What do Zombies, Mormons, and Ants have to do with this week’s General Conference Odyssey, you ask? Let me explain.
As I read through each of the talks, it occurred to me how singular the messages were: Jesus Christ is God over all, He is our leader, our exemplar, and our Savior. He has not left us alone; in fact, He’s given us an earthly leader; a prophet. If we obey this prophet, and willingly follow his guidance (who literally guides us in Jesus’ name), we can never be lost forever. So come these three random thoughts:
In the movie Warm Bodies, we discover a zombie who falls in love with a still-human girl, which makes him become human again. This triggers a feeling for zombie-love in his zombie best friend, which causes a regeneration in the rest of the zombie community. The villains are the boneys who are past feeling, and sadly they are lost forever. It is the desire to love and follow a good leader that brings these zombies back to humanity.
Together, the zombies band together, inspired by their great desire to act on this feeling of love, in order to overpower the boneys. Working together strengthens their love, their desire to break out of their mindless loop, and find something greater.
Mormons acknowledge prophets who direct and teach all to achieve an ultimate goal, which is life everlasting. When refusing to follow these prophets, Mormons tend to fall away from the mark, take a different course, and lose their way. N. Eldon Tanner said, “God’s purpose for having prophets upon the earth is to relay his messages for the benefit and blessing of mankind by whatever means of space communication he elects to use” — if we listen and follow them.
Two of the talks used the line “everybody does it.” Unfortunately, we aren’t like zombies, who wander aimlessly together on one course. Our agency (which is a blessing) allows for other life choices which figure into the test of life we are living. Elder Simpson said man tends to happily get off track when “rationalization helps him to live with his conscience.” Often, it is too late before we realize that everybody DOES NOT do it. Lucky for Mormons, they can get back on the path, and join the royal army anytime, by choosing to follow the prophet toward safety.
Prophets lead the way onto the right path. Where some Mormons will always investigate strange paths, the majority will follow their leader willingly and happily.
It’s well known that ants have no designated leader, yet know instinctively how to work together toward a goal-oriented end. What I find particularly fascinating is ants don’t argue with each other over who is in charge. When working together, they accomplish amazing–even impossible–tasks. And, in setting off to complete whatever needs to be done, they leave no ant behind.
As I continued reading these talks, it occurred to me that zombies and ants somehow don’t need a local leader. They are more willing to follow a higher authority. They follow unhesitatingly and allow their instincts to generate their path.
Mormons, however, have a mind of their own. Because of the wonderful gift of agency, Mormons sometimes think they are able to wander off, in order to play for a while, and then return back with a few stripes and everything will be good all over again. The problem with this mistaken belief is that those who wander off, often never return. Because of the horrible realities of the world, they begin to believe they are worthless and hopeless, relentlessly tearing themselves apart with regret and guilt, much like the boneys did.
Thankfully, Jesus Christ has set up His church to provide a way to return to Heavenly Father’s presence. Not only do we have His unequivocal atoning sacrifice available to us, we also have been given apostles and prophets. Mark E. Petersen said, “These inspired men were in the church also to preserve unity among the saints and to heal divisions in the flock ‘that we henceforth be no more … tossed to and from, and carried about with every wind of doctrine. …’ (Eph. 4:14).”
Simply put, zombies and ants know how to band together instinctively, ants usually accomplish impossible feats as they work together. Mormons have the same potential, but they need more urging. Individuals, or small groups, can band together and take the wrong path. But when motivated by prophets who speak as the voice of God, a Mormon army can accomplish impossible feats of everlasting joy, happiness, and love.
What would this world be like if Mormons acted more like zombies and ants? By simply following the prophet, their direction would be sound, their numbers would thwart any opposing threat, their strength would be insurmountable, and nothing could stop the power of faith, priesthood, or love that radiates from them.
Here are the additional posts from our General Conference Odyssey:
Saviors in the Home Nathaniel Givens
Satan’s Effort to Influence and Control the Human Mind Daniel Ortner
Abomination and Understanding, Works and Grace Ralph Hancock
We are the catalyst Marilyn Nielson