‘The Chosen’ Director to Speak at Utah State University – Cache Valley Daily

Dallas Jenkins on set while filming The Chosen.

LOGAN – Utah State University will host Dallas Jenkins, creator and director of ‘The Chosen.’ The free event will take place Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Russell/Wanlass Performance Hall.

Patrick Mason, Leonard J. Arrington Professor of Mormon History and Culture, will host a discussion with Jenkins about how the free show that depicts the life of Jesus Christ became so popular. He said the event is a collaboration between the Arrington Lecture Series, the Religious Studies Program, and the Logan LDS Institute of Religion.

“It’s because of the impact of The Chosen,” Mason said. “The popularity he has had with all kinds of people in the state of Utah, Latter-day Saints and people of other faiths. In fact, some of the supporters of our religious studies program have asked us to bring Dallas Jenkins to campus as someone who crosses and bridges these traditional divides. We reached out to him and his people, and it worked. We are really excited.

“The Chosen” began airing in 2017 and released two out of seven planned seasons. It depicts New Testament stories through the lives of the characters involved. The show is hugely popular among evangelical, Latter-day Saint, and Catholic audiences, among others.

Mason said the series has been quite a brave undertaking, trying to put words in the mouths of Jesus, not to mention the apostles, Mary Magdalene and everyone around her. However, providing a take on some of the human interest stories was what appealed to viewers the most.

“The New Testament Gospels as originally written are meant to be human stories, especially the Gospels of Mark and Luke. They are full of great human stories that I sometimes think are loses sight, especially in the translation and things like that. In a lot of ways, I think with this series, Jenkins captured the spirit or the ethos of those early gospels as they were written.

Jenkins is expected to talk about the birth of “The Chosen” and how it is one of the biggest crowd-funded media projects to date. There will also be a Q&A section where members of the public can submit questions.

Mason said many religions often disagree with each other over their respective beliefs and understandings of Jesus Christ. However, Jenkins, who describes himself as an evangelical Christian raised by Baptists, partnered with a production company operated by Latter-day Saints to distribute “The Chosen” and bridged some of those religious divides.

“That’s one of the things we’re going to talk about, some of Jenkins’ misconceptions about Latter-day Saints that were cleared up while he was working alongside them to produce this series. He was actually criticized by some members of his own community because of this close partnership with the Latter-day Saints.This relationship has not always been warm between the two communities.

A large and diverse audience is expected for Wednesday evening’s event. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. It will also be streamed live on the event webpage.

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