The Force Awakens and the Book of Mormon

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Spoiler Alert: I will be discussing elements of the plot of the Force Awakens, so if you haven’t seen it and don’t want to know, stop reading. 

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My family went to see the Force Awakens a couple of weeks ago, and something occurred to me as we were watching the movie and in processing the movie in the time since. I realized that The Force Awakens in comparison to the original Star Wars Trilogy is a lot like comparing the Book of Mormon to the Bible.

What do I mean?

The Force Awakens, in its plot and its characters, could almost overlay the original Star Wars Trilogy and look almost the same. Instead of the Republic ruled by the Sith and its leader Darth Sidious (also known as Emperor Palpatine), you have the First Order ruled by Supreme Leader Snoke. You have the same red lightsabers and storm troopers (except this time they’re using real people instead of clones). Instead of a death star that can only blow up one planet at a time, you have a planet that has been reconstructed into a massive weapon that can blow up several planets at once. Did I mention that this weapon also has a easily destructible source of power that serves as the climax of the movie?

Now let’s get to Kylo Ren, the villain of our story. Ren is the son of Han Solo, which is the reverse of the plot twist from Empire Strikes Back and finding out that Darth Vader was the father of Luke Skywalker. Ren worships Darth Vader, keeps the burned remains of his mask around and asks him for guidance to remain true to the Dark Side of the force. His costume is very Vader-esque, including his facemask that makes his voice sound robotic. Instead of the force choke of Vader, we have the force mind reading of Ren. Instead of stopping a blaster laser with his hand, Ren can stop the laser blast in mid air. Instead of Anakin being pulled toward the darkness, Ren is struggling being pulled toward the light. Instead of Vader coming back to the light after Luke Skywalker, his son, makes his plea, Ren thrusts his father, Han Solo, through when asked to come back to the light. Ren’s ship looks just like Vader’s Shuttle Tydirium without the middle section, and we still have the same Tie Fighters and battleships as before.

As for the Light side, you have the same characters in Luke, Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca. We still have the Millennium Falcon, and now we have the Resistance. We still have the ace pilot figure that Han Solo played in the original with Poe Dameron.rey We still even have the lightsaber that was passed down from Anakin to Luke and now calls out to Rey.

Let’s talk about Rey. She comes from a desert planet like Anakin and Luke (not Tattoine, but Jakku). She’s essentially living in slavery, just like Anakin. She loves droids, is mechanically inclined and is an excellent pilot, just like Anakin. She even starts showing some incredible abilities in the force and lightsaber skills that remind us of Obi-Wan Kenobi, vintage Vader and Emperor Palpatine.

I think you’re starting to get the gist of what I mean. The Force Awakens is intended to be a continuation of the Star Wars story. It looks like Star Wars, has the same characters as Star Wars and even has basically the same plot as Star Wars, but it’s not written by George Lucas, but instead by Disney. And there are some elements that don’t seem to fit.

For instance, Kylo Ren’s devotion to Vader, his asking Vader to remind him of the power of Dark Side, and wanting to complete what Vader had begun, doesn’t quite fit. If you remember, Return of the Jedi ended with Vader converting back to Jedi, being reconciled to his son Luke, and showing up as a ghost at the party on Endor. In other words, Disney has some explaining to do in episodes 8 and 9 as well as the spin offs that they are planning to make.

But what does this have to do with the Book of Mormon compared to the Bible?

The Book of Mormon’s plot starts with the Israelites, and whether you’re talking about the Jaredites trek to the Americas from the Tower of Babel or the Lehi’s journey to the Americas during the Babylonian captivity, there is intended to be a connecting point to the story of the Bible, though not mentioned directly to the Bible.

Then there are the prophetic connections, at least so they are claimed. Isaiah 29 and Ezekiel 37 are both quoted in the Book of Mormon as being fulfilled by the Book of Mormon. Isaiah 29 even uses the language of “familiar spirit” which the LDS claim is supposed to refer to the Book of Mormon’s familiarity to those who are familiar with the Bible.

Then there are the names. Even skimming through the table of contents of the Book of Mormon, we find Jacob, Enos, Jarom, Mosiah, Alma and Ether, all names that sound very Bible-esque and even look like combinations of two Bible names in one.

Then there are the quotes. A substantial portion of the Book of Mormon are direct quotes from the Bible, from the King James Bible to be exact.

And the plot. Well, lets just say that where the Bible has miracles, the Book of Mormon has “better” miracles. For instance, instead of darkness for 3 hours while Jesus is on the cross, the Book of Mormon has darkness for 3 days (3 Nephi 8:3). While Jesus was rejected by his people in Israel, there is a mass conversion in the Americas after preaching the same Sermon on the Mount.

While there was only one temple in Israel, there are temples littered throughout the massive civilization in the Book of Mormon. The wars are bigger, the civilizations bigger. Everything seems to just be bigger and better in the Book of Mormon. Even Jesus is named before his birth through prophecy, not to mention the word Christ, a Greek word, was used prior to the Greek empire and language coming on the scene. The Nephite prophets even managed to quote New Testament apostles in the B.C. era.

While the apostles in Israel failed to pass on the priesthood, the apostles Jesus chose in the Americas were successful. While the Scriptures that were originated in Israel had “plain and precious truths” removed, the Scriptures originated in America, though existing in only one manuscript buried in the ground by the last standing Nephite soldier and prophet Moroni, managed to stand the test of time to be revealed to Joseph Smith in these latter days.

Still, in the end, while the Book of Mormon sounds like, looks like and feels like the Bible, it still has one fundamental problem. It wasn’t written by the same source. The plot doesn’t match up. The history doesn’t match up. The prophecies of the Book of Mormon are taken out of context, and even that reference to familiar spirit, well, that’s speaking of demons being the source.

There’s another problem. While the Book of Mormon sounds Christian, and teaches much of the same stuff, it still very blatantly teaches salvation by works, and at times, modalism.

Oh, and one more thing, the Book of Mormon doesn’t agree with that the LDS church teaches today. It doesn’t even agree with their other Scriptures (Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price).

So while the Book of Mormon is used as bait to grab Bible believing, Jesus believing, grace believing Christians andbring them into the LDS church, beware. It’s just Emperor Palpatine seducing and tricking Anakin to pledge his allegiance to the dark side.

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