SALT LAKE CITY — The first episode of the Book of Mormon video series was released Friday, and new videos will be released every week until the end of 2019, according to a news release from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Set in Jerusalem about 600 B.C., the book begins with a man named Lehi who receives a vision from God, warning him the ancient city will be overrun by Babylonians. God tells Lehi to take his family and flee, eventually leading them across the “great waters” to the Americas. The first video dramatizes Lehi’s warning from God and his exodus from Jerusalem.
The first season will cover the beginning 138 pages of the Book of Mormon (from the first book of the scripture, 1 Nephi, to the fourth book, Enos). Videos that depict events from the eighth book, Mosiah, through the end of the Book of Mormon will be released in 2020 and 2021. The episodes will be published in 15 languages.
“It is our hope that these videos will lead to increased study and understanding of the teachings of the Book of Mormon. The videos should support but not replace the personal study of the Book of Mormon,” the First Presidency, the highest governing body of the church, said in a letter to leaders.
Several years ago, the church released videos of scenes from the New Testament, called “Bible Videos.” The Book of Mormon videos are similar but will be slightly different than their Bible counterparts.
While the Bible videos were mainly short snippets between one to five minutes long, The Book of Mormon videos will be released in “episodes” that are between 13 to 20 minutes long. The Book of Mormon videos will also stray slightly from the style of those of the New Testament.
“The Bible videos were very much a one-to-one, so when you see it on the page, it was shot that way as well. With the Book of Mormon, one thing we’ve actually tried to do (is) add a little bit more story,” producer Jaelen Petrie said. “Character arcs and characters are formed, and we go through it with them.”
Faithful Latter-day Saints consider The Book of Mormon to be holy scripture that acts as a companion to the Bible. While the Bible depicts Jesus Christ’s work in ancient Jerusalem, The Book of Mormon documents Christ’s visit to the ancient Americas.
The Book of Mormon’s title hails from a man Latter-day Saints believe to be the book’s principal author: an ancient prophet named Mormon who summarized the history of Lehi’s family and his descendants in the new world, including Christ’s visit after His resurrection.
The videos can be found on ChurchofJesusChrist.org, in the Gospel Library app and on the new Book of Mormon Videos YouTube channel.
The full release schedule can be found in the church’s news release.