By Bret, brother of Rusty, son of Don, friend to all
Many of you I’m sure have seen the hubbub surrounding the new movie The Golden Compass based on a book trilogy by the self-described atheist, Philip Pullman. I read all three books and immediately feel in love with them about three years ago. Both them and the new movie (which I saw in a sneak preview last Saturday) are brilliant. I consider them way better than the Harry Potter series and I love Harry Potter! The characters have great depth, the plot is fascinating and the themes are insightfully interesting.
This is all my opinion, of course. Which I’m entitled to since I have read the books and seen the movie, a point very well clarified by Eric Snider here. He basically states that the best way to form an opinion of something that is left to interpretation (such as movie and book themes) is to see/read it yourself.
The problem with this movement against the movie and books is it seems so many are making their opinion (and acting on it) based on the opinion of someone else. Now, if you read the books you will find it clearly stated on the inside cover that these books are the author’s take on Milton’s epic Paradise Lost which is the story of the Fall of Man. If you read with this in mind, the Pullman’s driving point is very obvious–that seeking and gaining knowledge is better than blissful ignorance.
Now, you can easily interpret many other things from these books, including the idea that Pullman is trying to kill God, but this one theme is abundantly clear. What everyone should do, if they are that worried about it, is read it for themselves and/or have their children read it and discuss it with them and ask them if this is really the god they worship. For me, it is obviously not my God that is represented.
What I find hilarious, yet very sad are the two great ironies that come out of this whole situation, especially for believing Latter-day Saints (and there are many who subscribe to this whole boycott/ban thing): the first is that these protesters are only proving Pullman’s point. Even if you read them and still decide they are evil, you will be more richly rewarded because you know for yourself. Secondly, Pullman (most likely unknowingly) agrees with LDS doctrine—that the Fall was a good thing and knowledge IS better than ignorance in paradise.
I bore my testimony on Sunday toward this end. It is the foundation for the strength of the Gospel. That everyone gains a personal knowledge of the truthfulness of it. We are constantly encouraged to find out for ourselves what and where truth is and learn how to utilize it. Those who are not constantly seeking more truth grow weary and falter.
This is why this new witch hunt is so ironically laughable, yet sad at the same time.