- (Photo: REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi)
Sam's Club stores are no longer selling The Brick Bible: A New Spin on The Old Testament, which tells Bible stories through 1,400 images of toy Lego pieces, after “numerous concerns” were received about some of the book's content.
“Sam's Club received numerous concerns from our members and parents about the mature content in what is perceived as a children's book. Accordingly, Sam's Club made a business decision to discontinue sales,” a Sam's Club spokesperson told The Christian Post via email on Friday.
Although parents might have a problem with the book, its creator says he was only trying to be true to the Word.
“From the start, my goal was to create an illustrated Bible that stood out from all others – not just because it was illustrated in LEGO, but because I would be using only direct quotes of scripture to retell the stories just as the Bible tells them,” the book's illustrator, Brendan Powell Smith, told CP in an email.
“I also endeavored not to water down the stories or censor them for content. If it was in the Bible, my thinking was, it was worth illustrating,” he said. “That decision has meant, though, that not everyone considers The Brick Testament appropriate for all children, since the Bible is chock full of graphic violence throughout, and contains a few stories with sexual content.”
Although his website contains images of some suggestive material, Smith claims that his publisher, Skyhorse Publishing, agreed to remove any sexual illustrations from the book version “at the request of reps from Walmart/Sam's Club.” According to a report from CNET, however, a Sam's Club spokesperson said the company had no involvement in deciding the book's final content.
Smith said he first learned about the decision from his publisher, who had received the call from Sam's Club explaining their decision. He says he was only aware of one complaint at the time, which was expressed on the Sam's Club Facebook page, but the company says Facebook is only one of “multiple mediums” through which customers can express their opinions.
In 2001, Smith told the first six stories of the Book of Genesis as his first project, and today he says he has created over 400 Bible stories using the toy blocks and figures. Reading the Bible for the first time was “an eye-opening experience” for him, he says, and going to church and Sunday school didn't prepare him for much of what he read.
“I became convinced that even though the Bible is the best-selling book of all time, and even though many people believe it to be humanity's best moral guide, very few people ever actually bother to read it!” he exclaimed. “So from that point on, I had it in mind that it would be a good thing if I could think of a way to retell the stories of the Bible in a way that was fun and engaging, and yet still true to the scriptures. “
Although The Brick Bible, which is the fourth book in a series by Smith, contains some content parents might not deem suitable for their children, Smith says it should be up to parents to decide whether or not they will share the book with their children.
He is also now encouraging his supporters to express themselves on the Sam's Club Facebook page, a challenge which Facebook user Gordon Duffy accepted.
“I hear you are banning The Brick Testament for its offensive content but not the Bible which contains all the same content,” posted Duffy.
Most of the posts about the book on Amazon.com are positive too, though not everyone who wrote a review was pleased with its content.
“How very disappointing that such a creative idea was turned into such a sad display,” one person commented. “This book is not appropriate for children – or adults for that matter!”
At this time the book remains off the shelves, but Sam's Club says it is taking all customer feedback into consideration.
“While a decision to return the book to shelves has not been determined, we continue to engage concerned members in dialogue,” the company spokesperson said.