Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Noelle: Discussion Guide for Parents

All information below is general suggestions and ideas. 
Always adapt to your family’s situation and beliefs and the needs of individual children. 
**Spoiler Alert**

Discussion Questions
  • Christmas often involves a lot of talk about “naughty and nice.” At the beginning of the movie, Santa asked Noelle whether she had been naughty or nice. Why is it valuable to perform personal inventories of how we’re doing? How can we use the sacrament as a time reflect and ask the Lord to help us improve? 
  • Santa uses elves to help him make and deliver toys. We all need help sometimes. How has someone helped you? How have you helped someone else? 
  • Noelle says the “essence of Christmas” is getting the perfect gift. What do yo think is the “essence of Christmas”?
  • Noelle tells Nick, “It’s not about what the kid looks like, its about what’s inside the heart.” The Bible says, “the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature. . . for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Why is important to see what’s inside? 
  • Noelle advises Nick to take a break for a weekend. Why is important to take breaks and rest? This is why we have the Sabbath. How can rest and help others do the same? 
  • When Cousin Gabe becomes Santa, he decides to withhold presents from children who have made mistakes. Why do others think this is naughty? What would be a better alternative?
  • Cousin Gabe wants to update Christmas with the FALALA system to measure niceness and use drones to deliver Christmas presents. When is new technology useful? When is it better to stick to tradition? Why is it important to embrace both the past and the future?
  • After Nick says that Noelle should be the new Santa, one of the elder elves asks, “What makes a Santa?” Then he asks Noelle, “What does Christmas mean to you?” How would you answer those questions? What makes a Santa? What does Christmas mean to you?
  • Noelle says the Christmas gives us hope and inspires us to be nice. How does Christmas give hope? How does Christmas inspire us to be kind and selfless? 

Scripture Connections
  • Sacrament, Repentance
  • Teamwork, Body of Christ. 
  • Sabbath, Rest. 
  • Hope. 

Ideas for Further Study
  • Noelle meets a Buddhist man who says he doesn’t celebrate Christmas. Learn about some other holidays that are celebrated in winter (examples: Winter Solstice, Hannukah, Kwanzaa). 
  • In Phoenix, Nick teaches yoga. Learn more about yoga. Where did it come from? Why do people practice yoga? What are the spiritual and physical benefits? Learn a few yoga poses. Consider attending a yoga class (if you have small children, many cities now offer “Mommy-and-Me” classes at yoga studios or libraries).

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Dumbo: Discussion Guide for Parents

Walt Disney Pictures, 1940

All information below is general suggestions and ideas. 
Always adapt to your family’s situation and beliefs and the needs of individual children. 

Content Warnings:
  • Animal violence
  • Alcohol, drunkenness, tobacco (cigars)
  • Some scenes may frighten or trouble more sensitive viewers. 
  • Dumbo and Timothy Mouse get drunk (a clown pours alcohol into the animals’ water, the two drink it unknowingly) and hallucinate “Pink Elephants on Parade.” 

Discussion Questions

  1. How do the animal parents feel when the stork drops off their babies? 
  • Talk about how children are a blessing and gift. The Bible says, “Children are an heritage of the Lord.”

  1. How did Dumbo’s Mother feel when the stork brought babies to the other animals but not to her? How did she feel when the stork finally came with the baby elephant? What was a time you had to wait for something you wanted? How did it feel to wait and to receive what you had waited for? 
  2. It doesn’t take long at all for people to start making fun of Dumbo for the way he looks. How do you feel when people tease you? Why is it important to think about the way we treat others? 
  3. How does Dumbo’s Mother react when others tease Dumbo? We might feel angry when we witness unkindness or injustice. When we feel angry, we must be careful to avoid hurting others. How can we use our anger to help others? 
  4. One theme of Dumbo is equality/inequality and justice/injustice. Talk about examples of this theme in the film and in your own life. Ideas from the film include:
  • The opening song, “Look of for Mr. Stork” includes these lyrics: “He'll come along and drop a bundle in your lap. You may be poor or rich; it doesn't matter which -millionaires, they get theirs like the butcher and the baker.” What things are similar among all people, despite differences in social class? 
  • The stork drops off babies to all the different animals. Later, when they board the train, each animal has a different car, designed just for them. With younger children, discuss how each animal’s car is different. With older children, discuss equity versus equality (equality aims to provide equal treatment to all, while equity provides different accommodations so all have equal opportunities for success).
  • The circus master profits by depending on laborers who work long hours for little pay and animals, both of which are treated poorly. What examples do you see of this in the film and in real life? 
  • The adult elephants often tease Dumbo and exclude him from their groups. How do you see this happening in real life? Think about small-scale examples (like the group of elephants excluding one person) and large-scale systemic examples (like segregation). 
  • The adult elephants decide Dumbo is “no longer an elephant.” What happens when we decide humans are “no longer humans”? What examples can you think of of dehumanizing others, individuals or groups? 

  1. Timothy Mouse is a friend to Dumbo when no one else is. How does it feel when someone is a friend to you? Who do you know that might need a friend? How can you be a friend to them? 
  2. Consider the crows. What is the controversy about the crows? The crows are stereotyped blacks (dialect and accent, plus the leader’s script name is Jim Crow). How have depictions of ethnicities and races changed since this movie was made? Can people still enjoy movies that contain dated stereotypes? What stereotypes and prejudices do you see in our world today? How can we confront stereotypes and prejudices?
  3. How do the characters in Dumbo demonstrate courage and empathy? Why are these important character strengths?

Scripture Connections
  • Children & Family. Gen 1:28; Ps 127:3-5; Mt 18:10, 19:14; 3 Ne 17:11-24, 18:21
  • Equity. 2 Sam 8:15; 1 Chron 18:14; Ps 9:8, 33:5, 98:9, 99:4; Prov 1:3, 2:9; Eccl 2:21; Isa 11:4
  • Patience. Rom 2:7, 8:25; Gal 5:22; 2 Thes 1:3; Alma 7:23, 26:27, 34:40; D&C 24:8, 67:13
  • Kindness & Friendship. 1 Sam 18:1; Prov 17:17, 18:24; Matt 7:12; Luke 10:25-37; 1 Cor 13:4; Eph 4:32; 1 Pet 1:7; D&C 4:6

Ideas for Further Study
  • Choose an animal from the movie to learn more about. What does this animal need to have a happy and healthy life? Compare to how you see the animals in the movie. Do you think the circus is doing a good job of caring for the animals? 
  • The Casey, Jr. men sing while they set up the circus tent: "We work all day, we work all night . . . When other folks have gone to bed, we slave until we're almost dead . . . We don't know when we get our pay . . . Muscles achin’ back near breaking . . . Boss man houndin’ Keep on poundin’ . . . There ain't no let up, must get set up. Pull that canvas! Drive that stake! Want to doze off, Get them clothes off but must keep awake.” Research Labor Day and unions that fight for fair working conditions, in the past and today. Teens might read Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle
  • Dumbo’s mother was put into solitary confinement as a “mad elephant” after she tried to protect Dumbo. Sometimes people today are put in jail for standing up for others (examples include members of civil rights movements, Martin Luther King, Jr., Joseph Smith, Dakota Access Pipeline protesters, DACA and immigration reform protesters, and more). Find an example that interests you and learn more about them.  Research justice issues in your area and see how you can get involved in standing up for what’s right. 
  • Research the Jim Crow laws and era. Find primary source documents from African-Americans living in Jim Crow South. Visit a museum or find someone who lived under those laws to learn more about what it was like. 
  • There are many examples of harmful stereotypes and prejudices in our world today. Research a group to dispel stereotypes about them. Visit a cultural or religious event different from your own.

Brett Willis, “Movie Review: Dumbo,” Christian Spotlight on Entertainment. <https://christiananswers.net/spotlight/movies/pre2000/dumbo.html>.
Nell Minow, “Dumbo,” Common Sense Media, <https://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/dumbo>.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Fantasia: Discussion Guide for Parents

Walt Disney Pictures, 1940

All information below is general suggestions and ideas. 
Always adapt to your family’s situation and beliefs and the needs of individual children. 

Content Warnings:
  • Some music and accompanying animation is intense and may trouble sensitive viewers.
  • Sorcerer’s Apprentice animates brooms and kills some; near drowning. 
  • Dinosaurs hunt, attack, defend, kill.  
  • Semi-nudity - topless centaurettes, naked cherubs/cupids (see buttocks, no genitals), breasts of spirit women
  • Alcohol/drunkeness (implied)
  • Depictions of Satan, disembodied spirits rising from graves

Before Beginning:
Fantasia is an anthology film. Watched at once, (in my opinion), it’s kind of long and boring,  for any age, really. Kids and teens may enjoy watching one movement at a time. 

Discussion Questions
  1. In “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” things get out of hand while the sorcerer is away. What kind of things went wrong? How could the apprentice have made things go differently?
  • The apprentice used the sorcerer’s magic hat - he took something that did not belong to him, which he did not have permission to use. 
  • The apprentice used magic to make the brooms do his work, rather than doing it himself. He sat in idleness while the brooms did the work for him. 
  • The apprentice fell asleep and was surprised by how things got out of hand. He was not paying attention.

  1. In “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” things got out of control until the apprentice was spinning down a whirlpool - he was in big trouble and unable to save himself. Just in time, the sorcerer returned and saved him. How is this like our own struggle with sinned the Savior’s role? 
  • Sin grows bigger and bigger, until it seems to engulf us. We can’t get ourselves out. The Savior can come and rescue us. We respond and give our thanks by following Him, just as an apprentice follows his master. 

  1. “Rites of Spring” (and the conductor’s introduction) depicts the beginnings of life on earth. Read the Creation story in the scriptures. How are the series similar? how are they different? What can we learn from the scriptures and from scientific discoveries about God and our world? 
  • Discuss nonliteral interpretations of scripture. Scripture’s primary goal is to teach us about God and humanity, not history or scientific inquiry. What can we learn from scripture about the nature of God, the earth, and humanity (even if the story didn’t happen in six literal days)?
  • Pay attention to the order of things - what kind of life appears first, second, third - in scripture and the film? Consider researching surest scientific theories - how does their order compare? 

  1. In “The Pastoral Symphony,” the black pegasus tries to fly many times, but falls. Each time, his Mother comes to carefully pick him up. How is this similar to the Savior, who comes to our rescue after we fall? The pegasus continues to get up and try again. This is an example of perseverance. How can you practice perseverance? 
  2. While the creatures are celebrating a festival in “The Pastoral Symphony,” it begins to rain and Zeus sends down thunderbolts. Why do you think he does this? Once the rain clear, the creatures come back out and there is a rainbow in the sky. How is this part of the story similar to and different from Noah’s ark and the rainbow which follows? 
  3. In “Night on Bald Mountain,” what happened to the creatures when the church bells started ringing? How is this symbolic of what happens in our lives when the Savior enters?
  • Example: When Satan reigned, there was chaos and darkness. After the church bells rang, Satan and the spirits surrendered their power and the light took over. When we live in sin, things are dark and chaotic. When we follow the Savior we can have light and hope.

  1. “Ave Maria” is a song about Mary, Jesus' mother. What do we learn in the scriptures about Mary? How is she an example of faith?

Scripture Connections
  • Laziness/Idleness and Work. Gen 3:19; 2 Chron 15:7; Proc 14:23; Matt 25:14-27; Acts 20:33-34; 2 Nephi 5:17; Mosiah 2:14, 23:5; D&C 42:42; Moses 4:25
  • Sin & Redemption. Rom 3:23, 5:12, 6:6, 6:12-23; Eph 2:5; Heb 12:1; 1 John 5:17; 1 Nephi 10:6; Helaman 6:30; D&C 88:86
  • Creation. Gen 1:1-2:22; Exodus 31:17; Moses 1:33, 2:26-3:22; Abraham 4:1-5:17
  • Perseverance. John 8:3; Col 1:23; Heb 12:1; D&C 6:13
  • Noah’s Ark. Gen 5:29-9:17, Moses 7:42-8:30

Ideas for Further Study

  • Fantasia uses music from a full orchestra. Research the sections that make up and orchestra. Choose one instrument to learn more about.
  • Think of parts of the movie that stood out to you.  Research the composer of the music and write about their life and music career (or, for the segments from a ballet, research choreographers). Attend a performance of classical music or dance. 
  • Ekphrastic art is art inspired by other art (traditionally, poetry inspired by visual art). Fantasia is an example of ekphrastic art - it’s visual art inspired by existing music. Try your own ekphrastic exercise. Start with a piece of visual art or instrumental music. Experience the art and create something (visual, poetry, a story, music) based on what you saw, heard, felt, thought while experiencing the original art. 
  • “The Nutcracker” portion of the film included many beautiful plants and flowers. Research some of them. Draw your own plant/flower artwork. Visit a public garden or arboretum. What plants grow naturally where you live?
  • An apprentice is a person who studies under a master to learn their work (like making shoes or clothes, farming). Research what apprenticeship was like in the past. Or, research a job you might like to do in the future. See if one child or the whole family can shadow an occupation for a day. 
  • “Rite of Spring” depicts the beginnings of life on earth. Research theories about early life on earth. Visit a science or natural history museum. 
  • The “Rite of Spring” scene shows many animals and creatures that are extinct. Choose one that interests you and learn more about it. Or, choose an animal that lives on the earth now but is endangered (may become extinct soon). Visit a science or natural history museum.
  • Learn more about Mount Olympus. Who are the gods and other creatures that live there? Choose one that interests you and research it. 
  • “Dance of the Hours” includes animals dancing ballet. Research something about ballet that interest you (history, how pointe shoes are made, a dancer living today). Try your hand at ballet by watching a youtube video or attending a class. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Bambi: Discussion Guide for Parents

Walt Disney Pictures, 1942

All information below is general suggestions and ideas. 
Always adapt to your family’s situation and beliefs and the needs of individual children. 

Content Warnings:
  • Some scenes may be frightening to sensitive viewers - thunderstorm in the woods, Bambi and his Mother get separated in a dangerous situation, animals run and hide while gunshots are fired, forest fire.
  • Violence - Gunshots (sound only), deer fighting. 
  • Bambi’s Mother dies (offscreen), birds are shot and drop to the ground.
  • Romantic attraction, kissing (pecks). 

Discussion Questions
  • Thumper’s father teaches, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” What do you think about this suggestion?
  • When Bambi is learning to walk, he falls down a lot. As he learns to talk, he makes many mistakes. How do the other animals react when Bambi falls or makes a mistake? We will fall and make mistakes when we are learning new things, too. How do you think God reacts when we fall or make a mistake? Why is it important to try again? 
  • In the movie we see many animal families. How do the grown up animals help the baby animals? How do grown-ups in your family help you (children)? How do you (children) help the grown-ups in your family? Why are families important? 
  • Bambi’s Mother waited to bring Bambi to the meadow until he was old enough. What’s something you are too little to do? What’s something you couldn’t do before, but can do now? 
  • In the meadow, deer have to be very careful and watch their surroundings for danger. We, too, need to watch out for danger. What kinds of danger do we watch out for (physical, spiritual, etc)? How can we protect ourselves from danger? 
    • Role play different dangerous situations your children might experience - talking to strangers, inappropriate sexual contact (abusive or consensual), exposure to alcohol or drugs, fire, etc. 
  • Going out into the meadow was a risk. Bambi and his Mother would be safer in the trees, but they would miss out on the fun in the meadow. What was a time you took a risk, like jumping off the diving board or trying out for a sports team? What did that feel like? How did it turn out? What did you learn from that experience? 
  • The Great Prince of the Forest is known for being brave and wise. What does bravery mean to you? What about wisdom? How can you grow in bravery and wisdom? 
  • When men are near, all the animals retreat into the forest and hide. Discuss guns, your family’s morals around hunting, and gun safety. How can we care for animals and each other? 
  • By the second spring of the movie, Bambi, Thumper, and Flower are all experiencing some changes in their bodies (most obviously, voice drops!). Talk with children and tweens about how their bodies will change as they mature from children to adults. 
  • Owl tells Bambi and his friends about being “twitterpatted,” and we see some of the animals experience romantic attraction. Feelings of attraction and romance are a normal and wonderful part of life. When we experience these feelings, how can we be sure to always respect ourselves and the other person? Discuss your family’s standards and values when it comes to romance and dating. If you (parent) are married or in a serious, long-term relationship, share with children how you and your partner nurture feelings of love for one another. 
  • Bambi provides an opportunity to talk with children about death. What is death? What happens after we die? It’s okay to have lots of feelings when someone we love dies - sad, angry, lonely, etc. Invite children to share about someone they know who has died and share memories about that person. 
  • In one scene, we see a forest fire. How do humans contribute to the start and increase of forest fires? Why is it important to take care of our planet?
  • The movie ends like it begins - with a mother deer and her new baby. Talk about how grown-ups in your family used to be kids, and how kids will be grown-ups one day. Discuss this quote from President Lorenzo Snow: “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.” How can we live our lives to become more like God? 

Scripture Connections
  • Kindness. Matt 7:12; Luke 10: 25-37; 1 Cor 13:4; Eph 4:32; Col 3:12; D&C 4:6
  • Failure, Mistakes, and Repentance. 2 Nephi 2:11; Matt 3:2; Luke 15:7; Acts 26:20; D&C 122:7
  • Family. Deut 4:9, 6:7 11:19; Prov 22:6; Eph 6:4; 2 Nephi 25:26; 3 Nephi 18:21; D&C 93:40; Moses 5:12, 6:58
  • Friendship. 1 Sam 18:1; Ruth 1:16; Prov 17:17; Luke 10: 25-37;
  • Danger. Neh 4:9, 7:3; Matt 24:42; Matt 10:16, 26:41; 1 Pet 5:8; 2 Tim 3:1; Alma 13:28, 15:17, 34:39; D&C 29:3, 50:46, 82:5
  • Bravery. Deut 20:1, 31:6; Josh 1:6-9; 2 Sam 2:7; Acts 5:29; 2 Tim 1:7; 1 Nephi 3:7, 4:1; Alma 51:21, 56:45-48; D&C 38:15; 128:22
  • Wisdom. 1 Kings 3:4-12, 4:29-30; Prov 1:2, 2:6; Luke 2:40, 2:52; 1 Cor 12:8; James 1:5; Jacob 6:12; Alma 37:35; D&C 6:7, 136:32
  • Hunting. D&C 49:18-21, 89:4-15. “Fundamental Principles” (Spencer W. Kimbal, Oct 1978)
  • Romantic Love & Marriage. Gen 2:24; Prov 5:18; 1 Cor 11:11; Eph 5:25, 5:31; Jacob 3:7; D&C 49:15, 132; Bible Dictionary, “Marriage”
  • Death. Gen 2:17, 3:19; Josh 23:14; Eccl 12:7; Rom 8:28; Mosiah 15:8; Alma 11:45, 12:24, 34:32; D&C 101:36, 138; Moses 3:17, 4:25
  • Becoming Like God. Gen 3:22; Lev 19:2; Ps 82:6; Matt 5:48; Acts 17:29; Rom 8:17; Gal 4:7; Eph 4:13; i John 3:2; 3 Nephi 28:10; D&C 88:107, 130:22, 132:20; Moses 1:39, 4:28; Abraham 3:25

Ideas for Further Study

  • Read Felix Salten's Bambi, a Life in the Woods.
  • Choose an animal from the film to learn more about. Take a walk to see what kinds of plants and animals grow where you live.
  • In the movie we see many different seasons and types of weather. Learn about weather and the water cycle. How is rain made? Why is rain important? What causes thunderstorms? What is lightning? Why do leaves turn different colors and fall off of trees in autumn? How does snow form?
  • The deer run from the meadow when a man approaches. Research how hunting affects life for animals in the woods. What are the laws in your area about hunting? Research other gun safety laws. Consider getting involved in efforts in your community to promote gun safety. 
  • Some animals hibernate in winter. How can animals do this? Research hibernation, how it works, and how animals prepare to hibernate. 
  • The film includes a scene of a forest fire. Research and learn more about forest fires. What causes them? What makes them difficult to stop? Research the circumstances of recent forest fires around the world and climate change. Learn about people who work to prevent and put out forest fires. 

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Pinocchio: Discussion Guide for Parents

Walt Disney Pictures, 1940

Content Warnings:
Disobedience & Lying
Tobacco & Alcohol
Scary scenes - kidnapping, boys turning into donkeys

Before Beginning:
Before beginning, it may be helpful to remind children that this is a pretend story. While it can teach us true lessons, the story itself is not true. 
Pinocchio is often seen as a morality tale against evil. Rather than focusing on fear, Pinocchio's mistakes, and their consequences, I would recommend keeping the focus on forgiveness and redemption. Geppetto and Jiminy Cricket always lovingly support Pinocchio, following after him and encouraging him to choose the right. Remind children that this is the kind of loving care God had towards us (and we should strive to react like Gepetto and Jiminy when our children make mistakes).

Discussion Questions
  1. Pinocchio was interrupted on his way to school and chose to follow Honest John and be an actor instead of going to school. Why is going to school important?
  2. The Blue Fairy describes a conscience as “something that helps you choose between right and wrong, counsels in moments of temptation, and keeps you on the straight and narrow.” What did Jiminy Cricket do when Pinocchio chose to ignore him? Does your conscience respond the same way?
  3. What does it mean to "let your conscience be your guide”? How do you tell the difference between right and wrong, and what do you do if you can't figure it out? 
  4. How is Jiminy Cricket similar to or different from the Holy Spirit? 
  • Ideas: Both help us know right from wrong. Both will stay with us when we most need them. Jiminy Cricket is visible, but the Holy Spirit is invisible.

  1. Pinocchio could have trusted and obeyed his father and Jiminy Cricket, or Honest John and Stromboli. How can we know who to trust and obey?
  2. When Pinocchio is first kidnapped, Jiminy wants to tell Geppetto but worries about being "snitchy." What's the difference between being a tattletale and helping a friend in danger?
  3. The Blue Fairy said, “A lie keeps growing bigger and bigger until it’s as plain as the nose on your face.” Have you ever told a lie that got bigger and bigger? What happened? How do you feel when other people lie to you? 
  4. When Pinocchio didn’t obey his father and Jiminy, he got into some trouble. What kind of things happened?
  • Note: This may be an appropriate time to discuss where real-world consequences may differ from those in the film. Assure your children that they will not, in fact, be turned into donkeys. 

  1. Pinocchio had many people around to help him - the Blue Fairy, his father, and Jiminy. How did these people react when Pinocchio made mistakes?
  • The Blue Fairy forgave Pinocchio and gave him another chance.
  • Gepetto loved Pinocchio and went out searching for him. 
  • Jiminy always stuck by Pinocchio to help him make better choices. 

  1. How is the story of Gepetto and Pinocchio similar to the Plan of Salvation?

  • Gepetto created Pinocchio and God made us.
  • Gepetto loved Pinocchio very much. God loves us very much.
  • Gepetto hoped Pinocchio would make good decisions, and God hopes we will make good choices.
  • When the Blue Fairy brought Pinocchio to life, Pinocchio was given the ability to choose how he would act and whether he would obey his father. God gives us agency to choose whether we will obey. 
  • Pinocchio made mistakes, just as we make mistakes during our earth life.
  • Pinocchio experienced negative consequences when he was disobedient. We, too, experience consequences when we are disobedient. 
  • No matter what Pinocchio did, Gepetto kept looking for Pinocchio, hoping he would come home and be brave and honest. No matter what mistakes we make, God is always nearby, hoping that we will repent and turn back to God’s way. 
  • At then end of the movie, after Pinocchio had been tested and proved himself, he became a “real boy” (not made out of wood). After we have been tested and proved that we will be faithful, we will become “real,” with a glorified, perfected body. Our new bodies will be different and better, just like Pinocchio’s new body was different and better.  

Scripture Connections
  • The Prodigal Father. Luke 15:11-32
  • Jonah and the Big Fish. Jonah
  • Plan of Salvation. See True to the Faith, “Plan of Salvation” for an overview and scripture references. 
  • Education. Dan 1:17; 2 Nephi 9:29, 28:30; Alma 37:35; D&C 88:118, 90:15, 93:36, 93:53, 130:18; See Bible Dictionary, “Education”
  • Lying/Honesty. Lev 19:11; Ps 101:7; Proverbs 12:22; Acts 5:4; 2 Cor 8:21, 13:7; Eph 4:25; Phili 4:8; Col 3:9; 2 Nephi 28:8; Alma 27:27; D&C 42:21
  • Courage. Alma 53:20
  • Integrity. Job 2:3, 27:5, 31:6; Prov 20:7; 1 Nephi 2:10; Alma 24:19, 27:27; D&C 5:22; Joseph Smith History 1:25
  • Discernment. 1 Kgs 3:5-15; Isa 11:3; 1 For 12:10; Alma 12:31; 3 Nephi 11:3, 24:18; Ether 4:12; Moro 7:15; D&C 11:13, 101:95
  • Tobacco & Alcohol. See “Word of Wisdom,” D&C 89 and footnotes. 

Ideas for Further Study
  • Read The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi.
  • Learn about Germany at the time of Pinocchio. 
  • Research the effects of tobacco and smoking on our bodies. 
  • Learn about whales like Monstro.


Nancy Davis Kho, “Pinocchio,” Common Sense Media <https://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/pinocchio>

Friday, October 25, 2019

What will this Season Hold?

This is a loaded time of year for me.

Halloween 2012 sits in my memory as the day my eating disorder shifted from a creeping crawl to a sprint. I had just gone away to boarding school, and my parents sent a package of treats just in time for the holiday. That night, I shared these with my roommates. I remember the overwhelming guilt and shame as I realized that I was eating far too much (forgetting, of course, that I was with friends, all eating the same amount as me). Humiliated and mortified, I concluded that I had eaten enough for this day and the next - no, two days more - no, three days more. The next morning, I fasted.

October 2018: I teach a Sunday School lesson on Reformation Sunday, my first as what would become Interim Children's Ministries Director at the church where I worked as an assistant. We didn't have a curriculum that year, so part of my job was to gather disparate lessons and 4-week curricula off of the internet and create large group and small group lessons for our 1st-4th graders. In November, we discussed gratitude - on All Saints Day, gratitude for the church universal; on Veterans Day, gratitude for our country, our military, and our God who "always has our 6" (I've linked the video at the end); during International Bible Week, gratitude for the God's word. We finished November celebrating Christ the King Sunday, the Sunday preceding Advent, preceding our wait for a humble babe, honoring the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The King of Heaven, grand and majestic, will become a babe for our sakes. Then we went into Advent - we talked about the symbolism of green and red, or pink and purple, of the Christmas tree and Christmas wreath and Christmas lights, all pointing to Jesus. We talked about God's gifts to us in Jesus - hope, love, joy, peace. We waited for our king. It was a beautiful, wonderful time.

During those same months, my grandmother was dying. In her final weeks, I basically moved in to spend as much time with her as possible. I have fond memories of us all gathering in her bed in the evening, watching game shows, working on college papers, eating ice cream. It was a beautiful, wonderful time.

September 2019: I am a graduate student. It is far more stressful than I imagined it would be. One evening, I miss dinner. When I wake up in the morning, the switch has flipped. I'm back in my eating disorder. I fight and give in and fight and give in all fall. During December and January, my weight plummets. I am hospitalized as a suicide risk. I enter intensive treatment for my eating disorder.

This year, I find myself torn. I have held my breath - this is the time in the semester when I started restricting again. This is the time in the semester when I started getting behind in my work. I worry that last year will repeat itself. Halloween approaches - this holiday difficult every year.

At the same time, my heart jumps wen I see "All Saints' Day" on the calendar, when I picture my Jesus, Christ the King, enthroned in glory, when I consider how I will observe Advent.

My heart rejoices, and my heart sorrows. There is both. Both are real. I wonder what this season will bring.

Sunday, August 18, 2019


When you close your eyes and dream,
what is it that you see?
I know your heart is big,
your aspirations wild,
your mind clouded with timidity.
You weren’t made to be afraid -
you were made to live
the life you have been given! 
If you laid down your life
for someone that you loved
you’d want them to live freely -
without guilt,
without fear;
you’d want them to live generously,
to do the things they dream of.
One day you will be gone,
there’s no avoiding death.
So do it before you’re blown away, 

like leaves in a windstorm. 

July 18,2011
Zephaniah 2:2