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.
Glenn Rawson was born and raised in Idaho. He grew up on a cattle ranch, and to this day still carries a little bit of cowboy in him. When he was 18 years-old he joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and later served a mission in Iowa. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Wildlife and Range Science, and later from Idaho State University with a Masters degree in Education. He spent almost 20 years as a seminary and institute teacher.
In 1997 he began writing and producing stories for the radio. His stories continue to be heard on numerous stations around the country. That work in radio later turned into production work for Church specials. Then in 2008 he joined with KJZZ television in Salt Lake City and the Joseph Smith Papers team to produce a weekly documentary television series entitled, The Joseph Smith Papers. In 2010 he teamed with Dennis Lyman and Bryant Bush to produce a new series called History of the Saints. Glenn and his wife Debbie have seven children and nine grandchildren. They live in Utah. Glenn is a simple storyteller whose goal is inspire and lift people.
Glenn has travelled around the world leading church history and other tours since 2012. To learn more about Glenn’s stories please visit www.GlennRawsonStories.com.
Dennis Lyman is a native of Salt Lake City, Utah. He began his career in broadcasting in 1990 when he went to work at a local television station in video production– specifically camera work. In 1993, Larry Miller purchased the television station and renamed it KJZZ TV after the NBA franchise that he owned. Shortly after acquiring the station, Larry wanted to give something back to the community. It was decided that KJZZ would produce a seven-part mini-series titled, “Utah Remembers.” It starred Wilford Brimley and University of Utah, History Professor, Dean May. In 1997, Dennis helped produce the video “Tongue nor Pen can Tell the Sorrow.” It was created for the Sun Ranch Visitors Center in Wyoming.
Hundreds of thousands of visitors continue to watch that touching story. By now a love of Church history had settled deep and Dennis produced four 90-minute documentaries of the pioneer temples in Utah. They are History at Temple Hill: The Manti Utah Temple, A Temple Dressed in White: The St George Utah Temple, House of the Lord: The Logan Utah Temple, and For This People: The Salt Lake City Utah Temple. His love of Church history continued and soon Dennis was working as videographer for the Joseph Smith Papers television documentary on KJZZ.
When that series ended, he continued his passion and became one of the creators and producers of the History of the Saints television and radio series. Dennis and his wife Margi have three children and four grandchildren. He is a direct descendant of Elder Amasa Mason Lyman, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and his wife Eliza Marie Partridge Smith Lyman. Eliza Partridge is the daughter of Bishop Edward Partridge, first Bishop the Church.
Bryant Bush grew up in Idaho. His interests range widely, from drawing realistic pencil portraits, to singing and playing music, to writing, and, after stumbling into a job at a TV station in 1986, to editing video. Bryant met Dennis Lyman at KJZZ TV where they worked together for 15 years. Bryant began to get an interest in Mormon Pioneer History when he and Dennis worked together on three feature-length documentaries about some of the Utah temples: St. George, Logan, and Salt Lake. But when he was approached about joining Dennis and Glenn Rawson in carrying on the legacy of the Joseph Smith Papers Television Series, it was a tough decision for him.
It was the height of the recession and he counted himself lucky to have a steady job. Then, after much deliberation and self-searching, he agreed to quit his job and join the team. And he is so glad he did. Not only has he learned much about Church History, he has learned about his place in it. Since joining the project Bryant has learned that he has a rich Pioneer Heritage consisting of members of the Mormon Battalion on both his mother’s and father’s side of the family, including his fifth-great grandfather, Levi Ward Hancock. Bryant lives in Utah with his wife, Penney, and their four children.