“Not Produced by Mormons”
Growing numbers of Christian leaders and pastors are giving a thumbs up or a casual pass to The Chosen series; and the latest defense by Chosen creator Dallas Jenkins and many defenders of the series is—”It’s not produced by Mormons.” This seems to provide license for leaders and pastors and others to say “yes” to The Chosen. But they may not know all the facts.
In April of this year, CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) posted an article titled, “The Chosen Is Putting a Rumor to Rest: ‘We’re Not Produced by Mormons.'” That article states:
Critics of the viral TV series about the life of Jesus Christ titled The Chosen have been spreading rumors that the show is a Mormon production. Now the makers of The Chosen are putting that rumor to rest.
On April 26, the creators of the popular series addressed concerns in a Facebook post, making it clear that the series is not produced by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The post included a photo that has been making its way around social media with a message at the bottom saying, “This is not an anti-Christian show produced by Mormons. Be very careful about this show.”
With the off-handed threat (“be very careful about this show”) that you better not criticize or challenge The Chosen, producers and creators of The Chosen have worked feverishly hard to neutralize and vilify critics and challenges. As we reported earlier, they even created a scheme of vandalizing their own promotional billboards (making it look like crazy, hateful critics did it). Executive Producer and CEO of The Chosen, Derral Eves refers to critics as “nonbelievers” and “haters” (YouTube Formula, p. 260).
Problems With That Claim
Regarding the newest defense effort—”not produced by Mormons”—it is inarguable that the series is heavily influenced, financed, advertised, promoted, supervised, inspired—and produced by practicing Mormons. Thus, it is misleading, evasive, and wrong to say it is “not produced by Mormons” because that is purporting that Mormons have nothing to do with the creation and production of The Chosen.
While The Chosen may not appear to be a “Mormon production,” this series could not have been created, produced, promoted, and distributed without significant involvement from Mormons (who, by the way, are major shareholders (owners) of The Chosen, LLC.).
In his 2021 book, The YouTube Formula: How Anyone Can Unlock the Algorithm to Drive Views, Build an Audience, and Grow Revenue, practicing Mormon and Chosen’s Executive Producer, Derral Eves, openly admits his vital production role in the creation of The Chosen. He states:
Recon and research can provide the perfect storm when it comes to finding your community and getting your content out to the world. . . . Jeffrey Harmon [also a Mormon] and I wanted to create a TV series about the life of Jesus Christ that appealed to the evangelical community . . . Jeffrey introduced me to a creator named Dallas Jenkins who later became my partner and the writer and director of the series about Jesus Christ called The Chosen.
On a big project like this . . . we have several brainstorming sessions to get a good handle on who the right viewer persona would be: who would be passionate about it, and who would back the project. I thought it would be easy to do because it would be people just like us. . . . .
For our lockdown marketing session, we . . . laser‐focused on who our audience was. . . . We had to figure out how we would raise the money and how we would find the army of people who would resonate with our content and promote it to the world. . . .
We knew we wanted to resonate our message and vision with a specific persona. . . . We developed our messaging and content strategies around this precise audience . . . because it was the easiest platform to share the content and the message of our campaign with like‐minded people. . .
It took me two years to convince Dallas [Jenkins] to fully embrace becoming the “influencer” face of our project, and that’s when everything changed. People identified with him and his passion, personality, and authenticity. When we went live on The Chosen YouTube channel, Dallas started speaking to our avatar . . . and suggested our content to them. . . .
The essence here is that the more you understand and relate to your audience and create content for them, the more YouTube will connect the dots and feed them their preferred flavor of ice cream, so to speak. Maybe it’s the unicorn‐poop‐flavored kind, or maybe it’s the Jesus kind. Our recon and research made it possible for us to form a community of people who loved and distributed our message and content. (emphasis added; p. 150-152, Wiley, Kindle Edition)
In his book, Eves discusses his working relationship with Dallas Jenkins in what he refers to as a shared “vision,” “solitary goal,” “passion,” “content,” and “message”:
When my new partner Dallas Jenkins and I connected, one of the first things we talked about was building an audience . . . as we set out to create a culture. . . . Dallas and I . . . wrote down our thoughts, values, passions, and our Why. If we were passionate about this project, then there had to be people out there who could relate—people who had passion for the same thing. We knew that if they could see our vision, they would want to be a part of it as well. We . . . started making content that would spread our message and resonate with them. . .
[T]he content in [The Chosen] . . . was genuinely 100% how we all came to be passionate about The Chosen. . . . We became a team because we were working toward the solitary goal of spreading our passion about the message. . . .
Our team has been extremely meticulous when it comes to The Chosen’s storyline. We want to tell the life of Jesus Christ as it is found in the gospels of the Bible, but we also refer to historical works and scholars and to leaders and scholars from many different religions. (emphasis added; YouTube Formula, pp. 260-261)
As stated earlier, it is misleading, evasive, and wrong to say that The Chosen is “not a Mormon production.” In actuality, The Chosen is a Mormon brainchild.
Mormons and The Chosen—Not the Only Problem
By putting a strong focus (and media attention) on the “not produced by Mormons” claim, it sends out the message to the public that this is the only or main problem with The Chosen. But as countless critics of The Chosen, including Lighthouse Trails, have documented, The Chosen is riddled with other serious issues. In our 2022 booklet, The Chosen Series: 10 Critical Concerns, we identify some of those concerns:
- The Chosen and its Mormon influencers.
- How Dallas Jenkins says the biblical and the Mormon Jesus are the same Jesus.
- How The Chosen creators claim it is “A Definitive Portrayal of God’s People” when it definitely is not.
- Dallas Jenkins’ disclosure that 95% of the series is not from the Bible, yet it claims to present the “authentic Jesus.”
- Jonathan Roumie (The Chosen’s Jesus) uses his global platform from The Chosen to spread his New Age-sympathizing practices (e.g., talking with the dead, transcendental meditation) and his Jesuit Catholic beliefs.
- Dallas Jenkins’ unequally yoked connections.
- The seductive ability and means of films, particularly ones portraying Jesus and Bible characters.
- The well-researched, market-driven, and calculated formula to make The Chosen successful and “different.”
- How The Chosen is helping to set the stage for a worldwide “Revival” and “The Healing of the World,” when in fact, the biblical Jesus warns about worldwide deception rather than worldwide revival at the time of the end.
- How The Chosen is walking the world and the church into a deadly trap.
It simply cannot be denied that The Chosen is an inter-religious ecumenical project, with Mormons being at the helm of its creation, marketing, and production. And the implications of this cannot be ignored—The Mormon’s Jesus is a false christ. According to Dallas Jenkins, The Chosen’s Jesus is the same Jesus as the Mormon’s Jesus. In short, The Chosen’s Jesus is not an authentic Jesus. He is largely the product of Mormon creators, marketers, and producers—He is a false christ.
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:5)
For Further Study:
The Word Like Fire blog: https://thewordlikefire.wordpress.com.
Letter to the Editor by a Former Mormon: https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=34418.
The [Counterfeit] Chosen YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IijbpfCQBnA&t=43s.
Let Us Reason Ministries: https://www.letusreason.org.
Spiritual Research Network: https://www.spiritualresearchnetwork.org.
Note: As with all Lighthouse Trails articles, please feel free to print and share this article with others.
(Illustration from bigstockphoto.com; design by Lighthouse Trails.)