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Sunday, March 15, 2015

God's Plan and Harry Potter - Gospel Truths Evident in Both

For all the Mormon's out there who are Harry Potter geeks I think you'll like this one.  My wife sometimes rolls her eyes at me when I relate movies to gospel principles but there are parallels everywhere in them!  Heck, there are parallels to the gospel all around us in anything we sense or perceive in this world.  But ever since I returned from full time missionary service, I notice them everywhere and more especially since I've been married.

Here are a few from Harry Potter that seem, likely unintentionally from the perspective of Rowling or any of the directors, especially poignant in their symbolism of certain aspects of the Lord's plan.

I'll start off with something from the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (or Sorcerer's Stone for the U.S., Pakistan and India).  I find Dumbledore's explanation of the Mirror of Erised particularly interesting, "The happiest man on earth would be able to use the Mirror of Erised like a normal mirror, that is, he would look into it and see himself exactly as he is" and "It shows us nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts."

The only difference with this example to the gospel is that if the Savior, or anyone who reached the highest possible level of happiness, were to look into the mirror, they would, by the scriptural definition of supreme eternal happiness, see themselves with the Savior and all generations of their families, perfected and sealed to each other for eternity.

Another twist on the mirror is a parable I once heard from a senior couple I knew while serving as a full time missionary.  They were touring a sword makers shop on a p-day, I believe.  As they were touring the facility and learning about the sword making process, the senior sister said "How do you know when they're finished?"  He replied with "when I can see myself in them."  The same applies with us.  The Savior knows we are finished being molded and changed when He sees Himself in us.

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Another example isn't in the movies from what I remember of them, but it is in the book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire where Sirius Black says, "If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals."

This is a fantastic way of thinking of the Savior.  All of us, incomprehensibly far below Him in nature, understanding, maturity and wisdom, are yet so important to Him that He came to live, die and overcome everything that could ever hold us back from living with God again with no other motive but love for us and His Father.  He is a supreme example of someone who views His inferiors as He should.

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Where would this great series be without everyone's favorite house elf?  One of the coolest things about Dobby is his seeming random timing with showing up at the most unexpected moments, or all the greatest moments of need to save the day.  I think Dobby is a lot like an angel because He is always there, seen or unseen, doing his best to help anyone in need.

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Dementors represent, to me, the devil's influence and his followers. Emma Watson described them this way in an interview, "you feel them before you see them.  Everything freezes.  They drain the life out of everything that they come into contact with."  We know, from the Bible and modern revelation, that the devils angels quite literally have power, if granted by the host, to possess and utterly take control or drain the life out of something.  Such an example is illustrated here.

On the contrary side of things, the beautiful opposite to this is the thing that drives dementors away, the patronus charm.  I find this to be a great parallel to the priesthood of God. When Lupin gets up on the train and immediately drives the dementor away in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, it's the same effect that exercising priesthood power righteously has on any source of evil.  This is, I think, especially poignantly illustrated when considering that, in order to conjure a powerful patronus, your thoughts must be powerfully focused on something pure and happy.  Similarly, the power of a the priesthood in a man is only as strong as he is pure in heart and in tune with the Spirit of the Lord.  Also, any proper use of the power of God will always completely and utterly overpower the forces of darkness.  Note how fast dementors flee when the charm is cast in the books and movies.  I think that symbolizes, very well, how evil reacts when the we exert our faith, when priesthood power is worthily exercised, when we obey and strengthen our agency, when we repent, and much much more.

I find that the Order of the Phoenix is like the quorum of the 12 apostles, even though there are more than 12 members of the Order.  The symbolism I see is represented in a few ways.  When death eaters fly, their trail is black, when members of the Order fly, their trail is pure white.  All members of the Order are united in their goal and are specially assigned as a 'special forces' in that responsibility by Dumbledore.  Since Dumbledore could be compared to Heavenly Father or the Savior in relation to his high level of wisdom, love for good and tireless work for the good of others, this symbolism, to me, further reinforces the symbolism of him and the Order in relation to the Savior and His Apostles. 

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Here is one last thing I want to point out.  The vitality of agency is very well emphasized when Harry was in the house of Black in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  He mentions to Sirius a time where he wanted to do something really bad.  He was afraid that he was becoming bad, becoming the kind of person he was trying to fight against.  Sirius told Harry that the world isn't just divided into death eaters and good people.  He said, "We've all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are."  And thus it is with our agency.  We all have the natural man in us to overcome via the light of Christ and the Holy Ghost.  What makes us and changes us is which one we choose to side with.

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As I said in the beginning of this, I really do see parallels to the gospel in EVERYTHING.  Whether it's Green Lantern with the concept of fear induced by the devil and agency given by God, Spiderman and the truth that with great power comes great responsibility, the same way it is with Priesthood power, or Narnia and the many many gospel parallels in that one, the fact that the world, and the universe, is so full of them is a witness as to the reality, legitimacy and absolute validity of God's plan for us as taught in the gospel of Jesus Christ.