Friday, October 29, 2021

“It’s (Faith and) the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!”

(Guest Post by David)

Last week, I got into the Halloween spirit by watching “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” Being a Peanuts (particularly Snoopy) fan, this spooky season wouldn’t be complete without viewing this holiday classic, and this year is no exception. As I sat down with a bowl of freshly popped popcorn in my lap and began to watch, I realized that there is a principle of the Gospel in this seasonal special that I hadn’t noticed before, and that principle is faith. 

In the show, the character Linus van Pelt observes Halloween by annually writing a letter to and then awaiting in a pumpkin patch for the arrival of the Great Pumpkin, a magical Santa Claus-like fruit that brings presents to “good little children.” The other characters, including Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and especially Lucy do not believe the Great Pumpkin is real (with the temporary exception of Sally). As a result, Linus is ridiculed for sincerely believing in the gift-giving gourd. 

Watching this, I recognized how this scenario is similar to those who believe in God and how they are treated by many in the world. Before I continue further, please do not think that I’m equating a fictional child’s imaginary idea of an anthropomorphic pumpkin with real people’s faith in a living Supreme Being. However, I do feel Linus’ experience is analogous with faith-filled believers. 

The Book of Mormon prophet, Moroni taught, “…that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen…” (Ether 12:6). He also admonished to “…dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith” (Ether 12:6). Linus hadn’t seen the Great Pumpkin with his eyes, although he was yearning to catch a glimpse in the pumpkin patch. And even though year after year, the magical squash didn’t materialize on Halloween night, Linus still believed the Great Pumpkin was real and would come. The same is true of God-fearing believers. Women and men of faith have not seen God physically, but they maintain a fervent hope in his reality and divinity. Christians believe that Jesus Christ has come and redeemed mankind. They believe in His Second Coming, and Christians and Jews alike believe the Holy Messiah will come in great glory. 

Linus was bullied for believing in the existence of the Great Pumpkin. The other children insisted that Linus was “wasting” his time, that the Great Pumpkin was a “fake!” Similarly, followers of God have been and continue to be persecuted for their faith in Him. Nearing the mortal birth of Jesus Christ, unbelieving Nephites asserted that time for the prophetic fulfillment of His coming had expired, and that the “joy [of those who believed] and [their] […] faith concerning this thing hath been vain” (3 Nephi 1:6). However, the scriptural account states that the Nephite believers “did [still] watch steadfastly […], that they might know that their faith had not been vain” (3 Nephi 1:8). Ultimately, the prophecies of the Redeemer of the World came to pass with His birth (see 3 Nephi 1:15, 19-21). 

At this Halloween season, if you watch “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” remember the principle of faith and the opposition to it. Linus and faithful followers of God have persisted, and continue to persist in believing, whether in the Great Pumpkin or in God. They are undeterred by those who would bully or persecute, because of the peace and joy that their convictions bring. Happy Halloween!

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