Dallas Jenkins, the creator of the most successfully crowdfunded series of all time, “The Chosen,” said he's setting the record straight for the last time on the matter of whether he believes Mormons are Christians.
Throughout the years, Jenkins has mentioned that he has friends who belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS church), among them being the brothers who launched Angel Studios, the streaming platform behind “The Chosen." However, Jenkins, the son of Jerry B. Jenkins, the writer behind the bestselling Left Behind franchise, has repeatedly said the studio owners' beliefs have nothing to do with the content in the series.
In a video posted on YouTube Thursday, Jenkins addressed various rumors about his views concerning Mormonism and its connection to “The Chosen,” a popular multi-season series about the life of Jesus Christ that has been viewed nearly 400 million times worldwide.
“I probably need to add a little clarification to the LDS question when it comes to ‘The Chosen,’” Jenkins said at the top of his video. “The reason that I want to give this statement, or this comment, and have it be my final comment on the matter is because I've given dozens and dozens of comments about it that seemed to be unfortunately ignored by several people.”
The filmmaker then shared questions he's been asked to respond to based on news articles that claimed such things as, "Dallas Jenkins says Mormons, LDS and Evangelicals love the same Jesus" and "LDS are Christians.”
"Is it true that I said that? The answer is no, I did not,” Jenkins said, adding that some of his past comments on this topic need more nuance and could have been misinterpreted.
"I think we can agree that words matter, nuance matters, and I probably could have given more context and clarity,” he said. “I've done hundreds and hundreds of interviews and written thousands of things about my faith and about the faith of others, and I try very hard to be nuanced. I try very hard to be cautious and wise and clarify every word that I use, but I don't always succeed. I think it's fair to say that this is one where I don't take back what I said, but I could have given it a little bit more clarity.”
"I think it's also true that it would be a problem if I actually said those words definitively,” Jenkins added. “That would be a problem, and here's why: Not because there aren't LDS folks who aren't Christians and not because there aren't LDS and Evangelicals who love the same Jesus, but because it would be wrong of me to ever say that any one group believes any one thing altogether. That is just a level of arrogance that I don't have.”
Jenkins assured that people who make blanket statements cause problems because of the labels that are assigned to groups overall.
"It would be just as dumb for me to say that all LDS are Christians as it would be to say that all Evangelicals are Christians or that all Catholics are Christians or any other faith tradition,” he continued. “It would also be dumb of me to say that none are! That's also a level of arrogance that I don't possess.”
"When I've talked about my brothers and sisters in Christ, and when I talked about those LDS folks that I know who loved the same Jesus I do, I'm referring to some of the friends that I have who identify as LDS who I've gotten to know very deeply over the last few years, in particular. And I've had hundreds of hours of conversations with [them], and I stand by the statement that those friends of mine that I'm referring to absolutely love the same Jesus that I do,” he said.
"You may still go, 'Well, that can't be true,' and that's your right to think that,” Jenkins added. “But it's not fair to say, 'Oh, then you are now speaking about everybody.' I know plenty of Evangelicals who I would say don't know the same Jesus that I do and don't love the same Jesus that I do.”
The series writer and creator maintained that he has Mormon friends who believe in “Jesus of Nazareth, the Jesus of the Gospels, the Jesus that I’m portraying in the show, and I do believe and do stand by that statement.”
Jenkins further stressed that he alone is responsible for the content in “The Chosen” and is inspired by the Bible.
"I've said many times the content of the show has zero influence or input from any form of faith tradition or church. None,” he added.
Jenkins continued: "I'm a conservative Evangelical. I believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. I believe in the supremacy of God's Word. I believe in the Holy Trinity. I believe in God the Father, the Son of God, the Holy Spirit, and believe that Jesus is the Son of God and all of the core tenants of Scripture.”
The father of four said he has dedicated his life to study the Scriptures above anything else.
"I believe [that is] my job in my personal life. I believe that is your job as well, to get to know the authentic Jesus and the real Jesus as much as humanly possible,” Jenkins said. “When it comes to the content of the show, it's not my job in the show or outside of the show to try to give you all of the different versions of Jesus, or the wrong things that people say about Him. It's my job, both as a believer and as the creator of a show that is being seen by so many, to try to get that right, to try to portray Jesus accurately. Particularly also in our Bible studies and our devotional books, and our kids' books. We have tons of material that we're putting out; it's very important to get that right.”
Jenkins also encouraged viewers not to substitute the show for reading the Bible for themselves or attending their local church for discipleship and Bible study.
In an earlier interview with Ruslan KD, Jenkins assured viewers that “The Chosen” did not receive any funding from Angel Studios or any religious organization. He maintained that while Angel Studios employs people who are Mormon, the company is only a "distribution partner," and "they don't actually fund it," he said.
Jeannie Ortega Law is a reporter for The Christian Post. Reach her at: firstname.lastname@example.org She's also the author of the book, What Is Happening to Me? How to Defeat Your Unseen Enemy Follow her on Twitter: @jlawcp Facebook: JeannieOMusic