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Mormon influences on Battlestar: Galactica

The original producer of the late 70s BSG, Glenn Larson, is a Latter Day Saint. He originally intended for the series to be called Adam's Ark, and had pitched it since the 60s before it finally got picked up.

Mormonism itself is an oddball retelling of Christian mythology, where Christ was resurrected to the USA after his crucifiction, to complete His work of explaining to people how they should live their lives. Because of that, it seems plausible that Battlestar: Galactica may be a tweaked out retelling of some Mormon mythology. Indeed when I started watching the new series a few months ago, I was told that it is a scheme to introduce Mormonism to a broader audience (not that Mormonism needs it! - it's a very quickly growing religion, and one of the top contenders for the 2008 presidential election is the Mormon governer of MA).

Since I was also reading a book about Latter Day Saints (Under the Banner of Heaven, by John Krakauer - recommended) at the time, I tried to figure out what Mormon themes were apparent in the show. I didn't come up with much, but here goes:

1. The Church of Latter Day Saints is governed by a President advised by a Quorum of 12 - the exact same as the political structure in Battlestar: Galactica.

2. The Book of Mormon was written by a lost Jewish tribe that was banded together and battled the elements and enemies on their way to a mythological homeland (the USA, for them; they settled there and met the resurrected Jesus). There may be some similarity to the idea of the fleet - expelled from their homeland and needing to look for Earth on faith (although that storyline seems to have fallen a bit by the wayside...)

3. Kobol, as in "Gods of Kobol!" is an anagram for Kolob, the Mormon star which serves as something of a godhead (there are lots of Gods in the Church of Latter Day Saints- upon death, a faithful Mormon is made a God of his own planet - but Kolob is the star where the most important God has his throne).

4. When they went to Kobol and Gaius had the vision of his baby in the ruins of the city there, it looked just like the landscape of Salt Lake City - a valley surrounded by the Rockies, and the theater he and Number 6 were in was a lot like the Salt Lake Tabernacle.

Point 4 is pretty subjective, but I think the other ones count for sure as Mormon influences on the story. Overall, though, I think the new producers are probably largely unaware of those themes and are just having fun with making a show about modern military and political themes: being attacked by an enemy we created but don't understand, when is torturing a good tactic, stealing elections, yadayada.

Unfortunately, I'll be travelling during the season premier tonight, and will have to bittorrent it and watch it later this week. I'm very happy that Adama has a moustache and Tyrell has a huge Abe Linclon beard.


At 7:33 PM, Blogger joŇ°ko said...

This post looks long, thorough, and good, but I can't read it 'cause I've only seen the middle of the pilot.

I feel like a ship's left the harbor and I'm staring at the wake.


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