Marsfather Movement, The

Mars and its moon Deimos
Image from Steve Bowers
Mars and Deimos, one of the two moons of this world

The Marsfather Movement was a religious movement that emerged on the planet Mars during the late Golden Age, initially formed by Gordon Henry, who was born in Cascadia on 21 Hippocrates 470 a.t. Although happy and outgoing as a teenager, Henry became increasingly bored with his life as he entered his twenties, and joined many different religious organizations on Earth to try and give some meaning to his existence. However, Henry rarely stuck with any of these groups for more than a year, and was left feeling spiritually unsatisfied. In 497, Henry's parents, Dylan and Hilary, were killed along with eighteen others in a shuttlecraft accident while returning from a vacation to the city of Artemis on Luna. Both Henry's parents were senior representatives of the immensely successful Biofixe Corporation, and after their deaths, their entire fortune was given to their son. Inspired by the classical Epic Frontier virches he had played in as a child, Gordon Henry decided to leave his monotonous life on Earth, and start a new life in the busy Martian arcology of Wells.

Henry travelled to Mars by cycler, and arrived on the planet's surface in Jung of 502. Shortly after his arrival, Henry claimed that he felt a deep spiritual connection with the planet, the likes of which he had never experienced before. Longing to share this connection with others, in 504, Henry published a religious paper on the InterPlaNet, entitled "Mars: The Untold Story". This paper claimed that the planet Mars is in fact a living organism (referred to as "Father Mars") and at one stage in the distant past, hosted a thriving ecosystem. Supposedly, at this time, Mars was occupied by a race of sophont humanoids known as the Children of Mars, who dwelled within "Great Martian Forests", in harmony with their creator, Father Mars, for many millions of years. Henry's paper described the Children as roughly 2.5 meters tall, and possessing purplish skin, blonde hair and an extra pair of arms.

According to "The Untold Story", Mars once had three Archpriests (moons); Phobos, Deimos and Pavor1. Roughly ten million years ago, Pavor became jealous of Father Mars, longing to be worshipped by the Children. Pavor therefore slammed himself into the planetary surface, killing off almost all Martian life. Father Mars managed to rescue one hundred of his most faithful children (along with a number of native Martian animals), teleporting them to a small bunker in the planetary core and freezing them in time. "The Untold Story" claimed that humanity had a solemn duty to terraform Mars, in order for the Children to return, and live peacefully with humankind for all eternity.

"The Untold Story" proved extremely popular with Martian youth, and the Marsfather Movement quickly gained a large membership. Individual members of the Movement were known as "Fatherists" (or, to outsiders, "Mars-Fatherists"). Nearly all money collected from members of the Movement was donated to the Martian Terraforming Initiative (MTI), in order to assist them in their "divine mission". The Movement also received a significant amount of media attention (much of it negative), with some condemning it as a ploy to raise funds for the MTI. In 514, the Movement made it mandatory for its members to cut off all communications with friends and relatives living off-planet, in order to prevent families from trying to dissuade relatives from joining the Movement. However, this decision resulted in a significant drop in their membership. Despite this, the organization remained active for another two decades.

Shortly after the Movement's formation. Henry remarked that at some point over the next twenty years, Mars would be Earth-like enough to allow the Great Martian Trees to flourish, which would terraform the planet at a much faster rate, rendering it habitable to baseline humans in less than a month. After this, Father Mars would release the Children from the core, and allow them to live in peaceful harmony with the Fatherists. Henry claimed that those disloyal to Father Mars (i.e, not a member of the Movement) would be teleported elsewhere in Solsys. However, by 527, there was no sign of any Great Martian Trees, and no indication that the Children would be returning anytime soon, which disillusioned many Fatherists. By this time, many of the Movement's better-known members had left, which resulted in additional losses from amongst the general populace.

On 2 Galileo of 528, Gordon Henry was found dead in his home, having ended his life through use of a handheld laser. Henry's suicide removed any doubt amongst the public that he was indeed committed to his beliefs. With their leader dead and their membership rapidly diminishing, the senior members of the Movement decided that it was time to disband the organization. After the Technocalypse, only a few records survived about the religion, although its impacts can still be felt in the present day: the First Church of Father Mars in Wells Arcology has survived to the present day, and receives a substantial number of tourists each year. Additionally, the mythical Children of Mars have made the transition from fiction and become a reality: in the early third millennium a.t, the biontogenist Kauvino-3 created Clade Childrenofmars, who are physically based on the humanoids described in "Mars: The Untold Story"2. Notable living Childrenofmars include historian Jundav Wenadol (b. 9974)3 and composer Stalpo Jovinal (b. 10497)4.


1. Alternate name for Phobos in ancient Roman mythology.
2. Kauvino-3 is known for having created a number of biont clades physically based on non-human species depicted in popular fiction and mythology. Other notable creations of Kauvino-3 include Clade Gornazian, Clade Yunn and Clade Vasker. .
3. Senior member of the Fellowship of Historians, specializing in First Federation-era history. 4. Composed sixty-eight symphonies from his home on Heimat, before moving to Jafalgia in 10600 and joining xenodenier group the Lonely Minds Society.
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Text by James Rogers
Initially published on 18 December 2015.