Thursday, July 30, 2015

Quiz: Can You Guess the Mormon Connection to These Summer Movies?


       In 1969, professor Stanley Milgram conducted a social experiment to see how closely people are connected to one another through social contacts. In other words, if I wanted to get a message to the Pope, and I started by asking a friend to help me get it to him, how many friends of a friend would we have to go through until we found someone who could get my message into the Pope's hands? Milgram’s findings from this experiment sparked a social phenomenon. According to Milgram, everyone is connected to everyone else by an average of six degrees of separation.1 So as long as you know someone who knows someone else, it will most likely take only six phone calls to get your message to Pope Francis himself. 

       The six degrees theory caught on, and in 1994, a trio of college roommates invented the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” In this parlor game, movie geeks try to connect a celebrity to Kevin Bacon in as few degrees as possible.2 (For example, Johnny Depp acted in Into the Woods with Meryl Streep, who acted with Kevin Bacon in The River Wild. Two degrees of separation.) The game started as a silly pastime, but decades later it's still going strong.

       As it turns out, you can do the same thing with Mormons. As the Church has grown, more and more Latter-day Saints have found their way into different parts of the world, and much like Mr. Bacon, we're everywhere in the movie biz. L.A. missionaries, take note, because through six degrees or less, you can find a movie star or famous director who has a connection to Mormonism. Care to test the theory? Take the quiz below and see if you can guess how this year's summer blockbusters each connect, somehow, to the Mormon faith. 

       (Oh, and P.S., Blair Treu, who directed Meet the Mormons, was Kevin Bacon's stand-in on the movie Footloose.3 One degree of separation.)


Notes:
1. Smith, David. "Microsoft Proves There Are Just Six Degrees of Separation Between Us." Theguardian.com. August 2, 2008. Accessed July 30, 2015.
2. Griggs, Brandon. "Kevin Bacon on 'Six Degrees' Game: 'I Was Horrified'" CNN.com. March 12, 2014. Accessed July 30, 2015.
3. "Q&A: Get to Know the Mormons behind 'Meet the Mormons'" Utah Valley 360 RSS. October 10, 2014. Accessed July 30, 2015.

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