After delays in production due to COVID-19, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has released a special episode of the Book of Mormon video series.
The release comes just three weeks before the LDS Semi-annual General Conference, Oct. 3-4.
“The new video was published to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the first appearance of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, to Joseph Smith, prophet and first president of the church,” according to a church statement.
The video is available in English and with Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.
In addition to helping people learn about, and draw nearer, to Jesus Christ by learning about the Book of Mormon, the videos are being used as part of “Come, Follow Me,” the global faith’s home-centered gospel curriculum, according to church information.
“The new video portrays the prophet Moroni in the ancient Americas as he struggles to protect and add to the record of his people before depositing the record in the Hill Cumorah for safekeeping,” according to the church.
Moroni, whose figure adorns many of the Latter-day Saint temple spires, recorded Christ-centered teachings and his spiritual experiences on gold plates, as part of a compilation of ancient records, known today as The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
Moroni was also the last Book of Mormon prophet and the son of Mormon, the prophet who was the principal compiler of the record and the person from whom the Book of Mormon takes its name, according to church information.
The new Moroni episode will be the last video of the Book of Mormon Videos series to be published before 2022. Further filming has been postponed because of concerns related to COVID-19.
“We have been grateful to see how the Book of Mormon Videos have complemented the study of the Book of Mormon at home,” said Sister Reyna I. Aburto, second counselor in the general presidency of the Relief Society and also a member of the Book of Mormon Videos steering committee.
“We obviously wish we had more videos ready now for the study of the second half of the Book of Mormon. Yet we are grateful that more episodes about Jesus Christ and His ministry in the Americas will be coming after the next two years of filming in 2021 and 2022,” Aburto said.
Filming will resume in 2021, and the focus will be on the events surrounding the visit of Jesus Christ to the Americas (3 Nephi) and the story of the Jaredites, as recorded in the Book of Mormon.
One additional season of filming in 2022 will include episodes that cover other writings from ancient prophets, including teachings of Mormon and more stories from the books of Mosiah, Alma and Helaman.
Moroni, the last of the Nephite population to survive a great war, lived about 400 years after the resurrected Christ appeared to the people of the western hemisphere, according to Book of Mormon chronology and Latter-day Saint beliefs.
“It was a huge honor to play this great man,” said John Munoa, a Latter-day Saint actor who played the part of Moroni.
Munoa, who belongs to the Luiseño tribe, a Native American people from a region extending from what is now Los Angeles to San Diego, California says that, to him, this project hits close to home.
The episode’s story concludes centuries later as seventeen-year-old Joseph Smith is directed to the location so that he can eventually recover and translate the ancient record into the Book of Mormon.
Latter-day Saints believe it was Moroni, who appeared to Joseph Smith and told him of the gold plates, the history of his people and where they were located not far from his home in Palmyra, New York.
“We are pleased to release this episode from the series to add to the bicentennial celebration of the first appearance of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, to Joseph Smith, a historic event that resulted in the publication of the Book of Mormon,” said LeGrand R. Curtis Jr. of the Seventy, who leads the Book of Mormon Videos steering committee.
All videos are available on the Gospel Media, Gospel Library and Church Book of Mormon Videos YouTube channels.
Arrangements have been made to distribute the videos in English in the United States on the Amazon Prime platform. This additional channel will be available to Amazon Prime subscribers in the coming months.
Book of Mormon Videos episodes covering 1 Nephi through Enos are currently available with native voices in 15 languages.