Living Scriptures get makeover on 25th anniversary

Published: Thursday, Oct. 27 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

Disney classics, such as “Snow White” and “Pinocchio,” are getting restored left and right, making the quality of these beloved films noticeably better. Now the Living Scriptures Animated Stories from the Book of Mormon series has been digitally restored and made available on DVD.

“The Lowry Digital (restoration company) makes these films like they are new again,” Jared Brown, the founder and president of Living Scriptures, said. “Compare it now to 25 years ago and you see better quality and animation.”

The Book of Mormon series, comprising 13 DVD stories and including the Joseph Smith story, is the first of the Living Scriptures to get a makeover, by the same company that worked with Disney. Brown hopes he can also restore other series of the Living Scriptures, including the New Testament and Hero Classics.

The series has grown into something much more among the LDS community than when the movies were first released on VHS in 1986, including the development of interactive material that Brown says “goes beyond basic entertainment.” The DVDs include bonus material such as an adventure quiz, scripture verses and a sing-along activity.

“Our materials teach children the scriptures stories, and when at church, they really know the scriptures,” Brown said. “We now have a lot of other materials to help them continue to grow in the gospel.”

The Living Scripture animation series is a story of perseverance of starting small, overcoming setbacks and eventually producing 30 animated films that have been seen by more than a million people, according to the company’s press release.

“What Jared did, when he launched (the series) 25 years ago, was never done before, and people said he shouldn’t pursue it,” said Bob Ahlander, director of music and film at Deseret Book. “Jared is a driven and passionate guy; he proved that there was an appetite for Book of Mormon stories to be told.”

What’s next for the company? Brown said the restoration of the films was scratching the surface of what is to come. By enhancing the quality of the films, it opens the door for translation of the script into many languages. Brown is already in the works of a Portuguese version in the form of a free download online. Brown hopes that this next step will not only make his movies more global but will be an access point into the scriptures.

In addition, Brown said he wants to make more animated stories of the Book of Mormon, especially capturing Captain Moroni and the Title of Liberty story among others. His small budget at the beginning of his project hindered him from creating those videos.

Brown expressed his happiness at touching the generations of his immediate family.

“My children watched them and now grandchildren and great-grandchildren are watching them and being nurtured from it. I want to continue the legacy so it can be kept as a resource.”

Deseret Book is currently re-releasing "Nephi and the Brass Plates," with a special bonus offer of the "The Tree of Life." Other Living Scriptures products can be bought at livingscriptures.com.

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