Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wandering Spirits

Photo by Louish Pixel
Dispirited was an interesting experience. Trying to find the dividing lines between LDS influence and Young-Adult-Exorcist-type fiction was difficult. Because of this, I don't feel like the argument is whether the story supported LDS belief or cheapened it. Rather, I think that the story showed ways in which LDS belief is integrated into everyday life, can seem rather fantastic, and can be interpreted when put into a concrete representative sphere. One example is the idea of disembodied spirits.

The concept of the eidolon doesn't exactly match any LDS belief. It is very possible, on the other hand, that the Wekufe parallel our concept of the 1/3 of the hosts of heaven who were cast out and now roam the Earth. The concept of possession is certainly plausible as it is seen in the New Testament, especially with the focus the LDS people place on the importance of the body. But, eidolon? hmm . . .

Eidolon were a necessary function of Dispirited because Perkins needed a way to set up a plot, create a problem. But the very existence of eidolon, or human spirits separated and barred from their bodies, begs very important questions.

First, what of the state of the soul? 

If the soul in the union of spirit and body, as understood by LDS doctrine, does it disintegrate when placed under the circumstances of someone like Bunny? Then again, did Perkins even intend an LDS audience to draw parallels with Bunny's circumstance and our belief?

Second, what is the reciprocity between the physical body and spiritual being when possessed?

In Dispirited it is very clear that one spirit inhabits one body at a time. This does not necessarily seem parallel with depictions in the New Testament. Then again, has such an experience ever truly been made explicit?

Many more questions could be explored simply within the construct of wandering spirits within Dispirited in relation to LDS belief. But perhaps what is important is that Perkins is taking common LDS belief, such as spirit matter, body and spirit unity, family history, demons, and the like, and manipulating them into fascinating shapes. By reading Dispirited with an LDS eye, we find our beliefs examined and expanded by the epistemological questions that she uncovers. 

1 comment:

  1. First off, I love the picture you found! Next, I think that you bring up a really good question- to what extent did Perkins want an LDS audience interpreting this work as LDS work? A lot of what she put in the novel contains LDS ideas at the base, but it covers such a wide scope of other things as well.