Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Scifi and the Church

Several years ago, I went to a scifi convention in Pensacola and met a man that was selling two of a three volume set of LDS scifi short stories. He told me that the LDS church frowned on scifi and that these had been banned in Utah. I only chuckled to myself and replied that since I was LDS and into scifi maybe I had better look into the situation.

For fun I bought the books. They are terrific. One story is about a guy building a time machine so he can "peek" in on Joseph Smith's first uttered prayer and how the machine could never get it right so in the end he realized God was keeping that sacred.

One of the stories was about Cain and how he traveled the earth begging someone to kill him because he couldn't handle being alive. And of course God had promised him he would never be killed. Intriguing prospect to say the least.

The one that struck me the most was a "futuristic" theme wherein the last of the last days was upon us and the main characters were trying to travel to New Jerusalem for safety. They kept running into people who were evil but wise enough to know these travelers were going to a safe place. One of the bad guys or in this case girl had been an animal lover in the sense that she preferred animals over people. A sort of PETA and abortion activist.

Needless to say all the stories were well written, provoked interesting ideas and stayed fairly true to gospel principles. I suspect my "friend" at the scifi convention was lying about them being banned. Over the years, more church members have embraced and written for scifi (which is different from fantasy). To my knowledge few of them have breached church standards.

I enjoy speculation but recognize it as speculation only. "The Knowing" offers up a fascinating prospect for the last of the last days. While I thought the "seeding" of other earths in the very last scene was too corny, I did marvel how close they came to getting it right. I mean after all who knows but that the lost 10 tribes might come hurdling out of the "north country" which turns out to be space. Battlestar Galactica and all.

In short, scifi has a rich home in LDS legend and doctrine and I for one am glad.

5 comments:

  1. Teri,
    I enjoyed your post! I don't read a lot of sci-fi, but I love to watch it on TV. I think I would have enjoyed some of the stories you describe, though. Are the books still available and do you have the titles?

    Like you, I can't imagined LDS Sci-Fi being "banned" in Utah. Well, maybe at Deseret Book (who knows?), but not in "regular" bookstores, even in Utah.

    Personally, I think when global warming melts the polar ice caps, that's where they're going to find the Lost 10 Tribes. Just kidding! But my sister and I do like to tease on that "theory". (As you say, the scriptures do say they will come out of the "north". Why not out from under the North Pole? LOL!)

    Great post!

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  2. Interesting blog. I have lived long enough to realize banning does happen. I was asked to present a class on Family Home Evening in a Stake RS meeting. The Stake RS Pres came by to school me on what I could and couldn't say. Next I had to turn in my presentation to another Stake Sister who redlined with items not allowed. The one that caused me great concern was I was not allowed to say "Family Night is Family Fun Night. They requested I say "Family Night is more like Family Fight Night." I was stunned and objected. The Stake RS Pres told me that "Fight Night" is more realistic and that if I called it "Family Fun Night" I would cause too much discouragment in the sisters.

    It ended out that the sister that red lined my presentation had done a family night video that she really wanted shown instead of my presentation, so at that point I bowed out.

    I think we come across things like this more and more. I was the rep for Prop 102, and saw lots of heads in the sand and many fence sitters as well as those who do not understand what is happening today.

    You never know who is making the major decisions on books, and what mood they are in, or what hits there fancy at any given time.

    Who watches the watchers?

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  3. There is a writer named Joel Rosenberg who has written a new book in which he asserts that we may now be living in the last days. I believe it is something prophesized in the book of Ezekial...about Russia reaching out to countries south of them (Iran, Syria?). I'll try to find the name of the book and get back to you. I heard him interviewed on a radio program.

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  4. Rosenberg's book is entitled "Inside the Revolution."

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  5. What an interesting topic to explore. I'd like to read some of these books. I think The Memory of Earth by Orson Scott Card is the only sci fi I've read by an LDS author.

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