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  • Writer's pictureLiz Busby

Ep 5 - Silence: Struggling for Faith, Come Hell or High Water

Updated: Sep 7, 2022

We dive into Martin Scorsese's 2016 film Silence, an adaptation of the novel by Shusaku Endo. The story explores the story of Jesuit missionaries in Japan which resonates with the LDS mission experience. Joining us is special guest Van Gessel, a retired BYU professor who translated Endo's works into English and was a consultant on the film. We talk about his experience working on the film and the differences between the film and the book. Don't miss the debate on the morality of Father Rodrigues's final decision. Is this film about a failure of faith or the necessity of the atonement? Whichever you way you lean, it's certain that this film will make you think.

Our Ratings: Content: Celestial- Artistic Merit: 5 popcorn balls Gospel Connections: 4 apricots

Best Books:

Liz - Dendo: One Year and One Half in Tokyo by Brittany Long Olsen

Daniel - Shtisel (Netflix) and Srugim (Amazon Prime); The Farewell

Jeff - Artifact Space by Miles Cameron; Five Kingdoms series by Brandon Mull; Book of Enoch; The Lost Symbol (series on Peacock not recommended; book recommended)

Van - Crash Landing on You; Departures


Shinya Tsukamoto - Japanese filmmaker who was cast as Mokichi

Alma and Amulek watch their converts being martyred in Alma 14

Alma 1-29: A Brief Theological Introduction by Kylie Nielson Turley

Hesiod's Theogany

"Do the thing that we would not do" - a paraphrase of Romans 7:15

When You Can't Come Back: A Story of Courage and Grace by Dave and Jan Daravecky

"How often would I have gathered thee as a hen gathereth her chicks" - paraphrase of Matt 23:37 and 3 Nephi 10:4-6

"Sooner would a nursing mother forget her child" - paraphrase of Isaiah 49:15

Earlier Japanese film of Silence - Chinmoku

BYU Humanities magazine talking with Van Gessel about the adaptation process

From the Juvenile Instructor: "Some Mormon Theology in Shusaku Endo’s Silence"

Two positive responses to the film from a faith-based perspective: Fr. James Martin answers 5 common questions about 'Silence,' ‘Silence’ Review: Martin Scorsese’s Jesuit Drama Is a Religious Experience

Negative response to the film from a faith-based perspective:

Empathy is not Charity

Films with similar themes:

Heartbreak Ridge (1986)

The Mission (1986)

A Hidden Life (2019)

Find Us:

Liz -

Daniel - Nauvoo Neighbor

Jeff - Twitter: @JeffSBennion; Public Square Magazine

Van - translations of Endo's works; Wikipedia page; BYU devotional on pop culture

Video editing by Robert Hill

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