Thursday, July 7, 2011

Who Needs A Magic Lamp?!

Through the prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord instucted the members of His church to "teach one another ... out of the best books" (D&C 88:118).  Lately in my blog, I've been taking a similar approach but with a slight variation.  I've been using the best movies.  And the best movies are indisputably those released by Walt Disney Pictures, particularly those relesaed in the early to mid-1990s.  In 1992 Alladin came out.  It's a great story of love and excitement.  Alladin, with the help of his monkey Abu and the trusty magic genie, eventually wins the heart of Princess Jasmine and they live happily together.

If you're familiar with the story, you know about the magic lamp.  Alladin originally gets it and, over the course of the movie, makes 3 wishes:

1. To become a prince so he can pursue a devoted spouse.
2. The saving of his own life after being attacked by Jafar and his cronies.
3. The freedom of his blue friend, the genie.

 Although one can possibly question Alladin's motives and means to the end, his wishes were more or less noble.  They were to help himself and others live a happy successful life.

However, between Alladin's second and third wishes, the evil and conspiring Jafar obtains the lamp for a time.  Jafar also makes 3 wishes with the lamp:

1. To become a Sultan, to rule the land.
2. To become a sorcerer, to widen his rule with the use of magic.
3. To become "AN ALL-POWERFUL GENIEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Jafar wanted power.   All of his wishes were to gain more and more of it.  The worst part was that he was already a powerful man in the government.  But that power wasn't enough.  He never would've been satisfied with any amount of power.  His wishes were selfish and ignoble.  But eventually he got what he deserved.  With the "phenomenal cosmic powers" of a genie came the "itty-bitty living space" and the life of constant bondage.

We have a tool way cooler than a magic lamp.  It's called prayer!  God has repeatedly promised us answers to our prayers.  Jesus Christ gave the following counsel to the ancient inhabitants of the Americas:
"And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you" (3 Nephi 18:20 emphasis added).

That's cool, God will only give us stuff that is good for us to have.  It may seem like like that's not so great a thing, but think about it.  We might pray for stuff that we don't really need, or even pray for stuff that will be harmful to us or others.  But God is such a loving Heavenly Father that He won't give us that harmful stuff.  In doing this, God helps us avoid the trap that Jafar fell into.  If we just kept getting more and more power, we would never be happy with the blessings we already have.  In this way, prayer is WAY better than a lame magic lamp.  And we don't have to put up with a weird blue man with a knack for bad impersonations. 

It is my prayer that we can follow the example found in this wonderful movie.  I hope we can use our prayers to better ours and others lives and not pray for selfish, greedy purposes.

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