Spiritual Pop Culture Trends of the Past 10 Years

Latter-Day Domination

Napoleon Dynamite

The 2000s proved that Mormons could be funny (Napoleon Dynamite, 2004), sexy (Twilight, 2005), and dancin' machines (Osmond siblings Donnie in 2009 and Marie in 2007 tore up the "Dancing with the Stars" floor). Bookended by the Mormons of MTV's "The Real World"--Julie of "Real World: New Orleans" (2000) and Chet of "Real World: Brooklyn" (2009), who set out to prove that Latter-day Saint teens could party sober along with the best of 'em--the pop culture of the decade felt the influence of stereotype-busting artists such as The Killers' frontman Brandon Flowers and "Napolean Dynamite"/"Nacho Libre" writer/director Jared Hess. At the same time, we couldn't help rubbernecking as the polygamist practices of the Utah family on HBO's "Big Love" (2006), disavowed by the mainline LDS church, got more and more complicated. And is there a hallmark of pop culture more important than having a dedicated "South Park" episode (2003's "All About the Mormons")?

While Fox News's teary Glenn Beck, a convert to Mormonism, may have been the loudest, it's stay-at-home-mom turned blockbuster writer Stephenie Meyer, author of the "Twilight" book series, who has had the most influence. In a "Girls Gone Wild" era, her tale of an incredibly erotic but decidedly chaste relationship between human Bella Swan and vampire Edward has not only displaced "Harry Potter," but introduced a 21st century flavor into the vampire mythology and new terms ("Team Edward," "Team Jacob") into the lexicon.

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