What is the churchs’ stance on Harry Potter?

Posted on January 1, 2012 at 12:01 am

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Question

Gramps,

I heard that President Uchtdorf endorses Harry Potter. I am troubled to think that an Apostle would endorse Harry Potter. Is that true? Has the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made a stance in terms of Harry Potter?

Malea

 

Answer

Malea,

I don’t think there has been an official statement from the General Authorities about the Harry Potter books. I don’t really expect one either because they don’t really address anything that would cause concern to the doctrines and principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I can understand the concern you have. I cannot recall President Uchtdorf endorsing the Harry Potter books, but it makes sense from a certain perspective. Let me explain it this way.

The world is an increasingly hostile and harmful place for children. Good examples and good influences are becoming more and more rare. The Harry Potter books do indeed contain much about the world of wizardry and witchcraft, about spells and potions, and magical powers.

However, these are not what the books are actually about. The books are fictional, and I think the audience they are targeted at understands this more than we give them credit for. It’s what the books do with this magical setting that is beyond commendable. The books teach consistently of several truths in life.

– Doing the right thing is always the right thing to do.

– Friends are important and friends help each other through even the most difficult of times.

– Sometimes children are better at making good choices than adults.

– Having a good example to follow in life is a blessing.

– Being a good example is what happens when you do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.

– Doing the right thing is not always the easy choice.

– Honoring your parents is more important than trying to fit in, or trying to ‘be cool’ in the eyes of others.

There are others of course, but my point is that the Harry Potter books use the imagination of children to help them understand countless positive ideas and truths they otherwise may never be taught.

Gramps

Summary
  • Cpt_moroni

    Has to be the worst “ask gramps” question I’ve ever seen on here. Harry Potter? C’mon! Lol:)

  • Robert

    I see a very different side on this issue. There is a very valid reason why there has been such a huge increase of interest in Witchcraft, Magic, Sorcery, Vampires, Ghost Hunters, Zombies, Tattoos, Paranormal Activity, etc., here in the last days. The Adversary is trying to mainstream these things into society so that more people—especially young people—-will investigate them and incorporate them into their lives. Sprinkling it with truth here and there only sweetens the lure.

    It was Isaiah who said, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20

    In commenting on the last days of the Nephite civilization, Mormon lamented, “And it came to pass that there were sorceries, and witchcrafts, and magics; and the power of the evil one was wrought upon all the face of the land…” Mormon 1:19.

    Also: “…for behold no man could keep that which was his own, for the thieves, and the robbers, and the murderers, and the magic art, and the witchcraft which was in the land.” Mormon 2:10.

    When a civilization nears the end of it’s righteous season, and moral relativism begins to be the accepted norm, these things begin to abound in the land.

    Mormon also gives us the key on how to judge these things: “For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which [A] inviteth to do good, and [B] to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

    “But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to [A] do evil, and [B] believe not in Christ, and [C] deny him, and [D] serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.” Moroni 7:16-17.

  • Amber

    with all that being said I guess our children should also not watch any disney movies. Those are laced with magic and evil and witches.

  • Connie

    I agree with you. I feel that “people” are very quick to conclude that “it is bad, nomatter what it’s bad because it has something bad in it.” I would feel differently if magic was portrayed as an evil thing and yet the characters were trying sell it as good and ok. But that is not what is happening. I feel that before we go off on a witch hunt (see what I did there), we should always be more quick to judge, for ourselves, how we FEEL. I agree with gramps that the books teach a lot of valuable and important life lessons. These make me feel good and that is what I take away from reading the books. I like the creative way that these books can teach young kids these lessons. I never took the magic thing lightly, but I honestly feel that it is not used to trick or entice children to do or act in evil ways. I just can’t jump on that bandwagon.

  • Robert

    How many millions of kids throughout the world have been inspired by Harry Potter to go out and research witchcraft and sorcery on their own? And try to implement incantations in their own lives? My own wife now—-a returned LDS missionary—–spends most of her time on the internet researching spells, incantations, potions, etc. What was the spark that started all this? The Harry Potter films 10 years ago. Inspired of God? Or by the Adversary?

  • Robert

    I think you can use a dozen jelly donuts—–harmless in and of themselves—–to lure a victim like breadcrumbs to a far more insidious end result.

  • sleepy LDS mom

    people are also really quick to pull out the scriptures and find examples to prove their point.
    That’s good!
    but contained in those very same books are accounts of bad and evil things that bad and evil people had done. they also contain what one person had to do to help the victims of those evil deeds and overcome.
    sometimes those people died at the hands of the evil doers.

    in hundreds of beloved Disney stories/movies (and not just Disney) they are all about the wicked witch or the fairy godmother or some other magical being. some bad, some good, but there is an adversary that must be overcome. there is always a moral to the story – good always wins, love conquers all. that kind of stuff. but because they have a magical element does that make the whole story bad? no.

    if you or your child can not tell the difference between real and pretend then, definitely, stay away from influences that will only confuse.

    but don’t get all high and mighty, especially if you’ve never read it.

  • PersonalProgressHelper

    Somebody transcribed a talk Uchtdorf gave at a Stake Conference in the Spring of 2007, where he both mentioned his anticipation of the last book’s release, and shared a quote from Dumbledore. It was posted online, but it’s been gone for a while now. He has, however, mentioned The Hobbit in the 2012 Young Women’s Broadcast, and in general seems to be a large fan of the fantasy genre.

  • Jud Jensen

    Guess Star Wars is out with you too? Sorry Robert, “I find your lack of faith Disturbing.” Sorry, just a quote there. Since you like to quote scripture, here is one for you.

    Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
    It is your responsibility to properly teach your child, and not leave it to the world. Then and only then will kids know that this is just a story and will be able to keep it in the appropriate context.

  • Abish

    I agree with Gramps. It’s only fictional and the idea of the author was clearly to create a magical world for children/readers to use their imagination and enjoy the read. Children understand that it’s not real because nothing portrayed in the book occurs in our everyday life. If you feel it is, then all the Disney movies, nursery rhymes and made up children books that were ever written, produced and published are also contrary to our way of life because it’s all a lie!

    My children have read the whole series and by no means were they ever confused as to what was real and what is fiction. If you feel it is then clearly don’t allow your children to read them. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but there is nothing in the books that is/claim to be contrary to our beliefs in the church because it’s all fictional. Put it this way, there are many stories of miracles written in the scriptures that could be seen by non members as magical (appearance of an angel, the chariot and horses of fire that took Elijah into the heavens) to them it’s stretched beyond imagination because Christians around the world believe this to be the word of God, true events that have occurred & yet to them, it would be considered very much like the Harry Potter Books. Difference is, we know the scriptures where as the Harry Potter books are fictional, made up and should hold no weight in what we believe as members

  • Joseph

    I find that this question reminds me of why some parents ban the books because it is the teachings of the devil. reminds me of the Salem Witchtrial thinkings. Harry Potter isn’t a how to book, it’s a fictional STORY that contains many lessons which we will need for our lives.

  • JennyC

    I am a returned LDS sister missionary. The Harry Potter books are some of my favorites. As someone who has taken multiple writing courses at collegiate level, I can honestly say these books are written quite well. So well, in fact, that people imagine that it would be fair wondrous to be part of the “magical” world. However, I can see how uneducated people could confuse imaginary with reality. Sounds like your wife needs a dose of reality and more education (maybe along the lines of science and doctrine). Also, perhaps, she needs something more in her life to make her happier if she is filling it with nonsense.

  • Veggiegirl14

    I had a Sunday school teacher refer to Harry Potter as a “Christ-like archetype.” He always felt like stories like that of Harry Potter, super heros, etc. where one person presents a great sacrifice to help others especially strangers are the manifestation of everyone’s instinctive knowledge of the plan of salvation. It’s kind of a cool way to think about it if you ask me.

  • lkaumans

    Seriously, “millions of kids”. I’m sure you have some actual research into that figure or are you just pulling it out of your hat? I agree with Gramps on this one. Anyone who is lead astray by Harry Potter, had other issues going on to begin with. The same can be said of any literary work.

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