Richard Dutcher's first Mormon film, God's Army, earned over two million dollars. My question is this: If his second film, Brigham City, had earned three million and his third film, States of Grace, had earned four million, is there any chance in hell that he would now be leaving Mormonism?
I doubt it very much. He'd still be in the game, gearing up for his long-rumored Joseph Smith biopic. While he has downplayed the role of his filmmaking in his decision to leave Mormonism, I'm sure it plays a big role. And he hasn't really given any other good reasons, just general hints at spiritual journeys and such.
Of course, what really happened was that the box-office grosses of Dutcher's Mormon movies went farther south with each successive movie, which must have been very painful after all the efforts and sacrifices he made for his films. In fact, the timing of his leaving-the-church announcement came soon after the time when he probably finally admitted to himself that DVD sales weren't going to be enough to save States of Grace.
By the way, I personally feel that his films got better with each one, and I personally am quite disgusted and disappointed with the Mormon audience for not responding better, although I'm not surprised. But that still doesn't justify leaving the church.