Friday, April 07, 2006

C.S. Lewis on Mormonism...maybe.

We bought the DVD of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and my kids (6 and 3) love it. I decided to start reading the book to them. I also decided to go through the beginning of the others to find which book was what. In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (my favorite when I was younger), the first paragraph has something in it that I found quite odd. Here is what it says;
There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. His parents called him Eustace Clarence, and he masters called him Scrubb. I can't tell you how his friends spoke to him for he had none. He didn't call his Father and Mother "Father" and "Mother", but Harold and Alberta. They were very up-to-date and advanced people. They were vegitarians, non-smokers and tee-totalers, and wore a special kind of underclothes. In their house there was very little furniture and very few clothes on beds and the windows were always open. (bold mine)

My question is, were Eustices parents Mormon? I mean he seems to be describing the Word of Wisdom, and the wearing of garments. If indeed he was describing Mormons, then I wonder if he was making a statement about Mormons in general. Eustice isn't a very pleasant or smart boy at all. He is a book worm with no imagination and no friends.

I would love to know more about what he thought of the church.


C Jones said...

From wikipedia:

"Eustace very strongly resembles Lewis himself: an intellectual and skeptic who formerly enjoyed raking believers over his satirical coals, but acquires a Christian faith through a great personal crisis."

The religious underclothing reference is interesting though. If Lewis was referring to Mormons and thought of them as being misguided zealots, he wouldn't have been alone- in his own time or in ours.

Machu Picchu said...

I have always been amused--and frankly often been annoyed--at the esteem and quasi-canonization that Lewis enjoys among so many Latter-Day Saints. He held and would hold Mormons in no such esteem.

"One of the marks of a certain type of bad man is that he cannot give up a thing without wanting every one else to give it up. That is not the Christian way. An individual Christian may see fit to give up all sorts of things for special reasons -- marriage, or meat, or beer, or the cinema; but the moment he starts saying the things are bad in themselves, or looking down his nose at other people who do use them, he has taken the wrong turning."

To him, we are not Christian; or if we are, we are very misguided un-Christian self-proclaimed Christians. Yet somehow, many LDS think of him as one of those who would have jumped right into the waters of baptism if only the missionaries knocked on his door.

Machu Picchu said...

(the passage is from "Mere Christianity")

Ian said...

c jones,

Of course. It wouldn't suprise me in the least bit if Lewis didn't think too highly of the "Mormons".

Machu pichu,

Very interesting quote. I hadn't seen that one before.

One thing though, even if C.S. Lewis said some things that we don't agree with, there are plenty of other general authorities (Brigham Young) that have said things that we don't agree with either.

At the end of the day, truth is truth is truth. Wether it comes from the mouth of the Pope or the Prophet.

It would be amusing though if something were found by Lewis where he explicitly denounced Mormonism.

David J said...

It would be amusing though if something were found by Lewis where he explicitly denounced Mormonism.

Totally! I hope this happens. It would certainly put a halt to all the lame C.S. Lewis quotations in the Ensign and general conference.

Anonymous said...

I read this quote in Chritianity Today. I don't know which book this is talking about, but thought might be interesting for this topic.
Another example is the extraordinary interest in C.S. Lewis among Mormons, and the belief that Lewis is almost a crypto-Mormon. In fact, Lewis, in an offhand remark recorded in one of his books, believed that Joseph Smith was the author of the Book of Mormon, not ancient Israelites. He was aware of the LDS claims and totally rejected them. And yet his books are prominently featured in [LDS-owned] Deseret Bookstores, and he is widely quoted from tried-and-true defenders of Mormon orthodoxy. It just shows the extraordinary acceptability and the usefulness of C.S. Lewis, because of course most of what he says is perfectly acceptable to Mormons.