“The true miracle was not that I survived or that the third-degree burns I suffered healed without a trace—it was that I learned I was not alone in the world.”. “It was like our part was completely done, and it was just a matter of time.”. Frantic parents, gathered behind police barricades, cried out for their children as police officers ran toward the school. In the days after the bombing, more astonishing evidence came to light. All reviewers. “I knew exactly what to do and where to go—I couldn’t have done that on my own. “I saw bodies all over the lawn, and I didn’t know if they were dead or alive,” recalls Conger. David and Doris Young did, in fact, enter the Cokeville school with guns and a homemade gasoline bomb. He also allowed teachers to keep their classes together to help them stay calm. Williams was baptized on August 16, 1989—her 14th birthday. I believe what everybody else says and have faith that they saw what they saw. In 1986, David Young and his wife took Wyoming's Cokeville Elementary School hostage. As they … Survivors began to tell their stories through a spiritual lens. Daily news, articles & videos right to your inbox. Outside, the music teacher, John Miller, lay on the ground, his white shirt soaked in dark, red blood. It is a very eye opening movie that let’s everyone know that there are angels surrounding and protecting us. The Cokeville Miracle ein Film von T.C. It's a movie that parents should watch with their older children, because of the violent even It’s coming up, so I’d like to talk about it. “I remember thinking, ‘David Young can control a lot of things, but he can’t keep us from praying. “The magic of T.C.’s vision is that it’s a film for everyone,” adds actor Shawn Stevens, who plays the character of ecclesiastical leader John Teichert in the film. B Connolly June 18, 2019 at 6:06 pm. She’d been dead for three or four years.”. Christensen, who is best known for the films 17 Miracles and Ephraim’s Rescue. “It was an explosion that I can’t explain—a total instant black, the kind of black that you can’t see anything,” remembers Katie Walker Payne, who was a first grade student at the time. “I came home with the intent of factually proving to him that he couldn’t have seen angels,” Hartley recalls. As he read his nonsensical manifesto, “Zero Equals Infinity,” children began to cry, including Williams. “They knew that it was extremely hard for me to be on set, but it really helped my anxiety to process the events of the day more.”. I looked down for a second, and when I looked back up, she was gone. As Johnson continued to attend Cokeville Elementary after the Cokeville miracle, she searched for the “teacher” who had helped her that day. I told him, ‘It wasn’t Grandma Meister because she’s alive and living in Pinedale.’”. Over time, her skin healed completely, and today she carries no scars from the events of that day. EDITOR’S NOTE: This Cokeville Miracle article discusses a traumatic event where death and injuries occurred. While he was gone, the unthinkable happened—Doris accidentally jerked the string and the bomb exploded. But for Williams, her healing was not the greatest miracle she experienced. Some gathered in small groups and prayed. Christensen. He did not hold the position for very long as he was dismissed shortly after his six-month probation period ended in 1979. Other children also gave accounts of heavenly intervention, and in the months after the bombing, more of them were able to identify ancestors who helped keep them safe on the day of the crisis. History. Because of their limited audience, many of these films make the rounds on movie screens in the Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming; states with higher than average LDS populations. Sort by. (Cokeville is in fact a largely Mormon community, but the film does not situate itself in Christensen’s recent corpus of Mormon-centric efforts like Seventeen Miracles and Ephraim’s Rescue. 4 additional temples to begin Phase 3 in coming weeks, 7 teachings on racial harmony from Church leaders in the last year, ‘Never alone’: The unforgettable lesson of faith I learned in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s home, 8 Latter-day Saint voices who helped us better understand the need for racial equality, In case you missed it: Top LDS Living articles from this week, ‘She really made a choice’: What Tom Christofferson learned about love through watching his mother endure health problems, Church statement condemns recent ‘violence and lawless behavior’, President Ballard encourages 2021 youth conferences and camps in the US and Canada, Miracles,Angels,Faith,Makes You Think Mormon Life, ©2021 LDS Living, A Division of Deseret Book Company. We talk about the movie, the research that went into it, his thoughts on the event and proposed miracles, and how movies have affected his life. “There are also a couple scenes where parents are outside the school being held back by police. tape to create a “magic square” around the bomb and then instructed the children to stay outside of it. Many claimed it was a miracle that more were not hurt or even killed. Ron Hartley, lead investigator for the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, had four children who survived the bombing. But it is a worthwhile story. “I asked what grade this particular woman had taught and why she quit teaching after the bombing. You can tell through physical reactions when someone is lying and when they are not,” he continues. It i s produced by Mormons but does not make overt references to the LDS faith. The movie releases June 5th to selected theaters and should be […] Years later, when Johnson was about 12 years old, she finally learned the identity of the mysterious woman. The movie begins by following the story of Ron Hartley , a local police officer in Cokeville. My Grandma Toomer looked at the picture of her aunt Ruth, whom I was referring to, and said she had never been a teacher that she knew of and that she was not from Cokeville. Jasen Wade, Actor: Out of Liberty. In the days and weeks immediately after this event, most accounts focused on the horrors of the day. I don’t know why—I can’t explain it.’”. With no real reason to question Doris, Williams’s class made its way down the eerily silent hallway and into the 30-by-32-foot room where the rest of the school was being held—154 people in all. Wade has also played the leading roles of Levi Savage in the film 17 Miracles and ‘Bud’ Curtis in Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed. These are the true stories behind the hit film The Cokeville Miracle. “I don’t remember seeing any angels, but I definitely felt guided,” she says. The interesting part of this story is that the appearance of angels and voices was not always a part of the story. As time progressed, however, a different story emerged in this highly religious and largely Mormon community. “When you do interrogations in law enforcement, you watch for body language. The Facebook page for the film cites a comment Wade made in an interview with KUTV, channel 2 in Salt Lake City: “There are a few events that happen in this that I’m trying to wrap my brain around, but I have to believe it. It was a sold-out showing. The Cokeville Miracle ... a Mormon, believes that but it made the events even more unbelievable. Mormon filmmakers often use a real event to enhance the faith of fellow Latter-day Saints. LaDona Quixote November 21, 2020. The hours ticked by as teachers read stories and students colored pictures and played with Legos. A shoelace connected David to the detonator. That’s when Hartley asked his wife to get out the family photo album. I said, ‘I don’t know where my children are! I don’t know why, but I am grateful.”. The Cokeville Miracle is a film that will reinforce your faith (should you have any) and it conveys a beautiful, spiritual significance. Filmed at Whitesides Elementary school in Layton, Utah, the movie stars Jasen Wade, a Mormon actor who played Levi Savage in another LDS-genre movie called 17 Miracles. Young, a former Cokeville town marshall fired for misconduct years earlier, had returned to start a revolution and create a “brave new world” where he would be leader. Since then, the story has become a local legend, with several variants emerging, including tales of an angelic outline in the shrapnel. In the midst of what many see as a renaissance of Mormon cinema, The Cokeville Miracle represents the concentrated effort of LDS filmmakers to put … Experience the powerful true story of  The Cokeville Miracle for yourself. “I began to wonder, ‘What happens if I die today? "The Cokeville Miracle," which is not yet rated and has a running time of 93 minutes, is scheduled for limited release June 5. Filmed at Whitesides Elementary school in Layton, Utah, the movie stars Jasen Wade, a Mormon actor who played Levi Savage in another LDS-genre movie called 17 Miracles. I flipped to one page when suddenly he put his little hand on a photo and just beamed,” Hartley shares. The first Euro-American settler, Tilford Kutch, arrived in 1869. Ambulances, fire trucks, and news cameras lined the streets. “People of all faiths were blessed by the event,” he explains. My face was completely unrecognizable,” she recalls. A few years after the bombing, Williams began taking missionary discussions. I was told my scars would completely heal, and no one would look upon my face and know what had happened. Doctrine and Covenants / Pearl of Great Price, Mormon Objections to Christian Evangelism, Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, DVD Review: Return with Honor: A Missionary Homecoming. Cokeville is a town in Lincoln County, ... 2010 census, while the town is probably best known for the Cokeville Elementary School hostage crisis, which led to a movie. Instead, the scars I would have to heal from would be those of forgiveness and trust.”. “All the nurses cried as they cleaned my wounds,” she says, “and the doctor was talking to my parents about skin grafts and plastic surgery.”. Jasen Wade got his start as a film actor in the short, American Gulag. “But I knew the instant my mom opened the locket that it was her. At approximately 1:30 p.m. on a sunny Friday afternoon, David Young and his wife, Doris, quietly and methodically took control of Cokeville Elementary. “I knew this was an amazing story, and one I felt like I needed to tell,” he says. The bombing of Cokeville Elementary shook the small community to its core – and yet vibrated with the power of their Mormon faith. The Cokeville Elementary School hostage crisis occurred on Friday, May 16, 1986, in Cokeville, Wyoming, United States, when former town marshal David Young, 43, and his wife Doris Young, 47, took 136 children and 18 adults hostage at Cokeville Elementary School. You need to listen to your brother and remember that I will always love you.’ I remember just nodding my head. (David, upon finding Doris engulfed in flames after the explosion, shot her before taking his own life.). “They wanted to do it for me,” she says. (He would later recover.). David once served as the town’s marshal. Sep 3, 2017 - Explore Quinn's board "Cokeville Miracle" on Pinterest. To find out more, click here. Stevens, who may be recognized for starring in the 1986 Church film Our Heavenly Father’s Plan, explains that his character embodies numerous people and does not represent a specific denomination. The feeling [after the prayer] was one of total confidence that we had just placed our lives in the hands of our loving Heavenly Father,” he recalls. “The first is August 16, the day of my physical birth, and the second is the day I call my spiritual birth: May 16, the day of the bombing.”, “I try my best to make it a better world,” says Wixom. Blessed are those who believe but have not seen. I’ll never forget that reunion when she ran toward us and wrapped us in her arms. And he demanded a ransom of $2 million per child. Your generous support makes the work of MRM possible. Aleah Ingram March 9, 2015 Entertainment As the children escaped, David Young began firing a gun inside the smoke-filled classroom. It became a story of a miracle rather than a tragedy. “I kept telling my parents about the lady who had talked to me and that I didn’t know who she was,” she recalls. Williams recalls, “When I got to the hallway, I felt a tickling sensation on my shoulder and ear. I took a few steps and started feeling heat on my skin—I realized I was on fire.”. For instance, The Cokeville Miracle Foundation’s 2005 book Witness to Miracles: Remembering the Cokeville Elementary School Bombing and the Wyoming State Archives oral history project called “Survivor is My Name” both focused on the reconstructing of this narrative as a miracle instead of a tragedy. “There are so many people—about 30 of them—who stand as witnesses to the spiritual blessings that happened that day.”. I looked in the center of the room and all I could see was fire.”, “There were flames all over the room and children screaming—just pandemonium,” recalls Carol Petersen, a second grade teacher at the time. With Jasen Wade, Sarah Kent, Kimball Stinger, Alexa Rae. 19 people found this helpful. Investigators found that only one of the blasting caps used in making the bomb actually detonated. The Cokeville Miracle tells the story of a hostage crisis in 1986 at the elementary school in Cokeville, Wyoming. Just happened upon this film as I continue to wait out the pandemic in Alaska. The miraculous events that followed transformed the lives of hundreds of people, including many who witnessed angels or received heavenly help from deceased ancestors. I followed him and sat down, and he then went and got my sister Rachel. In this episode Mormon Artist podcast host Katherine Morris interviews filmmaker T.C. There are just too many witnesses to it. Furthermore, the explosive powder that should have lit the air on fire had been miraculously hindered from its deadly purpose, thanks to the leaking gasoline. “I remember that same feeling I felt in the classroom when I prayed,” she recalls. Although well-made and intentioned, “The Cokeville Miracle” obviously wants to push the miraculous aspects of a hostage situation that occurred in Cokeville… Oral histories, memoirs and drawings began to reveal a narrative of fortune rather than misfortune. The Cokeville Miracle was written and directed by T.C. We just did a few takes of those scenes and we had it.”, “There was really a sense of reverence on the set because we knew that we were dealing with a real event,” says Stevens. The Cokeville Miracle is a raw production effort that starts out, unfortunately, very cheap-looking and drab. Many recalled praying silently, forming prayer circles and seeing angels during the crisis. Content advisory: There are scenes that would be scary for young children and a bomb explodes. Some kids were badly burned, with skin hanging off their arms and necks. Williams recalls a kindergarten teacher inviting her to join the teacher and some students in prayer—an unfamiliar concept for the fifth grader. Filter by. I would have thought I would have had to have actors to portray that, but those people knew what it felt like—that trauma of family members being held captive or themselves being held captive. The events of May 16, 1986, left an indelible mark on the hearts of those who survived, helping them live their lives with a new perspective and deeper gratitude because of the Cokeville miracle. In 1873, he opened a trading post and ran a ferry across Smiths Fork. “I met the bomb tech right there at the door, and he said, ‘Hartley, what you have here is a miracle. I knew in my heart that I would be okay no matter what happened.”. She had short, dark brown hair,” Payne recalls. was very cautious and sensitive to everybody’s feelings.”, Survivor Jennie Sorensen Johnson’s children were among the movie extras. 19 people found this helpful. For some reason, we were all supposed to make it out of that classroom alive. Eight months later, Payne learned who the woman in white was when her mother pulled out an old locket. “I’ve never doubted for a second that they saw exactly what they claimed to have seen or heard,” Wixom says. It is wonderful that the children were spared in real life but I guarantee you no dead grandmothers showed up! "The Cokeville Miracle" portrays a difficult story, but ultimately shares a powerful message about prayer. “I began to wonder, ‘What happens if I die today? “I felt deep peace. They increasingly spoke about their memories in public with professional psychologists, church officials and community counselors. David, seeing his wife in extreme pain, shot his wife, went back to the restroom, and shot himself. It’s clear that this team stayed within their means and did not over-exhaust their resources. What an inspiration. “Then they picked me up and told me to run,” she says. My mom then told us that she was her mom—our grandma who had died when my mom was 15 years old.”, Jennie Sorensen Johnson, a first-grade survivor, had a similar experience. Reviewed by Stephen Carter. “I had a ‘teacher’ help me out of that burning classroom that I did not know,” she says. I didn’t even know where to go or what to do.” Conger continues, “I found my older brother pretty quickly, and we just started walking toward our home. Amazon Customer. I will be sharing the link to the film with all those I know who need to hear its message in this time of desperation. How do you argue that? Then I saw my mom running down the street. 4 Comments | Post or read comments . David and Doris arrived at the school with guns and a shopping cart containing the bomb. While looking through a family album with her grandmother, Johnson stopped at a familiar face. “It would not have been fair to portray this as an LDS-specific miracle.”. Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with more than 35 years' experience, 17 at the Deseret News. The film was based on the Cokeville Elementary School hostage crisis in 1986 and the book The Cokeville Miracle: When Angels Intervene by Hartt Wixom and Judene Wixom. However, if the above account is accurate, the Cokeville miracle seems to parallel the famous “miracle of the seagulls,”  another faith-promoting story that involved thousands of seagulls that descended upon millions of crickets, destined to destroy the crops of the Mormon pioneers in 1848. Iam surprised pleasantly to see a very well made Christian faith based movie from Hollywood in a long time. When the children began to be restless, they sang songs, read books, and watched television. Read more . The Cokeville Miracle - Full Movie | 2015 Let's join, fullHD Movies/Season/Episode here! “Soon after that, my brother came over and told me we were going to go sit by the window. Most of the kids in my class were LDS, but I wasn’t,” Williams says. There are several moments (and actual accounts) that will draw tears from anyone who professes to believe in a higher power. However, as the movie goes on, all production elements improve. As he read his nonsensical manifesto, “Zero Equals Infinity,” children began to cry, including Williams. Williams, who was severely burned in the explosion, did not see angels that day either, but she experienced a different kind of miracle after being rushed to the hospital. But it is a worthwhile story. While we have made every effort to avoid graphic language, this article might be disturbing for some readers. “That, I think, shows my gratitude.”, “We can find small miracles in our everyday lives,” adds Johnson. While he was gone, Doris jerked her arm and triggered the device, causing severe burns but not death. “As I sat coloring, I looked up and saw a woman dressed in a long white dress. Movie Review: The Cokeville Miracle Transforms Terrifying Hostage Situation Into a Witness of God’s Love. Hartley had been struggling with a belief in God primarily due to the horrible things he would see in the field from day to day. I experienced an incredible feeling of being known and loved. On May 16, 1986, an elementary school in the tiny town of Cokeville, Wyoming, was held hostage by a married couple with a bomb. I just wouldn’t feel good about that." Eventually, Young stepped away to the restroom, leaving the bomb detonator tied to Doris’s wrist. Actually, that description is a bit misleading. Miraculously, when the bomb went off in the classroom where everyone was being held, only the husband and wife were killed.”. One such film is The Cokeville Miracle, a movie that recounts an event that took place in the tiny Mormon community of Cokeville, Wyoming. That’s one thing he cannot do,’” she says. “She said to me, ‘Katie, I love you very much. Although Cokeville is a predominantly LDS community, Christensen says he chose not to portray any specific religion in The Cokeville Miracle, now available on DVD. I don’t remember much of what she said, but I remember suddenly feeling like I had a warm blanket around my shoulders—this incredible amount of comfort and joy that I can’t explain. “We pressed forward knowing that Heavenly Father wants this story told, and that the benefits would far outweigh the hardships.”, “I hope that people come away from the film impressed by the power of prayer, that if they have not been using prayer in their lives, they would start,” says Christensen. Christensen didn't set out to make a Christian movie. Seventy-six of the hostages suffered injuries from the blast. Pick up your copy on DVD or Blu-ray at Deseret Book stores or at deseretbook.com. Inside stood David Young, a string detonator around his wrist and a homemade bomb by his side. She dropped to the floor and started rolling to put out the flames. “I was a boat on an ocean without a sail—there wasn’t any anchor to tell me what life was about.”. 17 Miracles (2011), Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed (2012), Osombie (2012) and Amber Alert (2012) Jasen Wade is especially excited about The Cokeville Miracle as his first chance to perform alongside his daughter in the film. Investigators discovered that wires to three of the bomb’s five blasting caps had been mysteriously cut, preventing detonation. “It took me a few years to connect the priesthood blessing with the LDS Church, but I knew something special happened that day,” she says. The Cokeville Miracle is a story about our ancestors looking out for us. Hartley’s son told him there were angels for everyone in the room that day, and just prior to detonation, the angels joined hands around the bomb and went up through the ceiling with the explosion. She didn’t tell me her name, but I think it was Grandma Meister.’ This was exactly what I was looking for. Directed by T.C. Williams’s skin began to heal at a rapid rate, and despite the severe burns, no scar tissue formed. Young, a former Cokeville town marshall fired for misconduct years earlier, had returned to start a revolution and create a “brave new world” where he would be leader. The events began unfolding just after lunch on May 16, 1986 when an unknown woman walked from classroom to classroom, interrupting the teachers lessons, and announcing that there was an emergency in Room 2and that the teachers should rush the children there right away. The Cokeville Miracle is a 2015 drama film written & directed by T. C. Christensen and starring Jasen Wade, Sarah Kent and Kimball Stinger. Will I see my family again?’ I was really scared for the unknown. “I asked him who he saw, and he said, ‘I don’t know. Text, image, video. And though the walls were pocked from shrapnel, no one was hit by any of it. “My hair and eyelashes were gone. Our friend Alan Peterson has a new movie coming out about Mormon teenagers on a modern Trek as they do their best to connect with their pioneer roots. The Cokeville Miracle and Freetown are fascinating glimpses into how Mormons approach faith-promoting stories, and how those stories interact with the core message of the gospel.. His perspective changed dramatically a couple weeks later, however, when his 6-year-old son confided in a psychologist that he had seen angels on the day of the bombing. Another fifth grader, Lori Nate Conger, also prayed with some of her classmates. Sweet, touching and moving story of Cokeville and the supernatural miracles the little children witnessed that day as a result of their prayer in faith. T.C. Christensen, whose works include 17 Miracles and Ephraim’s Rescue, felt it was time to share those events with the world. 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