Richard Wilkins shares Mormon themes from Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol'

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  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    Dec. 2, 2012 10:26 p.m.

    And as instructed in the words of good king Benjamin, an examination of greed is much more effective when conducted internally, rather than outwardly.

    The story of Ebenezer Scrooge is indeed a story of redemption, and that is why it speaks to me. The softening of the heart, the growing of the awareness of others. I am acquainted with aethiests and agnostics who hold a tender regard for those around them, and who enjoy life too much to be caught up in the bitter judgement of others. The Grinch or Ebenezer, neither are the sole property of the Christian world.

    But it IS the Christian work.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 7:29 a.m.

    One final comment for which I had no space on my other post:

    Sadly it is very "hard for the rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven". Such a man is depicted in the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus. The rich man died and suffered torment and asked that his five brothers be warned by Lazarus of their fates that they might repent.

    The deceased rich man was told by Father Abraham that his brothers had the prophets to warn them; failing that they would not be persuaded "though one rose from the dead". (Luke chapter sixteen)

    So though Dickens' story be inspired and inspiring no Jacob Marley from the dead(or Jesus Christ come to that) would apparently persuade that rich man, his five brothers, or his fifty million brothers. Some of these men doubtless are politicians red and blue, others "excellent men of business" but all are no doubt "squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinners" like EScrooge was. Let's try not to be, or become like them. Lets hope some of them do hearken to the prophet without the aid of spirits.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Nov. 29, 2012 7:03 p.m.

    Perhaps it might dampen the enthusiasm of some to apply "A Christmas Carol" yet more closely to ourselves. I'm glad this article widens the application from the 1840's to many of "us" today.

    Malthusian economics, social Darwinism, stingy employers who could, but don't, pay more to employees, those who begrudge a paid day off at Christmas etc etc .... I think Dickens indicated a much bigger problem and the wailing of myriad spirits who "forged their chains in life"; Marley and the unrepentant Scrooge were just the tip of the iceberg in the 1840's, as now.

    Many employers / big corporations don't even allow a day off for Christmas and I'm not talking about essential services either. Scrooge was consequently superior to those in my view,even before his unwelcome guests arrived in his beggarly abode. As Dickens dismissed the carollers with a scowl so today one can hardly see a "religious" greetings card displayed at work.

    I do think we all can learn from Dickens' moral tale - and improve.

    My favorite versions are the Alistair Sim version and the cartoon version with the voiceover of Jim Carey as the main character.

  • guspine Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 29, 2012 12:54 p.m.

    I'm surprised that Mr. Wilkins would say "The Cratchits have everything they need." That is most certainly false. The Cratchits, like most middle-class folks, work all their lives to try and survive within a system that could leave them at any moment without income, housing, or healthcare, while the Scrooges of the world couldn't care less. Things haven't changed, e.g. 18000 Hostess workers laid off while the mismanager CEO and cronies walk away with big bonuses.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Nov. 28, 2012 5:45 p.m.

    Like Scrooge and Cratchitt, I will have a mug of christmas cheer!

  • IrishLDS Castleknock, Dublin
    Dec. 20, 2011 8:29 a.m.

    The error about President Monson noted by Mayfair and KC Mormon doesn't appear in the version for printing - Which is the version I read as it is all on one page!

    I love A Christmas Carol. I have watched many different versions. I think it is about time to read it in the original. I'm impressed President Monson finds the time to read it each year.

    Dec. 20, 2011 8:12 a.m.

    Thank you for your comment, it clears things up
    Merry Christmas

  • KC Mormon Edgerton, KS
    Dec. 20, 2011 7:30 a.m.

    I am copying and pasting this directly from the article because it is very clear were the first poster got the idea that President Monson was the one who acted in the play
    "For more than 20 years President Monson has played the role of Scrooge for 27 years at Hale Centre Theatres annual production of A Christmas Carol."

    it is clear by the authors reply that the line was a misprint however he should perhaps say that rather than that it is not in the story. It is infact on page 2

  • IrishLDS Castleknock, Dublin
    Dec. 20, 2011 5:13 a.m.

    We need to be careful about reducing the gospel to mere morality or ethics. Without the sacrifice of the saviour and access to his atonement, no amount of 'Christian' service would save us.

    What resonates with Latter-day Saints from A Christmas Carol is the ministering of angels, the gift of visions of past, present and future to gain personal insight, the possibility of overcoming the natural man, and the joy found in family. For us, these have theological dimensions not merely moral ones.

    Dec. 19, 2011 11:13 p.m.

    In reading your comment I had to go back and check.. on page 2 under "Gospel Themes" it says "Wilkins has played the role of Scrooge for 27 years at Hale Centre theater's annual production of "A Christmas Carol"
    I also thought that it was interesting that the person that you were correcting also seems to be the man WHO WROTE the article!
    Merry Christmas

  • TR 4 President SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Dec. 19, 2011 10:47 p.m.

    Merry Christmas to you Dear Mr. Atheist,

    While I will not try to define who you are and what you believe (as you often try to do to anybody who is religious) I can say that at least for me my Religious beliefs have compelled me to do as much good in the world as I can. Perhaps someday when your bitterness has waned you might recognize that there are many of us for whom this is the case.

    But until then I'll reply to your "bah humbug" as Fred does in the play: "I'll keep my Christmas humor to the last, so a Merry Christmas to you!"

  • BobP Port Alice, B.C.
    Dec. 19, 2011 4:41 p.m.

    Bah! Humbug!

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Dec. 19, 2011 3:26 p.m.

    These are "Gospel themes" because, of course, only religious people can change from unhappy to happy;

    and only religious people can provide service to others;

    and only religious people can care for the poor and fight against "ignorance and want", right?

    Because only religious people have the market cornered, the patent on, and the copyright for all goodness, morality and decency in the world, right?

    Only religious people can experince or express "love and of generosity and of goodness," is that it?

    Bah, humbug on such an idea!

  • Lyle Springville, UT
    Dec. 19, 2011 1:03 p.m.

    No kidding! I can imagine few examples of casting that are such opposites of type casting as having President Monson play the "old" Scrooge. Not a bad fit for the "new" Scrooge, though!

    Dickens also wrote about Christmas in Chapter 28 of "The Pickwick Papers." While not as powerful as writing a whole story on the subject, it is full of heart-softening sentiment perfect for reading this time of year if you feel a case of the Grinch coming on.

    Years ago, I found a full-page newspaper ad taken out by a liquor company. Chivas Regal, maybe. They ran "A Christmas Carol", the whole thing, on that page. Small print, but readable. How cool! I wish somebody would do it again.

  • IndependentLiberal Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 19, 2011 10:17 a.m.

    Mr. Trent

    Have you read the article?

    2nd Page under Gospel Themes
    For more than 20 years President Monson has PLAYED the role of Scrooge for 27 years at Hale Centre Theatres annual production of A Christmas Carol."

  • Gregg Weber SEATTLE, WA
    Dec. 19, 2011 8:53 a.m.

    For many who confuse the United Order with Socialism, Fascism, and Communism as practiced in many countries under many leaders this is used as a means of all capitalist or businessmen as greedy and that equality to be accomplished is a goal too large for individual charity, or business charity. It can only be done by government taking and then forcing the people to do right so that none shall be lost.
    True their system wasn't perfect. Neither is our's. They had "prisons", "Union workhouses", and the "Treadmill and the Poor Law". We have bankrupty among other things. But there were others, businessmen, who were rich enough to be able to give and did help the poor as shown by the two gentlemen who were visiting them with requests. Those willing to help were represented by Fezziwig; while the unwilling by Scrooge and his father (for whatever reasons).
    Giving isn't entirely limited to the rich. The middle-class and the poor also give as they can.
    Unexpressed is the attitude of the receiver but I have 16 words left and that is another subject.

  • kokua KAYSVILLE, UT
    Dec. 19, 2011 8:45 a.m.

    One of the many biblical juxtaposition of images Dickens masterfully wove into his " A Christmas Carol " was the symbolic old testament image of Ebenezer with an old grizzled miser Scrooge.

    While a humorous image, Ebenezer is a very motivating and inspiring ancient Hebrew symbol:

    "Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshannah and named it Ebenezer; for he said, " Thus far the LORD has helped us." ( 1 Samuel 4:1-11 and 5:1 )

    The word Ebenezer comes from Hebrew and is actually two words pronounced together: Even Haazer. It is usually transliterated as a proper name dropping the definite article (Ha) from the Hebrew word for "help" (Ezer) combining with the Hebrew word for "stone" (Even) to create "Ebenezer" . The etymological roots of the word, should demonstrate that an "Ebenezer" is, literally, a " Stone of Help." source; writings of Dr. Gregory S. Neal Senior pastor of St. Stephen United Methodist Church, Mesquite Texas.

    I love how Dickens rich and deep symbolic juxtaposition between greed, selfishness and the repentant Scrooge who became a " Stone of Help " to the poor and the destitute an uneducated folk.

    Merry Christmas !

  • Trent Toone
    Dec. 19, 2011 8:38 a.m.

    The truth is President Monson has attended the play at the Hale Centre Theatre for more than 20 years. He has not acted in the play. Not sure where you found this, it's not in the story. Richard Wilkins has acted in the production as Scrooge for 27 years. That's accurate.

  • Mayfair City, Ut
    Dec. 19, 2011 7:11 a.m.

    from article--"For more than 20 years President Monson has played the role of Scrooge for 27 years at Hale Centre Theatres annual production of A Christmas Carol."

    This was very interesting to learn. I didn't know Pres. Monson had been involved with theater. Does anyone know what ages he was for these years he played the part of Scrooge?