(This post was originally posted on my personal blog in July 2011)
This blog post has been coming for a long time. It’s just been hard to put it into words. Many of my friends from Hill Cumorah Pageant will remember belting out “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” during karaoke on Hobart Day. There is also a Youtube video that Garrett showed me of him belting out this song (big mistake, buddy, haha). I also have memories of my friend, Michele Smith (who is now on her mission in Japan), playing this song whenever we (me, her, Melissa, and Eric) were going somewhere in Eric’s car. I absolutely love this song. It is such a goofy, weird, and strangely spiritually inspirational song.
The day my district left the MTC for Toronto, we were walking across the MTC campus in the early morning, this song was going through my head. Maybe it was because we were up so early… maybe it was because we’d spent three weeks straight trying to train ourselves to think spiritually… maybe it’s just because I’m weird… I started to analyze this song spiritually, in regards to a mission, so here we go:
The biggest point of this song, spiritually, that I saw came from a conversation I’d once had with Juliana about guys and missions. The point of the conversation had been that missions turn boys into men. In other words, the mission will “make a man out of you.” Get it? ;) A mission (hopefully) will teach a young man to follow the Spirit, to learn the gospel, and what is most important. Even after only the three and a half months I was out, people could see this in me.
I’m sure I could break down most of the lines of this song to have some spiritual meaning, but there’s one part that means something to me particularly right now as I come closer to finding out about returning to my mission (even if I don’t know exactly when I will find out): “You’re unsuited for the rage of war. So, pack up, go home. You’re through. How could I make a man out of you?” I mentioned the spiritual application of this part to Garrett in one of my letters. Oddly enough (or not oddly, for anyone who knows me and him) he had been thinking of a spiritual application to this song too and he’d gotten stuck on this line. My spiritual application that I told him was this: the line is Satan telling us we’re no good, we can’t make it the rest of the way, and we can’t do it. If you remember from the movie, though, this line in the song is said and Mulan is about to leave. She turns around, sees the pole, arrow, and medals from the original challenge that Shang had given them. She goes back and makes it up the pole.
Life seems to get hard just before something good happens (so I’m expecting something good pretty quick). Satan tells us we’re not good enough or strong enough to make it through the trial. If we give up when he tells us to though, we’ll miss out on the prize that our Heavenly Father has in store for us. He will never ask us to do more than we can handle (1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 Nephi 3:7). When Joseph Smith was in the Sacred Grove, the adversary attacked him. By his own account, Joseph Smith was just about to give up, when the light of Heaven began to appear (JS-H 1:16). He will rescue us in our darkest hour. That I know for certain.