Star Wars As a Dispensationalist Allegory

It’s a common quip that Mormon nerds love to make analogies between their church and Star Wars.  Short of some of the generic ideas about faith in the series, though (“I don’t believe it!” “That is why you fail.”), I haven’t actually seen much commentary from anyone linking the two. 

Now, Star Wars is not exactly deep theology, but after the release of the dreadful prequel trilogy, I did notice that the overall story arc meshes with our understanding of history pretty well.  In short, the original saga tells the story of a Restoration, while the newer three episodes go back to tell the story of the Apostasy.  In Episodes IV-VI, truths and powers that had been lost by persecution and rejection are slowly brought back to life as a new generation of heroes are called upon to start the work over.  Episodes I-III go back to show us just how those truths and powers were lost.  In fact, I started making this connection when I saw Yoda and Obi-Wan talking, and Yoda confessed that the Jedi Order was weakening and was not as close to the Force as it had once been.   I immediately pictured a late-first century meeting of church leaders to discuss the growing distance of the Spirit from their organization.  When the Jedi were exterminated in Episode III, I saw Apostles being beheaded, run through, and crucified head down. 

This is hardly a point-by-point metaphor.  Obviously, there are huge differences between Star Wars and church history.  However, with this basic template in mind, more than few solid correspondences can be made:

Church history figure Star Wars character Shared traits
Joseph Smith Luke Skywalker Conflicted young man from an obscure, pastoral setting is called upon by events around him to rise up and form a new order—a restoration of an older, lost order
Moroni Obi-Wan Kenobi The last human survivor of the lost order, he disappears from the setting until the founder of the new order is ready, whereupon he delivers early messages to the young man and begins his training
The priesthood The Force A supernatural power that had been lost with the destruction of the old order, which is bestowed on the new founder and which he learns to use from the survivors of the lost order.  Requires faith and effort to operate.  Is treated lightly by nonbelievers
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The Life Affirming Song List

Today, like most every day, is having its share of heartbreak and discouragement.  So much of what we care about in life is beyond our immediate control, and when we do care deeply about things, their failure to work out smoothly can lead to especially poignant pangs.  If we insist on concentrating on the sour tastes, they can come to dominate our palate. 

Yes, life is frequently full of bitter sorrows.  There’s no way around it, and we live with the sure knowledge that our problems won’t magically disappear anytime soon, and that there’s plenty more grief in the future.  On top of all that, there’s always a steady, whispering feeling in the back of your mind that no matter what…everything will be all right.  I’ve felt like that a lot this year, and on that note (get it?), here are 15 songs that help remind me that despite the large measure of sadness dished out to each of us (not after the sadness or without it, but despite it), life is sweet. 

Steven Spielberg once joked in an interview about E.T. that he was “a nice Jewish boy who keeps making movies about the Resurrection.”  I’d modify that slightly.  His movies, like most of the really popular adventure, romance, and science fiction movies–and the most moving songs–aren’t about Resurrection so much as they’re about Restoration–not rising from the dead so much as rebuilding something beautiful that had been broken or lost.  You see that in Spielberg’s movies (think Hook), and you see it in most of these songs. 

Guaranteed to make you feel good, and alphabetical by artist, here they are:

The Beatles, “Here Comes the Sun”

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