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Controversy Re: "The Chosen" (Claim of Referencing/Paraphrasing Book of Mormon)


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‘The Chosen’ Under Fire for Apparent Reference to The Book of Mormon

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Earlier this week, “The Chosen,” a series that dramatizes the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, released a trailer for its upcoming third season. Lauded among many evangelicals, production of “The Chosen” is entirely crowdfunded, and the show’s creators hope that it eventually reaches 1 billion viewers in every country of the world. 

Nevertheless, the show has come under fire following the release of its Season 3 trailer, wherein Jesus can be seen delivering a line that appears to be a paraphrase of a verse from the Book of Mormon. 

In the trailer, Jesus can be seen in a confrontation with a Jewish religious official. 

“Jesus, if you do not renounce your words, we will have no choice but to follow the law of Moses,” the man says, implying that the Sanhedrin would pursue Jesus’ execution.

Jesus steps toward the man and replies, “I am the law of Moses.” 

Following the release of the trailer, the show posted a GIF of the moment to Facebook, captioning the post, “Mic drop.”

However, a number of social media users were quick to point out that the line delivered by Jonathan Roumie, who portrays Jesus in the series, sounded similar not to a verse from the New Testament but 3 Nephi 15:9 in the Book of Mormon.

3 Nephi 15:9 states: "Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life."

Compare: "I am the law of Moses."

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Pointing out the similarity, one Twitter user said, “I never took a hard position against the Chosen until now. It is compromised and in heresy.”

“This isn’t one of those ‘Jesus could’ve said/done this’ types of things, this is a direct bowing to Mormon theology (Mormons put a lot into the series) which is against Biblical Christianity. Jesus fulfills the law and as God gave it, but He is not the law,” he went on to say. “Beware this.”

Another said, “It would be disingenuous to assume that Mormon theology has no impact” on the series. 

“Stop watching The Chosen,” someone else urged. “Read your Bible instead.”

Concerns about the show’s connections to Mormonism have been ongoing, as “The Chosen” is distributed by Angel Studios, which was co-founded by brothers Neal and Jeffrey Harmon, both of whom belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). 

I can understand the concern, but this seems to be a tempest in a teapot.

Daniel Peterson has posted some thoughts here:

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Now, I’m not even sure that there is an actual reference there to the Book of Mormon.  If there is, it’s merely a passing one, very slight, probably accidental, and pretty harmless.  Or, anyhow, so it seems to me.  But also, assuming that it really exists (if only for the sake of discussion), I don’t see much purpose or much benefit or harm to it.  Who cares?  If it’s really some sort of Latter-day Saint alien invasion, it doesn’t strike me as a very significant or effective one.  Again, who cares?  What amuses me, though, is how indignant some folks become.  Denunciations of The Chosen as heretical?  Calls to boycott it?  The zeal among some people to sniff out deviationism strikes me as really quite weird.

Good grief.

It’s time, I think, to roll a favorite joke out yet again.  It’s apparently by the American comedian, actor, writer, and director Philip Soltanec, who goes under the stage name of Emo Philips, but I’ve modified it very, very slightly for stylistic reasons:

Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump.
I said, “Don’t do it!”
He said, “Nobody loves me.”
I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”
He said, “Yes.”
I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?”
He said, “A Christian.”
I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?”
He said, “Protestant.”
I said, “Me, too! What denomination?”
He said, “Baptist.”
I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Baptist.”
I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.”
I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.”
I said, “Me, too!  Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.”
Die, heretic!” I screamed.  And I pushed him off the bridge.

Yesterday, from the Deseret News: What the creator of ‘The Chosen’ said about the alleged Book of Mormon quote in Season 3

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In the Season 3 trailer released last week, one segment shows Jesus being confronted by a Jewish religious leader who dramatically tells him, “Jesus, if you do not renounce your words, we will have no choice but to follow the law of Moses,” insinuating Jesus could be put to death.

 

Jesus, played by actor Jonathan Roumie, steps forward and boldly replies, “I am the law of Moses.” 

Some people have since claimed the line about Jesus being the law of Moses came from a verse of scripture — 3 Nephi 15:9 — in the Book of Mormon of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
...
 

Dallas Jenkins’ Book of Mormon response

Jenkins addressed the claim during a video live stream Tuesday where he was promoting a new trailer for the theatrical release of episodes 1 and 2 of the forthcoming Season 3.

The creator of “The Chosen” said around 99% of people “went crazy and loved it” the “I am the law of Moses” line while only a tiny percentage made a fuss.

“No. 1, it’s not a direct quote,” Jenkins said. “It wasn’t referring to the law of Moses in that quote. ... And I have never read the Book of Mormon, to be honest with you. I’ve read some of it. People will share with me. I read it when someone told me, ‘Hey, that’s from the Book of Mormon.’ I was like, ‘OK,’ and I went and looked it up.”

Jenkins continued: “It’s a cool line. So either way, it’s in the show because I believe it’s a really great line and I believe that it’s also theologically plausible. ... The point is God is over these things. Jesus is over these things. He is these things. He owns these things. They came from him. Jesus makes many ‘I am’ statements and is called the ‘Great I Am.’  So no, I didn’t pull this quote from anywhere else. ... It’s a theologically plausible line and, I believe, a cool, Jesus-as-king moment, and that’s it.”

Watch for Jenkins’ explanation of the Book of Mormon claim at the 36:30 mark of the video.

Thanks,

-Smac

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2 hours ago, smac97 said:

3 Nephi 15:9 states: "Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life."

Compare: "I am the law of Moses."

Someone had to work really hard to make that connection to the Book of Mormon.

In my experience, the average deep study Bible reading Christian (there are some of those that exist, I've been acquainted with a few) could have come up with the same thing on their own.  

Edit to add:  I suspect having Jesus say "I am the law of Moses" would be offensive to some Christians who see Jesus as freeing them completely from any kind of law (I know some Christians that believe there are no more laws at all).  So, there might be some motivation for people in that camp to find an "evil" source for such a statement.

Edited by InCognitus
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This reminds me of the confrontation between Christ and the Jews in John 8:

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56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 

57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 

58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. 

59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, tagriffy said:

Like I keep saying, the Evangelicals are not going to be happy until Catholics are burning on every stake and Mormons are hanging from every tree.

You are not wrong here. It isn't fully the case at all times but it the core of it never goes away.

It also reminds of an interesting condition where the more alike 2 religions are, the greater the animosity between them. When one is much larger and more powerful, the animosity mostly flows one way.

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How many angels can dance on a hair which the Evangelicals have split in order to distance themselves from us?

Edited by OGHoosier
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6 hours ago, tagriffy said:

Like I keep saying, the Evangelicals are not going to be happy until Catholics are burning on every stake and Mormons are hanging from every tree.

Navidad might point out the accurate label is Fundamentalist Christian.  
 

But I still think that is a way overstatement even limited to Fundamentalists. Converted to their version of Christianity, sure; eradicated through execution…I suspect a very small portion of Fundamentalists are that extreme. I know it was hyperbole, but I think it got taken too far. 

Edited by Calm
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47 minutes ago, Calm said:

Navidad might point out the accurate label is Fundamentalist Christian.  
 

But I still think that is a way overstatement even limited to Fundamentalists. Converted to their version of Christianity, sure; eradicated through execution…I suspect a very small portion of Fundamentalists are that extreme. I know it was hyperbole, but I think it got taken too far. 

You may be right about the more accurate label. Either way, if Christian dominionists have their way....

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“Jesus, if you do not renounce your words, we will have no choice but to follow the law of Moses,” the man says, implying that the Sanhedrin would pursue Jesus’ execution.

Jesus steps toward the man and replies, “I am the law of Moses.” 

Yeesh, this is terrible stuff. The Sanhedrin trial may well have been invented to begin with, but if it did happen, it was probably nothing to do with anything Jesus said. 

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9 hours ago, Calm said:

Navidad might point out the accurate label is Fundamentalist Christian.  

I'm still on the fence about this. On the cusp it feels (to me) like Navidad drew a line around poorly behaving Christians and defined the inside as fundamentalism. However, that unfairly ignores the supporting criteria he provided and how that criteria independently defines fundies.

What I have to counter is this. An overall issue with Protestantism is that it lacks an overtly clear doctrine that prohibits attacks other faiths. Now - that may also be unfair because most faiths seem to lack such a doctrine. There are also factors to consider. eg: histories of older faiths and the notion that smaller, persecuted faiths are more likely to be kinder faiths (to clarify why we have that doctrine).

I still think the absence of a clear, no-attack doctrine is a problem (a problem that endlessly evidences itself). And while I may know how to think about that, I've no idea how to change it.

Edited by Chum
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9 hours ago, Calm said:

But I still think that is a way overstatement even limited to Fundamentalists. Converted to their version of Christianity, sure; eradicated through execution…I suspect a very small portion of Fundamentalists are that extreme. I know it was hyperbole, but I think it got taken too far. 

I agree murder is an overstatement. One way mistreatment happens in the current day is discrimination (jobs, housing, associations). If the antagonists are powerful, they can craft laws that target the group. Typically those laws pretend to solve an issue with no meaningful presence (eg: like when naturalization docs added non-polygamy declarations).

Edited by Chum
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3 hours ago, Chum said:

I agree murder is an overstatement. One way mistreatment happens in the current day is discrimination (jobs, housing, associations). If the antagonists are powerful, they can craft laws that target the group. Typically those laws pretend to solve an issue with no meaningful presence (eg: like when naturalization docs added non-polygamy declarations).

Look at some of the laws about butchering animals that are specifically crafted to make kosher food preparation almost but not quite completely illegal.

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