Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Saturday's Warrior

Last night our family was stuck in molasses. We didn't have dinner until 7:30, we ate like sloths, cleaned up slowly, and then dinked around for a while. Which means it was after nine pm, and we still hadn't had Family Home Evening. Rather than just calling it a loss, we decided to watch something religious together (both Avram and are weren't functioning at top speed). So we turned to the trusty online BYU tv, where you can watch any of BYU tv from the last month. On Sunday, for Lydia's birthday, we watched some great short movies of the Old and New Testament. This time we found...Saturday's Warrior.

When I was a kid, we would always visit my Grandma Merrill for Easter weekend. Usually at some point during ethe weekend us kids would get bored/fall back on what kids nowadays always do, and want to watch a movie. My Grandma only owned two movies that were interesting to us; Clarence (the modern sequel to It's a Wonderful Life, which was funny, because I saw the sequel years before I saw the original), and Saturday's Warrior. I haven't seen it since those years, but I always fondly remember watching Saturday's Warrior every Easter.

Since we're (somewhat) close to Easter, we decided to watch Saturday's Warrior for FHE. Although as Avram points out there are a lot of doctrinal problems with the show (pre-set number of children for a family, fore-ordained marriages from heaven, people going to the pre-earth existence after death), I really enjoyed watching it again. I had the tape of the music in college, so the songs were all familiar to me, and the message was nice, and even the acting wasn't bad. I cried when the twin sister died, laughed when the elders showed their investigator a slideshow by projecting it onto the front of one of the Elder's white shirt, and just all round enjoyed myself.

Avram and I even had a thought-provoking conversation afterwards (We only watched one half of it, and then went to bed because Lydia was dead tired, but talked late into the night. Lydia and I finished watching it this morning) about whether we think we've known (whether in a romantic context or otherwise) people on Earth whom we knew in Heaven before. We decided that perhaps when people feel "love at first sight" for each other that they may very well have known each other in heaven beforehand, although not in a romantic context there. And we could see, given that extra feeling of familiarity immediately upon meeting someone as leading to marriage.

Do any of you have any thoughts on this, or for that matter on hokey (yet nice) Mormon movies from our youth?


  1. I have the same memory of watching that movie. And I personally feel that I know people that I knew in heaven. I actually think we might have all known each other, but we can't comprehend it with oyr minds right now. just like we can't really comprehend living for ever or creating worlds of our own. but that is just an idea i have, that I am not sure about. I am however sure that I know people now I knew in heaven. A lot of them are people O met on my mission, that I taught. I have talked to other missionaries that have said they feel the same way.

  2. Saturday's warrior is a pretty good light laugh. I feel bad though that for some people it's their first introduction to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. A High School in Anchorage Alaska actually put it on as one of their School Plays.
    For Family Home evening we watched "Testaments". It was wonderful to see the film again I only watched it once because I never made it up to Salt Lake much. Anyway it was nice to remember at the end that I had faith in Christ. There was this line "Can you See him?" from the father who had been blinded and I thought about how we are not spiritually blind and can see him but so many must rely on our testimony.
    I believe that in the preexistence we had the opportunity to know everyone and were close friends with all of our spiritual brothers and sisters. God though knows our strengths and our weaknesses and steers us towards the right people to teach or love in this life so that our weaknesses can become strengths with those people.
    So over all I don't mind Saturdays Warrior. I wish though that LDS cinema would get out of the bad comedy rut...but that may take miracle...

  3. I dunno about people -- people aren't really my thing. But my seminary teacher once threw the idea at me that maybe the talents we have in this life are skills we learned in the previous one, and I've always liked that: not learning so much as remembering. It makes all those parts of my life that I love into ties to the pre-existence. When I first picked up and tried to play a tuba, I got this feeling, like it fit in my arms and in my lap, like it was right, like we were a team. And of course I didn't have a clue how to play it, but I learned, and learned fast, and always felt secure and confident with the tuba triggers under my fingers. So maybe I played tuba in the pre-existence. Maybe I'll play it again in the celestial kingdom. I'd like that.

    Of course, my primary teacher insisted that brass instruments, particularly low brass, weren't spiritual enough to be considered celestial. Moroni and I beg to differ. Celestial brass quintet, here we come.

  4. oh i loved that movie.. and i think that the reason we always watched it at grandmas is that we didnt ever watch anything anything at home! at least not when we were younger. my first memory watching it was before mom had married don, so back then we didnt get much tv time at home. anyways i loved that movie, good times. My favorite part is the missionaries in the part singing the we are not ordinary song.

    i do believe that people that die do have the ability to have contact with the spirits that have yet to come. i think they can kind of go anywhere? i mean they are spirits so can travel between spaces easily. I dont think we have a full understanding of how that all works really.

    I dont know if i knew people on earth that i knew in heaven, obviuosly its possible though! and some children were planned to go to parents before birth.. like prophets. but who knows if all children are known before hand wehre they will go.

    hmmm interesting to think about

  5. I have similar warm, fuzzy, family memories about this movie. And I have to chime in and say that somehow as a child those non-doctrines did not make their way into my mind at all. I never heard any part of the movie made fun of or bashed until I came to BYU. Really the only doctrine that I took away from it was "families are important". So I've never really been able to join in conversations bashing the movie in that way, because the ideas never really registered in the first place. But admittedly it is full of incorrect doctrine.
    Talking about people who knew each other before this life...I have to say that I have speculated on it. I don't know how to explain my initial attraction to Samuel's voice: I first "met" him by hearing his voice on my answering machine, a church-related message for a roommate. I had a crush on him after I heard the message! I played it over and over (this is not my typical behavior). Then I saw him at church and had another weird moment of attraction when I saw his face. At this point I thought I had a crush on two different people. Soon, however, I made the connection, and the rest is history.
    I've never had this kind of experience before, and I admit that I speculate on perhaps having "recognized" his voice and face somehow from before.
    Whether it is true or not, I don't know and it doesn't really matter, but it is fun to think about!

  6. I personally liked the Hanna Barbara scripture cartoons. You know, like Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites, but for the Bible. So good.

  7. I just read a book by Neal Maxwell in which he says something I had never thought of before. He suggests (in other words, he says no one knows) that there is a veil in dying that keeps the dead from remembering this life just as we can't remember the pre-existence. I somehow always that that the dead would have a clear memory of this life. This has caused me to do some pondering.

  8. I've always wanted someone to stage a Bollywood version of "Saturday's Warriors". I think that would be fabulous and get us more of an "in" in India.

    I think it worthwhile to point out that the notion of preexistence and its discussion in art isn't limited to the Mormon sphere. I don't particularly agree with Lex de Azevedo's philosophy of aesthetics (I've actually read a book he's written on it), so I tend to gravitate more towards non-Mormon treatments of the idea (European romantics, Kleist, Hofmannsthal). I would highly recommend viewing/studying the Hofmannsthal/Strauss opera "Der Rosenkavalier" for a similar take on preexistence and eternal marriage from outside the Mormonism.

  9. The Ancient Egyptians believed in it too (see there is more to Egyptian religion than the buttocks of celestial cows).

  10. I'd forgotten about "Der Rosenkavelier". I've never actually seen all of "Saturday's Warrior", but I'm certain that Barbara and I knew each other before we first met in this life.

  11. Enjoyed your post on Saturday's Warrior. My dad was in the second production. Now his grandkids are animating their own religious movies.
    Check out these bible animations our primary kids just finished, they twist doctrine as much as Saturday's Warrior did: