Skip to comments.The twilight saga [The OTHER World Series...Mormon Vampires]
Posted on 10/28/2011 8:00:34 AM PDT by Colofornian
Twilight is my religion; Stephenie Meyer is my God! Team Edward 22, a young fan
Couldnt stop crying for 2 days after I finished the last book, it was just so emotional. A seventeen-year-old reader
Seventeen-year-old Bella falls for Edward, who is beautiful, mysterious, powerful, and dangerous, but wise beyond his years and, ultimately, a consummate gentleman. The paragon of self-control, Edward will not allow them to have premarital sex, despite Bellas pleadings and his own appetites, and though he sneaks into her bedroom at night, he simply seeks her presence, to ask her questions and listen to her talk, to watch her sleep, and to protect her. Indeed, Edward, her savior, rescues Bella from certain death, repeatedly, and though she thinks of herself as ordinary, extraordinary Edward finds her utterly fascinating. In fact, she is his first and only love, and he would rather die than live without her. Astonishingly, he can even give her immortal life with him. A girl could not ask for more especially not a free-thinking, thoroughly contemporary young woman who is actually in love with two boys, each of whom is deathly devoted to her. Or could she?
A biblically faithful Christian could not have written the Twilight series of novels, yet Stephenie Meyer, a committed Mormon woman, did. A cultural Christian morality certainly informs Meyers storytellingMormonism is, after all, a heretical cult of Christianity. In addition to Edwards many virtues, Bella consistently puts others before herself. A strong sense of community pervades the story, and the way Meyer handles teen sexuality reflects in significant ways our shared Christian heritage.
I believe that quite another force, however, moves Meyers imagination, something antithetical to the Bible but central to Mormonism, which teaches that, by grace and good works, a male believer can become as the Mormon God now is, sovereign over his own creation, populating his own world through eternal polygamy and celestial sex. Mormonism constitutes perhaps the ultimate male fantasy; and Meyers world in the Twilight novels constitutes the female fantasy counterpart to Mormonism.
The Twilight love saga, then, may be the ultimate female coming-of-age fantasy that our biblically illiterate culture can offer, and, as such, this captivating story evokes dangerously false expectations in young women that no man could ever satisfy. In fact, given that female sexuality is quite naturally relational, far more so than young male sexuality, the comparison that comes to mind is that Twilight is to female sexuality what pornography is to male sexuality. As young men all too naturally tend to objectify women, and pornography intensifies that tendency, so young women tend to idealize and idolize young men, and Twilight exacerbates that tendency. Under such influences, neither sex sees the opposite sex as they should.
Some readers argue, however, that because Edward and Bella refrain from premarital sex (and use little foul language) such modeling of abstinence makes the series not only acceptable but laudable for teens. Actually, Meyer wrote the books for herself and her adult sister, not teens, which helps to explain that although Edward and Bella do stop short of premarital intercourse, the love saga breathes sensuality over an undercurrent of eroticawhat really prevents Edward and Bella from engaging in sexual intercourse is Edwards fear of killing her in the heat of passion! Its difficult to see how that persistent factor in the story would motivate young couples in the real world to abstain from premarital sex. To be fair, Edwards old fashioned morals bolster his resistance to Bellas pleadings and his own desires, but we dont hear of this conviction until late in the series. Reflect for a moment, furthermore, on the unsettling fact that teen Bellas apparently virtuous suitor looks seventeen but possesses a century of experiences.
Edward is a vampire, of course, and Jacob, the other boy, a werewolf. We learn about incubi, succubae, shape shifters, and many other occult fantasy creatures and objects as well. Two basic concerns warrant the mention of these facts. First, because this saga breeds teen obsession, the attraction of the romance could spill over into tempting young people to investigate its occult elements (and Meyers Mormon affiliation could lend credibility to Mormonism as well).
Second, Christian literary critics point out that what legitimizes a fantasy story is that it reflects the moral law of the real world. Moreover, the horrible fallenness and glorious, but excruciatingly costly, redemption of the real world mandate that any story worth telling reflect in some way the fall and redemption of the real world. This, then, requires that things get messyvampirism qualifies before redemption occurs within the context of biblically defined and well-depicted goodness and evil, justice and love. As I have alluded, however, the Twilight Saga blurs these parameters.
Further manifestations of this blurring include Bellas adoration of Edward, which she owes to God. Indeed, Bella affirms no religious belief and seems indifferent about God, confessing that she could not appreciate heaven without Edward. Also, consistent with Mormon teaching and contrary to the Bible, a sense of salvation by ones own works pervades the storyline. For example, the praiseworthy head of Edwards family of vampires, Carlisle Cullen, believes and instills within his clan that overcoming their lust for human blood may somehow merit or contribute to their salvation. In fact, Meyers brilliance appears especially in the seductive portrayal of her characters constant struggle to overcome their fallen nature and temptation through herculean self-exertion unaided by Gods gracethe universal urge to attempt to pull ones self up by ones own boot straps. God is irrelevant.
Very good storytelling influences us, for good or bad, and often beyond our awareness. Meyers powers, however, overwhelm teens, who should not be asked to navigate the intense emotional experiences the Twilight novels evoke, or negotiate the profound desires the novels enflame. Stephen Ross
Stephen Ross is Research Assistant to the President of Christians Research Institute
 Cf. Carissa Smith, Twilight: A Positive or Negative Influence for Teens? Christ and Pop Culture, July 9, 2008, online at http://www.christandpopculture.com/featured/twilight-a-positive-or-negative-influence-for-teens/.
Straight out of one the most prominent 20th century books published by a Mormon "prophet" -- the nephew of Mormon founder Joseph Smith:
"We expect to have our wives and husbands in eternity...I expect this; I look for nothing else. Without it I could not be happy. The thought or belief that I should be denied this privilege hereafter would make me miserable from this moment. I never could be happy again that I shall enjoy the society of my wives and children in eternity. If I had not this hope, I should be of all men most unhappy..." (Gospel Doctrine, 2:58)
So, Jesus alone isn't enough. Besides, historic Christian belief is that Christian couples can live eternally together in heaven...just not as husband and wife. [Mormons tend to forget that when discussing "eternal marriage"]
Joseph F. Smith went on to distort 1 Cor. 15:19 -- a passage about eternal life beyond this earth -- to include polygamy. Note Smith said "wives." Joseph F. Smith had half a dozen wives well into the 20th century!
He added five wives after he married his 16 yo cousin at age 21! (Source: Church History: Selections from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, ed. by Daniel H. Ludlow, 1992, p. 521).
This book was published by The First Presidency in 1971 -- the highest ranking hierarchists in the Mormon church. Furthermore, a 1996 Mormon church book specifically sanctioned it: In 1996, Joseph F. Smiths Gospel Doctrine book was again officially sanctioned from the official Salt Lake City church publishing division in its book, Our Heritage: A Brief History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. P. 106 of the book: When Lorenzo Snow died in October, 1901, Joseph F. Smith became the sixth President of the Church. He was well known for his ability to expound and defend gospel truths. His sermons and writings were compiled into a volume titled Gospel Doctrine, which has become one of the important doctrinal texts of the Church.
The "Speaking of ghosts" includes coverage of pix of "ghosts" @ a Salt Lake City hospital and strange phenomenon @ the Mormon Missionary Training Center.
Mormons invite posters to tell their own "ghost stories."
The "Utah Ghosts" mentions the location of the Mountain Meadows Massacre and one Freepers own experience there @ night...and mentions a Porter Rockwell location. Rockwell was a "bodyguard" for Mormon "prophets" -- a recognized mass murderer.
In before the FAIR/FARMS Harry Potter excuses.
Rifftrax: Sparkly Vampires
Have you read “The Shack”? I loved that book!!! After I read it, I bought ten copies and gave it away to friends and relatives.
This whole thread needs a Riddikulus spell.
Ah, so that’s why my wand sputters with that spell!
There’s nothing more pathetic than older women who think the Bella-Edward story is romantic.
Why is this no surprise? From a review of "The Shack"...
The author, William Young, uses the power of story to explain the nature and character of God without becoming too heady or scholarly.
My favorite example of this is found in the last paragraphs of chapter 12. Jesus is talking with Mack about how seekers find him and that he is not trying to make anyone a Christian. "I am not a Christian," Jesus says. Mack asks him if this means that all roads lead to God. Listen to this brilliant response:
Most roads don't lead to anywhere. What it does mean is that I will travel any road to find you.
The Twilight series is not in any way unique in presenting a view of the world that is not based in reality or particularly Christian. In fact, there are few fiction books out there for teens that are.
Of the popular authors writing popular books for teens, Twilight does have one of the best moral underpinnings. You can complain because it isn’t Christian-based, but the characters speak of morality, they talk of virtue, the books show a struggle between good and evil where good not only can triumph, but does so by being good and virtuous.
No problem with people who ban all these books from their children. My daughter read Twilight, but lost interest. Of course, she’s more of a BF Saul fan (horror murder novels).
What are the competition? Harry Potter, with wizards and warlocks and while nobody seems to sleep around there is no talk about not doing so. The House of Night novels by PC Cast — where the good guys are vampires, the bad guys are vampires but also conservative christians, where they imply that the Virgin Mary is just another manifestation of a pagan Goddess, where the kids regularly have sex, and homosexuality is the norm.
How about Patterson? His “Maximum Ride” novels are about genetic experiments gone wrong; there are no good religious characters, it is all about global warming and saving the planet and the evil people are corporations and meglomaniac billionares.
OK, I guess there’s something to be said for the fact that I have read all the books in all these series that I just mentioned. Of them, Twilight was the least well-written, but it was enjoyable enough. I find so long as I don’t look to fiction for validation of my worldview, I can enjoy stuff like this.
Of course, I’m also a big fan of the Ender’s series, which in no way reflects a christian or particularly religious world view; I also love all sorts of science fiction, which rarely deals kindly with my belief system.
I’m certainly not as steeped in mormonism at the poster of this thread, but I am somewhat familier with the tenets of the faith, and I don’t remember anything particularly “mormon” about Twilight. In fact, I remember reading a couple of reviews where mormons trashed the book as not being very good in that regard.
But unfortunately, Bella survived the plunge.
I agree with the snark about Bella. But in fairness, it’s not really a sexist book — Edward couldn’t continue his life without Bella either.
And you do know that this is kind of the plot of Romeo and Julliet. Not saying that makes it good, just that Twilight isn’t the first book to imply that a couple in love is inexorably intertwined and cannot survive without each other.
Bella is a spineless sop of a character - useless without her man - defenseless until HE gives her power.
Hermione was smarter, worked harder, and fought harder than almost any other character in the books. Militarily and strategically she was the backbone of Harry's efforts against Voldemort.
Having read both series I consider the Harry Potter books to be a triumph of literary fiction and I consider the Twilight books to be teen relationship softcore - a half step up from a “romance” novel.
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