Monday, November 2, 2009

Divine Warnings...and Protection

In C.S. Lewis’ book The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the youngest Pevensie children, Lucy and Edmund, along with their odious cousin Eustace, travel back to Narnia to help King Caspian discover the fate of the seven lost lords. They enter Narnia through a painting of a sailing ship on a wall of a guest bedroom in Eustace’s home, and find themselves aboard the purple-sailed Dawn Treader. Their quest for the lost lords takes them through the Lone Islands where they have wonderful adventures and gain insights into their own lives.

On one island, they discover a group of invisible dufflepuds, single-footed, simple-minded dwarflike creatures. A magician has caused them to be invisible, and Lucy agrees to enter the magician’s house, locate his book of spells, and discover how to make the creatures visible again. Lucy eventually finds the right room at the end of a long hallway, and discovers the book. As she flips through the pages, she has different experiences, including the following:

“But when [Lucy] looked back at the opening words of the spell, there in the middle of the writing, where she felt quite sure there had been no picture before, she found the great face of a lion, of the Lion, Aslan himself, staring into hers. It was painted such a bright gold that it seemed to be coming toward her out of the page; and indeed she never was quite sure afterward that it hadn’t really moved a little. At any rate she knew the expression on his face quite well. He was growling and you could see most of his teeth. She became horribly afraid and turned over the page at once.”

The spell on that page was not appropriate for Lucy to read, and the stern image of Aslan appeared to warn her away.

What a marvelous protector that image was. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had a similar image that appeared whenever we were confronted with inappropriate material—in books and magazines, or on radio, TV, the Internet, or in the movies? These media are powerful, and their influence can have long-lasting negative effects. The lure of the illicit or immoral is strong and can become enslaving. If only there were a roaring lion to frighten us from experiencing these dangerous things…

Actually, we DO have such a protector. In Narnia, it was the image of their Christ-like figure Aslan. In our world, we have the Spirit of Christ and the influence of the Holy Ghost that can warn us away from dangerous situations. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are given the “gift” of the Holy Ghost after baptism. This gift is the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, who will protect us, guide us, comfort us, and teach us—if we remain worthy of his presence.

One of my favorite descriptions of what the Holy Ghost can do for us is by Sheri Dew, who at the time was second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency: “The Holy Ghost enlarges our minds, our hearts, and our understanding; helps us subdue weaknesses and resist temptation; inspires humility and repentance; guides and protects us in miraculous ways; and gifts us with wisdom, divine encouragement, peace of mind, a desire to change, and the ability to differentiate between the philosophies of men and revealed truth. The Holy Ghost is the minister and messenger of the Father and the Son, and He testifies of both Their glorious, global reality and Their connection to us personally. Without the presence of the Spirit, it is impossible to comprehend our personal mission or to have the reassurance that our course is right. No mortal comfort can duplicate that of the Comforter.” Source: Sheri L. Dew, “We Are Not Alone,” Ensign, Nov 1998. Her complete message can be read at:

And if we need a visual image (like Lucy did with the magician’s spell), we need only think of Jesus Christ and his great atonement. Focusing on His image can have the same effect on us as that experienced by Lucy when she saw Aslan’s visage. Here are a couple of my favorite artists' renditions of Christ:

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