Growing numbers of Christian leaders and pastors are giving a thumbs up or a casual pass to The Chosen series; and the latest defense by Chosen creator Dallas Jenkins and many defenders of the series is—”It’s not produced by Mormons.” This seems to provide license for leaders and pastors and others to say “yes” to The Chosen. But they may not know all the facts.
In April of this year, CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) posted an article titled, “The Chosen Is Putting a Rumor to Rest: ‘We’re Not Produced by Mormons.'” That article states:
Critics of the viral TV series about the life of Jesus Christ titled The Chosen have been spreading rumors that the show is a Mormon production. Now the makers of The Chosen are putting that rumor to rest.
On April 26, the creators of the popular series addressed concerns in a Facebook post, making it clear that the series is not produced by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The post included a photo that has been making its way around social media with a message at the bottom saying, “This is not an anti-Christian show produced by Mormons. Be very careful about this show.”
With the off-handed threat (“be very careful about this show) that you better not criticize or challenge The Chosen, producers and creators of The Chosen have worked feverishly hard to neutralize and vilify critics and challenges. As we reported earlier, they even created a scheme of vandalizing their own promotional billboards (making it look like crazy, hateful critics did it). Executive Producer and CEO of The Chosen, Derral Eves refers to critics as “nonbelievers” and “haters” (YouTube Formula, p. 260).
Regarding the newest defense effort—”not produced by Mormons”—it is inarguable that the series is heavily influenced, financed, advertised, promoted, supervised, inspired—and produced by practicing Mormons. Thus, it is misleading, evasive, and wrong to say it is “not produced by Mormons” because that is purporting that Mormons have nothing to do with the creation and production of The Chosen.
While The Chosen may not appear to be a “Mormon production,” this series could not have been created, produced, promoted, and distributed without significant involvement from Mormons (who, by the way, are major shareholders (owners) of The Chosen, LLC).
In his 2021 book, The YouTube Formula: How Anyone Can Unlock the Algorithm to Drive Views, Build an Audience, and Grow Revenue, practicing Mormon and Chosen’s Executive Producer, Derral Eves, openly admits his vital production role in the creation of The Chosen. He states:
Recon and research can provide the perfect storm when it comes to finding your community and getting your content out to the world. . . . Jeffrey Harmon [also a Mormon] and I wanted to create a TV series about the life of Jesus Christ that appealed to the evangelical community . . . Jeffrey introduced me to a creator named Dallas Jenkins who later became my partner and the writer and director of the series about Jesus Christ called The Chosen.
It took me two years to convince Dallas [Jenkins] to fully embrace becoming the “influencer” face of our project, and that’s when everything changed. People identified with him and his passion, personality, and authenticity. When we went live on The Chosen YouTube channel, Dallas started speaking to our avatar . . . and suggested our content to them. . . .
The essence here is that the more you understand and relate to your audience and create content for them, the more YouTube will connect the dots and feed them their preferred flavor of ice cream, so to speak. Maybe it’s the unicorn‐poop‐flavored kind, or maybe it’s the Jesus kind. Our recon and research made it possible for us to form a community of people who loved and distributed our message and content. (emphasis added; p. 150-152, Wiley, Kindle Edition)
Our team has been extremely meticulous when it comes to The Chosen’s storyline. We want to tell the life of Jesus Christ as it is found in the gospels of the Bible, but we also refer to historical works and scholars and to leaders and scholars from many different religions. (emphasis added; YouTube Formula, pp. 260-261)
In his book, Eves discusses his working relationship with Dallas Jenkins in what he refers to as a shared “vision,” “solitary goal,” “passion,” “content,” and “message...”:
It simply cannot be denied that The Chosen is an inter-religious ecumenical project, with Mormons being at the helm of its creation, marketing, and production. And the implications of this cannot be ignored—The Mormon’s Jesus is a false christ. According to Dallas Jenkins, The Chosen’s Jesus is the same Jesus as the Mormon’s Jesus. In short, The Chosen’s Jesus is not an authentic Jesus. He is largely the product of Mormon creators, marketers, and producers—He is a false christ.
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (Matthew:24:5)