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Actor Angus T. Jones, best known for his role as “Jake Harper” on the hit television show “Two and a Half Men,” has become a Seventh-day Adventist. Jones plays the son of “Alan Harper” (played by actor Jon Cryer) and the nephew of “Charlie Harper” (played by Charlie Sheen before he left the show and was replaced by Ashton Kutcher). Jones was born in Austin, Texas. His family moved to California when he was four years old, when his father took a job working for a relative who lived about an hour west of Los Angeles. Jones' parents decided to see if he could become a child actor, and he met with rare early success, appearing in several television commercials. At the age of eight, Jones auditioned for “Two and a Half Men,” a show created by producer and “show runner” Chuck Lorre. After three meetings, the last of which was a reading with Sheen, Jones was given the role. The show became a ratings winner, and has run for ten seasons (notwithstanding that star Charlie Sheen was fired during the eighth season after making disparaging personal comments about Lorre).
Jones attended a Christian school when not on the set; when he was shooting, studio tutors kept him up to date with the classwork at his school. Midway through his senior year in high school, Jones began to be strongly drawn to God. During a conversation with a school friend, Jones felt what he later described as a “baptism of the Holy Spirit;” he felt that God was using his friend to prompt him to change his life and take his religion seriously. Jones visited a variety of Sunday churches, often several in one day, but did not find one that seemed a good fit for him.
Through a friend who “could never go out with us on Friday Night,” Jones learned of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and began attending the Valley Crossroads Church, a predominantly black SDA church in Pacoima, in the northeastern San Fernando Valley of suburban Los Angeles. The first time he attended, the pastor's message spoke to him personally in a powerful way. After attending Valley Crossroads for several weeks, Jones was approached by the church's Bible worker, Nelson Jones, and asked if he wanted to study the Bible. Angus was impressed by what he was shown and eventually made a decision to be baptized. He was baptized on the Friday evening before he graduated from high school, with several relatives and family members present. He continues to learn and grow in the faith, and currently attends meetings on Monday and Thursday nights.
Jones' interview with Connie Vandeman Jeffery at the Adventist Channel can be seen here:
Jones has also given an interview to Christianity Today, which can be read here:
Although baptizing a celebrity presents the Seventh-day Adventist Church with opportunities for publicity, in this instance it has caused our Church more headaches than benefits. Unfortunately, Jones gave a video interview--subsequently uploaded to YouTube--to an independent interviewer, not affiliated with the official church, who holds a number of eccentric and conspiracy-oriented views. Tabloids and celebrity gossip sites in the United States and even Great Britain have wrongly characterized the interviewer as Jones' “spiritual advisor” and, worse, have attributed the interviewer's eccentric personal views to the larger Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Jones' public testimony has created a professional conflict in his own life, as well. “Two and a Half Men” glorifies the Charlie Sheen character's playboy lifestyle, depicting him in numerous casual encounters with numerous women--obviously, the show did not call for Sheen to play anyone other than himself--while depicting the Jon Cryer character, who pines for the ex-wife who divorced him, as a hapless loser. In the interview uploaded to YouTube, Jones called the show “filth” and urged viewers of the interview not to watch the show. Naturally, a highly-paid actor (Jones reportedly earns upward of $300,000 per episode) telling people not to watch his show created a buzz on celebrity gossip and showbiz sites. On November 27th, Jones' publicist issued a statement that affirmed Jones' gratefulness to the producers, writers, cast and crew of the show, but pointedly did not retract Jones' stated view that the show is not appropriate viewing for a Christian believer:
“I am grateful to and have the highest regard and respect for all of the wonderful people on Two and Half Men with whom I have worked over the past ten years and who have become an extension of my family. . . . I apologize if my remarks reflect me showing indifference to and disrespect of my colleagues and a lack of appreciation of the extraordinary opportunity of which I have been blessed. I never intended that.”
The problems created by one rogue interview demonstrate how careful and discreet the church needs to be with regard to celebrity members. It would have been good idea to assign Jones a church publicist shortly after his baptism to advise him on public statements and interviews. Such a procedure might have spared Jones and the Church the considerable embarrassment the bad interview has caused both. It is to be hoped that this incident will prompt the church to develop a policy for future such situations, even though they will be very rare.