11 Disney Mentions in General Conference

6. Dale G. Renlund

Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, October 2018, "Choose You This Day"

While Elder Renlund uses a scene from the stage play of Mary Poppins, Julie Andrews is the "practically perfect in every way" Disney Mary Poppins most of us recognize.

The fictional character Mary Poppins is a typical English nanny—who happens to be magical. She blows in on the east wind to help the troubled Banks family of Number 17, Cherry Tree Lane, in Edwardian London. She is given charge of the children, Jane and Michael. In a firm but kind manner, she begins to teach them valuable lessons with an enchanting touch.

Jane and Michael make considerable progress, but Mary decides that it is time for her to move on. In the stage production, Mary’s chimney sweep friend, Bert, tries to dissuade her from leaving. He argues, “But they’re good kids, Mary.”

Mary replies, “Would I be bothering with them if they weren’t? But I can’t help them if they won’t let me, and there’s no one so hard to teach as the child who knows everything.”

Bert asks, “So?”

Mary answers, “So they’ve got to do the next bit on their own.”

Brothers and sisters, like Jane and Michael Banks, we are “good kids” who are worth bothering about. Our Heavenly Father wants to help and bless us, but we do not always let Him. Sometimes, we even act as if we already know everything. And we too need to do “the next bit” on our own.

Read the rest of Elder Renlund's talk here.

7. William Sheffield

Recent convert and friend of President Hinckley, April 1986, “The Question of a Mission”

When Gordon B. Hinckley gave a talk in the Priesthood session, instead of telling the conversion story of his friend William Sheffield, he had Brother Sheffield tell the story himself. In the story, he shares:

“I didn’t particularly want to be a Mormon, I told my friends. Since I was in the divinity school, I presumed the Lord wanted me in the ministry. What would I do after graduating with an advanced degree in religion if I became a Mormon? Yet I wanted to be the leaf in a stream that I had promised the Lord I would be when we left California.

“During the entire time that I was working through, struggling with, and fighting the Joseph Smith story, my friends in the ward were patient, loving, and gentle. Every time I would tell the bishop that Joseph Smith’s story was more Disney than Disney, he would tell me, ‘Maybe so—but it’s all true.’ Every time I would tell the bishop’s counselor, “Joseph’s story can’t be true,” he would say to me, “Yes, it is.” They genuinely loved me, and I them.” (Emphasis added.)

Disney sets the standard for fairytales and fiction, which fortunately Brother Sheffield learned was not actually the origin of the story of Joseph Smith and the First Vision. Read the rest of his conversion story here.

While Disney hasn’t released a movie about Joseph Smith, they have distributed one about Elder John H. Groberg’s missionary experiences called The Other Side of Heaven. Check it out the book the movie was based on here.

8. Cree-L Kofford

April 1999, "Your Name Is Safe in Our Home"

Though not one of the most-quoted Disney films, the rabbit from Bambi has a valuable lesson for children and adults alike.

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"I would like to say a few words to the Primary children who may be listening. Children, I’ve been trying to teach your moms and dads something very important, but I need your help. I’ll make you a deal. If you will promise to listen very carefully, I promise not to talk very long.

"Do you remember the story of Bambi, the little deer, and all of his friends in the forest? If you do, you will remember that one of Bambi’s good friends was a rabbit named Thumper. Thumper was about your age. He was a neat rabbit, but he had one problem. He kept saying bad things about people. One day Bambi was in the forest learning to walk, and he fell down. Thumper just couldn’t resist the temptation. 'He doesn’t walk very good, does he?' Thumper blurted out. His mother felt very bad and said, 'What did your father tell you this morning?' And then Thumper, looking down at his feet and kind of shifting his weight, said, 'If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.' That’s a good piece of advice that all of us need to follow."

For the rest of Elder Koffod's talk, click here.

9. Don Lind

NASA astronaut, October 1985, “The Heavens Declare the Glory of God”

While describing a trip into space, Don Lind used the story of Peter Pan, well-known in the Disney story world, to explain what space was like as he talked about a very spiritual experience he had there.

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“I am sure the general image of space flight is one of impressive machines and billowing flames and the precision of high technology. That is not incorrect. But for me, there were also many special, personal, private feelings. Some of them were fun. Living in weightlessness is delightful. The Peter Pan ability to float to any corner of the laboratory and perch like a sparrow on the slightest protrusion made me feel as though I was living my little boy dreams.

“Some of my personal feelings were very spiritual. To look down on the earth from space is absolutely incredible. I knew ahead of time just exactly what I was going to see. I was intellectually prepared, but I was not prepared emotionally for what I saw. The world is very large. I knew that. But to see this huge, magnificent sphere slowly rotating beneath me was overwhelming. I have no ability to describe what it was really like, and no photographic emulsion can even start to do it justice. The visibility, of course, was excellent. But I was amazed at the intensity of the colors. I estimated that there were twenty shades of intense blue as the earth’s atmosphere changes from the gray of the curved horizon into the incredible black void of space. And when you look at an archipelago of islands, there are hundreds of shades of blue and green and yellow tan that are just beyond description.

“The first time I had a minute to stop and just look at the earth, the absolute beauty of the scene brought tears to my eyes. In weightlessness, tears do not just quietly roll down your cheeks. They stay in front of your eyeballs and get bigger and bigger and in a few moments you feel like a guppy looking up through the surface of the aquarium.” (Emphasis added.)

To read more about Brother Lind’s journey as a Latter-day Saint in space, including an experience he had taking the sacrament in space, click here.

Author photo

Jannalee Sandau

Jannalee started as an editorial intern at LDS Living in 2013 and loves that she still has the opportunity to write and share articles about Latter-day Saints every day. At work, Jannalee loves mining Church history for unique stories, and at home, if she isn't spending time with her sweetheart, Matthew, and her active little boy, you can probably find her scrapbooking or playing the piano.

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