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"Stripling" Documentary Follows LDS Bodybuilder With a Message

“Stripling” Documentary Follows LDS Bodybuilder With a Message

A new documentary featuring Latter-day Saint and national bodybuilding champion Mike Symkoviak proves the heart is the mightiest muscle of all.

Focused on what it takes to become spiritually “ripped,” Stripling was inspired by the description of Helaman’s Army in the Book of Mormon. Symkoviak is joined by a local young men’s leader Craig Anderson to share a story of determination, faith, and standards. Throughout the 35-minute film, Symoviak discusses what he’s learned about the gospel of Jesus Christ from his professional career as a bodybuilder, a passion sparked by his one-hour workouts as a full-time missionary for the Church. 

Being a Latter-day Saint and a bodybuilder is sometimes perceived as contradictory,” he relates. “A lot of people feel like, that’s a vain thing, a prideful thing to cater to your physical appearance. But I do it because I love it. I love the discipline it takes, the way it makes me feel. Like I said, it goes hand in hand with spiritual things as that balance.

Your testimony is similar to a workout textbook or workout program. You see it on paper what you need to do to get results, but until you put in that faith to actually see if it works, you’re not going to see any results.”

Anderson, who shares his passion for helping young men prepare for missionary service, echoes the need for diligence to strengthen your heart and mind for life as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

As any good bodybuilder knows, it doesn’t happen overnight. There’s injury. There’s pain. There’s persistence. You push yourself to the limit, and if you don’t the Lord will, and you will then become spiritually ripped.”

The film was created by writer and director Tom Laughlin to inspire youth as they’ve never been inspired before, especially young men.

Stripling premiered at the LDS Film Festival and is currently a finalist in the Documentary – Short Category for the Utah Film Festival. It’s available to watch on or you can purchase a DVD for $10 by emailing



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