By Kathryn Richards
BYU students were told to use the spirit in their creative endeavors to build the kingdom of God, at the introductory session of the Religious Education Department”s student symposium Thursday night.
“Everyday, I”m engaged in building the kingdom of God in my own way,” said Richard Dutcher, director and producer of the popular movie, “God”s Army”.
He told students about spiritual experiences that led him to produce the film.
Dutcher said for a long time he struggled in his profession.
“The two things I loved most in the world were filmmaking and the gospel and the two things just didn”t ever seem to go together,” he said.
Dutcher said he has learned how effectively movies can help others feel the spirit.
He reflected on a spiritual experience he had as a teenager. He said he originally decided not to serve a mission, but it was while he was watching “Return of the Jedi” that he felt the spirit and decided to serve.
“The Lord used a very secular, worldly medium to speak to me.”
Dutcher said he enjoys using film as a way to share the spirit.
“There”s something fantastic about being able to use this temporal medium to communicate the spirit,” he said.
He said he received feedback from many viewers on how unique it was to feel the spirit in a big theater while watching “God”s Army”.
He told about difficulties he had with the production of “God”s Army”, but said the Lord helped him overcome each trial.
“It was literally after I had done everything I could possibly do, that”s when the Lord would step in and fix it and make it better,” Dutcher said.
Dutcher also said “God”s Army” has been an effective way to educate others about doctrine and culture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“We”ve got so much to share. Not only our culture, but the truths of the gospel, the doctrines. We have the most amazing blessings in the world.”
Dutcher addressed issues some members found controversial in “God”s Army”. He said some viewers were offended at sacred things like priesthood blessings being portrayed on screen.
Dutcher said he used this as a tool to help viewers feel the spirit.
“To not show these things is hiding the light that we”ve been given under a bushel,” he said. “Let”s take that doggone bushel off and let everybody else see what we”ve got that nobody else has got because we”ve got to be proud of it.”
Dutcher”s next movie, “Brigham City”, shows a sacrament meeting scene. He said he admits it may stir some controversy.
But he said it will be a great way for thousands of non-members to see what a sacrament meeting is all about. It will also be a way to help them feel the spirit.
“As missionaries, isn”t that what we try to do, drag people to sacrament meetings? And we can”t do it. But we charge them $7 bucks to go to Cinemark and they can see it there.”