With predictions being made that Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens could make over $200 million in its opening weekend, it's fair to say that the movie may be changing the face of cinema forever. But the movie industry isn't the only thing seeing a boost from the film, The Church of Jediism is also experiencing a boom. Yep, you read that correctly, there is an actual Church of Jediism and people are flocking to join it!
What is the Church of Jediism?
Jediism first attracted attention a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away as a joke (also known as 2001), when over 390,00 people in the United Kingdom stated their religion as Jedi on their census forms, surpassing Sikhism, Judaism and Buddhism. In September 2007 Daniel M. Jones (who also goes by the Jedi name Morda Hehol) founded the Church of Jediism after researching various religions, and finding that "the Jedi was an actual embodiment of various religions."
The church doesn't have congregations, but rather frequently hold Skype meetings to speaking to Jedi's spread around the world. Despite the number of Jedi in the UK dropping to 177,000, it now looks like the church has had another rise in numbers thanks to the newly released Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens.
What does the religion preach?
First of all, The Church of Jediism doesn't actually believe that Star Wars is real, instead it simply takes "the fundamentals from Jedi in Star Wars and learn from them." In the Star Wars universe, Jedi follow a set of rules known as the Jedi Code, and included the mantra:
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
Speaking about why people might seek to join the Church of Jediism instead of more traditional religions, Church Spokesman Patrick Day-Childs said "I think people are shying away from traditional religion because it doesn’t reflect their views. We’ve got no problem with homosexuality or anything like that. We are very accepting."
Fans of the original Star Wars trilogy contemplating joining the religion will also be pleased to know that the Church of Jediism mentions no special need for members to have extra high levels of Midi-Chlorians before joining.
Feeling the force of 'The Force Awakens'
According to Day-Childs (also known as Master Chi-Pa Amshe), the numbers for the organization have now grown to more the 250,000 followers. In addition to the rise in numbers, Day-Childs told the Telegraph that more than a 1000 people per day are signing up for the religion. Speaking about the membership increase, Day-Childs said "It’s gone up substantially in the past couple of days. The real test will be in a couple of weeks when the film hype has died off. "
But whether the membership rush is short-lived or not, founder Daniel M. Jones is still delighted, saying "we’ve been rushed off our feet. People want to know more about it. It’s great for us.”
How to become a Jedi
If you feel like becoming a Jedi could be a move for you, then have a look at the Church's website (over here), and sign up for the organization's online newsletter. There is also a 10-part training course for new members to complete, but before you sign up for the Church remember, young Padawan, the words of Master Yoda "do. Or do not. There is no try."