Robert Kirby: The Church of Jesus Christ of Lego-day Saints — a new way to build faith

Mini-block sets depict many religious themes, so why not Mormonism, too?

Robert Kirby

It’s hardly surprising that there is a religious market for toys. What better way to reinforce the message of a certain faith than by incorporating it into the world of children?

I’m talking about the religious themes in many Lego sets, the tiny snap-together plastic bricks that are the bane of every barefoot person trying to find the bathroom in the dark.

But, like most toys originally intended for youngsters, Legos have a large adult market as well.

Note: I don’t mean porn. There are porn Legos, but no way am I going into that here.

Back to religion and toys. There are Lego sets of the Crucifixion, showing a battered Jesus hanging on a cross, Samson pulling down the temple, and the Nativity.

Muslims have Lego mosques and call-to-prayer scenes. Jews have Lego menorahs and spinning dreidels. There are even satanic and witchcraft Legos.

Latter-day Saints have our own Lego sets. The Kirtland Temple is but the most recent depiction of the Mormon story in miniature building blocks.

Mark Clark, who is not a Latter-day Saint, told the Deseret News he took on the project out of a personal interest in the temple’s role in the faith’s origins.

So it was not seen as a marketable way of keeping Primary interesting.

This isn’t the only LDS Lego-like creation. Most of our temples have found their way into mini-block sets — one of them under the brand Brick’Em Young. Others include Book of Mormon scenes and early pioneers.

There are mini snap-together sets of modern missionaries, Moroni burying the gold plates, Joseph Smith translating the plates, apostle David A. Bednar speaking at General Conference (complete with teleprompter), the Lord touching the Jaredite stones, and the ancient prophet Mormon preaching on a hill.

But Latter-day Saints are still running behind mainstream Christianity in the representation of our faith in the Lego universe. As far as I know, there are no faith-promoting sets featuring Joseph Smith’s martyrdom at Carthage Jail, the miracle of the gulls, and polygamists being rounded up by federal marshals.

We could, if so motivated, put together instructive Lego versions of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the Hawn’s Mill Massacre, the handcart tragedies, Porter Rockwell shooting dissidents, modern excommunication courts, etc.

While not particularly uplifting, these themes would perhaps prepare young members for the less attractive (but just as truthful) parts of our church’s history. Better to find out about them early than having them come as a nasty surprise later.

You aren’t required to buy these grimmer parts of the faith’s past, of course. It’s just as easy to stick with the more playful elements.

My personal favorite would be tithing settlement Legos, a set that comes with 10% of the parts already missing.

Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.