Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Art Imitates Life?

Someone, commenting on my blog about the film fest, told a story about the impact of an LDS film, “God’s Army” in this case.

I quote: “Seeing it with my fiance was the catalyst for him joining the church. After seeing the movie, we had a serious talk about my concerns with our future. I had been inactive when we met and got engaged, I postponed our wedding 6 months later and returned to church but stayed engaged. After seeing God's Army, which was the most exposure he'd had to anything LDS, we talked and I said I had concerns about having children in a divided home, even knowing that he would let me take them to church I knew it was not the example to set. He said he'd be willing to learn more. He started taking the discussions and was baptized a couple months later and we were married a couple months after that and sealed on our 1st anniversary! “

This is cool on so many levels.

First of all, it’s just plain great to see people come to Christ this way. They discover something missing, and then find it. No matter how people come in to the church or come back to the church, it’s wonderful to see.

Second, it’s cool that someone’s creative self-expression helped. I seriously doubt that Richard Dutcher, when he was writing the screenplay was thinking, “How can I bring someone back to the church with this movie.” If he had been thinking about that, he would have written a very different movie. Instead, he was merely looking inside himself and his own experiences and creating honest art from that.

And that honest art touched someone and helped him or her on the way.

Third, this story confirms something that I have believed for a long, long time. That a song, a book, a movie, a story can help change lives. Notice I said, “help”. I don’t think any one work of art is going to be the sole influence that makes the change. She calls the movie “the catalyst”. There was plenty of thought and struggle going on in her life already, and an atmosphere, if you will, of wanting change. Along comes a movie, or a song. It sparks a conversation, some heartfelt communication, and it triggers some choices.

Can art change lives? Yes. It can. But I have no illusions that it’s going to fix the world. It helps people solidify their beliefs. It helps them consider things they hadn’t before. It guides them to make choices. Hearing a song won’t change you, but it will help you be stronger as you change yourself.

Mark Hansen

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