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Thursday, January 15, 2009 

Why I Bring Up BSG When Discussing Mormons

A commenter asked me a question in the last post concerning the connection between Mormons and my favorite sci-fi show Battlestar Galactica. As I have some new readers and never explained all last year why I was hoping that Mitt Romney would at least get the nomination and at best get elected president, now’s as good as anytime to ‘splain myself. It’s not wrong to hope for Romney simply for blog fodder, is it? Anyhoo…

The creator of the series Battlestar Galactica was a member Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints more commonly referred to as the Mormons. Just a C.S. Lewis infused his fictional works with Christian theology, Glen A. Larson put the Mormon theological fingerprints all over his series. Lets take a look at a cool webpage titled Observations on the correlation between Battlestar Galactica and the LDS Church;

1. Organization:
BSG: The colonies were based on a president and a council or quorum of twelve. The two words "council" and "quorum" are used synonymously.

LDS: The LDS church is headed by a president and a council or quorum of twelve. The two words "council" and "quorum" are used synonymously.

2. Origin:

BSG: The colonies originated on the planet Kobol, were all life began. The "Lords" lived there. It was called "The Lost Planet of Ancient Gods".

LDS: The LDS church believes that the Lord lives on the planet Kolob (see The Book of Abraham, Ch. 3, found in The Pearl of Great Price.)

3. Tribes:
BSG: The colonies were started by the 13 tribes which left Kobol and formed the 12 colonies. The thirteenth tribe was lost and is believed to have gone to the Earth. In "Saga of a Star World," Commander Adama delivered the following speech about their origins: "Our recorded history tells us we descended from a mother colony, a race that went out into space to establish colonies. Those of us assembled here now represent the only known surviving Colonists, save one. A sister world, far out in the universe, remembered to us only through ancient writings..." He goes on to assert that the "lost thirteenth tribe" colonized Earth. Something called The Book of The Word described the journey of the tribes of man away from Kobol.

LDS: The LDS church believes that the 13 tribes of Isreal were scattered and colonized the Earth. The 13th tribe was lost, but is believed to be in an undiscovered part of the Earth. Some have concluded that the Book of Mormon describes the 13th tribe and its journey to the Western Hemisphere. This is incorrect. The l3th tribe is still considered lost.

4. Egyptians:
BSG: The ancient records and the culture of the colonies is based on hieroglyphics and pyramids. The fighter helmet worn in a viper strongly resembles an Egyptian Sphinx.

LDS: The LDS information about Kolob and similar topics is supported by a document called the Pearl of Great Price which contains hieroglyphics written in ancient Egypt, and translated by a modern day president.

5. Marriage:
BSG: The colonists use the word "seal" in preference to marriage, and a couple is sealed "not only for now but for all the eternities." (Adama in Lost Planet of Ancient Gods.)

LDS: In the LDS church, marriage refers to a secular joining and "sealing" referes to a bond sanctified by God and "not only for time, but for all eternity."

6. Younger Wives:
BSG: In "Living Legend", Apollo tells Starbuck to re-read the Book of the Word, some of the ancient leaders of the tribes "were married to some very young wives."

LDS: In the LDS church, older leaders of the church frequently have young wives.

7. Nature of God:
BSG: The colonists believe that gods are progressed and more perfect and knowledgeable humans. At the end of War of the Gods, Part 2, the superior life form ("angel") uses the words "As you are now, we once were; as we are now, you may become" to explain the relationship between them and man.

LDS: The LDS church believes identically. Lorenzo Snow, an early Mormon President and Prophet, said, "As man is now, God once was; as God now is, man may become."

8. Free Agency:
BSG: In "War of the Gods," when the powerful being Count Iblis (Satan) tried to take over the fleet, it was discovered that just as the colonists believed, the Count could not force people to follow him and only had power over those who chose to follow of their own free will.

LDS: Among members of the LDS church, freedom of choice between good and evil is a cornerstone to their philosophy of life. According to the Mormon account of creation (The Book of Moses, Ch. 4, found in The Pearl Of Great Price), one of the reasons God cast Satan out of heaven was because he "sought to destroy the agency of man."

9. Tribunal:
BSG: When Starbuck was suspected of murder, he was tried by a tribunal.

LDS: The LDS church tries its members for transgressions in a tribunal.

10. Sayings:
BSG: Colonial saying "The glory of the universe is intelligence," as spoken by Dillon in Galactica 1980 ("The Super Scouts".)

LDS: "The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth." (Doctrine and Covenants #93)

11. Genealogy:
BSG: Starbuck's father was a genetic tracer. This was viewed as "a sacred work."

LDS: The LDS church is obsessed with genealogy. Members are expected to find their ancestors’ names so that their ancestors can be baptized vicariously.

12. Original Sin:
BSG: The episode "The Lost Warrior" explores the concept of original sin as Starbuck is imprisoned with a large number of nth generational sinners. "You mean you are imprisoned here for sins committed by your ancestors," asks Starbuck. "Well, at least we're not original sinners like you," comes the reply. Clearly, original sin is a ridiculous idea to the Colonies.

LDS: The LDS Church in The Articles of Faith makes it clear that it believes that individuals are accountable for their own sins and not for the sins of Adam or any of the individual's ancestors.

The list goes on and on and on.

Another good site, Battlestar Galactica and Mormonism is by Michael Lorenzen. Mr. Lorenzen has a thorough article followed by a bibliography that cites eleven separate works. A great read to get ready for Trivial Pursuit, cult edition.

If there is interest, I’d be more than happy to discuss at a latter date the parallels and similarities between Mormon ritual (temple level) and that of the Masonic lodge. Joseph Smith incorporated many of the lodge’s rituals and practices when he created the most popular of the made in America religions. Y'all need to let me know if this is something that would be of interest.

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I would find it interesting, even though it's creepy.

My husband once sang in a choir performance held in a large Masonic Lodge. That big central room was very, very creepy. It was large, cavernous, dingy, with weird carpeting. Kind of a cross between a funeral home and an old-school movie theater. You could have used it as part of the set for an Indiana Jones movie.

It would have made a cool large house to live in, but I think you might have needed a good solid House blessing by a pastor to chase off the "ick."

Whenever I tell people about this they are shocked. You know, I've yet to see ANY of the new BSG stuff. I just remember the old show.

EC, all lodges are built to resemble and represent Solomon’s Temple so it would make sense that you would get that impression. All of the Masonic mythology centers around Solomon’s building of the temple in Jerusalem and what they claim happen before it was completed.

BD, the new BSG is best written show on TV, in my humble opinion.

Is there a Mormon theology parallel that would predict the identity of the last Cylon? ;)

“Is there a Mormon theology parallel that would predict the identity of the last Cylon? ;)”

Dan, I’ve never been brought to light in the temple so that information is still hidden from me. Sorry.

Frank, what about temple undergarments?

Ya wants to know about the holy underwear do ya lass? Think long johns, but for apostles and with hidden meanings and symbolism. The lodge does something similar when preparing for each of the three degrees the make one a master mason.

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