Everyday life is full of gospel lessons. They are everywhere. You just have to look for them. Who would have ever thought that even Saturday morning cartoons could teach us about the Savior and His power! Yes, even Donald Duck can teach us.
I want to share a certain scripture and then go on to explain how the lesson in this scripture can be shown in a Donald Duck cartoon, and then how it came to life in another powerful way in the late 1700’s. It will be a bit like Bill and Ted’s excellent gospel adventure. Hang on.
The scripture is in Luke. Chapter 8 verse 25. This is Jesus and his desciples speaking in a boat. Jesus had just calmed the angry seas during a sudden storm on their way across a certain lake, simply by commanding them to be still…
“And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! For he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him”?
This is the same story that inspired the Hymn “Master, the Tempest is Raging”. The lyrics are a perfect set up for the rest of this post. Especially the part about the late 1700’s. Here is the second verse, and the chorus…
Master, with anguish of spirit
I bow in my grief today.
The depths of my sad heart are troubled.
Oh, waken and save, I pray!
Torrents of sin and of anguish
Sweep o’er my sinking soul,
And I perish! I perish! dear Master.
Oh, hasten and take control!
The winds and the waves shall obey thy will:
Peace, be still.
Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea
Or demons or men or whatever it be,
No waters can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean and earth and skies.
They all shall sweetly obey thy will:
Peace, be still; peace, be still.
They all shall sweetly obey thy will:
Peace, peace, be still.
The cool part of the story and the hymn, is that we learn that the Savior has power over everything! Including the winds, water, weather, and all the elements. We learn the same lesson in the Book of Mormon when Lehi and Nephi are crossing the ocean, and Laman and Lemuel tie Nephi up so they can have their little dance party. Only by repenting, releasing Nephi, and a subsequent petition sent to the Master of earth and skies, does the storm cease! The weather is controlled by the Lord!
Now, back to Saturday morning cartoons. In this next little clip, Donald learns all about this same principle. Sometimes the weather does funny things. Things that don’t exactly make sense. It can be sunny one second, and rainy the next. Check this out…..
Donald Duck learns the hard way that weather can only be controlled by the Lord! Normal men cannot be blamed, nor take the credit for good, or bad weather! Its God’s little way of making sure that He alone is responsible for it. When He doesn’t want you to go golfing in sunny weather, you don’t go!
Now, lets rewind to the year 1776. General George Washington had picked a fight with the largest most powerful Army/Navy/Military in the world at the time. Great Britain. He’s got a bunch of volunteer farmers fighting for him, who aren’t exactly striking fear into the British. The odds are that the “war” will be over in about 10 minutes, it was like Mike Tyson vs Steve Urkel. The Rebel soldiers had no chance. They weren’t as well trained, well equipped, or as numerous. The one thing they did have on their side, however, was the Master of Ocean and Earth and Skies! This is how He played his part….
Example 1. The Battle of Dorchester heights. This little battle was just outside of Boston. The British had taken control of the port city, and Washington and his little army was just outside wondering what on earth they could possibly do to fight and not get blown away. One of Washington’s colonels, Henry Knox, had heard that way over in New Jersey the Americans had captured some Cannons and supplies, and that if he could go see if he could get them to Boston, They might have a chance. Washington sent him off, and a few months later, Henry Knox returned with 120,000 pounds of morters and cannon. But here is where the details of the story go right along with Donald Duck. After getting to Fort Ticonderoga where the Cannons had been taken, he built sleds to transport them back to Boston, although no snow was on the ground. That took faith. He then waited several days, until Christmas Day, when a blizzard hit, and the Hudson river froze over, allowing for easy crossing. By January 1776 his delivery was made. The customized weather allowed the quick transport all the way back to Boston. But, that wasn’t all. More heavenly weather would come!
The new cannon had to be sent to the top of the Hill to overlook and bomb Boston. The only problem was, if the British saw the Americans hauling cannons up the hill, they would have attacked with their huge numbers, and mopped the floor with them. So, of course, the Lord sent a heavenly haze to conceal their move up to Dorchester Heights above Boston, right in front of the British lines. Unseen. But, the Lord wasn’t done yet.
Washington now had his cannon on top of the hill, but was still way outnumbered by the British. General Howe, the British commander, then decided to send his War-boats to cross the harbor and attack Washington’s spot on the hill. But, as the British sent the boats off, the day, which had started abnormally warm and pleasant, changed by nightfall into a storm that Washington’s officers called the “hurrycane” of hail, snow, and sleet!
Two British boats were blown ashore. One American Leutenant said it was the worst storm he had ever seen. Talk about a bad day. Just to add salt to the wound, after these divine weather interventions, there happened to be a sudden outbreak of small pox in Boston where the British troops were stationed. They had seen enough, they were just like Donald Duck trying to golf, and soon thereafter said, “peace out” and left Boston!
The British were stunned. But if we look back and examine it through gospel lenses, we see a pattern that is forming. Consider this scripture in 2 Nephi. Its describing the wealthy, powerful, and worldly. See if it fits in this context…
“And the harp, and the aviol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine are in their feasts; but they regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands.”
-2 Nephi 15:12
Example 2. Escape from Brooklyn Heights. Washington’s tactics in the war were often just a matter of not getting wiped of the face of the earth. More like a prevent defense, or not losing, rather than going for the knockout win. One of these grand escapes was in Brooklyn. This miracle happened after Washington’s troops were surrounded and cornered on 3 sides by British soldiers, and blocked off by the East river on the 4th side. The British Navy had hundreds of ships in New York Harbor and was sending ships up the river to completely surround Washington’s troops. He had already lost 25% of his army in the previous days of fighting. It was pretty hopeless. The war would be over in those next 10 minutes. Well, not exactly. Maybe just as soon as the rain stopped pounding the area, making it impossible to keep the powder dry, or even move in the mud. No knockout attacks were possible. Weird huh? Not really, if we know who sent the rain!
For some reason, Washington decided to wait for 3 days, then, on the 3rd night, attempt a daring overnight escape. All the troops will be silently sent across the East river on small boats. The same river that the British were coming up in order to surround them. It was supposed to be game over. The British only had one single problem. The Lord was on the American side. And, again, being all powerful, He controls the weather!
That night, an abnormal northeasterly wind picked up, preventing the British ships from being able to come up the river to cut off Washington’s escape. Then at 9 pm, the wind shifted and blew to the west to help Washington’s boats escape. When morning came, not all the troops were across yet, so, not a problem, the Lord sent a fog so thick that “no one could see a man even 6 yards away” but this fog was only on the long island side of the river, on the New York side, it was clear as a bell. As the last of the boats entered the water, the fog started to lift, and the British moved in, only to find an abandoned camp! The timing was so perfect, that the British even took a few shots at the last boats that were just out of range.
Washington’s 9000 men escaped! And just to make sure the British didn’t immediately follow and destroy them the next day, a fire broke out in the city just in time to take away the British soldiers attention.
What was it exactly that made the Americans different? Why did the Lord help them, and not the British?
Two simple reasons stand out. First, America is a covenant land. The Jaradites were lead here, the Mulekites were lead here, and the Nephites were lead here. To this land. For that reason alone, we know that “inasmuch as ye keep my commandments, ye shall prosper in the land”! The covenant stands even today. The covenant is for the land, not only the people on it.
The second reason was that Washington was not your everyday commander. He was a very religious man. He understood exactly who was ultimately in control of the outcome of the war. He knew that “Providence” was America’s only hope for victory. He demanded that his men lived virtuously. He demanded that they watched their language, that they had scripture study, and that they prayed to petition the help of the Master of ocean and earth and skies! He was just like Moroni, and Mormon. He knew that his soldiers needed to be worthy of the blessings of Heaven, or they had no chance. They were completely dependent on Him. Sound familiar? Sounds just like the people of Limhi, and the people of Ammon, and the People of Alma. History really does repeat itself.
That is why America won the war. She was led by a man who understood that God was in charge. During his inaugural address, Washington said this…
“No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency”
Remember, the Lord needed a nation built on religious freedom in order to garner in His last dispensation of the gospel. The United States constitution was ratified and officially binding in 1788, only 17 years later, in 1805, Joseph Smith was born.
No matter how helpless the situation may seem, we can learn the lessons over and over both in the scriptures and out. Gods people will prevail. Our loyalty needs to be to Him. He will never forget them. Even when its raining! Let’s always try to be worthy to be called His People.
“And the day shall come that the earth shall rest, but before that day the heavens shall be darkened, and a veil of darkness shall cover the earth; and the heavens shall shake, and also the earth; and great tribulations shall be among the children of men, but my people will I preserve;”