Phillip Miner was a construction worker who was approached in a Utah bookstore about eight years ago by a woman who asked if he would model as Jesus Christ.
The woman was Liz Lemon Swindle, who paints the numerous depictions of Jesus that have won worldwide acclaim and are in many Utah homes.
At first skeptical, Miner accepted her offer. Swindle and her staff took pictures of him modeling as the savior in various situations, often with elaborate stage settings or outdoors. Swindle bases her paintings off of the detailed photographs.
Fox 13 reports that "The photo shoots began with a prayer amongst artist, crew and models, and then a re-telling of the Bible story she is attempting to capture on canvas. Swindle paints off the photographs taken during the shoot, keeping an eye for details."
One of the shoots was in Africa, where orphaned children thought that Miner really was Jesus Christ. "Seeing the way those children reacted to me as Jesus, touched me in a way that I had not anticipated and in a way I couldn't have imagined," he said.
Miner was raised Mormon and left the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, saying he had no personal interest in church of any kind, on any level. After the Africa experience, Miner found his faith again, and also married the founder of Mothers Without Borders, the group that had sponsored the photo shoot in Africa. He now spends about half a year in Africa, building schools and orphanages for children.
"The truth is that the spirit just took that opportunity to change my heart and give me a wake up call," Miner told Fox 13.