We live in a time when violence and immorality saturate popular media. Studies show the amount of sexual content on TV has nearly doubled since 19981. According to another study, the average American youth watches television 25 hours a week and plays computer games an additional seven hours2—with Internet time above that. Furthermore, even the youngest child spends as much time watching TV as they do playing outside3. These numbers caution every caring parent who is trying to shield their children from sin. We need to make “TV time” count!
Now is the time to replace the immorality and violence that continues to bombard our lives. Together we can take back our homes and build our families on a scriptural foundation. Together with tens of thousands of families we are fulfilling our mission to Teach Values and Change Lives.
Living Scriptures videos and learning resources bring the message of the Savior alive in a way that entertains and delights people of all ages. Our media lifts the soul and inspires every family member to stay focused on the happiness and peace that comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Living Scriptures, Inc. (LSI), founded in 1974 in Ogden, Utah by Jared F. Brown and Seldon O. Young, originally sold audio cassette dramatizations called “The Family Hour.” In 1976, Brown and Young developed the telemarketing pioneer NICE Corporation; they were the first to design a computerized system based on telemarketing, building the largest telemarketing company in the USA. In 1988, NICE Corporation was sold to Cincinnati Bell. You may know it today as Convergys.
This sale funded our earliest development of the animated Book of Mormon videos. Later, more LDS-oriented entertainment media business was developed, which includes the award-winning Docudrama of the Restoration and Modern Prophets documentary-style productions, as well as dramatized audio tapes, CDs, music, and books.
LSI was known for the first 14 years of its corporate life for its dramatized audio cassette collections. Through the combination of good storytelling and quality voice talent, the most expansive collection of scriptural audio entertainment blossomed and grew. As the VCR took hold as the entertainment media of choice in the mid-80s, a new era of imagination for the LDS market was dawning: how could Living Scriptures bring the life-changing scripture stories to life on TV?
Brown knew that it couldn’t be done cheaply. LDS videos would have to be as exciting and interesting as anything else on TV. They had to look and sound like first-rate professional productions. So he turned to one of the foremost artists in the world of animation, Richard Rich, director of such Disney® animated features as The Fox and the Hound and The Black Cauldron, as well as assistant director on The Rescuers and Pete’s Dragon.
Together they planned out what it would take to turn the dream into a reality. The talent was available; besides Rich’s own team of designers, artists and animators—many former Disney pros themselves—they’d get Lex de Azevedo and Kurt Bestor to compose the music, Orson Scott Card and Brian Nissen to write the scripts, and draw on great acting talent in Utah and Los Angeles to supply the voices. With the animation style of the Disney classics, and a personal, individual touch only Richard Rich could provide, Book of Mormon and Bible heroes came to life for the first time in animation.
The real challenge was the cost. Each animated video cost forty times as much as one of the half-hour audiotapes that, until then, had been Living Scriptures’ main product. Millions of dollars would be at risk; everything depended on the answer to one question: will enough LDS families buy the videos to pay for the cost of producing them? The answer wasn’t a sure thing at all.
In addition, when you adapt scripture to film, you have to invent things—dialogue, actions—that aren’t there in the scriptures, yet still maintain the purity of the scriptural story. This is the same challenge that the LDS Church faced when they produced their live-action film based on the Book of Mormon titled, The Testaments: Of One Fold and One Shepherd. They approached it the same way by using literary license with characters not found in the scriptures.
Brown, a scriptorian in his own right, found his favorite stories from the Bible and Book of Mormon, pored over them, outlined and titled them and subsequently sent them to the script writers, Orson Scott Card, and with later productions, Brian Nissen.
In preparing the script for an animated video, Scott Card, an internationally recognized author, first tried to see the story from a child’s point of view. What will a child be able to understand? What will a child care about? Often this means focusing on a child character in the story. “We never contradict the scripture,” says Card. “We just fill in a few of the gaps in the story. It’s in those gaps that we add touches of humor, heighten the excitement and find ways to help children understand.”
The early Book of Mormon productions paved way to the Animated New Testament, Animated Old Testament and Hero Classics productions by NEST Family Entertainment, where the oversight of an inter-denominational Advisory Board helped to steer these later series to be useful to families of many faiths. The accurate storytelling, beautiful music, amazing voice talent, and classic animation style has made these 69 movies timeless and enduring. When obstacles to the expensive and ambitious undertaking blocked the way, literally through hard work and faith, and support of many customers, miracles happened.
The goal has never been to replace the scriptures. Our mission is to help children and families to love the stories found therein. We hope that every viewer will find their understanding of the story increased, and be filled with love for the scriptures and the great men and women whose stories are told. We want these DVDs to lead people back into the scriptures, to experience them in ways they never did before.
Living Scriptures is a small, privately owned Utah corporation situated at the base of the lovely Wasatch front of the Rocky Mountains, across from Ogden’s Weber State University.
We employ about 50 full-time and part-time individuals within our various Management, Operations, Sales and Creative teams. We employ around another 30 part-time individuals who work on-site in our Inside Sales department conducting outbound and/or inbound sales campaigns. We also have desirable programs for independent sales-oriented individuals. One is our Summer Sales program: university-aged young men and women earn enough in a summer job doing referral-based sales so they can focus on their studies throughout the school year. Summer Sales teams work in cities throughout the United States. The other option is our Full-time Sales program: career-minded men and women make sales at kiosks, community events, fairs and church pageants.
If you would like to join our team, please visit the Jobs section of this website. While much of what we market is to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS/Mormon church) we hire honest persons of any affiliation who can help us fulfill our mission to Teach Values and Change Lives.
Jared continues to be the creative and marketing force behind all Living Scriptures’ inspiring products.
A prominent business builder, Seldon has been involved with the financing of various productions such as The Swan Princess and the Hero Classics series.
Producer and director of the all the Living Scriptures' animated videos, Richard was a director at Walt Disney for 14 years where he directed favorites like The Fox and the Hound and Pete's Dragon.
Scriptwriter for most of Living Scriptures’ productions, Orson is a distinguished national & international award winning author and a former editor for the Ensign magazine.
Composer & writer of music for many of Living Scriptures’ products, Lex directed such favorites as Saturday’s Warrior and My Turn on Earth.
Performer and composer for film and television, Bestor has brought his soul to the music for our animated films over the last decade.
Renowned cinematographer of The Testaments and The Work and the Glory, T.C. directed Praise to the Man and filmed the Visit Israel series.
The late Dr. Skousen was a scriptorian, BYU professor, author, and beloved storyteller behind the Visit Israel series.
Director of the Docudrama Series and several Modern Prophets films, recognized by the Telly Awards, Houston Film Festival and KBYU (PBS television).