OREM, Utah — John Tanner's was a story that needed to be told.Luckily for us, his great-great grandson T.C. Christensen did just that in 'Treasure in Heaven.' And in a moving fashion.Tanner was a such a key figure in church history it is surprising and a shame more members don't recognize him. Christensen hopes with the making of this film John Tanner will not remain anonymous for much longer.__IMAGE1__The documentary shows Tanner, born shortly after the Revolutionary War, as a very wealthy, self-made businessman in 1830s upstate New York. During this time he became stricken with a debilitating disease in his leg and struggled to get around. Numerous doctors gave him the same grim prognosis: Tanner will die unless the leg is amputated. But Tanner was determined to leave this life with his leg intact.He grew determined to do good with the rest of his life, for however long that might be.Sometime later, a meeting of Mormon missionaries in the area piqued his interest, and as a lay Baptist minister, he found it his duty to save the people of his town by exposing the Mormon impostors.The spirit touched him during their meeting. Later in a private meeting with two missionaries, Tanner was miraculously healed and received the strength to walk without impediment.Filmmaker Christensen admits he used artistic license in portraying the scene as no direct journal record exists, but he does so powerfully. The performance by Matthew Maddox as John Tanner shows the great faith of the main character.From that point on Tanner was dedicated to the restored gospel.Through a dream Tanner is told that he is needed in Kirtland. Not knowing why, he sells all of his vast possessions in the area to travel the 500 miles to Kirtland in the middle of December. Upon arrival he soon learns the mortgage on the Kirtland temple land is at risk of foreclosure the next day if the saints can't raise $2,000.Not only does Tanner supply the $2,000, but an additional $43,000 to the temple committee. He was said to have singlehandedly saved the Kirtland Temple. It was estimated that the property he sold in New York is valued at $250 million today.All told, according to the film, John Tanner gave more than $50,000 to the church to help it stay afloat. Even as he was down to his last $7.50, he never lost his dedication and faith.Tanner's contributions weren't only about money as he followed any call of the prophet to serve. "Treasure in Heaven" does an excellent job of showing the sacrifices he made to support his faith and resonated with the audience at the film festival.


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