"Day of Defense" DVD website.

"DAY OF DEFENSE" — 3 stars — PG, 100 minutes

If in a court of law you were accused of being a Latter-day Saint, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Filmed in the infancy of commercial LDS filmmaking, "Day of Defense," rated PG, was recently released on DVD. Originally shown in theaters beginning in October 2003, its arrival is long overdue.

"Day of Defense" is based on a book of the same title written by A. Melvin McDonald. Currently a successful criminal defense lawyer in the Phoenix area, McDonald was on his mission in 1961 prior to initiating his studies in law when he wrote and published 80 copies of his book using stencils.

Not realizing the impact it would have, it wasn't until years later that McDonald finally sought a copyright and found a publisher to distribute his story on a wider scale after witnessing the impact it had on readers.

Both the book and the film focus on the same concept. Two missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are put on trial and are forced to defend whether they are Christians. The film only loosely models the concept of McDonald's work and may feel unfamiliar to those who have read the book.

Some aspects of the film leave a lot to be desired. The acting is stiff and unbelievable, and the film is beset with technical flaws, including visual and audio issues, as well as continuity problems.

However, if one can look past the outer surface, the viewer will find a touching story at the heart of the production.

Ultimately there is a depth inherent in the film as the two title characters exhibit fortitude, tenacity, courage and love that ultimately come to define their natures to the community as being true Christians.

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Joseph Irvine is an information assurance engineer in Madison, Ala., for the government. Currently working on a master's degree at the University of Alabama, Joseph hopes to complete a degree in law at BYU in the near future.