The creator/director of the hit streaming show about the life of Jesus endeavors to explain previous comments about Mormons.
In an effort to put this contentious subject behind him, Dallas Jenkins has posted on the YouTube channel of The Chosen a video entitled "My definitive (final) comments on the 'LDS Issue.'" In it, he parses previous statements he has made about Mormons and Christianity, trying to give "context" and "some level of clarity."
As Christian Film Blog has reported previously, Jenkins' partners from Angel Studios are active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), as the Utah-based Mormon Church officially calls itself. Those partners play a vital role on this globally successful program - viewed more than 400 million times - handling fundraising, marketing and distribution. The director, himself an Evangelical Christian, has thus regularly spoken about Mormons and their faith, and some of his comments have raised the ire of critics.
In this new video, Jenkins mentions two particular statements attributed to him: "Mormons and Evangelicals love the same Jesus," and "LDS are Christians." Then asking whether he truly made such comments, Jenkins responds to his own question: "And the answer is, no, I did not."
He did go on to acknowledge that while some of his past statements could possibly have been interpreted as such, when he spoke, he was not making broad generalizations about groups, but instead was talking about specific individuals "who identify as LDS, who I've gotten to know very deeply over the last few years."
"And I stand by the statement that those friends of mine that I'm referring to absolutely love the same Jesus that I do."
The 46-year-old father of four was clearly trying to thread the needle on this subject, underlining that he was not talking about "everybody" or making "sweeping statements." But another comment in the video, meant to emphasize that point, is sure to draw displeasure from some Christians: "I know plenty of Evangelicals who I would say don't know the same Jesus that I do and don't love the same Jesus that I do."
In an effort to move beyond the issue, Jenkins turned to The Chosen itself, saying, "The content of the show...is what I think should be most paramount," since it is "in every country in the world now and being seen by lots of people," as opposed to his comments on Mormonism and Christianity, which are followed by a much smaller audience. The director then reiterated something he has said in the past about his authority over the program, which he states he exercises without external interference.
"The content of the show has zero influence or input from any formal faith tradition or church: none. I am a conservative Evangelical, I believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, I believe in the supremacy of God's Word, I believe in the Holy Trinity, I believe in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, and believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and all of those things: all the core tenets of Scripture."
Jenkins' message, which he delivers in measured tones, runs approximately 16 minutes and you can watch it below. In the meantime, it's worth noting that he and his team are shooting season three of The Chosen right now in Texas and hope to be able to release it before the end of the year.