Posted by: Ken Brown | December 9, 2009

Falling Up in Twilight

John Granger has a good article on Twilight’s Mormon underpinnings (HT Christ and Pop Culture) [or perhaps not so good, see the update below]. He confirms my impression that Meyer’s point is to retell “the fall” as a good thing, but I was not aware that this is actually a central tenet of Latter-Day Saints’ doctrine:

Twilight is a romantic retelling of the story of Man’s Fall presented in the engaging and exciting wrappers of a romance and an international thriller. This may sound like a stretch, but consider the first book’s cover—a woman’s arms holding out an apple—and its opening epigraph—“But the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not taste of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:17)….

Christians understand Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God, their “original sin,” or Fall, as the beginning of man’s distance from God, a distance that man could not restore on his own, but that required the incarnation and sacrifice of a divine, sinless Savior to accomplish.

Mormons reject this interpretation. Not only do they hold the Pelagian view that human conscience and free will are sufficient for salvation, but they go a step further, asserting that, not only was the Fall not a bad thing, it was actually a good, even necessary thing for human salvation….

What does this have to do with why readers love Twilight?

In a nutshell, Bella is Eve and Edward is the Adam-God of Mormon theology. Their “Fall”—when Bella/Eve/Man chooses the apple from the tray of Edward/Adam/God, although rife with dangers and difficulties, is the beginning of a spiritual transformation culminated by an alchemical wedding with the God-Man. The story is a romantic allegory depicting the roles and responsibilities of the divine and human lovers, but it has the specifically Mormon hermetic twist that sex within marriage is the endgame and the only means to personal salvation and immortal life.

There is a lot more to the article, so read the whole thing here.

UPDATE: Daniel McClellan has posted a lengthy and biting response to Granger’s article. I am, at best, a novice when it comes to LDS doctrine, so I will not attempt to defend Granger, except to note that the fact that Meyer does not claim to have intentionally incorporated Mormon themes does not prove that those themes are not present in her work, whether consciously included or unconsciously.

Daniel’s response also does not (to me) seem to do much to modify the point that Meyer presents the fall (the taking of the apple/becoming a vampire) as a good thing, though it may be that Granger is incorrect that this is a true representation of Mormon doctrine.

UPDATE 2: I’ve got a follow-up post here.


Responses

  1. Interesting article. Thanks for pointing it out, Ken (is there snow falling on your blog??). I think I’ll comment on my blog.

  2. […] sorry to put on the Mormonism hat again, but I read something that I feel merits a response. Ken Brown mentioned an interesting little piece in a Christian journal called Touchstone about Stephanie […]

  3. Thanks for the response, Daniel! And yes, it is snowing. 🙂 There is an option on your WordPress dashboard, under Appearances=>Extras.

  4. […] Daniel McClellan posted a detailed and well-argued response to John Granger’s article on Mormonism and Twilight. Doug Chaplin then posted his own reflections on the particular issue of […]


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