6 Latter-day Saint Authors Whose Books Became Movies

James Dashner

Image title

Image from IMDb.

A few years ago, James Dashner was an accountant, earning money to support his family before he made the transition to writing full-time. A graduate of BYU, Dashner had a long-held desire to create. "I'm a creative person trapped in an accountant's body," he told the Deseret News.

When he published his novel The Maze Runner in 2009, he couldn't have anticipated the reaction it would receive. The novel and its sequels became wildly popular, and within three years, 20th Century Fox had begun filming an adaptation for the big screen.

Dashner's Maze Runner series is a dystopian novel that begins with a group of teenagers who are experimented upon by a mysterious organization. The sequel to the original film, currently in theaters, will be followed up by the final installment in February 2017.

John H. Groberg

Image title

Image from IMDb.

Another author on this list who studied at BYU, John H. Groberg served as a General Authority for the Church from 1976-2005. As a young man, he served a three-year mission to Tonga and later served there again as a mission president. He wrote a memoir about his missionary experience titled In the Eye of the Storm.

In 2001, Disney released a film based on this memoir called The Other Side of Heaven. Though the film discusses little Latter-day Saint theology, it centers around the Latter-day Saint missionary experience. Though not overly well-received by critics, the film is notable for marking the first movie appearance of Oscar-winning actress Anne Hathaway. 

Hathaway portrayed John's then-girlfriend Jean, who faithfully wrote him and waited for him while he battled rats, mosquitos, and natural disasters in Tonga. 

Shannon Hale

Image title

Image from IMDb.

It's a common complaint that romantic books and movies give women unrealistic expectations, and it was as true two centuries go as it is today. Shannon Hale's award-winning novel Austenland is the story of an average, New York woman who develops an unhealthy obsession with one of literature's most famous expectation-setters—Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

Stephenie Meyer (who you'll remember from the first book in this list) liked the book so much she produced a feature film of the same name. Starring Keri Russell, Jane Seymour, and Jennifer Coolidge, the film premiered at Sundance and received a theatrical release soon after.

Shannon is an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Born and raised in Utah, she has a tendency to let religious themes play into her stories—even going so far as to make some of her characters Latter-day Saints!

Comments and feedback can be sent to feedback@ldsliving.com