Jesus Christ / Joseph Smith
The great commission that all Christians are called to is "[to] be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). The force of this passage is to call every believer to action in bringing the truth about God and His purposes to the human race so they may enter into a righteous relationship with the One who created them. This inherently includes bringing the truth to people who believe in false doctrines and philosophies, as so clearly seen in Paul's ministries through the book of Acts. The DVD Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith is a wonderful example of Christians fulfilling their call to the great commission.
The purpose of this film is fundamentally to fulfill the above commission by untangling the spider web of bizarre Mormon beliefs that has trapped millions of victims, and provide the simple truth of the real gospel to as many people as possible. This video was effectively produced by Christians who were led by God to make something that would impact their Mormon community for Christ. The quality of the film makes it obvious that they spent a considerable amount of money on this project.
By utilizing interviews with theologians, evangelists, ex-Mormons, and experts on Mormonism, the producers were able to expose the true roots of Mormonism, and uncovered major problems in Mormon texts and truth claims. Some of the topics that were covered included Joseph Smith's involvement as a high ranking Mason, deceit about supposed ancient Mormon texts, Smith's polygamous relationships, and the background of Smith as a money digger and financial defrauder. The producers of the film did a great job at presenting the most relevant and current information on the errors of Mormonism, and tastefully weaved the true gospel of Jesus Christ throughout. The content of the film does not really contain any new information that has not been revealed before, but it does present the information in a highly professional and entertaining fashion.
This film, similar to any other film, had its negatives as well as its positives. One negative point included some oversight on a few errors that were made, but they were only noticeable to a few experts on the subject. The errors primarily involved some misquotes, but they did not change the content of what was attempting to be said. In my judgement, these errors are petty. They are clarified HERE. Another negative was how long it went. Considering the fact that it was 90 minutes long, I found myself beginning to wonder when it was going to end, and I believe the producers could have done a better job at wrapping it up much sooner.
It may surprise the reader, but one of the most interesting parts of the film was not actually the film itself, but the controversy that surrounded this film. This film was designed for a massive nation-wide outreach on Sunday, March 25, 2007. At the sacrifice of a wealthy businessman who financed the making of this film, hundreds of thousands of DVDs were donated to the state of Utah for distribution, and he also provided them at an extremely low price for Christian ministries to purchase and to distribute on that particular day. It was unfortunate to find out that several well-known Christian ministries not only declined in participating, but also proactively discouraged others from distributing the DVDs. One of these ministries, which I participated with several years ago, was the Utah/LDS ministry at Biola University. For the sake of being consistent with their new "relationship only" ministry, the leaders declined to participate, and one asked me to stop notifying the members of the ministry about this distribution event. John Morehead of the Neighboring Faiths Project came out with a detailed blog on the DVD to warn both Christians and Mormons of it well prior to its release (cf. John Morehead, "Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith Video: Professional Polish on a Counter-Cult Apologetic Misfire." These other ministries are afraid of offending their LDS friends, they are missing perfectly good opportunities to share their faith as Christ has called them to, and obstructing other brothers and sisters in Christ from participating in evangelism. This is simply shameful.
Overall, I am thrilled that this film was produced and distributed to hundreds of thousands of people. This film goes near the top of my list for evangelistic tools for Mormons, and I would recommend this film for every LDS who wants to learn about the truth about Mormonism, and how to have a real relationship with God. I would also recommend it for Christians who may be interested in joining the Mormon Church, and those who want to simply learn what Mormons believe.
For more information, see:
FAIR's discussion on the DVD,
Rob Sivulka's blog on Morehead,
Mormon Truth!! blog,
and the Mormon Apologetics discussion board.
Treasurer, Courageous Christians United
March 25, 2007