The hymn Praise to the Man contains this line in the chorus, “Millions shall know Brother Joseph again.” Larry Miller used to say in response to that, “No, billions shall know Brother Joseph again.” In keeping with his word, Larry devoted millions of dollars toward helping that happen before he passed away. As the Joseph Papers Project developed, it was Dennis Lyman who first suggested to Larry that a television show ought to be made on the discoveries coming to light. Larry liked the idea and the Joseph Smith Papers television series was born. The series would showcase the research and discoveries of scholars into the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith. It was there that Dennis Lyman and Glenn Rawson were brought together. Dennis was the videographer and field director for the series, and Glenn was the writer and co-producer. They worked in partnership with the Church History Department, and others, for three years and produced over 100 half-hour historical documentaries for television. That series concluded production in February 2010.
Glenn and Dennis felt strongly that the series ought to go on. They formulated plans and began production of new series entitled, History of the Saints. Their ambitions took a giant leap forward when KSL in Salt Lake City agreed to run the show as part of their Legacy Sunday programming. Things were looking promising.
Then one day while Dennis and Glenn were in Wyoming, climbing Independence Rock and shooting video, the cell phone rang. They learned that the Quorum of the Twelve wanted to review their plans before they proceeded. It was an anxious month while they waited, but after some remarkable occurrences, both the First Presidency and the Twelve said they had no objections to the project. Bryant Bush, master editor and artist, quit his job, joined the team, and they were off and running.
Numerous scholars, artists, and musicians volunteered their time and talent and soon that first season featured 35 episodes, and brought the saints from the martyrdom of Joseph Smith in Carthage all the way to the Salt Lake Valley in July of 1847. The team continued on and by the Fall of 2015 they are in their sixth season and will have covered Latter-day Saint history from 1844 to 1877, and from 1805-1835.
Bryant, Glenn and Dennis, formed a complementary team. They all worked as the producers and directors to create a documentary series easy to watch and most engaging. The series became instantly popular and television and radio stations all over the country began to pick it up. On any given Sunday History of the Saints airs 20-30 times on television and radio.
The next step seemed a logical one and soon the team was producing special documentaries and editing table-top books. Select articles of ad-wear clothing soon followed. Now the team has produced numerous themed documentaries and written numerous books, with more coming.
Just before the series launched in the fall of 2010, Glenn and Dennis were given a charge from Church leadership. It was, paraphrasing, ‘Whatever else you do with our history, tell the truth and build faith.’ That has motivated virtually everything they have done. They enjoy traveling and meeting people across the country; sharing stories of the pioneers and listening to their modern descendants speak with reverent gratitude of their pioneer forebears. Truly, the hearts of the children have been turned to their fathers