Why do Mormons love Star Wars and science fiction so much?
(KUTV) We all know Utah loves Star Wars, but why do Mormons really dig Star Wars? There has to be an explanation on why Mormons love science fiction and fantasy so much.
Utah was recently touted as the state that was the most obsessed with Star Wars -- at least in our galaxy.
Washington Post opinion writer Matthew Bowman has an interesting theory and it doesn't have nearly anything to do with the age old rumors of how much late LDS prophet Spencer W. Kimball, who served as president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1973-85, was alike Jedi Master Yoda in many characteristics.
For the record, even though Kimball urged faithful followers to not only believe in their faith, but to "do it," which was seen by some as an inverted saying of Yoda's "Do or Do Not," he was not the inspiration for Yoda.
Stuart Freeborn, who designed the look of Yoda, never mentioned the LDS prophet when citing his inspirations, Bowman wrote in the article.
There are some common similarities between an LDS prophet and Yoda, Bowman writes. While Mormons believe the president of the LDS church is the only individual on earth that holds the entirety of priesthood authority Jesus Christ bestowed to the apostle Peter. On the other hand, Yoda was the last Jedi in the galaxy. So there is that.
To find out why Mormons love Star Wars, the answer goes deeper than just some George Lucas creations. Bowman's theory rests in previously uncharted territory of science fiction novelists with ties to the faith. Mormons are pretty fascinated with other galaxies and the supernatural.
Mormon movie makers and novelists alike have achieved national success by working in this genre. Folks like: Orson Scott Card, Jared Hess, Stephanie Meyer, Brandon Sanderson indicate there is a place for strong following in a speculative science fiction world and a possibility for more to exist.
Bowman says the novel "Added Upon" was the first "Mormon venture into science fiction" and it was attempted in the 19th Century by Nephi Anderson.
Mormons like talking about the supernatural. For the past three decades BYU has held a symposium called "Life, the Universe and Everything," where everything related to science fiction and fantasy is discussed. This reference might also explain Mormons' infatuation with "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy."
Even LDS Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland referenced the moral and ethical example of the teen wizard Harry Potter in the wildly popular fantasy series.
All of these small reasons are integral pieces in the collage that explains the bigger picture of why Utah is the state The Washington Post touted as the state that was the most nuts about 'Star Wars.'
If you take basic Mormon theology and compare it to the elements that make up a science fiction story, there are several similarities that can be taken at face value on topics like the battle of good versus evil, miracles, angels, and the supernatural.
"Mormons believe a lot of things that are pretty fantastic we believe in miracles and angels and ancient prophets and rediscovered Scripture so maybe it is almost natural for us to dive into these other stories," LDS fantasy author Shannon Hale said to the Boston Globe.
On a deeper level, Mormon scholar Terryl Givens says the faith's belief and theology opens up a passageway for sci-fi and fantasy ideas that come across as more plausible than they would in other religions. Givens mentions how Mormon scripture points to an existence of life throughout the universe.
Bowman says Mormons can also relate to a recent memory of ancestors building a society.
"And yet Mormonism - like any religion - persists in part because its social imagination offers a critique of the weaknesses the larger society is often blind to," Bowman writes, adding that the themes of speculative fiction echo this reality.
While Mormons are admonished to not be part of the world, Bowman suggests the followers' interest in speculative fiction shows many may still have the desire for it.
"But that they find that fiction in Hollywood and on Amazon along with all the rest of us shows how powerful the world they once resisted has become."