Scarletfox

Is Stormlight an LDS Allegory? (books 1, 2, and 3, spoilers)

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Hello, friends!

To make a long story short, I found myself in a book club with my sister and two of her phd friends talking about very complex literary devices and foils created by Mr. Sanderson (not to mention I was way out of my league) and then somehow it turned to how Stormlight is a Christian allegory and stuff... at which point the gears turning in my brain came to a halt and I asked, "Um, hold up, what?" Anyways, my sister who is a stereotypical brainy and nerdy english professor said, "oh yeah you didn't know? I thought it was obvious." Anyways, I don't know all of the points she has to support her theory, but some she mentioned off the top of her head were:

1. 'It was obvious that' the parshendi were the natives of Roshar because they all had hebraic names (yes, she figured this out in WoK). This is a parallel to the Jews being here on America before we came along

2. Dalinar's whole pyromaniac escapade was a parallel to the Mountain Meadows Massacre, because someone asked the person (I forget who) who lead that if they should go ask Joseph Smith (I think), and that person said no, Smith would be ok with it. Just like one of Dalinar's commanders asked if they should ask Gavilar, and he said no. (I'm positive my details on this are fuzzy, I'm literally just repeating what I remember)

I'm sure there's more to it than just those two, because I know my sister and she would likely have written a thesis sized paper on any theory of hers, but these were the two she voiced as a side note to our book club. Anyhow, I just wondered what people's thoughts were about this. Does anyone else have any ideas to support or disprove this theory? I don't have a strong opinion about it, but I thought it was a fascinating idea and thought I'd run it past y'all.

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3 hours ago, Scarletfox said:

Hello, friends!

To make a long story short, I found myself in a book club with my sister and two of her phd friends talking about very complex literary devices and foils created by Mr. Sanderson (not to mention I was way out of my league) and then somehow it turned to how Stormlight is a Christian allegory and stuff... at which point the gears turning in my brain came to a halt and I asked, "Um, hold up, what?" Anyways, my sister who is a stereotypical brainy and nerdy english professor said, "oh yeah you didn't know? I thought it was obvious." Anyways, I don't know all of the points she has to support her theory, but some she mentioned off the top of her head were:

1. 'It was obvious that' the parshendi were the natives of Roshar because they all had hebraic names (yes, she figured this out in WoK). This is a parallel to the Jews being here on America before we came along

2. Dalinar's whole pyromaniac escapade was a parallel to the Mountain Meadows Massacre, because someone asked the person (I forget who) who lead that if they should go ask Joseph Smith (I think), and that person said no, Smith would be ok with it. Just like one of Dalinar's commanders asked if they should ask Gavilar, and he said no. (I'm positive my details on this are fuzzy, I'm literally just repeating what I remember)

I'm sure there's more to it than just those two, because I know my sister and she would likely have written a thesis sized paper on any theory of hers, but these were the two she voiced as a side note to our book club. Anyhow, I just wondered what people's thoughts were about this. Does anyone else have any ideas to support or disprove this theory? I don't have a strong opinion about it, but I thought it was a fascinating idea and thought I'd run it past y'all.

So I will say that as a member of that church I didn't pick up on any of these things. That being said I'll do my best to explain my thoughts.

On the first point, there are some parallels. For example, the Lamanites and Nephites (descendents of the jews who came over) were at one point very righteous people who later fell away and became wicked. This could be representative of how the Singers had a bond with honor and the spren, but then that broke. This doesn't seem quite right though. In ancient days the people turned away from God, while in Stormlight it seems to suggest that honor and the spren turned away from the Singers. Also if we were making a direct comparison the Parshendi would seem to symbolize a group that stayed righteous. In the end, all of the Nephites and Lamanites became wicked and it destroyed their civilization. Another note is that in Stormlight the Singers turn to Odium after humans come from Braize. The Nephites and Lamanites turned away from God long before any European settler made it to the Americas. In the end I don't think that this is supposed to be symbolic of the Nephites and Lamanites already being in the Americas.

I don't know a ton about the specifics on the Mountain Meadow Massacre, so I'm not going to touch on the second point

A couple notes to end this post. First, I am not trying to convert anyone. I am simply stating my beliefs and how I think they relate to Stormlight. Second, I don't want this to turn into some big religious/moral debate. Third, I don't have a perfect understanding of all the teachings of my church and I definately am not perfect at explaining what I do understand.

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Yes, I have seen parallels and religious influences before. I think the Alethi codes of war are similar the church doctrine. For instance, no drinking. The other parts of the codes have connections, but it would take way to long to write it all out.  Anyway, Stormlight is most definitely the book that has the most religious influence from Brandon.

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I'm not an English major and never had much interest in dissecting what the writer is trying to say. I think writers are just trying to tell a story and often the deeper meanings we find have slipped in from their subconscious while writing. 

Brandon has stated that he blends different cultures to create his worlds. So it's entirely plausible that Brandon's writing has Christian morals in it because he is Christian. What I find to be much more obvious is the references to xianxia,  or Chinese fantasy. Don't get me wrong your sister is probably right but let me give a few examples.

•Three realms

•qi - the energy that exists in everything

•cultivation - the use of qi to gain powers and immortality

•cultivators- a magic user 

•Gods and the ability to become Gods

•animals that are much smarter than normal animals, have magic powers, can grow stronger over time and have a core inside them that contains their essence which is prized by people.

•animals or innate objects that become spiritually aware after absorbing a lot of energy

•external Metallic, oops martial arts and internal martial arts

•internal energy that gives a person supernatural strength, speed, endurance and healing

•internal demons -negative emotions or mental barriers that hinder a person's training and can even attack them (kaladin and shallan)

• ranks - different steps of cultivation, higher ranks granting more power

•spirit stones- crystals containing spiritual energy, used as currency that can also be used for cultivation and used to power magical items

•jade slip- a piece of jade that cultivators can use to store information  inside it that can be transferred directly to someones mind

 

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Here's a relevant WoB where Brandon talks about how many of the LDS parallels are unintentional (but by that same token some of them are) and his interest in all aspects of faith generally:

Quote

Questioner

How much does your theology, like your theological background, makes it into...?

Brandon Sanderson

It's rarely intentional. But you can find it all over the place kind of unintentional in there. More it's like what I find heroic influences it, right? I find faith and optimism heroic, so you'll find that sort of thing in my books, and things like that. Makes me very fascinated by religion, if you can't tell.

And reading books where people include someone LDS who doesn't well represent what I believe, has made me hyper-conscious to make sure I don't do that to other people, if that makes sense. That's why you find Kaladin's agnostic, Jasnah's atheist, Navani's like orthodox, and Dalinar's kind of more of a reformist. You kind of find all four quadrants of religious thinking and everything in between, it's just me being fascinated by this.

DragonCon 2019 (Aug. 29, 2019)

 

1 hour ago, KSub said:

What I find to be much more obvious is the references to xianxia,  or Chinese fantasy. Don't get me wrong your sister is probably right but let me give a few examples.

Now here, a lot of his Asian influences are intentional, in part because of his religion and the LDS' missionary program.

Quote

Questioner

A lot of the magical methods you create in your novels carry with it the birth of nobility.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

And that reminds me a lot of the magic martial arts *audio unclear* Aside from the big influence of Dragonsbane and other novels on your fantasy novels have you drawn any other inspirations--

Brandon Sanderson

Oh yeah.

Questioner

--spiritually from Asian, Korean or Chinese *audio obscured*

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. The question is, have I drawn any inspirations from Eastern literature. Specifically he asked for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. *speaks Korean* I lived in Korea for two years and I speak Korean. Mormon missionary, right? So I speak Korean, I actually do have a Korean minor. And even before that, Hong Kong kung-fu movies. OH YEAH. *laughter* I love Hong Kong movies particularly-- You know the modern stuff is really beautiful, like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Hero or House of Flying Daggers and stuff like that, but even the old stuff, it's a little bit silly. Yeah, I just ate that stuff up. Jackie Chan. You can't go wrong with Jackie Chan, right? But even the stuff that's just a little ridiculous I love. It's just-- It's cool. There's something about it. So there's that. You're also going to find echoes of RPGs I've played, obviously. I mean I've worked hard because I don't want my books to feel like a video game. But I grew up playing video games, right? That's one of my major influences. Steelheart's going to feel like a comic book, right? And some of my books are going to feel like that. It's a part of who I am, it's part of my geek upbringing, right? So yeah, definitely. There's a lot of-- now that I have become a writer through my twenties there's a lot of different influences. The Alethi are based slightly on the Mongolians specifically-- But there's no horses, which let's me divorce it a little bit. People always expect Mongolians to be a nomadic horse people but you just don't have enough horses. If you guys have studied Subutai, if you know him, a Mongolian general, I based Dalinar a little bit on Subutai. But then you are mixing in Hebrew influences and Arab influences. That's kind of my mash-up that's creating the Alethi. And so yeah,you are going to find all kinds of weird things. Art of War is of course a big influence on how I approach warfare and things. So yes, yes, it's there.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing (Dec. 6, 2016)

 

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Great quotes Weltall. I knew he did the mission in Korea but I didn't realize how big his appreciation for that stuff was. Makes sense after all the parallels in the worldbuilding that I mentioned.

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I'm not sure that I see the parallel between the Singers and the descendants of Lehi, but I absolutely agree that there are elements of the faith that show up. The most obvious one, to me, was Dalinar's relationship with the Way of Kings. It just struck me as extremely similar to the Latter-day Christian attitude toward the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon. The scene where he walks out to confront evil, carrying nothing but the book that brings him strength, seems too similar to be a coincidence. I'm sure that Sanderson drew on his experiences as a missionary there.

Plus, the idea of visions of god appearing to mortals is a clear connection. Of course, such visions are not unique to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but they do show up frequently in the Book of Mormon, as well as Joseph Smith's various revelations. 

And as a general thing, Sanderson's ideas of what "good" is is also certainly shaped by the morals of the church. The ability to change and find forgiveness is a huge theme of not only SA, but the Cosmere in general. As a member myself, those messages are part of what makes his stories speak so poignantly to me.

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On 1/9/2021 at 0:23 PM, Scarletfox said:

1. 'It was obvious that' the parshendi were the natives of Roshar because they all had hebraic names (yes, she figured this out in WoK). This is a parallel to the Jews being here on America before we came along

As a non LDS person, this made me do a triple take and then get my tinfoil hat out. Didn't realize what you were talking about until someone mentioned Lamanites and Nephites.

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Yes. The Cosmere is based upon the Book of Mormon. It’s absolutely allegorical. I could be wrong on some of the parallel characters but, the verses at the bottom ARE the Cosmere. 

Read Kaladin as a (sort of) version of Christ where to be that in the Cosmere, he is also a hidden Dawn Shard. Bear in mind, this would be a Mormon version of Christ in a ‘Cosmere’ where individuals ascend to godhood of their own planets...a Mormon belief. They also believe Christ and Satan were brothers (equals?) which fits the idea of fallen gods like Odium. You can also probably read Dalinar as a version of Joseph Smith. 
 

Christ: “Son of Man” and “Son of God”;  Completely Indwelt with the Holy Spirit; In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God; rejected by men as dangerous, but delivered salvation as spiritual champion against evil

Kaladin/Dawnshard: “Son of Tanavast”; Completely invested with the Dawnshard; the Dawnshard is the ‘word’ or command of a God; rejected (enslaved) by men as dangerous (shash) but delivered a more temporal salvation as champion against evil;

Here are a few snippets from LDS beliefs to bolster the point:

 

"We believe in a God who is Himself progressive, whose majesty is intelligence; whose perfection consists in eternal advancement -- a Being who has attained His exalted state by a path which now His children are permitted to follow, whose glory it is their heritage to share. In spite of the opposition of the sects, in the face of direct charges of blasphemy, the Church proclaims the eternal truth: 'As man is, God once was; as God is, man may be.'" (LDS Apostle James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, Ch.24, p.430 - p.431, LDS Collectors Library '97 CD-ROM)

 

He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did.' The Father is a glorified, perfected, resurrected, exalted man who worked out his salvation by obedience to the same laws he has given to us so that we may do the same." (LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p.64, LDS Collectors Library '97 CD-ROM)

 

As we stretch our imaginations to absorb the limitlessness of the creations of God we turn to a favorite song: If you could hie to Kolob in the twinkling of an eye, And then continue onward with that same speed to fly, D'ye think that you could ever, through all eternity, Find out the generation where Gods began to be? Or see the grand beginning, where space did not extend? Or view the last creation where Gods and matter end? Methinks the Spirit whispers, "No man has found 'pure space,'" Nor seen the outside curtains, where nothing has a place. The works of God continue, and worlds and lives abound; Improvement and progression have one eternal round. There is no end to matter; there is no end to space; There is no end to spirit; there is no end to race." (LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p.250, LDS Collectors Library '97 CD-ROM)

 

"God: Creator And Ruler Of Many Worlds. -- While it is true that evolutionists may be divided between theistic and atheistic groups, yet most of those professing belief in God consider him to be an indefinable force, essence, or power of an incomprehensible nature. According to revelation, however, he is a personal Being, a holy and exalted Man, a glorified, resurrected Personage having a tangible body of flesh and bones, an anthropomorphic Entity, the personal Father of the spirits of all men. (D. & C. 130:22- 23; Moses 6:51, 57; Abra. 3:22-24; Jos. Smith 2:16-19.)"


 "I will go back to the beginning before the world was, to show what kind of a being God is. What sort of a being was God in the beginning? Open your ears and hear, all ye ends of the earth. for I am going to prove it to you by the Bible, and to tell you the designs of God in relation to the human race, and why He interferes with the affairs of man. ... "God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret....Here, then, is eternal life--to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings. and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power. And I want you to know that God, in the last days, while certain individuals are proclaiming His name, is not trifling with you or me." (LDS President Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol.6, Ch.14, p.305-6, LDS Collectors Library '97 CD-ROM)

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46 minutes ago, I Just Shard Myself! said:

Yes. The Cosmere is based upon the Book of Mormon. It’s absolutely allegorical. I could be wrong on some of the parallel characters but, the verses at the bottom ARE the Cosmere. 

Read Kaladin as a (sort of) version of Christ where to be that in the Cosmere, he is also a hidden Dawn Shard. Bear in mind, this would be a Mormon version of Christ in a ‘Cosmere’ where individuals ascend to godhood of their own planets...a Mormon belief. They also believe Christ and Satan were brothers (equals?) which fits the idea of fallen gods like Odium. You can also probably read Dalinar as a version of Joseph Smith. 
 

Christ: “Son of Man” and “Son of God”;  Completely Indwelt with the Holy Spirit; In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God; rejected by men as dangerous, but delivered salvation as spiritual champion against evil

Kaladin/Dawnshard: “Son of Tanavast”; Completely invested with the Dawnshard; the Dawnshard is the ‘word’ or command of a God; rejected (enslaved) by men as dangerous (shash) but delivered a more temporal salvation as champion against evil;

Here are a few snippets from LDS beliefs to bolster the point:

 

"We believe in a God who is Himself progressive, whose majesty is intelligence; whose perfection consists in eternal advancement -- a Being who has attained His exalted state by a path which now His children are permitted to follow, whose glory it is their heritage to share. In spite of the opposition of the sects, in the face of direct charges of blasphemy, the Church proclaims the eternal truth: 'As man is, God once was; as God is, man may be.'" (LDS Apostle James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, Ch.24, p.430 - p.431, LDS Collectors Library '97 CD-ROM)

 

He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did.' The Father is a glorified, perfected, resurrected, exalted man who worked out his salvation by obedience to the same laws he has given to us so that we may do the same." (LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p.64, LDS Collectors Library '97 CD-ROM)

 

As we stretch our imaginations to absorb the limitlessness of the creations of God we turn to a favorite song: If you could hie to Kolob in the twinkling of an eye, And then continue onward with that same speed to fly, D'ye think that you could ever, through all eternity, Find out the generation where Gods began to be? Or see the grand beginning, where space did not extend? Or view the last creation where Gods and matter end? Methinks the Spirit whispers, "No man has found 'pure space,'" Nor seen the outside curtains, where nothing has a place. The works of God continue, and worlds and lives abound; Improvement and progression have one eternal round. There is no end to matter; there is no end to space; There is no end to spirit; there is no end to race." (LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p.250, LDS Collectors Library '97 CD-ROM)

 

"God: Creator And Ruler Of Many Worlds. -- While it is true that evolutionists may be divided between theistic and atheistic groups, yet most of those professing belief in God consider him to be an indefinable force, essence, or power of an incomprehensible nature. According to revelation, however, he is a personal Being, a holy and exalted Man, a glorified, resurrected Personage having a tangible body of flesh and bones, an anthropomorphic Entity, the personal Father of the spirits of all men. (D. & C. 130:22- 23; Moses 6:51, 57; Abra. 3:22-24; Jos. Smith 2:16-19.)"


 "I will go back to the beginning before the world was, to show what kind of a being God is. What sort of a being was God in the beginning? Open your ears and hear, all ye ends of the earth. for I am going to prove it to you by the Bible, and to tell you the designs of God in relation to the human race, and why He interferes with the affairs of man. ... "God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret....Here, then, is eternal life--to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings. and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power. And I want you to know that God, in the last days, while certain individuals are proclaiming His name, is not trifling with you or me." (LDS President Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol.6, Ch.14, p.305-6, LDS Collectors Library '97 CD-ROM)

I don't see the comparisons between Joseph Smith and Dalinar. Other than seeing visions they have nothing in common. Dalinar is very old while Joseph was very young when he saw the visions. Dalinar was a war-mongering nobleman while Joseph was a simple farm boy. 

I honestly don't understand the comparison between Christ and Kaladin you are trying to draw.

Everything you have cited are examples of are our belief that we can become like our Heavenly Father one day. I don't see any comparison between this and the cosmere. We believe that everybody who acts righteously can become like unto God. In the cosmere there are a very limited number of shards and only certain people with certain attributes can carry them. This seems too exclusive to be symbolic. There may have been a slight influence, but nothing more.

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Jesus wasn’t a four legged feline. It doesn’t change the fact that Azlan was an allegory of Christ. Allegorical fiction isn’t necessarily a collection of precise analogs. Let’s say Kaladin ascends to become Honor later...would that fit the requirements of a Christ figure? 
 

It’s all subjective, of course, but the Cosmere is structured on the premises present in Mormon theology where men can become gods, with their very own planets, presumably following the path of the existing God and his Son Christ. 

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15 minutes ago, I Just Shard Myself! said:

Jesus wasn’t a four legged feline. It doesn’t change the fact that Azlan was an allegory of Christ. Allegorical fiction isn’t necessarily a collection of precise analogs. Let’s say Kaladin ascends to become Honor later...would that fit the requirements of a Christ figure? 
 

It’s all subjective, of course, but the Cosmere is structured on the premises present in Mormon theology where men can become gods, with their very own planets, presumably following the path of the existing God and his Son Christ. 

Just ascending to honor would not fit the requirements of a Christ figure. The epitome of who Christ is can be found in His atonement. Through His atonement he took the sins and sorrows of all people upon himself. For someone in a story to represent Christ they have to take someone else's debts and pain upon themselves. Aslan does this in Narnia. I might also add that those books were openly meant to be allegorical.

In the end the only person who could say whether or not it's allegorical is Sanderson. I refer you back to the quote in the past @Weltall made. Sanderson clearly states that it might have a subconscious affect on his writing, which I totally see, but that he rarely does it intentionally. I couldn't see him saying he does it rarely if the main character from his biggest series is supposed to represent Jesus or if his biggest project is done big allegory.

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2 hours ago, Nellac said:

Just ascending to honor would not fit the requirements of a Christ figure. The epitome of who Christ is can be found in His atonement. Through His atonement he took the sins and sorrows of all people upon himself. For someone in a story to represent Christ they have to take someone else's debts and pain upon themselves. Aslan does this in Narnia. I might also add that those books were openly meant to be allegorical.

In the end the only person who could say whether or not it's allegorical is Sanderson. I refer you back to the quote in the past @Weltall made. Sanderson clearly states that it might have a subconscious affect on his writing, which I totally see, but that he rarely does it intentionally. I couldn't see him saying he does it rarely if the main character from his biggest series is supposed to represent Jesus or if his biggest project is done big allegory.

One could quite easily point to Kaladin's actions as taking on the sins and sorrows of others upon himself....allegorically. Dalinar explicitly stated in the RoW when asking Jasnah to write the subtext of his book, that he was creating a new religion with his writings. If that isn't an analog of old Joe Smith, I am not sure what a better analog could be. But that's my opinion. You can, of course, disagree. As I said previously, it's all subjective. I don't think there is any reasonable way to suggest that the Cosmere isn't a symbolic representation (aka allegory) of LDS beliefs. As I noted above, "I could be wrong on some of the parallel characters" and, as the books unfold, no doubt I will be...as will many others. However, that doesn't change the relatively self-evident fact that the LDS theology I highlighted is the basis for the Cosmere.

As man is, God once was; as God is, man may be...He was once a man like us...God himself was once as we are now,...God is a Being who has attained His exalted state by a path which now His children are permitted to follow...God is a man who worked out his salvation by obedience to the same laws he has given to us so that we may do the same....we can "Find out the generation where Gods began to be"...."God: Creator And Ruler Of Many Worlds"..."and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves"...

I am very glad you have your viewpoint about this exciting work of fiction. It's a very fun read. With regard to the comparisons I have made, I would advise one who is a practicing member of LDS to drop the defenses a little when I bring up these doctrines. I have noticed that when I discuss these with my Mormon friends, half of them minimize them away to ancillary doctrine and the other half claim they aren't there. It would seem these are doctrine that make (at least the many LDS friends I have) many uncomfortable to address. But it's your religion and I hope you don't get defensive about it. If BS decided to do an allegory of your religion here (which I assess he did), there's no reason to try and walk away from it being that. These are your beliefs. It's alright to believe something different than others. 

While I don't hold with LDS theology, I will readily admit that it makes a REMARKABLE and quite enjoyable setting for this particular fictional world. 

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5 hours ago, I Just Shard Myself! said:

One could quite easily point to Kaladin's actions as taking on the sins and sorrows of others upon himself....allegorically. Dalinar explicitly stated in the RoW when asking Jasnah to write the subtext of his book, that he was creating a new religion with his writings. If that isn't an analog of old Joe Smith, I am not sure what a better analog could be. But that's my opinion. You can, of course, disagree. As I said previously, it's all subjective. I don't think there is any reasonable way to suggest that the Cosmere isn't a symbolic representation (aka allegory) of LDS beliefs. As I noted above, "I could be wrong on some of the parallel characters" and, as the books unfold, no doubt I will be...as will many others. However, that doesn't change the relatively self-evident fact that the LDS theology I highlighted is the basis for the Cosmere.

As man is, God once was; as God is, man may be...He was once a man like us...God himself was once as we are now,...God is a Being who has attained His exalted state by a path which now His children are permitted to follow...God is a man who worked out his salvation by obedience to the same laws he has given to us so that we may do the same....we can "Find out the generation where Gods began to be"...."God: Creator And Ruler Of Many Worlds"..."and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves"...

I am very glad you have your viewpoint about this exciting work of fiction. It's a very fun read. With regard to the comparisons I have made, I would advise one who is a practicing member of LDS to drop the defenses a little when I bring up these doctrines. I have noticed that when I discuss these with my Mormon friends, half of them minimize them away to ancillary doctrine and the other half claim they aren't there. It would seem these are doctrine that make (at least the many LDS friends I have) many uncomfortable to address. But it's your religion and I hope you don't get defensive about it. If BS decided to do an allegory of your religion here (which I assess he did), there's no reason to try and walk away from it being that. These are your beliefs. It's alright to believe something different than others. 

While I don't hold with LDS theology, I will readily admit that it makes a REMARKABLE and quite enjoyable setting for this particular fictional world. 

I think I may have been unclear before. I don't think anything you've said is doctrinally false. We absolutely believe that God was once like us and that we can become like unto him. I'm nnot trying to minimize this point r claim it isn't there. It actually is a key principle. The point of this life is to learn how to be righteous so that we can inherit all that our Father has in the eternities. I guess there are two reasons why I'm disagreeing with you. First becoming a god isn't unique to our religion. I've read several stories that were highly influenced by Asian culture where they were all about progression and one day ascending  from the world the person was on. We know Sanderson has been influenced a lot by asian culture so he might have brought it from there. The times we see someone become a shard are much closer to the ascensions from these books and their powers are much more similar. The second is that I don't like when people declare what a writer was trying to do. I know reading is up to interpretation and I agree with that when you're looking at smaller things in a book. For example "Life before Death" and Hoid's stories can be interpreted differently by everyone. It's very different though to say that an Author's entire series of books is something that he says it isn't. I refer you back to my last post on Sanderson talking about the rarity of his religion being purposefully put into the books.

Now, I'm not saying that there isn't some influence in the books. I just think calling it an allegory is going too far. The definition of allegory is "a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one." I don't think the cosmere is meant to be interpreted to give some big hidden meaning. It's simply a good, hopeful story written by a man whose beliefs are so ingrained that they slipped through into the story.

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2 hours ago, Nellac said:

I think I may have been unclear before. I don't think anything you've said is doctrinally false. We absolutely believe that God was once like us and that we can become like unto him. I'm nnot trying to minimize this point r claim it isn't there. It actually is a key principle. The point of this life is to learn how to be righteous so that we can inherit all that our Father has in the eternities. I guess there are two reasons why I'm disagreeing with you. First becoming a god isn't unique to our religion. I've read several stories that were highly influenced by Asian culture where they were all about progression and one day ascending  from the world the person was on. We know Sanderson has been influenced a lot by asian culture so he might have brought it from there. The times we see someone become a shard are much closer to the ascensions from these books and their powers are much more similar. The second is that I don't like when people declare what a writer was trying to do. I know reading is up to interpretation and I agree with that when you're looking at smaller things in a book. For example "Life before Death" and Hoid's stories can be interpreted differently by everyone. It's very different though to say that an Author's entire series of books is something that he says it isn't. I refer you back to my last post on Sanderson talking about the rarity of his religion being purposefully put into the books.

Now, I'm not saying that there isn't some influence in the books. I just think calling it an allegory is going too far. The definition of allegory is "a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one." I don't think the cosmere is meant to be interpreted to give some big hidden meaning. It's simply a good, hopeful story written by a man whose beliefs are so ingrained that they slipped through into the story.

100% agree with this.

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11 hours ago, I Just Shard Myself! said:

I am very glad you have your viewpoint about this exciting work of fiction. It's a very fun read. With regard to the comparisons I have made, I would advise one who is a practicing member of LDS to drop the defenses a little when I bring up these doctrines. I have noticed that when I discuss these with my Mormon friends, half of them minimize them away to ancillary doctrine and the other half claim they aren't there. It would seem these are doctrine that make (at least the many LDS friends I have) many uncomfortable to address. But it's your religion and I hope you don't get defensive about it. If BS decided to do an allegory of your religion here (which I assess he did), there's no reason to try and walk away from it being that. These are your beliefs. It's alright to believe something different than others. 

 

I think you're overstating the solidity of your position here. People ascending to Shardhood and the Latter-day Christian idea of eternal progression may have some similarities, but that doesn't make the Cosmere an allegory for our faith. Nor is a self-sacrificing character automatically a parallel to Christ, or a religious founder automatically Joseph Smith. I agree that these examples are all somewhat similar, but I think that shows that Sanderson's interests are influenced by what he believes, rather than any actual attempt at an allegory. He's mentioned being very interested by religion and the different things that people believe - it seems more probable that he's writing different religious viewpoints, such as Dalinar's new religion because he finds that concept intriguing, not because it's meant to be symbolic.

I appreciate your respect of our differences in belief, and I extend you the same courtesy. I would like to point out, though, that disagreeing with your interpretation of my religion isn't necessarily being "defensive" about it - it's just trying to explain what I believe. This is likely the case with others that you speak to as well.

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7 hours ago, Rushu42 said:

I think you're overstating the solidity of your position here. People ascending to Shardhood and the Latter-day Christian idea of eternal progression may have some similarities, but that doesn't make the Cosmere an allegory for our faith. Nor is a self-sacrificing character automatically a parallel to Christ, or a religious founder automatically Joseph Smith. I agree that these examples are all somewhat similar, but I think that shows that Sanderson's interests are influenced by what he believes, rather than any actual attempt at an allegory. He's mentioned being very interested by religion and the different things that people believe - it seems more probable that he's writing different religious viewpoints, such as Dalinar's new religion because he finds that concept intriguing, not because it's meant to be symbolic.

I appreciate your respect of our differences in belief, and I extend you the same courtesy. I would like to point out, though, that disagreeing with your interpretation of my religion isn't necessarily being "defensive" about it - it's just trying to explain what I believe. This is likely the case with others that you speak to as well.

I think we will just agree to disagree on this and that's ok. There were/are other and varying degrees of analogs (some mentioned above) that, when taken in their totality, make it self-evident (in my opinion) that the Cosmere is a Mormon universe based on Mormon theology. The purpose behind allegory (symbolic representation) isn't always to be a direct analog, as I stated above. Sometimes it is to 'seed the field' to make a particular idea more mainstream or acceptable or just to introduce it in a positive way. After reading the books, I can say the idea, when presented in this particular fictional universe, is far more appealing than explained as actual theology. I assess that BS is doing this. Missionaries gonna missionary. Good fiction, the really good stuff, interweaves what the author sees as truths into the story. But, that's my opinion and we can certainly respectfully disagree. 

 

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