There are two things Latter-day Saints get really excited about: general conference and Disney. So what happens when you put them together? Over the years, there have been several Disney-related stories or comments used in conference talks to make a point or share a value. Here are a few of them.
Note: Many of these references are from the book versions of their movie adaptations but are included since they are most familiar to us today because of their Disney interpretations.
1. W. Craig Zwick
Emeritus Member of the Seventy, October 2017, "Lord, Wilt Thou Cause That My Eyes May Be Opened"
Elder Zwick began his talk by recounting the story of young Simba and a classic line from the movie Lion King 1 1/2, "look beyond what you see" as an analogy for what we must all also do.
The Lion King is a classic animated film about the African savanna. When the lion king dies while saving his son, the young lion prince is forced into exile while a despot ruler destroys the balance of the savanna. The lion prince reclaims the kingdom through the help of a mentor. His eyes are opened to the necessity of balance in the great circle of life on the savanna. Claiming his rightful place as king, the young lion followed counsel to “look beyond what you see.”
As we learn to become inheritors of all our Father has, the gospel mentors us to look beyond what we see. To look beyond what we see, we must look at others through the eyes of our Savior.
2. Thomas S. Monson
First Counselor in the First Presidency, April 1998, “Look to God and Live”
Because when general authorities take an occasional trip to Disneyland they find awesome analogies to share later.
“I commence my message this morning with a question: Have you ever taken a vacation with your entire family? If not, you are in for some surprises when you do. My wife and I a few years ago joined our children, their companions, and the grandchildren at Disneyland in southern California. Beyond the entrance to the famous theme park, the group rushed to what was then the newest feature—Star Tours. You enter a simulated rocket, take your seat, and fasten your seat belt. All of a sudden the entire vehicle begins to vibrate violently. I think the mechanical voice which comes over the loudspeaker calls it ‘heavy turbulence.’ (I have never returned to this featured ride. I get all the real turbulence I can handle just flying from place to place fulfilling my responsibilities.)
“After recuperating for a few minutes, we journeyed to the feature with the longest line. It is called Splash Mountain. The crowd filed round and round in a serpentine pattern. The music, which was piped through the loudspeakers to the waiting throng, contained the words of the song:
My, oh my, what a wonderful day!
Plenty of sunshine, headin’ my way,
“By now we were ready to board the boat which would carry us in a vertical dive that evoked screams from the passengers in the boat ahead as it roared down the waterfall and glided to a stop in the water below. Just before taking the plunge, however, I noticed on one wall a small sign declaring a profound truth: ‘You can’t run away from trouble; there’s no place that far!’
“These few words have remained with me. They pertain not only to the theme of Splash Mountain but also to our sojourn in mortality.”
3. Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Second Counselor in the First Presidency, April 2010, “Your Happily Ever After”
In a frequently-quoted conference talk by President Uchtdorf, several fairy tales, made popular today because of their Disney adaptations, are mentioned as he talks about how trials are part of the process on our way to “happily ever after.”
“For a moment, think back about your favorite fairy tale. In that story the main character may be a princess or a peasant; she might be a mermaid or a milkmaid, a ruler or a servant. You will find one thing all have in common: they must overcome adversity.
“Cinderella has to endure her wicked stepmother and evil stepsisters. She is compelled to suffer long hours of servitude and ridicule.
“In Beauty and the Beast, Belle becomes a captive to a frightful-looking beast in order to save her father. She sacrifices her home and family, all she holds dear, to spend several months in the beast’s castle.
“In the tale Rumpelstiltskin, a poor miller promises the king that his daughter can spin straw into gold. The king immediately sends for her and locks her in a room with a mound of straw and a spinning wheel. Later in the story she faces the danger of losing her firstborn child unless she can guess the name of the magical creature who helped her in this impossible task.
“In each of these stories, Cinderella, Belle, and the miller’s daughter have to experience sadness and trial before they can reach their ‘happily ever after.’ Think about it. Has there ever been a person who did not have to go through his or her own dark valley of temptation, trial, and sorrow?
“Sandwiched between their ‘once upon a time’ and ‘happily ever after,’ they all had to experience great adversity.”