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Rodney Burt, Cedar Fort
The Mormon Yankees pose in 1956. An Australian filmmaker is making a movie about the true events surrounding the Mormon Yankees. From 1937 to 1961, teams of full-time missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints traveled around Australia playing exhibition games to help gain positive exposure for the church.

An Australian filmmaker is preparing to make a movie based on the true story of Mormon missionaries who played competitive basketball as a means of doing missionary work in the 1950s.

The feature film, titled "The Spirit of the Game," follows what transpired with the "Mormon Yankees," a group of talented athletes called to serve missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Melbourne, Australia, around the 1950s when the church was still relatively unknown. The missionaries played and defeated most of the countries set to take part in the 1956 Summer Olympics.

The film will be written and directed by Darran Scott, an LDS convert with more than 30 years of filmmaking experience.

"The Mormon Yankees story is an incredible story that allowed the church to build on a strong foundation in Australia ... by using basketball," Scott said in a press release. "They definitely brought the church out of obscurity."

The film is currently in the casting phase and, if all goes according to plan, the movie will be completed in the fall and released near the end of the year, Scott said. See shearwater.tv for more information.

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