…that is, nerd in the cool since of the word. In the past, I’ve pondered on a strange phenomenon in Utah and its LDS culture. Bear with me and I’ll eventually get to how any of this has to do with love.
First, what is the phenomenon? Uncanny numbers of big names in Science Fiction and Fantasy come from this culture. Names like Orson Scott Card, Brandon Sanderson, Stephanie Myers, Tracy Hickman, Dave Wolverton, Brandon Mull, James Dashner, and Kevin J. Anderson. It was a Mormon who invented the primary concepts behind the force in the original Star Wars (as opposed to those apostate midichlorians). The original Battle Star Galactica of the 80′s was written by a Mormon. In fact, a new Utahn indie fantasy movie studio, Arrowstorm Entertainment, is making waves among fans around the world. Their special effects are astonishing for the low budget of their films.
Signs of this phenomenon were especially prevalent last September when Salt Lake City had their very first Comic Con with a record breaking attendance. An avalanche of fans swarmed the Salt Palace which they weren’t prepared for, causing the crew their to be in a disorganized panic. Not only that, but nearly half of the attendees were in costume. On average, Comic Cons only have 10% of attendees wearing costumes.
So that’s the phenomenon. So what’s going on here? In the past, I’ve formulated a few different hypotheses, tying this phenomenon to the nature of LDS theology. The LDS church teaches doctrine on epic proportions that truly capture the imagination. Doctrine, in which, I want to be careful how I discuss here, since we’re talking about the particular points that have stirred the most controversy in the world, regarding our eternal destiny. But it is the most epic, most awesome thing that one could possibly imagine.
Another thought I had in the past is that the LDS church is not dogmatic, but rather encourages open mindedness of its members. It teaches to seek truth wherever truth can be found. In fact, the novel Angels and Demons was intriguing to read coming from an LDS background, having as its theme the conflict of science verses religion. From the perspective of LDS theology, there is no conflict. These are merely two approaches of seeking out the same truths.
Don’t get me wrong, I still believe these points are contributing factors to the phenomenon. However, I had an epiphany at church this last Sunday, during a lesson on strengthening the family, on a point that should perhaps have been the most obvious. The point is this, in the words of the promos for the LDS church, “Family, isn’t it about … time?”
So there it is, what love has to do with any of this. Like father like son. If you have a dad that’s completely obsessed with Batman, it will rub off on the child. A family oriented culture is the very best breeding grounds for nerdom. This is not just true with parent-child relationships, but with all family relationships. For instance, I contribute many of my interests in various aspects of geek culture to the great deal of time I spent with cousins growing up.
I don’t have the stats on this, but I would imagine that Salt Lake Comic Con probably had a greater ratio of kids to adults than others in the nation. You’d see a lot of families that would be dressed up for different themes. For instance, a family who’s all wearing Batman costumes. Will those kids be fans for life? I believe so.