Superman and Mormonism

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Superman was sent to Earth by a celestial father and mother, Jor-El and Lara, who lived on a far away planet having the appearance of white crystal. Jor-El sent his son to Earth to live and be raised by earthly parents. These earthly parents taught their son, Clark Kent, the ways of truth and honor and helped him develop a strong moral compass. In his early years, Clark was taught that he was special and that he had to use his gifts for the good of mankind.

As time passed and Clark was ready to embrace his destiny, he traveled to the Arctic region and threw a remnant of his home planet, Krypton, into the icy landscape. A Fortress of crystal filled with light appeared. Clark entered this Fortress and was faced with a personage resembling his father, Jor-El. This personage taught Clark about his true heritage and how he was a descendant of the House of El. Clark was given his true name, Kal-El, and was taught further knowledge from his father. He was given a new outfit to wear with a symbol to inspire those around him.

These story elements are based primarily on the 1978 theatrical release of Superman: The Movie. I recently watched this again on Blu Ray and was struck by the strong similarities of these story elements with what Mormons believe and practice. When the movie was initially released in theaters, there were similar comparisons made with Jor-El and God, and Kal-El as Christ. While these comparisons are still valid, I would go further to compare the temple attending Latter-Day Saint with Superman. While I won’t go into detail here as to what those similarities are, they were obvious enough that I made the connections right away. I don’t believe Siegel and Shuster, Richard Donner, the Salkinds, Mario Puzo and Tom Mankiewicz were secretly Mormons, I do believe that their own religious upbringings and traditions heavily influenced the story. (A 2007 Time article claims Superman is a “non-Aryan Protestant”,  and that while his origin story is influenced by Jewish religion, he is a Protestant.)

I think that these Superman story elements can resonate strongly with people because of the eternal truths they mirror.  As children of a Heavenly Father, we know we were sent to Earth to be born of earthly parents and that they would teach us right from wrong.  We knew that we would have to look out for and encourage our fellow man, our brothers and sisters. The majority of people want to be a person that others can look up to and seek help from. This “goodness” is something everyone can relate to and aspire to obtain.  While it would be cool to wear a cape and fly, we all realize that we don’t need that to be a positive influence to those around us.

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About Justin

I like to read, play basketball, and exercise. I am a big Star Wars fan and enjoy going to Star Wars Celebrations and Comic-Cons. I prefer DC over Marvel, but enjoy both.
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