The Gospel According to Pinocchio

   Posted by: John   in Atonement, Older Posts

My daughter was watching the old Disney movie Pinocchio this morning.  I happened to walk by about the time that Pinocchio was being talked into going to Pleasure Island, a place where boys could go and do whatever they wanted.  There were no rules, no authority, no responsibility.  They could do things like smoke, drink, destroy a nice house, play cards and pool, go on insane rides, and so on.  Pinocchio allowed himself to be convinced it was the place to by a couple of smooth talking shysters.  The carriage took him and a load of other boys to the ship, they sailed to the island and headed in.  However, once inside this place, the doors were closed so they could not escape.

It was true, there was so much to do on this island.  A boy could cause as much trouble as he wanted and nobody would catch him.  Cigars and beer were free and encouraged.  It was a life of debauchery and depravity.  The only problem was,  after some time, a curious thing happened.  The boys started to turn into donkeys.  First the ears would come out, then the tails.  Then, quickly, their heads would change into donkey heads.  Hands and feet turned into hooves.  Soon their entire body was changed, their voices gone, except for the “hee haw” that comprises a donkey’s speech.  Then they were captured, crated up and sold to the circus or the salt mines.  They were not able to go back and change what they had done to themselves.

As I watched, I considered how this is a great example of life.  As we grow, there are a variety of things that vie for our attention, some good and some bad.  The world would tell us that “Pleasure Island” is the way to go.  Sadly, most of the things that Pleasure Island offers are addictive and offensive.  We try them, enjoy them, but pretty soon we can’t let go of them.  As an example, smoking is portrayed as “cool”.  Even if it can’t be advertised as such, friends and acquaintances can pressure us to be cool like them by smoking.  I know people who smoke that like it, and some that hate it.  The common thing between them is that it is very difficult to stop it.  They become slaves to that habit, and it makes it easier to become slaves to other things as well.  The spirit distances itself from you and your mind starts to rationalize that, well, I’m doing this, I might as well do that.

As we become immersed, we become spiritual donkeys.  Our senses are dulled, our spirit loses contact with our Father in Heaven, and we drift away, slaves to the addictions and so-called pleasures of the world.  We might as well be slaves in the salt mines, driven by masters that control us.

In the movie, Jiminy Cricket manages to rescue Pinocchio before he fully changes into the donkey.  It takes some doing, but Pinocchio manages to escape the things that attracted him to Pleasure Island and, after some difficulty, returns to his Father.

We have the opportunity to take advantage of the Atonement, in which we can take strength from Christ and escape from the things that drag us down and set us on a path back to our Father in Heaven.  We can escape from “Pleasure Island”.  The difference between Pinocchio and the Atonement, however, is that those who are fully slaves to the desires and pleasures of the world, can still escape them, unlike in the movie where done was done.  The closer to being a full donkey you are, the harder it is to get away, but it can be done.

I find it amusing that a Disney film from 50 years ago can carry such an analogy, but the impression was made rather strongly this morning, and I am glad I stopped to watch that 10 minutes of movie.

This entry was posted on Sunday, April 29th, 2007 at 3:53 pm and is filed under Atonement, Older Posts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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