Thanks for Disney

Thanks for Disney April 1, 2024


IRS roundtable
Interpreter Foundation volunteers gather in technologically cutting-edge broadcasting studio for an exciting, live-action discussion on the weekly Interpreter Radio Show  (Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

In the 24 March 2024 episode of the Interpreter Radio Show, regular hosts Steve Densley, John Thompson, and Don Bradley enjoyed a conversation with their special guest, Andrew Miller. They discussed Come, Follow Me Book of Mormon lesson 16 and Andrew’s recent article on “King Benjamin’s Sermon as a Type of Temple Endowment” in Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship.

Their discussion is now available to you, not only for free and at your personal convenience but shorn of commercial interruptions, on the website of the Interpreter Foundation.  The “Book of Mormon in Context” portion of the show, for the Come, Follow Me Book of Mormon lesson 16, will also be posted separately on Tuesday, 9 April 2024.

The Interpreter Radio Show can be heard Sunday evenings every single week of the year from 7 to 9 PM (MDT), on K-TALK, AM 1640.  Or, if that ain’t good enuff fer ya, y’all can listen to it live on the Internet at

Elder Clark and Elder Holland and I
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland greets an attendee at the 16 August 2017 “Chiasmus Jubilee.” Behind him, to the left, Elder Kim B. Clark, then a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and the Church Commissioner of Education — as well as a former president of BYU-Idaho and a former dean of Harvard Business School — and I are engaged in conversation.
(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU)

I very much appreciate this article by Professor Daniel Frost that has now been republished in Meridian Magazine:  “When Prophets Speak: Reconsidering President Holland’s BYU Address.”  It coheres nicely with something that I myself published in Meridian Magazine back in September 2021:  “Elder Holland: What They Heard is Not What He Said.”

b&w J. K. Rowling photo
J. K. Rowling (source unknown)

I hope that none of those who were involved in the chain of transmission  by which this quotation from J. K. Rowling reached me will be unhappy that I’m sharing it here.  I found it in a Facebook post that turned up in my feed from Thamashi Sanjana, who is identified as having been the Moderator of Fabulous Lovers Of Weird Everything since 25 February 2024 and who apparently lives in Embilipitiya, Sri Lanka: In any event, here is the quoted passage from J. K. Rowling, which I really liked:

“Fat’ is usually the first insult a girl throws at another girl when she wants to hurt her.⁣

I mean, is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me; but then, you might retort, what do I know about the pressure to be skinny? I’m not in the business of being judged on my looks, what with being a writer and earning my living by using my brain. . . .

I went to the British Book Awards that evening. After the award ceremony, I bumped into a woman I hadn’t seen for nearly three years. The first thing she said to me? ‘You’ve lost a lot of weight since the last time I saw you!’⁣

‘Well,’ I said, slightly nonplussed, ‘the last time you saw me I’d just had a baby.’⁣

What I felt like saying was, ‘I’ve produced my third child and my sixth novel since I last saw you. Aren’t either of those things more important, more interesting, than my size?’ But no – my waist looked smaller! Forget the kid and the book: finally, something to celebrate!⁣

I’ve got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me because I don’t want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before ‘thin’. And frankly, I’d rather they didn’t give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons.  [Credit: @historycoolkids]

Disneyland's icon
Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland, in Anaheim, California

For one particular small reason, I’ve been blessed over the past month or two to revisit just about every single classic Disney cartoon, along with the more recent live remakes, when those are available.  I’m keenly aware that the Disney brand has been controversial of late but, right now, I want to give thanks for what Disney has brought to the world.

Re-watching Snow White and Sleeping Beauty and Bambi and Pinocchio along with such more recent ventures as Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid and Toy Story has been surprisingly enjoyable.  I’ve also been obliged to watch some other cartoons, and the distance between many of them and the products of Disney and its cousin, Pixar, has impressed me.

The Disney films are great for very young children, but there’s enough substance to them — and, dare I say it, enough moral gravity —  to the stories that they tell that watching them isn’t painful for the adult or adults in the room.  The same is true for such films as Mary Poppins, which we watched over the weekend.

I realize, too, how very important these films were in my own childhood.  Even after a gap of decades, when the songs begin they come right back to me.  And they conjure up very specific and happy memories.

Disneyland, too, was an important part of my early years.  I was only about two and a half years old when the original Disneyland opened, and I grew up within, by the standards of Los Angeles and Orange Counties, a relatively short freeway drive of the park.  So I have no memory of a life without Disneyland, and I have lots and lots of memories of happy and fun and funny times there.

Being able, now, to pass some of those things on to my grandchildren, and to watch them laugh and smile and scream with delight, is a considerable joy.  Realizing — when our first granddaughter died in the Disney wing of an Orlando, Florida, hospital surrounded by images of Disney characters — that I would never be able to take her to Disneyland or Disney World was an unexpected and unexpectedly sharp bit of redundant pain.



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