BYUtv’s newest program, “Come Follow Up,” aims to enrich scripture study for Church members. Producers and moderators of the show explained the show pulls participation from all over the world and invited members of the BYUH ohana to get involved.
“‘Come Follow Up’ is a weekly TV series meant to enhance the experiences members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are having with their personal and family scripture study,” explained Barbara Gardner, a BYU–Hawaii alumna who moderates the show along with Daniel Becerra.
“It serves as a companion to the ‘Come, Follow Me’ curriculum produced by the Church. With a live audience, international-member participation through video, special guests and other important resources, viewers are able to not only observe but also participate in an exciting, robust and safe gospel conversation,” said Gardner, now an associate professor of Church History and Doctrine at BYU in Provo.
The first episode aired on Oct. 4. Future episodes will be airing on BYUtv every Sunday at 11 p.m., MST.
Gardner explained, “The goal of the project is to assist individuals and families in their process of becoming spiritually self-reliant and converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Gardner’s role as moderator is to lead the discussions of each episode, she said. “I carefully study the scripture blocks that correspond with ‘Come, Follow Me.’” Then, together “with Daniel, the other moderator, we come up with important questions, themes, principles, discussion points, etc., that we feel are valuable to members and families.”
The moderators discuss scripture blocks, ask questions and determine how to apply the Gospel in their lives and assist others with a guest and audience members.
Yurii Hydrick, the supervising producer for “Come Follow Up,” invited the BYUH ohana to be involved with the project, no matter where they are.
“Aside from watching the show and engaging in your personal and family scripture studies, there are two ways to be involved: join the studio audience if you happen to be in Provo, Utah, during our production cycle,” he explained, “or participate as a video participant, submitting a one-minute question … via video.”
Cristian Torres, associate producer for “Come Follow Up,” explained the associate producer’s job is to “arrange all the logistics of the show before the shoot and ensure the show is going the direction intended. It’s a tremendous job, and one producer can’t do it all, so BYUtv gives opportunities for students to be associate producers, working under the mentorship of full-time producers.”
Torres said he wants the BYUH ohana members to know even if they can’t attend as an audience member or send in videos, everyone can be a participant. “Imagine yourself on one of our bright blue or orange studio couches because you’re here with us.”
Torres further explained, “When you come prepared to watch an episode, having invested some alone time in the scriptures earlier in the week, you’ll notice the discussion seems aimed at your problems, your interests and your needs.
“Or, even better, you’ll hear something you think could benefit someone you know. Discussions in the Church are magical like that. You always hear something that you need, regardless of whether someone actually says something you need, because the Spirit guides the mouths and ears of the participants.”
Gardner shared her favorite aspects of “Come Follow Up.” “I love the authentic and real discussions we have with the guests, live audience and international members. I love finding answers in the scriptures to difficult questions and helping others find answers to their own questions. I love the synergy that comes as all of us, in a unified manner, seek to become better disciples of Jesus Christ.
“The show is fun, new and intriguing. We have a variety of guests who enhance our experience, from general authorities, to actors, scholars, athletes, etc., all of who have paid a heavy price to know and live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Audience members come prepared to share insights, [bear] testimonies and ask thoughtful questions. The producers, crew and everyone involved are working so hard to make this more than just a TV show, but rather, a tool that can be used to really help people come unto Christ. It’s exhilarating,” she shared.
Hydrick invited BYUH students to see how exhilarating this interactive study can be with Gardner. “Barbara Morgan Gardner and Daniel Becerra add such a wonderful energy and dynamic perspectives to the themes and scripture passages of the ‘Come Follow Me’ resource for the week.”
Torres explained, “Something scary but thrilling about ‘Come Follow Up’ is this isn’t a scripted show. A lot of things you probably watch are scripted. But ‘Come Follow Up’ is 100 percent authentic. With the exception of a few lines at the beginning and end, nobody has rehearsed anything they say on camera.
“We tell our studio guests what chapters to read before they come in to be filmed, but the comments and questions they ask are in-the-moment, just like your own Sunday School class at church. Even our international families who submit video questions aren’t prompted … they choose what they want to say.
“...You don’t know what you’re going to end up with by the time the shoot wraps 12 hours later. But every time, we come away with more than we expected. I love sitting in the control room and watching the cameras zoom in on a person as they make an inspired comment that helps guide the discussion where it needs to go.”
For a listing of BYUtv’s programming and to view episodes, visit www.byutv.org or download the app. BYUtv streams for free with no subscriptions, in-app purchases or ads. The network is always streaming live, and past and current seasons are all available to binge watch.