So I watched the latest Hunger Games movie today. The first two movies pit children against each other in a dystopian tradition of ruling the masses. Consider the indoctrination of the children in Orwell’s book 1984:
“Nearly all children nowadays were horrible. What was worst of all was that by means of such organizations as the Spies they were systematically turned into ungovernable little savages, and yet this produced in them no tendency whatever to rebel against the discipline of the Party. On the contrary, they adored the Party and everything connected with it… All their ferocity was turned outwards, against the enemies of the State, against foreigners, traitors, saboteurs, thought-criminals. It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children.”
This quote explains the government’s power over the children in the dystopian society depicted in George Orwell’s 1984. Parents have no authority over their children, who are influenced from a very young age by the forces of “Big Brother.” The children join organizations such as the “Spies,” where they dress uniformly in “blue shorts, gray shirts, and red neckerchiefs” and are systematically indoctrinated in the philosophies of the government.
The children are taught to love Big Brother and hate “foreigners, traitors, saboteurs, thought-criminals,” the “enemies of the State;” they are encouraged to attend public hangings, and as such are desensitized to violence. The children will report to the authorities anyone who engages in questionable activities or who criticizes the government, including their parents, and indeed are praised as “child hero[es]” for doing so. Parents have no control over their children, who have been turned into “ungovernable little savages” by their training.
There is no love cultivated between children and their parents; through early and constant indoctrination, the children’s devotion is all directed towards Big Brother. Tragically, parents actually fear their own children, because they know that their children’s loyalties lie with Big Brother, and that should they even suspect their parents of deviation from the strict codes of behavior mandated by the government, they will not hesitate to turn them in (Part 1, Chapter 2).
I can’t decide if the Hunger Games movies glorify the subject matter or perhaps are used as a vehicle to bring about an awareness of the world around us to the youth today. But do they see a strong female hero and idolize her? Furthermore, are today’s youth even aware of the sword of justice that hangs over us all? I am reminded of this scripture:
Mosiah 4:13 And ye will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably, and to render to every man according to that which is his due.
14 And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.
15 But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.
And while children wield deadly weapons in extremist countries today, our own may be all too easily desensitized by the gratuitous sex and violence on TV or in the video games they play, which occupy their attention and take up their free time. Do they sing songs in church, comparing themselves to the army of Helaman, having been taught in their youth? How little they may be aware of the setting and nature of the conversion of the stripling warriors. It was their conversion to Jesus Christ and their faith in Him alone that inspired them to risk their lives in mortal combat on the front lines of some of their bloodiest battles, suffering many wounds unto the loss of consciousness for the cause of liberty.
I wonder if our children are clueless. There was no hero worship or idolatry among those two thousand and sixty Lamanite boys, although they esteemed Helaman as their father, following him into battle, confidently obeying his orders precisely. And it was their faith in the Lord that preserved every last one of them. None were lost. Who will our children look to when the sword of justice falls on this gentile nation and all over the world?
Alma 57:25 And it came to pass that there were two hundred, out of my two thousand and sixty, who had fainted because of the loss of blood; nevertheless, according to the goodness of God, and to our great astonishment, and also the joy of our whole army, there was not one soul of them who did perish; yea, and neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds.
26 And now, their preservation was astonishing to our whole army, yea, that they should be spared while there was a thousand of our brethren who were slain. And we do justly ascribe it to the miraculous power of God, because of their exceeding faith in that which they had been taught to believe—that there was a just God, and whosoever did not doubt, that they should be preserved by his marvelous power.
27 Now this was the faith of these of whom I have spoken; they are young, and their minds are firm, and they do put their trust in God continually.
I left the theater with a lot to think about. And it has been a while since I have shared any thoughts on my blog, but I felt the need to do so today.
Marc, your comments here are pertinent to the situation I have been facing with my children lately. Lately, my husband has been quite adamant in his efforts to turn the hearts of my children against me. They have told me that they are afraid to side with me because they are afraid of him becoming angry with them. The oldest used to speak openly of these things but now she won’t. She feels the need to tell me what a great dad she has in a defensive tone, even though I have never spoken against him. She suddenly does not want me to attend their school program and will not do anything that she thinks her father won’t like. I have heard of this sort of thing happening to others and am now experiencing it myself.
It is a situation perhaps the majority of parents will have to face eventually in some manner or another. I made it my quest to learn to parent my children without force but just as I felt I had really laid the foundation, the world came in and tore them away from me. With others in possession of their physical bodies, what of their spirits? I still believe I will get my children back, but in what condition?
I am not in despair. When my children were taken, I had already placed them in the Lord’s hands. Though the state believes they have power over my children and though my husband believes he has power over them, that power is only an illusion. They are the Lord’s children first and he has allowed the state and my husband to do what they have done. The power is ultimately his. As for me, I am left to wait and watch, wondering what the Lord will do to complete his work.