While there are a lot of downsides to being a Mormon — the whole door-to-door thing, not being able to drink coffee, not being able to drink booze, having to wear blessed underwear all the time — there are actually some pretty good upsides.
For one, they all seem to have really impressive Chiclet teeth. For another, when you die, you get to have your own planet on which you are a god, which you share with your spouse (AND/OR spouses, if you swing that way), who’s also a god. That’s actually, I think, a thing they should tout more than they do.
Which is why I was very excited to find this great video about Mormon dating that partially takes place… IN SPACE. In whatever alternate dimension Mormons hang out in before they show up here on Earth.
It’s called “For Time Or Eternity,” and HOO BOY is it something!
The star of this 1969 morality tale is Jan, who hasn’t been born yet. She’s just hanging with this one couple in pre-birth SPACE, where they all wear these great Logan’s Run/Sleeper-like outfits. And she’s doing some flower arranging while wondering what her life will be like on Earth. For whatever reason, the conversation turns to #ROMANCE and how she’ll be alone on her death planet FOREVER unless she meets a Mormon dude and has a Mormon marriage. Sure.
Anyway, through some kind of Kolobian magic, Jan gets to see what her life could be like… if she veers in the wrong direction. HILARITY ENSUES.
In the possible future, we see Jan with her possible boyfriend, Max, who makes her collect spiders and is not a believing Mormon, but is kind of sexy, TBH. She tries to get him to marry her in the temple, but he is not so sure he buys into all of that stuff because of a “professor” he’s been talking to.
Max gets all Philosophy 101 on poor Jan in a romantic cave, asking her “What is truth? Whose justice?” as if he’s gonna be showing her some Bergman or Pasolini films later that night. Jan is all, “I trust Mormon God about stuff?” Max says he loves how naïve she is (because he is the actual worst) and wants to marry her.
So Jan goes back to her house — via Max’s motorcycle, of course — and surprise! There are her SPACE FRIENDS! Right in her regular house, not wearing space togas or anything.
And her SPACE FRIENDS do not approve of Max because he’s not Mormon. They warn Jan that she’ll be in the temple praying while he’s out on his motorbike or (God forbid?) fishing! And they won’t get to be together after they die if they do not have a Mormon marriage.
But then Jan’s roommate Tammy shows up and brags about her soldier husband who she did not marry Mormon-Style — although she seems confident that this will happen at a later date — and is all like, “OOH! Go marry Max! It’ll be such a good time! Who even CARES if you have a Mormon marriage, you can always do it later! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA.”
SCENE CHANGE. Jan and Max are now at college, where they are taking a class with an eeeeeevil atheist professor! He’s supposed to be teaching Zoology, but naturally, he dedicates his entire class to talking about how there is no God.
And you thought God’s Not Dead was an original film.
According to Dr. Legner (I think?), “the conclusions of the great modern day thinkers tend to support the NO GOD people,” which is definitely is a very professor-y thing to say. The No God People. Dude, however, is actually pretty chill — unlike Professor Kevin Sorbo — and tells Jan that if her belief system works for her, that’s fine. Which seems reasonable enough, especially for an evil atheist professor.
In the next scene, Jan is at the zoo with her SPACE FRIENDS who think Dr. Legner is just like those men in the Bible, always “learning” and never coming up with answer. Those guys. You know them.
Jan asks her Space Friend Paul, who is also a “scientist and a teacher” how he deals with the whole “evolution vs. God” thing, and Paul is apparently into some form of 1960s intelligent design. He’s, naturally, very sure that once we have all the science figured out, it will confirm that this is all just a part of God’s plan.
But then! Max takes Jan for a study date… to a bar filled with heathens and ominous rock music, in which everyone is drinking and smoking and doing very un-Mormon-y things. Probably they are beatniks, given that he refers to it as being “a happening.”
Jan, as you might imagine, is not happy and begs him to go see the bishop with her. Beatnik Max makes with the bedroom eyes and actually makes some reasonable points about how it’s weird that he should have to do all of this Mormon stuff and tithe ten percent of his income in order to get Jan as his prize. He basically says, “Hey, how about we just be normal people?” and Jan is horrified because she does not want to be like the people in the bar. She wants to be like the people in the church.
“Good people, happy people! Who live quiet lives and love each other! Oh, Max, you don’t even know what love is!”
OH, MAX. You really need to cut your losses here and go home, smoke some grass, and work on your poetry chapbook, okay?
But now we’re back to Zoology class, with your host, Atheist Professor who never actually talks about Zoology and never even takes Jan to the zoo like her nice space friends always do. He is somehow teaching a lesson that involves writing “Puritanism,” “Victorianism,” “Kant,” and some man and woman signs on the chalkboard. He’s also talking about how marriage will soon be a thing of the past.
Max is not really on board with that, though, asking if Russia tried “that same thing with disastrous results.” The professor is ready with a response:
“Oh I’m not speaking of free love, Max. Now that’s very obviously not the answer! I’m speaking of a, oh, a relationship between men and women which can be entered into gracefully, and just as easily gotten out of without all the ugly repercussions of divorce. Alimony, child custody, child support, etc.”
OH SHIT, DR. LEGNER IS AN MRA. Also, how would getting rid of marriage eliminate the issues of child custody and child support? Dr. Legner has clearly not thought this through.
After class, Jan walks out and sees Max on his motorcycle… and some hussy on the back of it.
And then she gets home, and Roommate Tammy’s husband Darryl is back from ‘Nam (I assume) and they are all happy, and Jan is JEALOUS. She cries and cries and then calls Max to meet her in their special love cave, where she apparently agrees to marry him in a non-Mormon fashion. She immediately goes right back home to get packing, and her roommate is very happy that she’s decided to go this route. Roommate Tammy assures her that this is the best decision — that she and her soldier husband have had a lot of excitement in the past year and will still be married in the temple. He hasn’t said when for sure, but she can just feel it.
So Darryl and Max show up while they’re packing for the big marriage vacay… with a bottle of champagne. (A BIG MORMON NO-NO.)
“Darryl… you never…”
“How do you know I’ve never, huh?”
UH-OH. Looks like someone is putting himself out of the running to be God of His Own Planet! Roommate is WORRIED. I am also worried, because Franzia Champagne? Seriously? Yeesh. But still, they head for Vegas, where all the non-Mormons get married.
Roommate Tammy starts bawling in the car because she’s sad she’s not Mormon Married to Darryl and that the Franzia champagne made it very clear that they’ll never share a planet together.
BUT WHATEVS, it’s wedding time, and apparently Darryl is great friends with the Las Vegas Wedding Guy.
Max is VERY excited, but Jan’s mind keeps spinning to all the stuff in the chapel: the wedding rings, the tiaras, the “‘Til Death Do Us Part” sign, he the cackling chapel owner guy, a dead plant…
And she realizes that she just can’t do it.
BOOM! JAN IS BACK IN SPACE.
And she’s very sad because, oh man, Earth life ain’t gonna be easy! The male space friend explains that it’s not supposed to be easy, but also that he’s gotta jet, so he just leaves his space wife and Jan all alone while he goes and walks down an extra fancy space corridor of some kind.
THE END. The very, very anticlimactic end!
Will Jan EVER have her Mormon Space Marriage? Will Tammy get hers? Will Max G. Krebs move to the East Village and start a poetry and free love collective? Will Dr. Legner ever get around to teaching Zoology? Will Darryl ever get to drinking that bottle of cheap ass champagne? WE DO NOT KNOW. All we know is that life on Earth is hard, and that if we make bad decisions and marry Max in Las Vegas, we don’t get to go back to Mormon space and be Gods of Our Own Planet where we get to hang out in futuristic togas in large empty rooms. In space.
I can, however, tell you that Keith Atkinson, the actor who played Max, did get some more work later on, and was — perhaps ironically — in a bad 70s horror movie about marriage called “Till Death,” about a widower who discovers his wife was buried alive (OR WAS SHE?) and rescues her from her crypt. Talk about a forever wedding.