Interfaith academic conference about ‘The Chosen’ comes to BYU

The Chosen Conference took place from March 14-15 at the Joseph Smith Building auditorium at BYU. The conference brought together academics from all over the U.S. (Jessica Spencer)

Scholars from all over the country gathered at BYU from March 14-15 to present research on the American Christian TV series “The Chosen.”

The conference featured 14 scholars from universities all over the U.S. The keynote speaker was Brad Pelo, president of “The Chosen.”  

John Hilton III, a professor of ancient scripture at BYU, came up with the original idea for the conference. With the help of other professors, he spent about a year planning the conference.

According to Hilton, the conference had two main goals. The first was to bring BYU students and the public closer to Jesus Christ through academic perspectives on and scholarly connections to “The Chosen.”

Hilton said he believed this goal had been achieved.

“The papers were so edifying. I think everyone who came really had a great experience,” he said.

The second goal of the conference was to bring religious scholars from different Christian communities together to discuss a commonality in their beliefs.

“We can still learn from each other’s perspectives. I think this is really important,” Hilton said. “We had this big thing in common, ‘The Chosen,’ and we could all appreciate each other’s perspectives on it.”

T. Adam Van Wart of Ave Maria University presented his paper, “The Sufficiency of Story: Narrative, Theology, and The Chosen.” Van Wart was the concluding speaker at the Chosen Conference. (Jessica Spencer)

The conference brought scholars of many different sects.

Douglas S. Huffman, an evangelical scholar and professor at Biola University, commented on the interfaith aspect of the conference.

“This has probably been the biggest interfaith experience, tight with Roman Catholic theologians, Evangelical theologians like myself … and LDS scholars,” he said.

In addition to being a professor at Biola University, Huffman is a script consultant for “The Chosen.” He presented a paper entitled “Balancing Authenticity, Plausibility, and Relatability in ‘The Chosen.’”

Many people attended the conference, including academics, students and members of the public who simply wanted to learn more about Jesus Christ and “The Chosen.”

Laura Walton, who worked as an extra and a stand-in for “The Chosen,” attended the conference with fellow “Chosen” background actors. She found the conference to be spiritually uplifting, much like the TV series itself.

“(‘The Chosen’) really brings the scriptures to life … and I feel like I’m getting to know Jesus more,” Walton said. “And so, being at this conference, it brings that excitement to me, of wanting to get more in the scriptures.”

The Chosen Conference was an event that invited participants to grow their faith while simultaneously developing academically.

“The Chosen” TV series is available on several streaming platforms and is free to stream on BYUtv.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email