Harry Potter and a Mormon
Haley and I recently had a mini Harry Potter movie marathon (just the last four movies). As always, it was great to be back in that world and made me think about re-reading the series again. One thing that has stuck with me over the last week or so is how important the theme of trust is, particularly in the books.
Harry is mentored by Dumbledore and of all the adults in Harry’s life, he is the one person Harry is most likely to trust (though generally speaking he doesn’t really trust any adults, since they are always letting him down). When a number of the characters doubt that Snape is really on the side of good, Lupin explains that he trusts Dumbledore, so he trusts Snape despite all appearances to the contrary. Later it seems that trust was misplaced – Snape kills Dumbledore which makes everyone feel justified in their doubts. As Harry, Ron, and Hermione set out on the horcrux hunt, Harry is faced over and over again with evidences that he didn’t know Dumbledore – that he shouldn’t have trusted Dumbledore, that Dumbledore was just using him. In the end, Harry has to make a choice. He chooses to trust Dumbledore, even when it means that Harry must sacrifice himself.
It is only after Harry acts – willingly goes to his own death – that everything is revealed. Snape was really on the side of right and Harry was not a sacrificial lamb – though Dumbledore was only guessing, his guess was a good one and Harry lives to fight another day. Harry’s trust – and everyone else who trusted that Dumbledore could rid the world of Voldemort – was not misplaced. Though things seemed bleak, though Dumbledore seemed duped, or crazy, or hypocritical, or scheming – in the end he did what they all hoped he could do.
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I belong to a church led by living prophets of God. In this world, that is not a popular thing in which to believe. People seriously doubt the existence of God and certainly if He exists, He isn’t anything like what the Bible teaches. As for prophets that speak for God – that really is requiring too much faith in a mere mortal. I have had spiritual experiences that have helped me to know that God is real. I have studied the Bible and modern scripture and that has also served to strengthen that belief and knowledge of God. I have even had experiences where I have heard the words of our modern prophet and apostles where the Spirit testified that they were speaking for God, and I can see clearly that this is the pattern God uses throughout scripture.
But … there are many times when the things preached by the prophet and apostles go directly in the face of popular culture and accepted wisdom. There are things that are hard to understand, that seem too harsh, that are uncomfortable to accept and practice. There are things that don’t make any sense (and this is nothing new – consider God’s commandment to sacrifice Isaac or to put blood on the doorposts of the houses).
So … I find myself feeling a little like Harry. Where am I going to put my trust? Will I believe even when it doesn’t make sense, even when it might mean the sacrifice of my feelings, my cherished habits, my likes and dislikes, my life even? In the end I do choose to trust. I do choose to follow, even when it is difficult. I trust that God loves all His children and He knows what He is doing. It isn’t easy – especially in the face of loud voices who tell me I’m wrong, I’m mean, I’m deluded, I’m foolish. But I have hope that in the end I will see, just like Harry did, that my trust wasn’t misplaced.