It is a wonderful life!

This holiday, I will spend my time sharing a beautiful message of life and family as I will debut in my first musical, “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  Today in my blog, you may hear a bell ring as you read some parallelisms I have drawn from several metaphors in this wonderful musical.

There is a spirit within this story that draws me closer to my grandparents.  The era was the 1920’s which was their glory days and all my fun props belonged to my grandmothers.  There are many parallels between the Bailey family and my own families back then: their days were not always glorious as they experienced war and the great depression.  Both my grandmothers were entrepreneurs, learning the value of hard work, and though they made sacrifices that affected their health, their marriages and their offspring for both good and bad, they knew how to survive the storms of life and were successful business women.   Their hard work equaled a richer life for me not only financially but physically being able to spend time with them.  The flame that burned inside my grandparents was given to them from their progenitors and has been passed down to me, with hopes I would kindle and emanate it to my posterity.

There is a bridge used in the musical that acts as a great metaphor in life.  Ironically, George is about to jump over and end his life because he forgot about the most important things in life; his family.  This scene reminds us that we are connected to one another, that we need our families to enter mortality and because of them and their wisdom given to us, we can take the best and easiest path to get from one side of life to the other.  Keeping our grandparent’s memories alive stands like a bridge in history, connecting one generation to another.

One character by the name of Clarence, the angel who hasn’t earned his wings, acts as a messenger but metaphorically is a rescuer.  He comes to the rescue of George by bringing a recollection of George’s entire life in view, thus helping him remember not only his community and the good he did therein, but especially his connection to his family.  Like Clarence, there was an angel-like prophet named Elijah who was sent to do a similar thing for each one of us.  Joseph Smith said, “How shall God come to the rescue of this generation? He will send Elijah the prophet.”
Who is Elijah?  Elijah is An Old Testament prophet who returned in the latter days to confer the keys of the sealing power on Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. In his day, Elijah ministered in the Northern Kingdom of Israel (1 Kgs. 17–22; 2 Kgs. 1–2). He had great faith in the Lord and is noted for many miracles. He prevented rain for three-and-a-half years. He raised a boy from the dead and called down fire from heaven (1 Kgs. 17–18). The Jewish people still wait for Elijah to return, as Malachi prophesied he would (Mal. 4:5). He remains an invited guest at Jewish passover feasts, where an open door and a vacant seat always await him.
Why do we need to be rescued?  George Bailey and Clarence had more in common than they knew.  Both did not know that he needed rescuing, but God did and so he sent Clarence to remind George of his past but it was through George that Clarence could earn his wings.  God uses prophets to do his work and though they aren’t trying to earn wings literally, they are being lifted to a higher plain as they go about teaching and helping elevate all of mankind.  Temples are like the bridge that can connect us to our families past, present and future and lift us to a higher plain….a more celestial plain where God lives.  It’s like a place where each of us can rescue another family member and earn our “wings”.

Throughout history, in every dispensation of time, the Lord has commanded prophets that temples should be built so that His people could receive temple ordinances.  The Kirtland Temple was the first temple in these latter days, and it played an important role in the restoration of priesthood keys. The Savior appeared in glory and accepted the Kirtland Temple as His house. On that occasion Moses, Elias, and Elijah each appeared to commit to Joseph Smith the keys held from their dispensations. Elijah restored the keys of his dispensation as promised by Malachi so that we could enjoy the blessings of the temple in our lives. (See D&C 110.)

Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple

The Lord Appears in the Kirtland Temple, by Del Parson

The congregation heard an address by Sidney Rigdon, a counselor in the First Presidency, and then joined together to sing “Now Let Us Rejoice” and “Adam-ondi-Ahman,” written by William W. Phelps. Joseph Smith then rose to offer the dedicatory prayer, which he had received by revelation. In the prayer, he described many of the remarkable blessings that are bestowed upon those who come in worthiness to God’s temples (see D&C 109). The choir sang “The Spirit of God,” and the congregation then stood and gave the Hosanna Shout “with such power as seemed almost sufficient to raise the roof from the building.”1

“Let thy house be filled,” the Prophet said in the dedicatory prayer, “as with a rushing mighty wind, with thy glory” (D&C 109:37). This was literally fulfilled, for many Saints testified that heavenly beings were present during the dedication service. Eliza R. Snow recalled: “The ceremonies of that dedication may be rehearsed, but no mortal language can describe the heavenly manifestations of that memorable day. Angels appeared to some, while a sense of divine presence was realized by all present, and each heart was filled with ‘joy inexpressible and full of glory’ [see 1 Peter 1:8].”2

I can honestly say nearly every being on earth loves his family and desires a wonderful life not only now but for eternity.  One of the greatest truths in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is that families can be together forever.  Today, the youth have received their torches from their parents and are burning their lights bright like never before in history by assisting in temple work.  Their love of family and the importance of keeping them strong is like a force of millions of soldiers fighting the greatest battle against Satan the world has ever known:

It is a wonderful life when we come to know the scriptures are true, that God did not send us here on earth without a purpose and without prophets that would help us remember our families and how we can do our part to return and live together, forever.  “Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come—to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse—therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.”5 

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