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Season 5 of the Book of Mormon Videos has the ‘ultimate benefit’ of bringing people to Christ


In coming weeks, film crews will conclude shooting the fifth and final season of the Book of Mormon Videos. This conclusion also aligns with the upcoming release of the videos’ fourth season.

Friday morning, Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visited the current set at the Motion Picture Studio in Provo, Utah, to meet with some of the cast and crew of season five.

“The Book of Mormon itself, and the Book of Mormon Videos are produced with the express purpose of bringing people closer to their Lord Jesus Christ,” Elder Rasband said in an interview on the set.

“It’s just so wonderful. My spirit is elevated,” he said, speaking of watching the videos. “I feel closer to the Savior, and I’m one of His witnesses and one of His servants. And so, whether you’re my 4-year-old grandchild or you’re an Apostle in the Church, these videos bring you closer to Jesus Christ.”

Elder Rasband said he remembers taking in the first draft episodes of the Book of Mormon Videos to the First Presidency for their review. They gave direction then that has guided all five seasons of the videos.

“I remember us going to the their office and presenting a couple of the early scenes in 1 Nephi and the First Presidency saying: ‘Let’s stress more the words of the prophets and the words actually found in the scriptures. Let’s focus more on the words of the scriptures themselves.’ And that theme happily has continued through all of the segments.”

“It’s just good material. It’s good material for families of all faiths,” Elder Rasband said of the videos. “And it has the great ultimate benefit that it brings people closer to their Savior and Heavenly Father.”

On the other hand, Sister J. Anette Dennis, who will begin her new role as the first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency in August, had her first opportunity Friday, June 17, to be on the set of the Book of Mormon Videos.

Stripling warriors walk to the set during the final filming season of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ production of the Book of Mormon videos at the Motion Picture Studios South in Provo on Friday, June 17, 2022.

Stripling warriors walk to the set during the final filming season of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ production of the Book of Mormon videos at the Motion Picture Studios South in Provo on Friday, June 17, 2022.

Credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News

“It’s surreal. It was just an amazing thing …,” she said. “The Spirit on this set is just incredible.”

Sister Dennis said she hopes the Book of Mormon Videos help sisters in the Church see themselves in important roles in the scriptures and in their own lives.

“I think it really does help the women see themselves as what our Heavenly Father hopes women see themselves as in those roles — that we are an integral part of this work and that we can see ourselves in those roles in the Book of Mormon,” she said.

Making it personal

The work that goes into the hair, makeup and costumes takes a lot of time and patience — especially on a 100-degree day while working with hundreds of cast and background actors.

Ramona Wolfgramm was one of many who were helping with hair on Friday as some of the actors portraying the 2,000 Stripling Warriors prepared for a scene.

She said one of the ways her team likes to help the actors have a personal tie to the role they play is to ask them about their own ancestors to hopefully incorporate hairstyles from the actors’ culture or heritage.

“I feel like we get to know them more on a personal level,” she said. “There have been people that have come from different countries on their own dime, and they really want to be a part of this experience.”

Wolfgramm’s emotions were close to the surface as she talked about the personal relationships her team creates with the actors to help them be deeply invested in their acting roles.

“It strengthened my own testimony by seeing how much faith they have and by getting to know them.”

The cast and crew aren’t the only ones working together to help the project be successful. The different departments of the Church have had opportunities to work with each other and counsel about the series.

Elder LeGrand R. Curtis Jr., a General Authority Seventy, Church historian and executive director of the Church History Department, chairs the steering committee that oversees the Book of Mormon Videos project.

On Friday, Elder Curtis was joined by Elder Kevin S. Hamilton, executive director of the Family History Department; Elder Jeremy R. Jaggi, General Authority Seventy and chairman of the Scriptures Committee in the Priesthood and Family Department; and Elder Michael A. Dunn, General Authority Seventy.

While the past four years have been full of faith-promoting experiences, Elder Curtis said one of the best involved studying the scriptures in counsel with the project’s steering committee.

“One of the real highlights for me was to sit at the table with my brothers and sisters and talk about the script with our copies of the Book of Mormon open,” he said. “It was terrific scripture study, and that flowed into the way we filmed the episodes.”

“I love the Book of Mormon,” Elder Curtis said softly as he composed his thoughts. “I love being able to have this set of videos to help draw people into the book so that they can feel the power of the Spirit that flows from reading the Book of Mormon.”

Chris Ah Sue portrays Helaman in the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ production of the Book of Mormon videos at the Motion Picture Studios South in Provo on Friday, June 17, 2022.

Chris Ah Sue portrays Helaman in the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ production of the Book of Mormon videos at the Motion Picture Studios South in Provo on Friday, June 17, 2022.

Credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Season five

The 11 episodes of the fifth season of the videos will include some stories that weren’t shot in sequential order with the previous four seasons. It will go backward to include episodes featuring the stories of Captain Moroni and the Title of Liberty, Helaman and the 2,000 Stripling Warriors, Samuel the Lamanite and the Brother of Jared.

Chris Ah Sue, originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, will act in the role of Helaman in some of this season’s episodes. He said he has learned a lot about Helaman and having faith in Jesus Christ by participating in this project.

“I think Helaman was kind of like a cool Young Men leader or seminary teacher,” he said.

But remembering Helaman as a cool leader isn’t the main goal, Ah Sue said. When young men watch Helaman in the videos, he wants them to learn an important priority.

“I would hope that they get that faith comes first,” he said. He shared that the young men Helaman led weren’t originally part of an army. They hadn’t been trained for that role.

“They obeyed what the Lord said to do, and they were blessed because of it,” he said. “I would hope they see themselves in these young men.”

The Book of Mormon Videos project followed on the heels of the Church’s successful Bible Videos project.

Bill Elliott, media director for the Church’s Priesthood and Family Department, has been involved with the Book of Mormon Videos from the very beginning — in both concept and execution.

“We looked at every conference talk for the last 50 years and wanted to see which scriptures from the Book of Mormon were quoted the most,” he said. That was just one part of the research done before any casting, scripting or approvals had taken place.

“But my own feeling has always been that this is not about replacing the scriptures,” Elliott said. “This is a springboard to study the scriptures. If you like the video, go read the book. It’s awesome.”

Elliott knows something about big productions. He worked with NBC for 23 years before taking a role at the Church. The differences between working with Hollywood stars and the team producing the Book of Mormon Videos is evident at the beginning of each day, he said.

“Before we start … every day starts with a word of prayer,” Elliott said. “And when you see [the cast and crew] praying and thanking God that they have a chance to work on a product like this — that brings the Spirit and testifies of Jesus Christ – it makes you realize that you’re working with something special.”

Director Adam Anderegg speaks with actors during the final filming season of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ production of the Book of Mormon videos at the Motion Picture Studios South in Provo on Friday, June 17, 2022.

Director Adam Anderegg speaks with actors during the final filming season of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ production of the Book of Mormon videos at the Motion Picture Studios South in Provo on Friday, June 17, 2022.

Credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Season four

The first assistant director on set Friday was Jason Allred. Allred has been involved with the Book of Mormon Videos from the beginning. He plays a big role in the organizing and planning of the filming and helps keep production on schedule. But he said that personally, this project has helped build his testimony.

He said that when shooting the 10 episodes of season four in 2021, “with Christ coming to the Americas was a life-changing experience to watch it actually happen.”

He said he also worked on the scenes that depicted the crucifixion of Jesus and Nephi’s interpretation of Lehi’s dream.

“It’s never easy because you put yourself there,” he said. “You put yourself as part of the people experiencing those stories, and that deepens your testimony of the Savior, it deepens your testimony of the Book of Mormon and the prophets.”

Elliott said one of his favorite parts of the series came in season four when the Savior healed a young blind girl.

The actress had to wear contacts that made her eyes have a milky, foggy appearance. Consequently, she had a hard time seeing where she needed to be on the set for her part of the scene.

She couldn’t see her mark — the location where she needed to stop after walking into the scene. But, Elliott said, when the actor portraying the Savior took his place, the circumstance changed.

“She said, ‘This is my mark. I can see Him,’” Elliott remembered. “And that became kind of our theme for last summer — Jesus is my mark. That is who we’re looking for.”

While that actress’s blindness was a part of her role, the miracles she experienced were no less real, Elliott said.

“Her sister was at home in the hospital, gravely ill,” he said. “And the whole cast and crew fasted and prayed for her sister, and she has survived and miraculously come through that illness. I think that’s one of the highlights for me.”

Connecting with people

The videos released as a part of this project have helped many who are familiar with the Book of Mormon to have a different perspective on its stories and purpose. But many individuals who haven’t been familiar with it have also been drawn to the Savior through them, Elder Hamilton said.

“There are a lot of people out there — millions of people — that are trying to figure it out,” he said. “They’re searching for truth. They’re searching for connection.

“They’re trying to understand their place in their family, and their family’s place in God’s family. All of this is a basic human need where people want to connect, and the Book of Mormon is really that connection. This is how people connect to God.”

Elder Jaggi added to that point the fact that the Book of Mormon can help provide answers or paths to answers about the common situations of mortality.

“There is virtually no problem, no grief, no pain, no burden that has not been accounted for in scripture, including in the Book of Mormon,” he said. “And if that’s the case, let’s get in it, let’s relate to it, let’s liken it.”

Standing in the hair and wardrobe area, surrounded by young men getting the final touchups finished on their hair, and their tunics straightened and their belts cinched, Elder Jaggi’s desire for them to find strength through the Book of Mormon was made clear.

“Look at those baby faces. Look how young they are,” he said. “They’re the ones in battles spiritually right now.”

An actor gets prepped in the makeup and costume room during the final filming season of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ production of the Book of Mormon videos at the Motion Picture Studios South in Provo on Friday, June 17, 2022.

An actor gets prepped in the makeup and costume room during the final filming season of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ production of the Book of Mormon videos at the Motion Picture Studios South in Provo on Friday, June 17, 2022.

Credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News

As youth go through those battles, Elder Jaggi said he hopes they will find someone to emulate through studying the scriptures and from studying their Church leaders. Speaking about young women, specifically, he said he hopes they see the strength of current sisters in leadership roles in the Church.

“Look at the modern-day heroes in President Camille Johnson and President Bonnie Cordon and now President [Susan H.] Porter, the new Primary president. … They are like Ruth and Hannah and Naomi and Abish. I see them alive, now.”

Then, Elder Jaggi concluded, “These general presidents are as powerful and strong as any scriptural character.”

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