The Good Elders


The Good Elders, 22 minutes, stereo, produced privately by Robert Saunders.

Plot synopsis: The Good Elders - Elder Clark and his companion, Elder Parente - are determined to baptize investigators, and so they discuss this in their kitchen. They get a phone call about an investigator, Lizzie, who lives outside of their zone (and therefore supposed to be taught by other elders), but they leave to teach her anyway. After a series of discussions, she commits to being baptized. But then her friend calls the missionaries to tell them that there's a problem with the baptism. Concerned, the Elders rush to Lizzie's apartment, bind her to a chair with ropes and gag her, demanding to know if she knows the church is true, whether Joseph Smith was a prophet, etc. She answers affirmatively to all the important doctrinal questions. Ungagged, she tells them that the "problem" was that she only wanted to move the baptism back an hour so her mother could attend. The Elders are relieved.

Word of this reaches the (real life) mission president, President Carpenter, who solemnly demands to know why ropes and gagging are part of their teaching style. He decides to let the missionaries from Lizzie's zone baptize her instead. However, Elder Clark and Parente can attend the baptism.

The four elders, Lizzie and her friend congregate outside of the church for the baptism. Elder Clark, staring into the trunk of the car, gets an idea and throws Lizzie into the trunk. He and his companion drive off - followed in pursuit by the other elders - to the Stake Center, where Elders Clark and Parente baptize Lizzie after all. The end has a voiceover by Lizzie describing that while her investigation and baptism were "different," she wouldn't have had it any other way.

There is also a scene shot in a grocery store (Ream's) showing the Good Elders buying very large quantities of spaghetti and pasta.

The Good Elders is a production of Rob Saunders. Copies are $6, not including shipping.

The menu screen.


The title screen.


Hey! That's my son's name in the credits!


Shot on preparation days.


Elder Clark ponders baptisms - and food.


Elder Parente tells his companion that they're done being "nice guys."


Door approach to meet the investigator, Lizzie.


Elder Clark leads the discussions.


"Lizzie, what's keeping you from being baptised?"


President Carpenter got a disturbing phone call.


Elder Clark ponders trunk space.


All's well that ends well!


Cast and crew.


Shooting the kitchen scene.


Outdoor filming.


On location in Ream's!


The two sets of elders in this were actually serving as full-time missionaries in the Utah Salt Lake City South mission, and Lizzie the investigator and her on-screen friend were sister missionaries.

Ethan tells me that this DVD has been circulating around in Utah, and strangers are coming up to him and telling him, "Hey, I recognize you! You're one of the 'Good Elders!'" Whether this is a good thing or not is to be determined...