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Day of Defense
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Customer Reviews of The Day of Defense on the Deseret Book Website

Date: April 2002
Source: Deseret Book

*** [3 out of 5 stars]
Reviewed by Aaron Bellante from California
(May 31, 2001)
Good for knowledge, won't help testimony.
A good read if you are simply interested in learning good ways to "Bible Bash." The missionaries in the story come off a little to prideful and arrogant, but they do argue their case very well. This book will not help you gain a testimony, but will help you gain knowledge.

***** [5 out of 5 stars]
Reviewed by a customer from Tennessee
(March 31, 2001)
They only let me put 5 stars but it deserves 10!
I have read many books containing testimonies of the church but this one tops my list.

***** [5 out of 5 stars]
Reviewed by Kent Thompson from Arizona
(October 26, 2000)
True doctrine presented in a court room setting.
This masterful work has given missionaries as well as members not only the answers to tough gospel questions but the reasoning behind it. Packed with testimony and facts this book is a great resource for all serious gospel students!

***** [5 out of 5 stars]
Reviewed by Niklas Mardby from Sweden
(October 22, 1999)
This book truly is as a two-edged sword and McDonald is wielding it with power!
When you read the Day of Defense you feel the power of this mans testimony in his words. He is not arguing doctrine or merely disputing over something he thinks can not be proven as if only showing his opinion. No he is speaking as one who really knows. He has read, pondered and prayed and truly found answers. To top it all of with he sure has a talent with words. That mans profession is law. He works with finding truth and presenting it so that people understands and believe, because he understand and he believes. I read and could nto put the book down. After having read the book I felt as if anyone could say anything in an attempt to shake my faith, but the testimony I had before reading the book wasnt only the power of the Holy Spirit in my heart but had now words given me by a brilliant book called the Day of Defense.

The Day of Defense on sale at

Date: 10 May 2002

The Day of Defense by A. Melvin McDonald


The roots for "The Day of Defense" have their origin in the late 1950s in the Southern States Mission. There a young Salt Lake Missionary named Robert M. McDonald and several of his companions engaged in a series of public debates with ministers from other religions. Elder McDonald's brother, A. Melvin McDonald, began to collect and assimilate the scriptural arguments that detractors would attempt to use against the church during his mission. During the course of his mission, he was called upon a number of occasions to publicly confront these detractors.

For sale on another page on website:

The Day of Defense by A. Melvin McDonald


"The Day of Defense" has assisted thousands of missionaries to answer questions of both investigators and detractors since its original publication in 1963.

Music of Justin Utley to be featured in "Day of Defense"

Date: 25 March 2002
Source: official Justin Utley website, news page

Justin was interviewed and debuted 2 new songs on KAGJ radio at Snow College, Utah, on the 23rd. The songs, "Shades Of Gray" and "To Live For", will be recorded on his upcoming album, "Vice-Versa", which he also annouced he would be working with his new band, SHADES OF GRAY.

The band is in rehearsal for releasing their CD-Maxi Single "Shades Of Gray" off their debut LP "Vice Versa" released under Right Of Way Records. Check out the Shades Of Gray website!

Plans are going for a performance with his band in downtown Salt Lake City for "Keeping the Spirit Alive".

Justin is also currently working with NuWorlds Productions on a new movie, Day of Defense. Justin, as well as his music, will be featured in the motion picture. The film will premier at Kingsbury Hall in September 2002. Before the movie, Justin and his band will be performing live, showcasing the music from the film.

2/25/2002: Justin has announced that he will be recording a Christmas Album to be released in the early fall of 2002. The new project will feature some of Justin's new music as well as traditional favorites. It will be released under Caelestis Records in conjunction with Milestone Entertainment.

Justin has also completed 2 songs for an album that will be distributed through the BSA (Boy Scouts of America). He will also be featured as the lead vocalist in other compositions on the album.

Lastly, Justin's performance at the Governor's Open Ceremony Olympic Reception went very well. He performed once in the afternoon and again in the evening following the ceremony. The schedule was the same at the Closing Ceremony Reception. A feature acticle about the Olympic event was printed in the Daily Universe News. To read the article, click HERE.

1/15/02: The movie trailer for the motion picture, Shadows of Light (which features the theme song, written and performed by Justin), was released. To watch the preview online, and to read the press release, click HERE.

12/31/2001: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Egyptian Theater Company in Park City closed. Justin was featured in advertising for "Joseph", a radio commercial and a television commercial (featuring still shots of Justin in the featured role) were aired on most local stations, and also on CNN, USA, CNBC, and FOX Family channel.

This performance completes his 3rd consecutive production, and 7 month run as "Joseph" in 2001.

"Day of Defense" official website

10 May 2002 - The official website for the upcoming feature film "Day of Defense" is online, although most of its pages are currently inaccessible.

The URL is

The home page is dominated by a nicely-photographed gavel, as used in a courtroom. The graphic is headlined by the words "DAY OF DEFENSE", with a smaller subtitle: "Small Town. Big Controversy."

Toward the bottom of the graphic is the line "COMING IN FALL 2002", followed by: "A film based on the book by A. Melvin McDonald."

At the very bottom of the page is the NuWorlds Productions log.

Small Town. Big Controversy.

A film based on the book by A. Melvin McDonald.


At the bottom of the home page there is a row of clickable links to other sections of the website:

At the very bottom of the page is the notice: "Copyright ©2002 Nuworlds Productions".

Most of the links do are not currently enabled. The "Cast and Crew" button goes to the appropriate page, but it can not be viewed without a login name and password. The only one of the links in the menu row that goes anywhere viewable is the "Story" button (see below).

Interestingly enough, the name of the book's author (A. Melvin McDonald) in the large graphic is a link that goes to the customer comments page for McDonald's book on the Deseret Book website: The current slate of comments is reproduced elsewhere on this page.

The story page on the official "Day of Defense" website is located at:

The text is as follows:

The Story

What would it be like to defend your religion in court? Or stand up against all the people you grew up with?

That is what "Day of Defense" becomes as two Mormon Missionaries enter a small town in the mid-west that is a God fearing, family oriented, Christian believing utopia. One draw back: this town has its religions, and whether you are Mormon, Muslim, or Hare Chrishna, you have to get a permit to publicly preach. It's the law.

Step into Marysville in Clearwater County.

Thomas Bryant and James Radner are best friends. They grew up together, they got married while at college, and they are both attorneys. Thomas is the county Public Defender, James is Prosecuting Attorney. They don't hold trials, they plea bargain every case. But this time Thomas is faced with an overwhelming dilemma. He is ordered to defend two Mormon Missionaries in a trial that will challenge the very fabric of this small rural town. And Thomas is Catholic.

"Day of Defense" is a dramatic roller coaster ride as each aspect of life and belief is artistically sculpted in a heartwarming tale of one couples struggle with pride, courage, and God.

"Day of Defense" may not be so far from reality. Click on the news articles below about a case hearing at the Supreme Court dealing with the same issues addressed in the film.

Related Links

Here is the DESERET NEWS article that the "Story" page of the "Day of Defense" website links to:

Church watching missionary case

By: Lee Davidson
Date: February 27, 2002
Source: Deseret News

WASHINGTON -- The future of U.S. missionary efforts by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may hinge largely on a case brought to the U.S. Supreme Court by Jehovah's Witnesses.

The LDS Church says in a friend-of-the-court brief that cities nationwide are increasingly trying to prohibit door-to-door proselyting, and the Jehovah's Witnesses case against Stratton, Ohio, may halt it or open the floodgates.

The court heard oral arguments in the case Tuesday and is expected to decide it this spring or summer.

Attorneys for the Jehovah's Witnesses argue that a Stratton ordinance requiring a permit for door-to-door solicitation is so strict that it essentially bans all meaningful religious proselyting and even such things as political candidates eager to shake hands with potential voters.

The court has previously ruled that, under the Constitution, people have the right to distribute anonymous campaign literature. But a favorable ruling for the church in this case would extend that right to anonymous door-to-door soliciting for any cause.

In a brief filed previously, the LDS Church said it has found in the past decade "a drastic surge in the number and severity of anti-solicitation laws that are being applied to religious proselyting."

For example, it said in Mundelin, Ill., missionaries must apply for a license to proselyte 30 days before they intend to do it. It costs $10. It allows proselyting for a total of only seven days a year, including one weekend. Missionaries must also provide two photos, two references, driver's license numbers and Social Security numbers.

In Watervliet, N.Y., missionaries must notify police each day where they intend to proselyte. They may obtain a two-month permit to allow solicitation. But proselyting door-to-door is not allowed on weekends or after 7 p.m., when most people are home.

The church also said that in Dover, N.J., solicitation permits cost $25 and may take 10 days to obtain. Missionaries must be fingerprinted. They may not proselyte after 5 p.m. or on weekends.

"They are representative of a pattern which is developing across the country in which numerous other municipalities are seeking to severely curtail all forms of door-to-door contacting, including religious proselyting," the LDS Church brief said.

Church lawyers Von G. Keetch and Alexander Dushku argued in the brief that Supreme Court cases have consistently for decades given the highest level of protection to freedom of religious speech, including going door-to-door. But they say many cities have misinterpreted recent decisions.

They wrote that the "case presents an excellent opportunity to end this confusion."

They also said it has the highest importance to members of the LDS Church.

"For the church to carry out its religious mission, it is critical that missionaries be able to proselyte . . . without first having to comply with burdensome regulations that impose prior restraints on religious expression," the brief states. "Latter-day Saints believe they are under a solemn obligation — a duty born of love and covenants with God — to share the saving truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ with every one of their spiritual brothers and sisters.

"The court's decision in this case will potentially have far-reaching impacts on the church's missionary program," it said.

In oral arguments Tuesday, lawyers for Stratton said its ordinance restricting door-to-door soliciting is needed to protect the safety and privacy of its 300 mostly elderly residents.

However, some justices suggested its scope is too broad. "We can all stipulate that the safest societies in the world are totalitarian societies," Justice Antonin Scalia said.

Justice Anthony Kennedy said the ordinance, if read literally, might stop neighbors from going down the block to complain about bad garbage collection.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor asked if Halloween trick-or-treaters need a permit to go door-to-door. Spectators laughed, but she said, "I'm serious."

The Wellsville, Ohio, congregation claims the ordinance aims to keep them out of Stratton. The town has had a precarious history with the church.

State of the State

Date: 22 May 2002
Source: Salt Lake Tribune


Lights. Camera. Tooele.

Salt Lake City-based NuWorld Productions shot scenes at the Tooele County Courthouse last week for its first full-length feature film.

"Day of Defense" is based on A. Melvin McDonald's book about two LDS missionaries who run into religious intolerance while trying to spread their message in a small Midwestern town and end up defending their faith in court.

The film is "extremely emotional, powerful and thought-provoking," said associate producer Jim Westwood, who also plays the role of the Rev. Donald Williams and co-wrote the screenplay. "It's a two-box movie -- two boxes of Kleenex."

-- Tooele Transcript-Bulletin

"Shades of Gray" band to play at "Day of Defense" premier

Source: "Shades of Gray" official website, concerts section
Date: 24 May 2002
URL: concerts & shows 06/7/2002: Battle of the Bands @ Muse Music, 145 N University Ave, Provo, Utah. Time and details TBA.

6/11/2002: Suite 13, Lindon Utah. Time and details TBA.

7/13/2002: Battle of the Bands @ Riverton City Park Outdoor Theater. Time and details TBA.

09/21/2002: Kingsbury Hall, University of Utah. Band to play music from the motion picture soundtrack "Day Of Defense" before the movie premier. Time and details TBA.

Source: "Shades of Gray" official website, news section
Date: 8 May 2002

An official welcome to April Pettley, the band's new keyboardist!

The Shades Of Gray message board and guestbook are up and running. Access them from the contact link and read/post as freely as you want.

Ryan and his wife are having a baby boy! The band's prediction was correct after all. Plans are to train him in the art of playing a mean tambourine. Congrats to Ryan and Jentry.

Justin has finished a new song called "Goodbye Goodbye" and plans to debut it at the band's show on May 17th. He is also busy writing songs for the motion picture soundtrack to "Day Of Defense", which will premier in September 2002. Justin and Ryan are writing a song called "Right Beside You", which the band will perform and record for the movie and soundtrack at the end of this month. The song will also be featured on the band's upcoming release.

The band also plans on having their CD release party/concert in July, possibly at the Gallivan Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Keep your day-planners open.. more info to come.

Justin Utley writing songs for "Day of Defense"

Date: 14 May 2002
Source: Justin Utley official website

5/14/2002: Justin will be releasing a new acoustic solo project entitled "The Trial Sessions", which includes the music and studio tracks he wrote that were featured in the motion picture "Day Of Defense" as well as additional selections. The plans to release a Christmas album have been post-poned due to the band's up-coming release and the current solo and movie project that is already underway.

His new solo CD will be released in the late fall of this year.

3/25/2002: Justin was interviewed and debuted 2 new songs on KAGJ radio at Snow College, Utah, on the 23rd. The songs, "Shades Of Gray" and "To Live For", will be recorded on his upcoming album, "Vice-Versa", which he also annouced he would be working with his new band, SHADES OF GRAY, released under Right Of Way Records.

Plans are going for a performance with his band in downtown Salt Lake City for "Keeping the Spirit Alive".

Justin is also currently working with NuWorlds Productions on a new movie, Day of Defense. Justin, as well as his music, will be featured in the motion picture. The film will premier at Kingsbury Hall in September 2002. Before the movie, Justin will be performing live, showcasing the music from the film.

"Day of Defense" Behind the Scenes page posted on official website

Date: 2 July 2002

Behind the Scenes

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech...

(Amendment I. to the Constitution of the United States of America).

On September 25, 1789, the First Congress of the United States proposed a list of amendments to the original constitution in order to ensure that the rights of the individual citizens were maintained and upheld by the rising government. Fresh in the minds of all citizens was the terror and bloodshed that was the result of a tyrannical government suppressing their right to live as their conscience dictated. These amendments, later to be known as the Bill of Rights, were soon ratified and became the backbone in the protection of all Americans for hundreds of years.

But, what would happen if these rights were skirted over; quietly disregarded, far from the glancing eye of its forefathers, in order to preserve a way of life? Could a small town remain unscarred while it suppressed the rights of some, all in the name of resisting change?

These are exactly the questions that Marysville must come face to face with as a legal battle to oust two Mormon missionaries threatens to tear the town apart in this moving court drama: "Day of Defense", presented by Nuworlds Productions and directed by Adam Lawson.

Originally a book written in 1963 by A. Melvin McDonald, the story was adapted to a screenplay by producers Andrew Lenz and James Westwood in the fall of 2001. "I read this book while I was serving an LDS mission in Switzerland and thought it could be developed into a great film. A few years later I was talking with Mel about possible storylines and it was then I realized we really had something here." - Andrew Lenz, Co-Writer. By early January, the first draft was finally completed and well into its long preproduction journey, ending four months and about forty drafts later on the first day of shooting early May 2002. Jim Westwood, Associate Producer and Co-Writer expressed well the long hours required to produce a finished script, "Andrew and I split the script, I wrote the court scenes while he wrote all the other ones. All I can say was that the enormity of it all was truly paralyzing. As far as giving fair representation was concerned, speaking for all Christian religions in that courtroom was a terrifying endeavor." During those four months, executive meetings were held every Friday night where producers, directors, and creative team leaders could be updated on the progress of the film and prepare for the brutal shooting schedule.

One major decision that had to be made was the camera that should be used in shooting the film. NuWorlds chose an approach still in its infancy in many filmmakers' circles and decided on shooting the entire film digitally on a Sony HDW-F900 High Definition (HD) Camera flown in from Boston. This camera has received considerable attention recently because of Lucas' bold choice to use it in shooting "Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones." "I opted for shooting on the HD Cam because it's got the resolution of film, but the ease of broadcast digital video. It was a fun challenge to work with this specific camera because we were kind of pioneering the movement here - no one has shot an entire feature film on HD in Utah before. I wouldn't have done it any other way." -- Director of Photography, Clark Cooper.

As May quickly approached, everything from auditions to securing locations had to be finalized and ready to kick off a break-neck three-week shoot. Understandably, such a time constraint could be a little intimidating for a director. "Steven Soderberg's film 'Full Frontal' was shot in 18 days, and we just figured we'd give it a go. No, I wasn't intimidated by the time schedule, in fact, my greatest concern was maintaining everyone's focus throughout the whole shoot. It seemed like we'd sleep for a few hours and then be right back on set again." -- Director, Adam Lawson.

As for the cast that NuWorlds was able to secure for the film, Lawson spoke very highly of his actors, saying, "I really felt that at the end of the day the cast was able to go home and sleep well knowing that all their performances that day were better than anticipated." In the end, the film benefited greatly from veteran actors: Andrew Lenz, Brooks Utley, and Michelle Wright, who play the leads. NuWorlds also welcomed up and coming talent Jon Foss and Alan Groves, well known actor Bryce Chamberlain, as well as over 250 extras that filled churches, parks, and courtrooms in order to make the town come alive.

The cast and crew found itself spread over much of Utah Valley, shooting in locations from Farmington to Provo and as far west as Tooele. The courthouse itself was actually shot in three different locations: exterior shots - Davis County Courthouse, interior shots -- Tooele Courthouse, and Judges Chambers -- Farmington 2nd District Court. "As the cinematographer I was involved in scouting out the different courthouses for photographic appeal. I have always wanted to shoot a scene in front of the old Davis County Courthouse. The building fit perfectly into our fictional town, however, the actual historical courtroom had been demolished. We had to look elsewhere for the interior shots. The courtroom in Tooele had what we were looking for -- small town; not too old, not too new -- and wood -- lots of wood. It's difficult to get permission to shoot inside a Judge's chambers because of security issues. But, Michelle Wright knows one of the Judges at the Second District Court in Farmington who graciously allowed us to shoot there. Those three locations make up the single courthouse depicted in the movie."
-- Director of Photography, Clark Cooper.

Other locations included the St. Mark's Cathedral, the 1st Baptist Church, and the Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Salt Lake City. Elder Burke and Elder Davis called an apartment in Bountiful home (the Director of Photography's real apartment was used), and the Bryant's called Ken and Sandy Bourne's house in South Jordan their home. The town of Marysville kicked off its summer social in Murray Park and the Christian Town Council held its meetings in the Highland City Hall, while the missionaries met with their Defense Attorney in the high-rise Boston Building in Salt Lake City. The production finished up with shots of haircuts in Farmington, missionaries proselyting on the streets of Midvale, and finally closed on a bridge at the mouth of Provo Canyon. But, as with all productions, there are inevitable difficulties. "The major difficulty we foresaw running into was dealing with very 'delicate' locations - courts, churches, cemeteries, and the like. We had to block off streets in Midvale and invade someone's home for three days. Luckily everything worked out and the people we worked with at these locations were all very kind and helpful and went out of their way to help us finish our shots." -- Andrew Lenz, Producer.

NuWorlds Productions was also unique in their choice of crew. With the exception of seasoned leaders like Tiffany Westwood, Artistic Director, Spanky Ward, 1st A.D.; Cory Lorenson, Production Designer; and Steve Riggs, Set Manager; many film students from SUU to the UofU had the rare opportunity to not only take part in, but also to hold important responsibilities on set. "I think the greatest miracle was the interns we had working on the set who spent fourteen hours training and practicing, and then the next day went out and shot a feature film. There were only two things I talked about on set - the scene we were shooting, and the commitment and capacity of the crew." - Director, Adam Lawson. "It was a unique opportunity to be able to do what we were doing. Most students would kill to be able to get the training and experience of working so intimately with a major feature film like this. I had a great time."- BYU student, Josh Romney. "Because this was the first feature shot on HD here in Utah, everyone on crew was a bit of a pioneer. I was impressed with how well everyone picked it up. And now they've got some real experience they can put on their resumes when they graduate." -- Director of Photography, Clark Cooper.

Any production would prize itself on the animating power of its soundtrack, and the original music composed for "Day of Defense" is no exception. Original scores composed by Grammy Award winning Composer (and the film's Music Director) Richard W. Smith, original songs written by rising talent Justin Utley, and performances by Shades of Grey, Peter Breinholt, and the Golden Voices Baptist Choir give the film its rich musical emotion. "I was very excited to find such extraordinary talent to work with. Richard and Justin and everyone else were just great to work with. The least I can say is that I am immensely pleased with the music in this film."- Music Supervisor, Salina Hunsaker.

During its filming, "Day of Defense" drew onlooker and media alike. Newspaper journalists and television reporters from all over the valley showed up to cover the story.

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