A sci-fi film, Starship Troopers, features a Latter-day Saint colony and a temple of the Church on a distant alien planet.

According to many published movie reviews, the destruction of this Mormon colony is the pivotal event that precipitates the war between the people of Earth and the alien bugs (the movie’s central plot).

The screen time occurred during one of the movie’s many propaganda reels, where the fate of the ill-advised Mormon colony established outside the quarantine zone was told. The following is the voiceover narration:

“Every school kid knows that Arachnids are dangerous. However, Mormon extremists disregarded Federal warnings .and established Port Joe Smith deep inside the Arachnid Quarantine Zone. Too late, they realized that Dantana had already been chosen by other colonists– Arachnids.”

The movie Starship Troopers was heavily criticized during its release on November 1997 but has since gained a cult following as audiences took another look, especially at some historical grounding.

The scene of the Mormon alien colony was based on the conflict between the US government, and the Church dates back to the Mormon Wars in the 1830s. After the murder of Joseph Smith in 1844, Brigham Young led an exodus from Illinois to Utah, which was outside the reach of the US government and only nominally controlled by Mexico. The arrival caused significant conflict with the local people.

Young was later appointed governor of Utah, but he paid little attention to the federal government, which resulted in a standoff with President James Buchanan’s administration in 1857. Mormon pioneers surrounded and killed 120 Baker-Fancher supporters at Mountain Meadows that same year.

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