Battlestar Galactica and Mormonism

Battlestar Galactica
If that isn't 70s hair, what would be? (Image by Mjr Kool via Flickr)

For most of you, that will seem an odd title. For others, it will be an “Oh, yeah — I’ve heard of that” title.  When I say “Battlestar Galactica” I don’t refer to the horrible “let’s make it gritty & graphic because gritty & graphic is cool” sci-fi series of the same name tossed out to the public in recent years (which a combination of personal viewing standards and strong sentimental feelings prevent me from watching), but the old 1978 one-season-long television saga Battlestar Galacticawith Lorne Green, Richard Hatch, and Dirk Benedict.  You know, the real Batlestar Galactica.  The one where Starbuck was a man, who, after once the fleet finally found Earth, eventually joined the A-Team to work with Mr. T.

For many folks, this is old news, but watching some of the old episodes on Netflix with the kids and talking about it with my mother-in-law (now on her way back to Texas) reminded me that there are many who do not know about the connection between Battlestar Galactica and Mormonism.  The series’ creator, Glen Larson, is Mormon, and it is well known that many elements of Mormonism were incorporated into the television program.  Rather than make a huge list here, allow me to redirect you to a more thorough one that any I would provide: Observations on the correlation between Battlestar Galactica and the LDS Church.

I honestly don’t think that the show was intended as a “subliminal vehicle” for Mormon teachings — rather, I think that it’s a simple case where bits of Mormon belief were simply used as inspiration for elements in the show (Kobol for Kolob, “As you are now, we once were,” etc.), just as names were borrowed from the Bible and from mythology (Adama, Apollo, Athena, Cassiopeia, etc.).  Still, while those borrowings were obvious, those unfamiliar with the tenets or peculiarities of Mormonism may have missed the others.

I know that this isn’t the most earth-shattering blog post on the Internet today, but I still thought it would be interesting for those who didn’t know this bit of trivia related to what may be a warm TV memory from the late 70s.

2 thoughts on “Battlestar Galactica and Mormonism

  1. And here I thought all those references were merely New Age…

    I remember that series very well. Unfortunately many would say (with some justice) that it was one of the worst sci-fi series of all time and that the reboot (again, with some justice) was one of the best. You might not agree with that opinion (once again, with some justice). But the first one was a lot more noble in moral tone despite the implausability of its science (even by Star Trek and Star Wars standards) and sci-fi is at its best when it’s a morality play (as the other series were above all).

    For me, the most unforgettable period of my life with regard to science fiction was when UPN TV-44 (San Francisco) offered Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and then Bablyon 5 back-to-back on Sunday nights. Geek bliss! And B-5 offered a level of scientific plausibility that is rare indeed in televised or even filmed sci-fi – at least with the Earth Alliance’s deep space fleet and space stations.

  2. Steve

    I remember that show. A band of refugees fleeing into the wilderness was an entertaining premise. The sense of adventure is probably why I liked Star Trek as well (to boldly go where no man has gone before). The LDS influence on Battlestar Galactica makes sense, now that you mention it.

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