Wednesday, August 22, 2012

WEIRD WEDNESDAY: The Religion of Spock


 
Now, I am a big Star Trek fan, and into anything to do with Trek. But the one thing that took me aback, in its peculiarness, was a church called “The Spock,” that I accidently discovered when I googled. It is a few miles south of Lynchburg in Campbell County, in the state of Virginia.

 Founded in 1977, it is in a large and attractive octagonal building. It is said to be the world's only church of Star Trek, a religion centered on the popular 1960's television series, featuring the adventures of a crew of interstellar explorers. It promotes beliefs associated with one of the popular characters in the TV series, Mr. Spock. The ideology of the church is centered on so-called Vulcan philosophy which includes the belief in pure "logic" and which emphasizes a lifestyle devoid of emotion.

A huge stained-glass likeness of Mr. Spock is featured in the sanctuary. Churchgoers recite sequences of dialogue from the series and participate in what they call a "Holy Mind Meld." It is said that many of the members wear stick-on pointed ears like Spock has during services and at other church functions. Supposedly, in one case of excessive dedication to the "faith," one member attempted to have his ears surgically altered. There were disastrous results, requiring extensive corrective surgery.
 
"The Spock" is not without controversy, as reportedly in the late 1980's, disagreement arose within the church. This due to the lengths in which members should go in emulating the purely logical and emotionless Vulcan approach to life. Some of them advocated a reasonable degree of emotion, due to Spock’s half-human part.  Though a core group of hard-line members were adamant to stick to the Vulcan ideology. The stricter view won.  Several members left the church, condemning the practices. One former member went so far as to publish a science fiction story based on his rigid and stifling upbringing in the faith, a story which concludes with the destruction of the Campbell County sanctuary by a "phaser" blast from an orbiting "starship" at his command. But despite the dissent, "The Spock" boasts a membership today of over 120. Active campaigns are done for new members at area fan conventions and at Star Trek movie showings in local theatres. Leonard Nimoy, the actor who played Mr. Spock in Star Trek, has refused comment on "The Spock."

11 comments:

Marva Dasef said...

Uh, wow. I was a 2nd Lt. in a local Star Trek fan club for awhile, but it was only fandom. Just goes to show that no matter how wacky the idea, some people will fall into a cult with hardly a second thought.

Thanks for the info. I'm passing it along to a relative who lives in VA and is a huge Trek fan.

Pamela K. Kinney said...

You're welcome, Marva. :-)

Mary Frances Roya said...

I was told once that if you start a new relgion, there will always be someone that will join it.

That is really wild about the church of 'The Spock'.

Very interesting blog. I liked it.

Lynda K. Scott said...

Very interesting. I've written Star Trek fan fiction (years ago) but never thought about a church. I wonder what their services entail? Might have to arrange a road trip, lol

Savanna Kougar said...

I'd heard of their being a Spock church, but never knew the details. I have soft spot in my heart for Spock, and always will.

I understand the Jedi is big on the other side of the pond.

India-Jean Louwe said...

Hi Pamela, Amazing. I would have really loved to see this church for myself. But I must admit. I'm still struggling to wrap my mind around the concept. Guess it would take a die-hard Star Trek fan to understand. And I'm not. Thanks for sharing.

India-Jean Louwe said...

Hi Pamela, Amazing. I would have really loved to see this church for myself. But I must admit. I'm still struggling to wrap my mind around the concept. Guess it would take a die-hard Star Trek fan to understand. And I'm not. Thanks for sharing.

India-Jean Louwe said...

For real? Can't seem to wrap my head around the concept. But then I'm not a fan of Star Trek. Would have love to see this church for myself though. Thanks for sharing, Pamela.

Pamela K. Kinney said...

Yes, for real, India-Jean. I am a Star Trek fan and member of two Star Trek clubs, done Star Trek costuming, but I wouldn't have made it or any of my fandom loves intoa religion. To each their own, I guess.

Pamela K. Kinney said...

Thanks, Mary Frances.

Pamela K. Kinney said...

Lynda, so did I. I plan to stop maybe on way to Mysticon next year, unless I get that way for another reason earlier. I may yet write one other nonfiction book--on the bizarre and wonderful places and more of Virginia.