Love. It's a word that gets thrown around a lot these days in songs, on TV, even in politics.
Which makes me wonder—what are we even talking about when we use the word love? Most of the time, media portrays twitterpation, sexual attraction, desire, self-interest, and superficial fun as love. And while these things aren't bad—in fact, they should have a place in our relationships—they can become dangerous when they overshadow the more meaningful and worthwhile side of love.
But, now and then, some movies get it right. We all know that Mormons love Disney— a fascination not altogether misplaced. Because while Disney can sometimes get caught up in the superficial side of love (what with their love-at-first-sight fixation), there are many times they do hit the mark.
Here are three Disney movies that show the deeper, eternal side of love and teach principles great for kids—and adults. Because let's face it, you are never too old for Disney!
Speaking of Mormons and Disney, did you know that a Mormon helped shape Mickey Mouse? Check out these and other LDS-Disney connections here. Or, find out what Disney movie Mormons love best and vote for your own favorite here.
Love Has the Power to Transform Us
The Disney “tale as old as time” mirrors beautifully the quintessential love that spans all time—Christ’s sacrifice of His life and our Heavenly Father’s sacrifice of His Son for us.
Beauty and the Beast shows the power of love to change hearts and shape characters. Love softens. It refines. It brings out the best in those that are loved, and those that love.
The Beast's magical transformation at the end of the movie is only made possible through Belle’s selfless love—a love that allows her to look beyond his gruesome appearance and gruff manners to something greater underneath.
This ability sounds very familiar. In fact, it’s something the Lord has commanded us to do:
"But 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).
Image from IMDb
This level of love can be summed up with one word—charity. Christ’s love for us is devoid of any self-interest or pettiness. It is not dependent on our abilities, fashion-sense, appearance, or actions. It is universal. It is constant. And it is truly life-changing.
Despite the world’s pessimistic outlook saying the contrary, we can change. As President Monson noted, “I’m reminded of the words of a prison warden who taught this fact. A critic who knew of Warden Duffy’s efforts to rehabilitate men said, ‘Don’t you know that leopards can’t change their spots?’
As in Beauty and the Beast, the motivating force behind our desire to change as well as the means to change itself comes only through love—our Heavenly Father and Savior’s love.
“The more we allow the love of God to govern our minds and emotions—the more we allow our love for our Heavenly Father to swell within our hearts—the easier it is to love others with the pure love of Christ. As we open our hearts to the glowing dawn of the love of God, the darkness and cold of animosity and envy will eventually fade.” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "The Merciful Obtain Mercy," April 2012 general conference)
For more gospel insights into Beauty and the Beast, check out this great FHE.