10. Neal A. Maxwell
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, October 1994, “Brightness of Hope”
Have you ever heard of Pollyanna? Though it was originally the name of a 1913 novel by Eleanor H. Porter about a little girl who is blindly optimistic about life, it is likely familiar to most people modernly because of its 1960 Disney film adaptation starring Hayley Mills. Elder Maxwell referred to her story when talking about hope.
“Humble hope helps us to improve by being sufficiently free of ego to ask, ‘Lord, is it I?’ (Matt. 26:22.) Submissive hope also readies us to ‘give away all [our] sins’ because we have come to know Jesus, who alone can take them! (Alma 22:18.)
“Gospel hope keeps us from being muted by being either a naive Pollyanna or a despairing Cassandra. Voices of warning are meant to be heard, not just raised.
“Being blessed with hope, let us, as disciples, reach out to all who, for whatever reason, have ‘moved away from the hope of the gospel’ (Col. 1:23). Let us reach to lift hands which hang hopelessly down.
11. Alice in Wonderland
Though speakers usually quote Alice in Wonderland in its book form, whenever members of the Church head mentions of the Cheshire Cat and Alice in Wonderland, the floating grin of the striped pink and purple animated Disney cat is likely what comes to mind. The Cheshire has made multiple cameos in conference talks about choices, especially by President Monson. Here are just a few:
Thomas S. Monson
President of the Church, October 2010, “The Three Rs of Choice”
“Let us not find ourselves as indecisive as is Alice in Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. You will remember that she comes to a crossroads with two paths before her, each stretching onward but in opposite directions. She is confronted by the Cheshire cat, of whom Alice asks, ‘Which path shall I follow?’
“The cat answers, ‘That depends where you want to go. If you do not know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter which path you take.’
“Unlike Alice, we all know where we want to go, and it does matter which way we go, for by choosing our path, we choose our destination.
“Decisions are constantly before us. To make them wisely, courage is needed—the courage to say no, the courage to say yes. Decisions do determine destiny.”
Jorge F. Zeballos
Member of the Seventy, April 2015, “If You Will Be Responsible”
“Having the desire to do what is right is not enough if we do not make sure to understand what our Father expects from us and wants us to do.
“In the story of Alice in Wonderland, Alice does not know which way to go, so she asks the Cheshire Cat, ‘Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
“The cat replies, ‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“Alice says, ‘I don’t much care where.’
“’Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ says the cat
“However, we know that the path that leads to the ‘tree, whose fruit [is] desirable to make one happy’ —‘the way, which leadeth unto life’—is narrow. It takes effort to journey along the path, and ‘few there be that find it.’”
Though these phrases weren’t specifically mentioning Disney, they are still found nearly verbatim in well-known Disney films.
Elaine S. Dalton
Young Women General President, April 2010, “Remember Who You Are!”
One of the best moments from The Lion King is when the baboon Rafiki is trying to help Simba remember his father and his responsibility as king of Pride Rock. Simba’s father appears to him and tells him, “You have forgotten who you are, and so you have forgotten me. . .Remember who you are. You are my son. . .”
How often have we heard this exact phrase from our Church leaders? It makes a particularly poignant appearance in Sister Dalton’s talk to the women of Church:
“Young women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, remember who you are! You are elect. You are daughters of God. You cannot be a generation of young women who are content to fit in. You must have the courage to stand out, to ‘arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations.’ The world would have you believe that you are not significant—that you are out of fashion and out of touch. The world calls to you with unrelenting, noisy voices to ‘live it up,’ ‘try everything,’ ‘experiment and be happy.’ Conversely, the Holy Ghost whispers and the Lord invites you to ‘walk in the paths of virtue,’ ‘lay aside the things of this world,’ ‘and cleave unto [your] covenants.’” (Emphasis added.)
Neal A. Maxwell
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, April 2001 “Plow in Hope”
The main theme of the Disney movie Meet the Robinsons, the encouraging phrase "Keep Moving Forward" is adopted by the main character, Lewis, and is actually also a powerful reminder for Latter-day Saints as well.
“The valiant among us keep moving forward anyway, because they know the Lord loves them, even when they ‘do not know the meaning of all things’ (1 Ne. 11:17). As you and I observe the valiant cope successfully with severe and relentless trials, we applaud and celebrate their emerging strength and goodness. Yet the rest of us tremble at the tuition required for the shaping of such sterling character, while hoping we would not falter should similar circumstances come to us!” (Emphasis added.)
“I suppose if I have learned anything in life, it is that we are to keep moving, keep trying—as long as we breathe! If we do, we will be surprised at how much more can still be done.”
Lead image from Shutterstock. All other photos from Getty Images. This story originally ran in 2016 and was updated in September 2019.