Frequently Asked Questions
Should I pledge to this campaign when there are so many natural disaster relief efforts that need funds too?
We are sharing our latest update (9-8-17), with an added note:
"Before we get into this update we want to take a moment to express our thoughts on those affected by the recent and ongoing natural disasters. We are heartbroken for those suffering from these events. Please know, we had no intention of 'competing' with two major hurricanes (earthquakes) and multiple wild fires throughout the USA (and the world) during our campaign. By way of disclosure, we actually petitioned Kickstarter to allow an exception for us to donate some of our proceeds to the relief efforts but our petition was denied.
We sincerely thank ALL of you for believing in this film enough to pledge your hearts out even with so many worthy causes to support. Unfortunately, there are no mulligans with Kickstarter. For our part, we launched a 30 day campaign on August 14th with the intent to finish it, just as we will make our concept short with the intent to leverage it into the full feature. In this light, we stand by the import of this undertaking. We are most honored for those pledges we have received and those we will yet receive to surpass our goal and beyond."
We add, if this were just "another movie" we would sympathize even further with efforts to pass on pledging to our campaign for other worthy and important needs at this time. We noticed on the profile picture, of one supporter that raised this concern, the large words "GO COUGS". With no wish of creating strife with anyone, we ask as respectfully as we can, how is inviting support of a college football team during this time of disaster any more appropriate than us finishing a campaign which, when we started, we had no idea of the natural adversarial rage that would transpire thereafter? A another angle to consider, David Bednar said as President of BYU-I in 1998 (we were there), said, "There's no such thing as coincidence in the life of a righteous person." Certainly there is also no such thing as coincidence in "the endeavor of (and any events that transpire against) a righteous cause". Our film aims to take The Book of Mormon to a worldwide (global, as Spencer W. Kimball said) audience for the first time in history. A film that seeks to "flood the earth" (as Ezra Taft Benson said on so many occasions) with the epic stories from 4th Most Influential Book in America-- the 5th Best Selling Book of all time. We are doing this bold and independent, without reservation or timidity toward the "marvelous work and a wonder" that our film is based upon. Walking away from this campaign because of natural disasters that have caused such great need (after we launched) is not a wise or expected course of action. We do not believe (as Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities have ridiculously insinuated) that these natural disasters are some sort of punishment on people, but I do believe absolutely it is not coincidence they have all occurred right when we happen to have launched a first-time cinematic effort to ignite a worldwide Spirit of Freedom, as found in The Book of Mormon. We have expressed our gratitude for everyone's support and we will continue to do so. We have given what we can personally to the relief efforts and we continue to do so. Thank you for your concern and ongoing support for this worthy endeavor.Last updated:
Selling a home of 8 years and giving everything to pursue an endeavor (especially when there is no guarantee of reaching full funding) certainly reveals much about a one’s commitment and motives. Darin and his wife, Michelle, are in this together as well as the many who have lent their talents to the project thus far. The producers are committed to making nothing less than a worldwide blockbuster film based on the 4th “Most Influential Book in America”. Our motives are simple: Flood the earth with the coolest (action-packed and inspirational) stories the world has ever seen, as taken from the Book of Mormon.
Here's another answer (this is Darin BTW): I have had a burning unquenchable desire to make Captain Moroni's story into a blockbuster film for as long as I can remember. I'm a lifelong fan of the Book of Mormon and particularly this story.Last updated:
Absolutely! If you are a freedom-loving patriot of liberty, you will support making this movie. It’d be the “Christian” thing to do ;). Of course, as Christians, we read many books about Christ that are not the Bible. C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity”, Sarah Young’s “Jesus Calling”, or Max Lucado’s “Fearless”, for example, are excellent Christian choices. But these books may be (and often are) written by pastors from Church denominations other than your own. Does this mean you up and change your Church just because you read a book from a different denomination? Of course not. Most people have no idea; there are 3,925 references to Jesus Christ in The Book of Mormon (that’s once every 1.7 verses). It is one of the most Christ-soaked books on the planet. This is why the book affirms itself as “Another Testament of Jesus Christ”. But here’s the thing, if you’re not Mormon, the book is just another book about Jesus. Whether in a different religion or in no religion at all, you should still support this epic film. Reign of Judges: Title of Liberty is really just an action-packed entertaining story about the blood cost price of LIBERTY that is soaked in the Spirit of Freedom. A period action film that follows a people who fled Jerusalem to declare independence from from the oppressive king Zedekiah. These are themes ALL people can relate to and find common ground with. If you want to know something really interesting, the man our story centers around, Captain Moroni, actually coined the phrase “Christian” in 73 BC—think of it, they had such faith in Christ they took upon themselves His name, even before He became flesh on earth. “And thus (Moroni) was preparing to support their liberty, their lands, their wives, and their children, and their peace, and that they might live unto the Lord their God, and that they might maintain that which was called by their enemies the cause of Christians. And therefore, at this time, Moroni prayed that the cause of the Christians, and the freedom of the land might be favored.” Please, especially if you are Christian, give a pledge that represents your love of liberty, peace, and freedom that Christ affords His children. You won’t regret it!Last updated:
We appreciate the concern expressed with this question and realize it is a sensitive matter. First, we have to be honest with ourselves about the book this film is based on and what the historian General, Mormon, chose to put in it. As with Passion of The Christ, for example, portrayed authentically sometimes means an “R” rating. The realities of warfare and fighting for freedom actually make up the majority of the Book of Mormon, juxtaposed to the fact there are also nearly 4,000 mentions of Christ throughout the record. Obviously, the historian General Mormon saw great parallels in their warfare with following (or not following) God and this is why he chose to include them in such raw detail. It has long been said by many, if an authentic movie was made about the Book of Mormon it would have to be rated “R” and this is the truth if it truly showed what is written, particularly about the brutality of warfare. However, there is a choice in filmmaking to focus on gore rather than on the reasons for the conflict. We are choosing the latter. The warfare in Reign of Judges: Title of Liberty will be real and authentic-- nothing will be watered down, but it will not be distractingly gory. The focus will remain on the struggle of good vs evil, freedom or captivity. We are aiming for a “PG-13” rating in the USA.Last updated:
My goodness, YES. The filmmaking business, as with any business, is all about how many people we can employ who will lend their talents to the project and distribute (delegate) the intense load of production. If too few people are doing too many things, detail is lost. It is no stretch that Darin and his wife, Michelle, have personally invested more time and money into this project than is represented by our minimum goal. Moroni’s armor alone costs more than some people make in a year. The armor for an army is extremely costly, the visual effects are extremely costly, the costumes, actors, food, transportation, room and board, etc. It is a massive (miraculous) coordination of effort to make a movie and only those who have done it know how hard it is to do right. JJ Abrams was completely spent after The Force Awakens. Peter Jackson nearly disappeared with all the weight he lost filming the Lord of The Rings. Filmmaking is tough. But the more funds are available the more the load is eased and the better the resulting product. It’s also a lot more FUN to make movie magic when we have magical resources to make that magic!Last updated:
The official Mormon Church cannot officially endorse an independent film. They obviously know about our project and have not objected to what we are doing. The creator of the film, Darin Southam, has appeared in at least 7 official Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) productions. He has also produced 2 “Mormon Messages” (as an independently contracted production company) for the Official Mormon Church campaign. Darin’s first “Mormon Message,” "Saving Your Marriage", was the fasted-approved message in the history of the campaign at the time it was delivered, being approved by all authorities in less than 48 hours. Darin is well familiar with Mormon Church production processes, talent, and workflows and is quite certain (though it cannot be official) that the leaders of the Mormon Church are enthusiastically hoping this bold endeavor is successful. Indeed, Mormon Church Doctrine states “Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness (D&C 58:27).” One definition of the word anxious means “Wanting something very much, typically with a feeling of unease.” Darin has wanted this story portrayed in worldwide theaters since he was a young boy. With the exception of finding the love of his life and having a family, he has never wanted anything more anxiously in his entire existence. We believe there’s a good reason why the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon Church) has not, and we believe will not, make a Book of Mormon war epic. A Book of Mormon war epic produced under the official banner of the Mormon Church would not, in our opinion, be able to reach the masses. The Church is a non-profit organization with layers upon layers of approval. Stated plainly, they’re not in the business of worldwide blockbuster filmmaking. The church is, in fact, currently in production with some Book of Mormon vignettes for a new Book of Mormon Audio Visual library, like the Bible videos they did recently. These will likely not reach many who are outside the Mormon Church, and almost certainly won’t reach the masses. The Book of Mormon is a universally read book by religious and irreligious alike. Our film is about a hero who lived 2000 years ago and rallied his people to the call of freedom to save a dwindling nation. The Mormon church espouses a doctrine of inclusion. The epic stories from The Book of Mormon were intended for the masses and they won't reach the masses unless the film is done independently. The stories must be portrayed in a way the world can understand-- EPIC and with the a necessary allowance of creative freedom. We imagine, if nothing else, the official Mormon Church might respond something like they did to "Book of Mormon Musical" when they took out full page ads in their programs that stated simply, "You've seen the play... now read the book."Last updated:
Our specific locations have not been chosen yet. There is much to consider, including budget and the time of year we are filming. Locations are chosen once the script is locked and we begin pre-production. There is much speculation as to where Book of Mormon events took place. We’re also not naive that some think they didn’t take place at all. The focus of our film is not to convince every scientific inquirer of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. Our purpose is to deliver an action-packed experience filled with love, epic conflict, and freedom guaranteed to be riveting. Does anyone really care that they didn’t use kilts in the time Braveheart took place? The Book of Mormon was not intended as a geography book. We’ve made strong historical choices that reflect what we know today and create the feeling of an ancient world. You’re gonna love it!Last updated:
No. One of our consulting producers is a born-again Christian and he is thrilled about this project. In fact, nearly all of the Hollywood professionals we’ve consulted, believe it or not, have been very supportive of (and genuinely intrigued with) what we are doing. Yes, the writer/actor Darin Southam, is an active Mormon who has made a lifelong study of the Book of Mormon and an enthusiastic fan of Captain Moroni. We feel it extremely important to have, as one of our producers, someone deeply familiar with and passionate about the record our film is based on. Mark Burnett is Catholic and produced Son of God—and he did a masterful job doing so.Last updated:
No. He is said to have translated it from ancient gold plates, which he discovered (through the help of a Heavenly Messenger) in a buried concrete depository located in modern day Palmyra NY. One cannot allege Joseph Smith wrote (or invented) the Book of Mormon without, at the same time, giving him much unintended credit. Joseph Smith received only 3 years of formal education. To say that he invented 531 pages of text, teeming with literary and Semitic complexity, without honestly attempting to account for the origin of those pages, is akin to saying Joseph Smith was a prodigy unlike any we’ve ever seen. To put it another way, “I cannot understand how any intelligent (person) could think that anyone without the help of the Lord could have produced the Book of Mormon.” - Heber J. GrantLast updated:
No, unless it is from two separate accounts. This is why it is important to pledge as much as you possibly can! You can, however, increase your pledge after you have made one, any time before the campaign closes and we would encourage you to do so if you are able.Last updated:
First, I think it best to acknowledge nobody really knows what either people looked like. Everything we have put into our film is derived directly from the record itself (The Book of Mormon). This includes the necessary creative liberties that have been taken to fill story gaps and details. Sadly, much of what people believe about what these people looked like anciently and where it all took place is derived from outside of the record (from "Scholarly" sources), lending itself speculative at best. Moreover, embracing the temptation to view these events through modern political vernaculars would also be detrimental to their authenticity. It is important to note, the official LDS Church does not have an official position on what the Nephites looked like, nor where it all took place. To get caught up in these matters would be foolish and exactly the kind of distraction our opposition would love to create. And certainly to withhold support based on such opinions would be an even greater advantage to our opposition.
That said, here is what we do know. There was a lot of mixing between the Nephites and Lamanites throughout their 1000 year cohabitation in the New World. At times, the Lamanites were "more righteous" than the Nephites and visa versa. As far as the way they looked and skin color, the prophet, Nephi the first (in The Book of Mormon), saw in vision the "Gentiles" taking possession of what is now America. We do know the Gentiles, or the people who established America, essentially looked (and still do look) like Europeans. We can readily observe this even today.
Nephi said of his vision:
"And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles, and they did prosper and obtain the land (the land that Nephi also possessed with his people) for their inheritance; and I beheld that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people before they were slain." 1 Nephi 13:15
Here we have Nephi describing the Gentiles in great detail and then giving us the astonishing link directly to his people by saying the Gentiles looked "like... my people before they were slain."
There are three critical points to consider in this vision.
1. If Nephi was a prophet we must believe he had this vision and he meant what he said. His words should not have projections placed on them to mean anything other than what he wrote, even if it doesn't fit modern political vernaculars.
2. Nephi himself professed to be one who "(gloried) in plainness" and therefore his words must be taken plainly to mean exactly what they were intended to mean. White means white, fair means fair, and beautiful means beautiful. We also know that Lehi (Nephi's father) and their families came from Jerusalem so that means they were white and fair Hebrews, essentially.
3. Nephi says, very importantly, that the Gentiles looked like his people "BEFORE they were slain". The Native Americans found in America when the Gentiles drove them off the land, as was prophesied would take place in The Book of Mormon itself, were not the way the Nephites looked. There was nearly 1400 years of wars, conflict, decivilization, and degeneration that took place among the Lamanites after they had destroyed the Nephites off the face of the land; so even the Lamanites in Nephi's time likely looked very different from those found here at the time of Columbus and the early explorers.
The Lamanites were described many times as having a darker skin color, shaved heads, and fighting in loincloths. So that gives us a pretty good picture.
That said, again, there was much mixing so there would have been Lamanites who had joined the Nephites and visa versa. Usually the white Nephites who dissented to the Lamanites did so for political purposes and used the Lamanites' hatred of the Nephites to incite war. The ultimate end of such conflict was to supplant the Nephites' free republic with a monarchy. This will all be portrayed in our film.
Finally, the Nephites would not have looked Roman necessarily. The Nephites appealed more to Egypt than anything else. They spoke often of and held in highest regard, Joseph of Egypt. This is why the armor we have designed hints of Egypt. We also know that there was possibly even some Greek influence from the descendants of Mulek, son of Zedekiah, who also came to the Northern part of the Americas before Lehi's group arrived. We have names like "Archeantus", a Greek name, found among the Captains of the Nephites. What is a Greek name doing in the pre-Columbian New World? As far as armor is concerned, we also know the Nephites had possesson of breastplates from the fallen civilization of the Jaredites. These breastplates likely were highly influential in the designs of armor that Captain Moroni developed for his soldiers. What influences did the Jaredites have? There is much to consider with these things but the armor we have designed and the actors who will be featured will reflect what we know, as taken from The Book of Mormon itself.
We want to strike a tone similar to Terrance Malick's "The New World" for the Lamanites and setting and "Exodus: Gods and Kings" or "The Ten Commandments" for the Nephites, with mixing on both sides.
There will be many people of color in our film. There will also be many white people, as described by the record. In this sense, our film will be an extremely diverse motion picture and will feature a Lamanite group who joins the Nephites, laying down their weapons of war in a covenant of peace. A very moving story as a backdrop to the heroic action of Captain Moroni and the Title of Liberty.Last updated:
Absolutely. The book of Enos in The Book of Mormon tells us "... the people of Nephi did till the land, and raise all manner of... FLOCKS of HERDS, and flocks of all manner of CATTLE of every kind, and GOATS, and wild goats, and also MANY HORSES."
Also, when Ammon was among the Lamanites (King Lamoni's people), the record tells us "(Ammon) is feeding (King Lamoni's) horses. Now the king had commanded his servants... that they should prepare his HORSES and CHARIOTS, and CONDUCT HIM forth to the land of Nephi."
Finally, we read from the record that Lachoneus, governor of the Nephites commanded his people to "(take) their HORSES, and their CHARIOTS, and their CATTLE, and all their FLOCKS, and their HERDS... and... march forth by thousands and by tens of thousands... to defend themselves against their enemies."
We know from the record, both Nephites and Lamanites had many horses and chariots and that they used them to defend themselves (or in other words, in battle). This will all be portrayed in our film.Last updated:
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