Thursday, 23 April 2015

Passage to Zarahemla

Mormon mythology is a fascinating thing. Not that most Mormons think of it as mythology, their church isn't all that big on theological subtleties. Ancient America was filled with Nephites and Lamanites, and Jesus Christ appeared in the pre-European New World.

In this mythical America there was a city called Zarahemla, a Nephite stronghold. Zarahemla is a great name, and hence the title Passage to Zarahemla, a 2007 teen movie set in - where else? - Utah. I found the DVD staring back at me in a pile of el cheapo bargain movies ($3.99) and, lo, the spirit spake unto me, buy that sucker.

This is possibly one of the worst movies I've seen in the last decade. On one level it's Sci-Fi with the modern world overlapping across the centuries with the long lost world of the Nephites in an isolated part of Utah. On another level it's faith-building LDS propaganda. Troubled modern teenage girl falls for broad-shouldered Nephite warrior. Mormon granddad gifts her with an early copy of the Book of Mormon which makes it all plain. Lots of heart-warming family themes. Baddies and Goodies. Did I mention that, apart from a couple of the lead characters, there's some outstandingly bad acting?

A fictional treatment of a fictional subject which parades as real history. The Salt Lake Tribune called it "a stimulating Action-adventure", but I'm thinking they were somewhat predisposed to a positive review. When it hit the Utah cinema circuit it catapulted to #4 in the first week.

There are some Latter-day Saints who approach the Book of Mormon as an inspired novel rather than a text grounded in real historical events. I can respect that. But I guess if you take a more naive approach you come up with this kind of schmaltz.

Maybe there's a lesson here for those who do the same with Biblical epics.


  1. And here I thought that the Stargate team defeated the Ori and debunked the Book of Origen.

  2. If you don't mind the subtitles, this seems to be the full movie:

  3. My favorite line from the movie: "Get the cats off the table".

  4. Here's the lesson: Don't take mythology and try to get some "truth" out of it.

    The book of Mormon was a forgery and a lie from its inception. It was meant to deceive people into believing and following. They thought it was true. Now we get "some Latter-day Saints who approach the Book of Mormon as an inspired novel rather than a text grounded in real historical events". Gavin says he can respect that. I cannot. It is a halfway measure. They admit that the Book of Mormon is not based on "real historical events", but still they insist it is "inspired". Did God inspire such a book? Clearly not. To think God inspired such a book is to deceive yourself.

  5. The Reformed-Latter-Day-Saints - a major division of Mormonism - "did a Tkach" in the mid 90s: They changed their name to "Community of Christ" (sounds as harmless as Tkach's new GCI name), they also, like Tkach, adopted the Trinity(big move!) and no longer make belief in the Golden Plates a test of faith!