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.
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.