Christian organizations around the world who use one or more of the three film versions of Bible stories produced by the Genesis Project regularly report positive results from their film evangelism work. But they say they continue to be hounded by rumors that the Mormon Church is buying the rights to the films.

Are the rumors true? From all indications, no. But a review of what has happened to the various Genesis Project efforts provides insight into how the rumors may have gotten their start.

The Genesis Project, based in New York City, was formed in 1975 to film the entire Bible. It fell far short of that goal. In fact, it completed only three projects, including two word-for-word film versions of Genesis and Luke, known together as the New Media Bible. The third project was the popular JESUS film.

Based on the Gospel of Luke, JESUS was filmed simultaneously with the Luke film for the New Media Bible. But the film and the New Media Bible were two distinct ventures, whose rights are now owned by different entities.

Enter The Mormons

In the mideighties, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) became the biggest purchaser of copies of the New Media Bible. According to a 1987 letter written by the Genesis Project’s John Heyman to Kurt Goedelman of the Mormon-watch group Personal Freedom Outreach, Mormons bought some 80,000 copies of the Luke and Genesis New Media Bible tapes during a single six-month period.

Wrote Heyman, “It has been and continues to be the policy of the Genesis Project that whoever wishes to watch the biblical films that we have produced is more than free to do so.… In deciding to whom we will sell the product that we manufacture, we do not distinguish between Moslems, Buddhists, ...

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