Born-Again 'Battlestar'

Drawing from Mormonism, Roman polytheism, and even Buddhism, the reimagined sci-fi TV series is steeped in religion.

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"'Battlestar Galactica' and the Book of Mormon both start from the premise that civilization is either about to be destroyed or has just been destroyed and that there's this remnant, this ragtag fleet that is preserved," explains Jana Reiss, author of "What Would Buffy Do?" "The story of the Book of Mormon is set in the time frame of the destruction of Jerusalem. The prophet

Lehi

has a vision of the destruction of Jerusalem and was able to get his family out in time."

There are many other similarities between the show and the Latter-day Saint scripture. While not purely a Mormon concept, the idea of the "Lost Tribes of Israel"--that ten tribes of Israel were "lost" to history after they were exiled--plays an important role in both the religion and in the show. "The idea of there being these other civilizations that have the gospel is a main tenet in Mormonism," notes Reiss. "There is this idea, in the show, that Earth will be this colony that they don't have a record of but they believe it exists."

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Additionally, on the original series, the ruling colonial governmental body was known as "The Quorum of Twelve," the name given to the top leadership council of the Church of Latter-day Saints. Perhaps the most obvious parallel between Mormonism and the show is the Kolob/Kobol connection. Continues Reiss, "Kobol on 'Battlestar Galactica' is where the gods live and in Mormonism Kolob is supposed to be the greatest star in the universe and is the dwelling place of God."

While developer and executive producer Ronald D. Moore did not intentionally move away from the original show's basic Mormon cosmology in the current incarnation, he chose not to expand upon it.

"I was aware that Glen had used Mormon influences and how he had created the cosmology, but I'm not that familiar with Mormon belief or practice so it was kind of like whatever was in the show is what I was dealing with," concedes Moore, who also worked on the "Star Trek" franchise. "I essentially looked at the original series as mythos and the way it dealt with religion in sort of a global sense."

Taking inspiration from a post-9/11 world, the religious universe of the new "Battlestar Galactica" is as diverse and as complex as our own.

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