We don’t know HOW we missed this story when it originally broke as we’re such huge fans of The Brick Testament at Stately Beat Manor. Lest you forget, this is one man’s crazy 10-year quest to retell the Bible using Legos, a gargantuan task of posing and photographing, not to mention compression. When the book came out in November, we were all over that shit, and so, originally, was massive ass market retailer Sam’s Club and religious bookstores, who thought that a version of the Bible told in colorful brick would appeal to children.
Smith explained to CNET that his publisher, Skyhorse Publishing, had told him that Sam’s Club had originally ordered 12,000 copies of “The Brick Bible” and that in just its first two weeks on the shelves, the book had sold 2,000 copies. He also addressed the fact that “it was reps from Walmart/Sam’s Club who had seen an advance version of the book and said they were very interested to place a large order of the book for their stores, but only if we were willing to remove or replace a dozen of the Old Testament illustrations–out of 1,400 total–that showed Lego people in sexual poses. So there are no illustrations of the Bible’s sex content in the book.”
Evidently Sam was not aware that creator Brendan Powell Smith is actually an atheist who was committed to constructing all the massacres, stonings and rapes found in the good book. After complaints that the author did not believe in God, the Brick Bible was removed from the shelves.
This tale was brought to our attention by a posting at the theological site Patheos, where the writer is dismayed by the Biblical verses Smith chose to illustrate:
•. Leviticus 15:16 “When a man ejaculates semen . . .” (the scene is of a Lego man masturbating in front of a television set)
•. Leviticus 15:18 “Whenever a woman has intercourse with a man . . .” (two Lego action figures engaged in sexual relations)
•. Leviticus 15:19 “Whenever a woman has her menstrual period . . .” (lonely woman sitting in a chair, gazing out the window)
•. Leviticus 15:24 “If a man goes so far as to have intercourse with her . . .” (Lego couple atop a Lego bed, as fully engaged as a Lego couple can be)
Have you ever SEEN a Lego, lady? They can be VERY engaged. Also…have you ever actually READ the Bible? As melodrama, it’s a potboiler that makes Jackie Collins look like That’s So Raven.
The writer of the piece, Kathy Schiffer, is ultimately saddened for Smith’s lack of faith and has a forgiving attitude emblematic of true Christianity:
Oddly, I found myself feeling not wrath, but sadness for “Reverend” Smith. A young (30-something) man with a great amount of talent, he rejects God even while immersing himself in the Bible. I pray that God, who is all-knowing and who loves Brendan Powell Smith with an unquenchable love, might bring into Smith’s life someone who can help him to see the deeper meaning behind those stern Old Testament stories, the divine inspiration in the Bible he now mocks.
ANYWAY, there’s some he said/deity said stuff going on here, as Smith claims the most salacious panels were removed before publication after complaints from Wal-Mart, while Wal-Mart says they never had any contact with Skyhorse, the publisher, before publication.
No matter how it all played out, the book isn’t carried at Wal-Mart anymore. But we’ll carry it in our hearts forever.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.