My Comments on a Twilight Review

One of my incredible friends (who I can only hope is a real person and not just a hairy man named Fred since I haven’t actually met her in person) asked my opinion about this blog post discussing the Twilight books and their relation to Mormonism. Here were my comments to her:

First, I should say that the stuff I found relevant to Mormonism does not appear to be the same stuff that this woman is finding, but then, I don’t usually read to go searching for the symbolism or deeper meanings or stuff in books, but read for the sheer pleasure of getting lost in the story.

Her points:
1. Deification. I can see where that’s coming from. While most Mormons will be hesitant to call it deification, it is a principle of the church that a person who dies can become like God–meaning a god also. I think that there is not a lot of clarity about whether you become as god-y as God, or if it’s like a lesser god type being. (Conner always interpreted it as Jesus becoming the God the Father of the next generation, and the normal people who attained celestial glory (what they call it) would just get to create their own worlds within the framework of Jesus being the God of all the worlds.)

2. Afterlife. It seems like a stretch to me.

3. Family – also a stretch. What mainstream group/culture isn’t mostly about the family unit? It’s not just Mormons who are glad that they have kids.

4. Celestial Marriage. This person’s doctrines are way off and not what Mormonism teach, nor really consistent internally (in that paragraph) or with what I find in the books. In Mormonism, you don’t get married temporally (outside of the temple, “till death do us part”), and then get married in the temple. You CAN, but they generally want you to get married in the temple if at all possible. (To the extent of me not having my family at my wedding.) It is true that men can be sealed to more than one woman. It is NOT consistent with current Mormon doctrine that a woman could be sealed to more than one man, ever. In other words, Mormonism leaves the door open for possibly polygamy, but not polyandry. I don’t remember in the book–did they have another ceremony to bind them for eternity?

5. Bella as the Christ figure. I can kind of see that… I guess. But is that about Mormonism, or a hyperbolic presentation of childbirth and motherhood in general? And she wasn’t a virgin when she got pregnant, which isn’t very Mary-like. Also, regarding the doctrine that God had a physical union with Mary to get her pregnant… like many of the old ideas in Mormonism, this came from Brigham Young (who is, in my opinion, unQUESTIONably the most controversial prophet). He certainly said it (or said something like “Jesus was conceived in the usual fashion” or something), but does that make it doctrine? Well, what makes something doctrine is one of the sticky widgets in Mormonism and could stand for its own debate. There are many things that Brigham Young taught and specifically said that they were doctrine and plain and precious truths and not to ever be denied… that the church no longer teaches and disavows completely (not by saying that Brigham Young was wrong or didn’t say it, but by becoming apologetics or by ignoring it completely). FWIW, I think that it’s generally understood that you follow what the current prophet says, even if it’s different than what a prior prophet said. I had trouble with this when it came to factual things that shouldn’t change based on who is prophet.

6. Uh, this isn’t about Mormonism at all, really. Nor is it especially coherent lol.

7. Native Americans: Also a stretch. I think it took place where it did because vampires who were going to make a permanent settlement wouldn’t go to Miami Beach. As for the Native Americans being the wise ones or whatever, that’s a common practice in many American authors–sage native people? I don’t think it’s a hearkening to the Book of Mormon.

8. As for imprinting on children–I also found this disturbing in the novel (the idea of it in general), but I am hyper sensitive to child sexual abuse/stuff like that. I thought that given the weirdness, she did a decent job with it. This blogger did not connect it to Mormonism, and Mormons have no doctrines about mating with children. Granted, creepy fundamentalist weirdos who live on compounds probably take on 14 year old wives or whatever, but that’s not mainstream Mormonism, and would be something that Stephenie Meyer probably finds disturbing as well.

Then, this blogger says something about reaching the “upper echelon” of Mormonism. This is total bull and there is no such thing. It’s not like you are going along and all of a sudden one day you go to a special meeting where they say, “ok, so, God and Mary? Actual sex. Cool, huh? And polygamy? Yeah, we did that. Possibly will again in the future after you die, or whatever.” Nope, doesn’t happen. I hate it when people say stuff like that. There is plenty to criticize about the church without making crap up. Plus, it’s totally condescending to tell someone that they aren’t privy to the doctrines of their own church while this outsider knows so much more than them.

So, that’s my response to the blogger.

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10 responses to “My Comments on a Twilight Review

  1. Dear Katy Jane,

    I recognized the author as a Mormon innately. It’s less about the outward aspects than it is in the repressive desublimation, the degradation of the female characters in relationship to men, and the allusion to sex as death.

    I wrote about it on my blog a couple of weeks ago. I found your comments to be interesting and figured I’d give you a shout out.

    Plus, it’s totally condescending to tell someone that they aren’t privy to the doctrines of their own church while this outsider knows so much more than them.

    Mormonism has changed so radically that it means something different depending upon which year you started experiencing it. The author (of Twilight, not of the blog) and I are the same age, so I could pick up a lot of the allusions you might have missed.

    Take Care…

  2. Oh, Gregoire, I certainly wasn’t saying that there wasn’t any traces of Mormonism or Mormon culture in the books–there certainly was.

    Like I originally said, I wasn’t reading the books to look for Mormon allusions–I was reading it for the sheer pleasure of reading. But when a non-Mormon starts to talk about knowing more about Mormon doctrines than actual church members, it just gets under my skin.

  3. Hey Cousin Katy! How’s it going?
    Well, working as I do in a library smack dab in the center of Mormonville, USA, I do have something to say about the Twilight books. I have read them. I own the first three. Mom gave them to me for Christmas last year. However, I think they are mostly ridiculous. I enjoyed reading them while I was reading them, but they are most definitely at all even close to being great works of literature. Not even decent works of literature. They are so full of fluff that it’s like reading books entirely filled with cotton balls. Now, sometimes I like cotton. It’s easy to read and lightens my mind for a short time. But not all the time.

    So in conclusion, I generally feel these books aren’t that great. Heck, I can’t even really remember the plots of the first couple ones. Of course, what I just said has nothing whatsoever to do with the topic of your post. I just like sharing my opinion of the Twilight books. And I like my cotton ball metaphor.

  4. lol! Kristen, I like your cotton ball metaphor too. And I love to read cotton balls… which is very odd to say out of context.

    I enjoyed the books, and have read the first three twice. But I agree-not great literature. There is a lot worse young adult fiction out there–where the writing is so bad that it’s actually difficult to read.

  5. Hey Katy- what an interesting post to happen upon on your blog:) I like how you spelled it out, makes sense. Especially your last paragraph, it gets under my skin too, and I’m pretty easy going about it all!
    I didn’t see any real parallels anywhere in the books, the ones you addressed are, I agree, kind of a stretch. I just saw some distinct cultural influence with Edward and Bella not having sex until they were married. I think it was probably easier on Meyers own concience/comfort level to save sex for marriage than having to write about it before and deal with all kinds of social reperucussions from her adoring fans, or their parents rather. Not that I think she would necessarly succomb to pressure, but that I think that it’s what she believes so it’s easier to write it that way.
    And I also agree that Twilight books are fun reads but definitely nothing substantial. But for being “cotton” they sure do get a lot of discussion time…

  6. Wow, not sure what to say. I loved the books, I thought they were really fun to read. I don’t think anyone would argue with the point about how they aren’t “great literature”. You usually don’t find those type of book in the teen fiction section anyway. It’s funny to me that someone took so much time to analyze it like that. I guess you could analyze any book from your own point of view and make it sound all jacked up……bizarre. Did you like the movie?

  7. Beth–didn’t you see my movie post? lol

    Now, I love you to pieces, and because of your blog, I REALLLLLLLLY wanted to love the movie. Maybe it would be better the second time around; I’ll give it a shot when it comes out on DVD and make Conner watch it too… Mostly I thought the cinematography was terrible–I wanted to tell them to zoom out just a bit the entire time.

  8. I know what you mean-and it is better the second time, when your expectations are a lot lower :). Hopefully for the next movie they will have more moola to do better things.

  9. Well, I just thought about it and realized that even if you are a hairy man named Bill or Fred, it doesn’t matter. You’re still awesome. 🙂

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