Priesthood and "Prisoners"
Is a 2012 thriller an Mormon allegory?
Probably not, but you can't convince me otherwise
+You've all heard the rumors that Yoda was based off the likeness of Spencer W. Kimball and that“the force” is essentially the priesthood. You might have also noticed Mormon themes running through the “Twilight” novels (which isn't absurd, as author Stephenie Meyer is LDS). It's not uncommon to see Mormon parallels in all works of art. Denis Villeneuve's 2012 drama about kidnapped children is no different. And I know, I know. This movie is 5 years old and the timing seems odd. But Villeneuve's latest film, Blade Runner 2049, hits theaters this week, which is as good a reason as any to post a fan theory about one of his earlier films.
The opening scene of the film is a snow laden forest where we see Keller (Hugh Jackman) reciting the Lord's Prayer. Many Christian congregations use the prayer in their worship. The Catholic Church in particular underscores its foundational importance in the Catechism. Keller's devotion to his faith is highlighted again by the cross dangling from his rear view mirror. It is clear he is a devout Christian. Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) displays some religious ties as well. He has a cross tattooed on his hand, implicating Christian beliefs. In addition to this, he wears a ring on his pinky finger, more specifically a ring worn by Freemasons. Which religion blends masonry with Christianity? Why, it's the Mormons, of course. Detective Loki represents the Mormon faith.
When his daughter goes missing, Keller takes things into his own hands. He searches for her and pursues leads on his own. He also works with Detective Loki, but often diverges from the law and employs questionable methods of investigation, like abducting a suspect and torturing them. In other words, he does not have the proper authority to hold and interrogate witnesses. Yet, he proceeds. Detective Loki, however, does have the authority to conduct a proper investigation. He has the proper training and has been granted permission by the state to employ certain tactics. In the end, Keller's methods lead him to false accusations and illegal activities while Detective Loki cracks the case. So what does this have to do with Mormonism? Indulge me.
LDS theology states that Mormons believe in a restoration of the priesthood, or ability to act in God's name. They believe this authority was absent from the earth for hundreds of years and was restored through their founder Joseph Smith. With this priesthood restored, they have the proper authority through which to perform certain ordinances, such as baptism. This means that, while other churches are good and contain truth, they do not have the proper priesthood authority to perform certain ordinances. You see where I'm going, right?
With these two men carrying out their own investigations, they head down different paths. Keller abducts someone he believes to be guilty, eventually leading him to be imprisoned in a pit and hidden. Detective Loki finds the guilty party and takes proper action. Loki solves the crime. He is the one with the proper authority. Is Prisoners an allegory of proper priesthood authority among Christian sects? Who's to say it isn't?