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Latter-day Saint (Mormon)/Utah Reference
in the movie

The X Files (1998)
also titled The X-Files: Fight the Future

"The X-Files: Fight the Future" (1998)
Directed by Rob Bowman
Screenplay by Chris Carter
Story by Frank Spotnitz and Chris Carter

Starring: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, John Neville, William B. Davis, Martin Landau, Mitch Pileggi, Jeffrey DeMunn

MPAA Rating: PG-13
U.S. Box Office: $83,898,313
Production budget: $66,000,000

"The X Files" (which was also promoted using the alternative title "The X-Files: Fight the Future") is the feature film adaptation of the popular FOX television series "The X-Files." Most every episode of the series, which ran for 9 years, featured FBI special agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dan Scully (Gillian Anderson) attempting to solve mysteries and cases which were so bizarre or inexplicable that they required their special expertise. Mulder was an expert in subjects such as the paranormal, legends of monsters, and aliens. Scully, a scientist and medical doctor by training, was originally assigned to be Mulder's partner in order to debunk his claims. But she eventually came to become an expert in her own right in the unusual subject matter they regularly dealt with.

The "X-Files" feature film was released near the end of the series' run on television. When the movie first shows Mulder and Scully, they are in Dallas, Texas, where FBI agents are looking for a bomb in a federal building. Mulder finds the bomb, not in the building where a tipster said it would be, but in an adjacent building.

Despite the fact that Mulder and Scully manage to evacuate the building and save the lives of everybody in it, Scully and Mulder are blamed for mistakes made in this and other cases. As a "punishment," or simply a corrective measure, superior officials at the FBI decide to break up the pair, and send Scully away from her Washington D.C. post to work in Salt Lake City, Utah. The writers probably specified this location because bees are a major motif in the film, and Utah's nickname is the "Beehive State."

Prior to becoming a state, Utah and a large region surrounding it were known as the territory of "Deseret." The word "Deseret" comes from the Book of Mormon, which states that the word means "honey bee" (Ether 2:3). When Utah became a state, the honey bee and the beehive were already in use as symbols of the region. Bees symbolized the industrious, hard-working nature of the Latter-day Saints who settled in Utah. Although the Latter-day Saints were unsuccessful in petitioning the federal government to allow them to keep the name "Deseret" when the area was admitted to the Union as a state, they did manage to officially incorporate Latter-day Saint beliefs and values in other ways. The official motto of Utah" is "industry." As mentioned above, the official nickname of Utah is the "beehive state." A beehive is also shown on the Utah state flag.

The scene in which Scully tells Mulder that she has been assigned to work in Utah takes place just minutes after a major section of the film in which Mulder and Scully find a secret government bee research facility in Texas. Massive numbers of bees are being raised in giant beehive-shaped domes in the middle of corn fields. The government is experimenting with using the bees to delivery a kind of virus that is pivotal in the movie's plot. While inside one of the domes, bees are released and swarm around Scully and Mulder. They manage to escape the bees -- and the helicopters that chase them after they run outside. But apparently at least bee remained lodged in Scully's clothing. While Scully and Mulder are still at Mulder's apartment -- just minutes after she tells him about Utah -- a bee climbs out of a fold in Scully's jacket and stings her.

An apparent allergic reaction to the bee sting triggers the next series of events in the film, which leads Scully and Mulder eventually to Antarctica. At the end of the film they have been reunited as partners, and will be able to continue working out of the Washington D.C. FBI office. Although she was preparing to go to Utah, Scully never actully moves there. (At least one of their cases during the regular TV series took place in Utah ("Roadrunners", October 2000), so they have been there before. Other episodes from the series prominently feature Latter-day Saint characters and references. These include "L.A. 2000 A.D.", "Fight Club" and "Deamland.")

The point in the film at which Scully tells Mulder that she has been assigned to work in Salt Lake City, Utah takes place 1 hour, 11 minutes, 1 second after the beginning of the film. Below is a transcript of the beginning of this scene:

[SCENE: Mulder's apartment. Special Agent Fox Mulder looking through a family photo album. He finds a photograph of a younger Kurtzweil, and realizes that the mysterious man was telling the truth about knowing Mulder's father. As he stares at the photo, he hears a knock on the door. Before he gets up to open the door, it opens. It is his partner at the FBI: Special Agent Dana Scully. Her shirt is untucked. She looks like she has been through a rough time.]

MULDER (David Duchovny): What's wrong?

SCULLY (Gillian Anderson): Salt Lake City, Utah. Transfer effective immediately.

[Mulder turns so he is facing away from Scully. He is frustrated. He looks up in the air, wondering how this can be happening.]

SCULLY: I already gave Skinner my letter of resignation.

MULDER: You can't quit now, Scully.

SCULLY: I can, Mulder. I debated whether or not even to tell you in person, but ...

MULDER: We are close to something here! We're on the verge!

SCULLY: You're on the verge, Mulder. Please don't do this to me.

[Mulder quickly gets out of his chair and walks over to Scully.]

MULDER: After what you saw last night, after all you've seen, you can just walk away?

SCULLY: I have, I did, it's done.

MULDER: I need you on this, Scully.

SCULLY: You don't need me, Mulder. You never have. I've just held you back. I gotta go.

[Scully turns away from Mulder, and walks out the door back into the hallway outside his apartment. Mulder follows her out into the hallway. In the lines that follow, Mulder expresses to Scully how much she has meant to him and his work. They draw close, and almost kiss for the first time ever, after years of working closely together as FBI agents. In one of the most anticipated moments in the history of this popular franchise, their lips touch briefly. But before they can actually kiss, a bee stings Scully. The bee is a symbol of Utah and Mormonism, and its importance in this scene is the most likely reason the writers chose Utah as the place Scully says she has been reassigned to in this scene.]

[NOTE: The dialogue above is an exact transcript from the film as it actually was released. Where there are discrepancies between our transcript and the optional English subtitles shown onscreen on the DVD, it is the transcript that is correct. Mistakes in the DVD subtitles are usually a result of presenting subtitles based on the shooting script rather than transcribing the audio track.]

A bit of trivia: According to IMDb.com, Lori Petersen (a Latter-day Saint whose best known work in movies has been as a film editor) was the visual effects editorial coordinator for the "The X-Files" feature film. Petersen has worked primarily on movies made in Utah, including movies made by Feature Films For Families, such as "Rigoletto," "Seasons of the Heart" and "The ButterCream Gang." Her credits as assistant editor include movies such as "Just Like Dad," "Windrunner" and "Coyote Summer."

Webpage created 19 November 2004. Last modified 5 December 2004.