Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2010, December 8

Critique of the LDS/ Mormon Movie ‘The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd'” by grego

Critique of the LDS/ Mormon Movie ‘The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd'”

(c)2007; published 2010 here

Years ago, I had heard about a movie about Christ that would replace Legacy in the Temple Square Visitor Center. I thought it was going to be something really different.

It was, but not in *that* sense. I thought it would be much more “spiritual”, more moving, etc. Is it worthy of being compared to Legacy? I don’t know about that…

The movie is “The Testaments (of One Fold and One Shepherd)”. The release date was March 2000.

I was… surprised. When I first saw it seven years after its release, I thought it was that horrible Book of Mormon film everyone was talking about, or the one that was bad, but not horrible. But then I remembered that those movies were about Nephi, not the coming of Christ.

So, seeing it being shown in the distribution center, I figured it must have been an official Church film. Yeah, it was.

It looked so… corny. Fake. Weird. Even worse. The acting would never win an Oscar. It looked like everyone was covered in soot the whole time. The conversation was… interesting. It reminded me of a road show-type production. Or maybe like a Hollywood/ Jehovah Witness/ Evangelical production, with the LDS story and Spirit.

However, overall, at the same time, the movie was… kind of cool.

From the man who played Christ:
“When I finally came to the studio in Provo for the screen test, I was interviewed by Elder Neil L. Andersen. Two of the questions he asked me were, ‘Have you ever been naked on stage’? and ‘Have you ever been involved in something with heavy homosexuality’?”
Learning from past mistakes, I guess? Anyway, I still think that was a great Joseph Smith in Legacy!

The setting—“somewhere in the Americas”—seems to be a Mayan setting (complete with scriptures in glyphs!). Someone was obviously not thinking New York, or Northern Hemisphere model… Zarahemla city square, judgment seat, villages, etc. And wow! There was even a wheel-less chariot! (I don’t know what would have been so hard about putting a horse or two in the caravan, though…)

I researched a little, and found that a completed script—with a little wiggle room—had been prepared by a committee and handed to the director. Other statements by the director led me to believe that perhaps there was more than just a little wiggle room, though–perhaps even very liberal artistic license. Whichever way, it seems the whole thing was approved.

Having the entire Book of Mormon to work with, and a plethora of scripture about Christ in it, I had imagined a story with a lot more about scripture, prophecy over time, etc. But there was very little of that other than a few scripture readings—about things that happened right before Christ appeared.

And that was what shocked me. I wondered if perhaps this movie was meant more for the members, than for the non-member visitors.

The story centered quite a bit on a “NEW WORLD ORDER”. The “Gadianton robbers” or “secret combination” “The brotherhood” came up a few times. There is talk by the really bad guys about “the times are a changing, the old ways are crumbling, we need a king,” etc.

Wow! A Temple Square movie centered on the most ancient conspiracy, the one that proved the overthrow of both the Jaredite and Nephite nations, and the most threatening one right now!! Related to our times! And I didn’t even know it for over seven years!


  1. I thought the movie was wonderful. When my wife and I saw the movie there wasn’t a dry eye in the Conference Center theater. Were you expecting Brad Pitt as Jesus? Or Angelina Jole as his mother?

    Comment by Ron Benedict — 2012, June 8 @ 11:25 pm

  2. No.
    I likely would have liked it less.

    Comment by grego — 2012, June 10 @ 11:34 am

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