Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 166: Michaelmus, BBC iplayer, and Mormon Doctrine

One downside of living in the UK is that, where non-TV owners like my husband and I can watch US TV shows for free, does not work. The upside, of course, is that BBC's iplayer does. The BBC here operates like a PBS+ broadcast conglomerate with four TV channels and four radio channels. These channels cover everything from news (for which the BBC is known in the states) to reality TV shows to sitcoms to rebroadcasts of popular, recent films to my favorite, period dramas. All of these are available on BBC's iplayer, a youtube-like portal, a few hours or days after it shows on TV. Like all BBC viewing privileges, these are to be accompanied by a mandatory fee.

The period drama on which I am currently hooked is Lark Rise to Candleford, about two little towns (one poor, one not) within Oxfordshire. In recent episode featured a fall "Michaelmus" feast. This and an enlightening conversation with a dear Christian friend and classmate helped me discover something that Oxford and Mormons have in common: honoring Michael the archangel.

As I have mentioned, Oxford has three academic terms, the first term, starting in October, is called Michaelmus Term. This name derives from St. Michael, or Michael the archangel spoken of in Jude 1 and Revelations 12. My Christian classmate friend, who is focusing her dissertation on Milton's Paradise Lost (which also focuses on this heavenly war), told me that Christians (or at least those she attends church with in Oxford) believe the plain text of Revelations that there was a war in heaven in which Satan was cast out. She pairs this with Isaiah 14:12-20 in believing that Satan, who was once very prestigious, was attempting to aggrandize himself and make himself even like God. This war, headed by Michael, she places before the creative periods as Satan appeared on earth (presumably after he was cast down to earth from heaven) in the form of a serpent in the garden. St. Michael's day and Michaelmus Term is designed to honor Michael's triumph.

This is all very familiar doctrine for a Mormon. We believe that this pre-creative war in heaven was the main event of our pre-mortal lives as spirit children of our Father in Heaven. Everyone here on earth was part of that war, and decided to chose Christ rather than Satan. Further, we believe that Michael the spirit became Adam the man.

Just goes to show how educational watching TV can be...

1 comment:

  1. I've just happened upon your blog and I think it's fantastic. I'm a Utah Mormon Stay-at-Home-Mother/Housewife so your experiences are so wonderfully foreign to me. Thanks for sharing.

    I've read so many books that refer to Michaelmas yet I've never bothered to learn more about it. Your post is helpful.