OK, I’m on the late train here. I’m just now watching the SyFy tv series called “The Expanse” (on Amazon Prime). It is set 300 years in the future where humanity has colonized the solar system. It is like a very dark (literally and fugitively [1]) Star Wars movie only without the alien creatures. The only reason I started watching it was because I read how Jeff Bezos enjoyed the first three seasons on the SyFi channel (2015-18), and was disappointed when it was not renewed, so he funded the next two season for Amazon Prime. How would it feel to be so rich that if your favorite TV show is canceled, you can make a phone call it it is then renewed on your own channel?

I had heard nothing about the show, so it hit me as quite a surprise when a Mormon missionary is doing street approaches 300 years from now, wearing a white shirt with name tag. While somethings never change, he was without a companion!

Then in episode 4 of season 1, there is a spaceship named LDSS Nauvoo, which the Mormon’s are building for a 100 year voyage to another solar system. It even had an Angle Moroni statue. They never said where it was going exactly, but we Mormons know it was going to Kolob! There is a good recap written when the show came out 5 years ago on the Mormon Blog Times and Seasons which you can read here.

What I found most interesting was how the authors of the TV show picked the Mormon church as the builders of the intergalactic spacecraft. I found an old SLTrib article from 2017 where the authors of the TV show explain why they chose the Mormons for the spacecraft builders. They were looking for who would build a “huge, ambitious, expensive, difficult, dangerous project”. They passed on a government doing it, because “it doesn’t get you any votes,” and they couldn’t picture a corporation doing it, because there’s no money in it.

Then the authors thought maybe a religious group could do it. The Mormon’s came to thought because of their trek West in the migration to Salt Lake. But what sealed the deal was the building of the City Creek Mall! From the SLTrib article

And Franck came upon news about the construction of City Creek — including that the complex in the heart of Salt Lake City had a $2 billion price tag.

“I was, like, ‘Here’s a group that will drop a couple billion dollars to just have more shopping for people who come to visit the temple,’ ” Franck said. “And I thought, ‘Well, if you’re building a trillion-dollar spaceship 300 years in the future, who’s going to have the money and the institutional will to do that? It’s the Mormons.’ “

Now this all happened 5 years ago, when the public was not aware of the church’s $130 Billion dollars just laying around. With hindsight it appears quite funny that two non-Mormon authors predicted the Church would have one trillion dollars to spend on a spacecraft! Using the rule of 72 , I calculated the church could earn just 3% a year on it’s $130 billion, and in 300 years it would have over 500 hundred trillion dollars (500,000,000,000,000). Counting for inflation, and the church needing to dip into its “raining day fund”, they might only have 100 trillion in 300 years. So it could spend less than 1% of its savings to build the LDSS Nauvoo!

While this post is written mostly tongue in cheek, the takeaway I see is that the Mormon Church is not going away anytime soon. Even if most members stop paying tithing, and membership stagnated at 16 million for the next 300 years, there will still be lots of money to keep the Mormon Church going.

[1] one of my pet peeves is the current trend in TV programs to make everything dark. Hospital shows have dark operating rooms with only a light on the patent, while in real life operating rooms are a blaze of light. Offices are dark (see the Black List). The Expanse follows this trend.