Creators of the faith-based series “The Chosen” have denied rumors circulating on social media that the show is produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Producers of “The Chosen” addressed the rumor in an April 26 Facebook post. The post included a photo that appeared to be an example of the social media speculation. The text with the photo said: “This is not an anti-Christian show produced by Mormons. Be very careful about this show.”
Then came the “The Chosen” team’s correction:
“They happen to be correct in the first sentence…we’re not anti-Christian, we’re not produced by Mormons,” “The Chosen’s” producers wrote. “But we’re going to go out on a limb and guess there was a typo; which wouldn’t be surprising, as most of our hate comments aren’t written by English majors. That said, go ahead and be very careful with us — that advice is solid.”
More than 3,200 people have commented on the social media post.
Latter-day Saint connections to ‘The Chosen’
“The Chosen” is distributed by partner Angel Studios, a streaming video company that was co-founded by brothers Neal and Jeffrey Harmon, who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Angel Studios raised millions through crowdfunding to fund the multi-season series about the life of Jesus Christ.
The church also allowed “The Chosen” to film scenes of Season 2 at its Jerusalem set near Goshen, Utah.
What ‘The Chosen’ creator Dallas Jenkins has said
Dallas Jenkins, the creator, writer, director and executive producer of “The Chosen” series, is an evangelical Christian.
Jenkins responded with a Facebook post of his own:
“Our lighthearted post turned into a headline ... even after several years, many people seem more interested in what I’m not than what I am,” he wrote. “A sad societal trend.”
While speaking to an audience at Utah State University in March, Jenkins was asked when he would make an episode about Jesus coming to the Americas?
Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus Christ visited the Americas after his death and resurrection in Jerusalem.
“Not anytime soon,” Jenkins said, drawing laughter from the crowd. He was not offended by the question.
Jenkins said he didn’t have an agenda when he felt divine inspiration to begin creating “The Chosen,” but he has watched it bring people of different faiths and religions together in remarkable ways.
“To me, one of the joys of this project is seeing the religious walls that come down when we’re focused on Jesus himself,” he said. “It’s just been so beautiful to watch.”
Why Latter-day Saints love ‘The Chosen’
Many Latter-day Saints have become fans of the show because it’s true to New Testament accounts and reflects their love for the Bible and Christ.
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ also appreciate the humanity portrayed by Jesus and other characters.
It took a few episodes to warm up to the series, but then his family was hooked, said Hank Smith, a BYU assistant professor in the Religious Studies Department and Latter-day Saint author.
“Thank you for taking on this project,” Smith wrote in an email to the Deseret News. “Thank you for doing something that we normally don’t see out of the television industry today — faith promoting, uplifting and inspiring content that leaves you wanting to be a better person. Most of all, thank you for making something my teenage children loved. My daughter felt like the show brought her closer to the Savior, which is my greatest hope as a father.”
Artist Liz Lemon Swindle, a Latter-day Saint, fell in love with ‘The Chosen’ and began painting powerful scenes from the show after watching the end of the first episode and feeling a personal connection to the character of Mary Magdalene, she told the Deseret News.
“It was like, oh my gosh, that’s me. I’ve been there so many times. I mean, I didn’t deal with demons, but we all have,” Swindle said. “I kept rewinding and watching it, thinking, ‘This is amazing.’”
She also thought Jonathan Roumie played a “believable Jesus.”
“I’ve painted him for 20 years and I’m kind of funny about the model who is going to play Jesus,” she said. “But he really resonated.”