Scripture Sunday #18 – The Parable of Pleasure Island

Feb 14, 10 • Scripture SundayNo Comments

I missed another Sunday.  Last Sunday was just one of those days when meetings, teaching a lesson, having company and a big Sunday dinner just did not lend itself to me burying myself up in the craft cave.  But like I say, life is for living and if blogging happens to fit in, good.  If not, then I can save it for another day. 

As I posted before, last Monday I spent a fun day at Disneyland with grown-ups.  It can be hard to take anything seriously when you are in a world of fantasy and make-believe…where the illusion is happiness and the reality is a lot of people spending a lot of money on something that will provide a moment of happiness in a lifetime.  Don't get me wrong…I LOVE DISNEYLAND!  But I can think of a lot of places that provide a lot more lasting joy than an "E" ticket ride ever could.  As long as we keep perspective of what it actually is, we won't be disappointed when kids (and husbands) get tired, hungry and plain old GRUMPY – no offense to the dwarf.

My mom has mentioned the whole "Pleasure Island" concept before.  This time, when I went on Pinocchio's Daring Adventure, I let the similarities sink in.  A childless Geppetto crafted a boy made of wood.  He wished on a falling star that he could be a real boy.  The Blue Fairy grants his wish, but before Pinocchio can become a real boy of flesh and blood, he must prove himself brave, truthful and unselfish and to know the difference between right and wrong.  Jiminy Cricket is asked to be his guide, or conscience, by the Blue Fairy.  He wants to do what it takes to become a real boy and starts out on the road to school.  Pinocchio was an innocent when he left Geppetto's workshop.   But along the way he is quickly led astray by Honest John and Gideon and is convinced to join Stromboli's puppet show where he will become a star.  But by doing so, he loses his freedom.  (Is any of this starting to sound familiar?)  When the Blue Fairy comes to rescue him, she asks him questions to which his untruths cause what to happen?  Why, it's as plain as the nose on his face! 

So Pinocchio gets rescued, only to be tempted once again by those unsavory characters Honest John and Gideon.  (Who needs enemies with those kinds of friends?)  This time he is led away to Pleasure Island, where all that one does is  satisfy their base desires and passions, where reckless behavior is the norm and whatever goes the motto.  That pitiful character Lampwick is more than willing to show Pinocchio the ropes and they both revel in their "freedom" to do whatever they like…gambling, drinking, smoking, destroying the Island…whatever they fancy doing.  But the inevitable happens and what?  The boys make asses of themselves…literally!  (Cursing at Disneyland by cartoon characters…oh dear!)  It seems the island has the power to turn the boys into donkeys that are then forced into working in circuses or the salt mines, held captive by the evil taskmasters.  Perhaps because Pinocchio is made of wood, the transformation isn't completed and he escapes.

Returning to an empty workshop, Pinocchio discovers from the Blue Fairy that Geppetto has gone to sea to find him and was swallowed by an enormous whale, Monstro.  Determined to find and rescue his father, Pinocchio ties his tail to a rock and jumps into the ocean.  He is soon eaten my Monstro and is reunited with Geppetto.  He devises a plan for escape by setting a fire in the belly of the whale.  They are both sneezed out, and a chase ensues in which Pinocchio gets Geppetto to safety, but dies in the end.  But Disney movies, while they have a lot of tragedy, tend to have happy endings.  The Blue Fairy decides that Pinocchio has passed the test and he is transformed into a real boy and he and Geppetto live happily ever after.

So…did you catch the parallels?  When we enter this world we are innocents, as was Pinocchio.  As soon as we are ready to leave the house, temptation is all around us.  Our charge is to become brave, truthful and unselfish…plus a few other things, but that is the gist of it.  We also have to learn the difference between right and wrong, but our helper doesn't go by the name of Jiminy Cricket.  We, too, may find ourselves on the path home but are distracted by the "large and spacious building", where we will be welcomed by those with their own self-interests at heart.  Come on, one time won't hurt.  But when we go the way of the world, we end up hurting more than just ourselves.  We hurt those that love us and we hurt our eternal progression.  And we often found making jackasses of ourselves.  Pleasure Island isn't where we find joy.  It is no more than a distraction, but if we linger too long we will become slave to satisfying those passions and appetites that will forever change our countenances (ears and a tail) and keep us from the safety and love of family and home.  We too must prove ourselves to be worthy to become "real" boys, or rather as obedient children to return to live with our Heavenly Father.

D&C 124:113 –

And when he shall prove himself faithful in all things that shall be entrusted unto his care, yea, even a few things, he shall be made a ruler over many;

Who knew?  You can even find plain and simple truths at Disneyland.  

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