Goshen Movie Set

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The Jerusalem set of the Motion Picture Studio South Campus, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is also known as the Goshen Movie Set or the Jerusalem Movie Set. The area was selected for its similarity to Jerusalem’s geography, which includes rolling hills, groves of cedar trees, sand dunes, and plains.

Constructed in the small town of Goshen, Utah, miles from any main road, the set has a concrete foundation and wooden frame, but the stones are fashioned from Styrofoam coated in stucco and painted. The set includes the pool of Bethesda, the Court of the Women, the inn where Mary and Joseph sought shelter, the house of Caiaphus, and “features worn doorways, crumbling walls, stone-covered facades, pillared courtyards, and weathered wooden beams.”[1] Nearby Utah Lake fills in for shots for the Sea of Galilee. “In an effort to bring that about, researchers have explored the ancient city in detail and based the replica on photographs of Jerusalem.”[2]

Re-creation of sections of Jerusalem was authorized by the First Presidency in January 2010 and construction began in November 2010. Both the Bible Videos: The Life of Jesus Christ and Book of Mormon Video Series were shot here. New material for the Church Educational System, missionary films, conference broadcasts, and other projects will be filmed here.

“This is long-term,” said Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Seventy, Executive Director of the Media Services Department. “[The set] is being built with materials which can be used for decades to come, not just years to come.”[3]

Dallas Jenkins, the director, writer, and creative force behind “The Chosen” series, leased the Goshen set. Season one of the faith-based multipart streaming series was filmed in Texas. Some leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ “saw the show and were willing to discuss the idea of making the set available” to Jenkins. “We found that we had the same goal in mind, which was to make Jesus known around the world,” the director said. “That’s not an endorsement of the show, but they thought, ‘I think allowing them to film here is something that is worth exploring,’ and once that meeting took place the rest fell into place quickly.”[4] This is the first time a production not affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been allowed to lease the set.

The main studio campus of the Motion Picture Studio is in Provo, Utah, and includes a fully equipped studio, sound stages, editing bays, and a backlot. The Church’s film and media production division has produced commercials, television and movie productions, and scripture visualization series.