There are few things Mormons love more than a Disney movie. But these family-friendly classics don’t just have to entertain. Many of these Disney movies also come packed with powerful messages that can give us insight into the gospel of Jesus Christ. Here are a few Disney connections to ponder and point out to your children.
Beauty and the Beast: Overcoming the Natural Man
In addition to being an all-time favorite, this “tale as old as time” can give us incredible insight into the Atonement, the love of Christ, and overcoming the natural man.
After the prince turns away a powerful sorceress disguised as an old woman, he is turned into a terrible beast. In a sense, the prince’s transformation into a beast can symbolize the natural man or woman inside each of us. The natural man, which includes the tendency to be selfish, prideful, and self-centered, is an aspect of human nature that we must learn to overcome. It is a part of our mortal state that can bury our true identities as royal children of God.
For the beast, the only way the curse can be broken is through love. The same is true for us. For us to overcome the natural man, we must “yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit” and be “full of love” (Mosiah 3:19). As Elder Carl B. Cook said in a recent BYU devotional, “We are dependent on God and Jesus Christ to help us change our nature.” It is only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ—the ultimate act of love—that we can truly change.
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Belle, the heroine of the story, can teach us of the Savior’s love. She sacrifices herself to save her father from the beast’s captivity. Her selfless choice to live in the castle provides the opportunity for the curse to be broken, just as the Savior’s choice to come to earth provides a way for us to overcome sin, death, and the natural man within each of us. Belle’s sacrifice and love not only frees the beast, but ultimately frees every other individual in the castle—Mrs. Potts, Cogsworth, Lumiere, and little Chip. The Savior’s sacrifice not only provides salvation for you and me, but also for every other human to live upon the earth.
Just as the beast has to learn to love Belle in return, knowing the Savior loves us is not enough for us to reach our full potential. We must come to love Him in return too. When we truly love the Savior, we act upon that love by following Him, repenting, and keeping His commandments. As we do this, our very natures are changed. Because of the Savior’s love given in His atoning sacrifice, we can be transformed into the sons and daughters of God we were born to be.