Twenty-five years ago, the Book of Mormon was seen in a way it had never been before: as a cartoon.
Living Scriptures, a company which produces LDS videos for the family, produces animated movies of Book of Mormon stories. Twenty-five years ago it released its first movie, “Nephi and the Brass Plates.” It is now digitally remastered and available on DVD from Deseret Book.
Its mission statement focuses on inspiring members of the Church to stay focused on the gospel in these modern times. The cartoon aspect helps involve younger children and teaches them gospel principles from an early age. The company hopes this digitally remastered release of its first movie will help a new audience enjoy the films.
Bob Ahlander, director of Music and Film at Deseret Book Company, has been overseeing the production and distribution of the new edition of the movie.
“We are extremely glad to be partnering with Living Scriptures on the 25th Anniversary release of ‘Nephi and the Brass Plates,’” Ahlander said. “This is the classic animated video that started it all and we’re excited to bring it to a new generation.”
Jared Brown, one of the company’s founders, was the person who originally wanted to make these movies, despite difficulties with budget. The original movie cost 40 times as much to make as Living Scriptures’ previous products, which were half-hour audio tapes. During production, the company reached a debt of almost $5 million.
Even though times were hard, the company did not give up its dream to make Book of Mormon movies for the LDS family. Looking back on those hard times, Brown said he is glad he kept to the dream, and is proud of the finished product.
“We taught the principles of the scriptures,” Brown said. “We tried to make them so they’d be accessible to the smallest children as well as the adults who can sit down with the whole family and both be entertained and inspired.”
Many BYU students have grown up with these movies. Jesse Myrick, 22, a media arts studies major from Wilton, Calif., said he enjoyed watching them with his family as a child, and would definitely use them to show his future family.
“My brothers and I watched them on Sundays,” Myrick said. “They’re wholesome entertainment. It teaches you enough so when you learn it in Sunday School, you think back to the movies and can see them acting it out.”
Carlie Palmer, a junior from Weiser, Idaho, studying special education, also watched these movies while growing up, and said they catered to childrens’ short attention spans.
“They were more entertaining than just reading the scriptures,” Palmer said. “It is easier to remember the stories when you actually see them. I learned a ton from those movies.”