amazing things that were happening. Hands down, one of the most incredible things I have ever done, and I am so excited to go back. I was apprehensive of taking the job because I was getting anxiety thinking about leaving my baby for 2 long days, but while I was there, I knew he was in such good hands and didn’t worry at all! 🙂 Not only did I gain a greater testimony of Christ, I gained a greater testimony of how awesome my husband is. He was SOOOOOOO supportive, he helped pack my cooler, take things to my car, calmed my nerves, made me dinner after an exhausting and long day, told me how excited and proud of me he was, and took care of everything at home. Yeah, he’s pretty much awesome. 🙂 I’m incredibly grateful for my family, friends, the Gospel, my relationship with Christ, and for this unique opportunity that I have been blessed with! 🙂