Thursday, November 17, 2011

Harry Potter and the Preparatory State

True, the first Harry Potter book is far from the most exciting. It's an introductory book, acquainting you to the characters and building up who they are, and introducing you to this brand new world. However, you're not deprived of action and adventure. Little blips of excitement come up here and there to keep you intersted, and to set up for the big climax, which, if you've read it, you surely remember. But in case you don't know, or have forgotten, I'll give you a brief run down:
The Philosopher's Stone (or Sorceror's Stone in the American editions) is a stone with many magical powers, but quite a distinguishing feature is its ability to create the Elixir of Life, a potion that perpetuates life in the drinker. That is what draws a particular "person" to it. After many clues are laid out, the adventurous trio of Harry, Ron, and Hermione finally realize just what's been going on: The Philosopher's Stone is somewhere in Hogwarts Castle, and Professor Snape is trying to steal it. Well, they know enough to know where the entrance to the hiding place is, and what they may be up against. The first obstacle is Fluffy, a giant three-headed dog, who's already asleep by the time they get there. Next, they find themselves in Devil's Snare, a magical vine that ensnares them, and will not let go. Thanks to some quick thinking on Hermione's part, though, they get away unscathed. Next, they find themselves in a large room, which quickly reveals itself to be a human-sized Wizard Chess board (wizard chess is like regular chess, only the pieces move on their own, and it's quite violent). Well, thankfully, Ron just happens to be quite proficient at Wizard Chess, and is able to win the match for them, while sacrificing himself in the process. Following this, Harry and Hermione come to a room filled with flying keys. They need to find the right one to open the door. But how? They're flying. Well, wouldn't ya know, there's a broomstick right there, and Harry is the youngest Quidditch player in Hogwarts in over a century, and is quite the flyer. Not only that, he's a Seeker, making him quite adept at finding and capturing a small, golden, flying ball. He hops on and is able to find and grab the key and open the door. In the next room, there is a selection of different potions, and a poem to help discover which will get you through, which will take you back, and which will kill you. Hermione is quite the student, and has excelled in all her subjects, and thanks to her wisdom, she's able to identify the potion Harry needs to move on, and which one will get her safely back. Harry takes the potion, and finds himself in a room where he expects to find Professor Snape, but what he finds surprises him.
Rather than Snape, it's actually Professor Quirrell, the stuttering, nervous Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor. Suddenly, he's no longer stuttering, but is now quite deranged. It's then revealed that he is playing host to the sinister Lord Voldemort, the dark wizard who tried to kill Harry in his infancy. He's made it all the way to this room, but can't figure out how to get the Mirror of Erised to give him the stone. Harry, however, knows, because he had encountered the mirror before, and Dumbledore had explained how it works. Harry is able to get the stone, ward off Voldemort and Professor Quirrell, and save the day. Not the first time, certainly not the last time.
But where would Harry, Ron, and Hermione have been had they not been prepared for these tasks? Because of their preparation, the things they'd learned, their skills and abilities, they were able to get through the obstacles and come out on top. Because of Hermione's studious nature, she was able to get them through Devil's Snare and tricky potions; thanks to Ron's skill at Wizard Chess, they were able to win the game; as a result of Harry's seemingly natural talent at flying, he easily procured the key and got them through the door. They already had the means of accomplishing these feats. The same is true for us. Alma said "For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors." (Alma 34:32). We're preparing. We all want to inherit Celestial Glory, to live with our Heavenly Father and our families forever. But, in our present state, we couldn't possibly live that life. We need to prepare ourselves for that, and what better time than today? As we do the things we need to do, we are preparing ourselves. As we live the Gospel, follow the commandments, and stay true to our covenants, we prepare ourselves.
As we read our scriputres and heed the words of Prophets, both ancient and modern, we are taught what we need to do to prepare. As we go to the Temple, we also are taught. Knowing these things help us to know what it is we need to inherit Celestial Glory and to live a Celestial Life. The Lord won't just send us here and expect us to make it ourselves. He's going to give us everything we need. Just like Harry, Ron, and Hermione were prepared, through schooling and through their personal interests and talents, were able to overcome, so are we. Because of the councel and guidelines we are given, we know that we can return to live with our Heavenly Father, and be able to live the life He would have us live.

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