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Is "Twilight" a romantic teen fantasy – or a deeply religious parable?

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Beneath the Gothic trappings is an American high school romance in which Juliet meets Romeo, they fall in love, marry, and she gives birth to his child while becoming gloriously undead. Thus, not only has tragedy been averted, death has been subverted. "Twilight" is a story in which free will, determination, and fabulation triumph over disturbing reality, namely, the crisis of the family, the diminished possibility of the bonds of love and commitment, and the loss of religious spirituality in contemporary American society.

To underscore that biblical connection, the cover of "Twilight" features two hands cupping an apple and the novel begins with a quote from Genesis 2:17 that precedes the opening preface. “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shall surely die.”

But as Susan Jeffers suggests in "The Twilight Mystique," for Mormons Adam and Eve’s fall is not a cause for woe. Rather, it begins the human story of individuals opting through conscious moral reasoning to choose good over evil. This, in turn, confers the possibility of moral and social development that offers the opportunity not only for atonement but also redemption. Eve’s decision to eat the apple and persuade Adam to do the same lies at the heart of the Mormon belief that the fall, moral agency, and afterlife provide the pathway to salvation. Bella’s choices mimic those of Eve.

From the Mormon theological perspective, therefore, the very act of deciding to become a vampire may be interpreted less as a fall from grace than as a necessary first step in the exercise of free will that offers the potential for wisdom and the possibility of redemption. This process parallels the Christian fall, the choice to embrace the beliefs of Jesus Christ, and the prospect not only for salvation but for immortality.

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