My Own Movie

By Dan Lindstrom

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    This story is adapted from a fireside talk.

    Most people are glad to get away from home for a couple of weeks when they get a vacation. I’m glad to come home. Concert dates can keep our performing group away from home for months at a time. That’s probably why I felt so relaxed being back in Salt Lake, standing in line with a girl I liked, ready to see a movie I thought I’d rave about.

    It was a popular space science fiction film, and the line was long. Waiting gave us time to talk but also time to think. My mind wandered to parts of section 88 in the Doctrine and Covenants. Section 88 [D&C 88] talks about the judgment day.

    Verses 108 through 110 [D&C 88:108–110] talk about a great revealing that will take place, during which our actions will be shown to all. These verses even mention that our thoughts will be unveiled and imply that our life’s journey will be recreated to prove that the judgment is just.

    I had heard people describe this as an epic motion picture on a giant screen, but that thought had never really been clear to me before. Now the thoughts came rushing to me. If a movie were made of my life, would I be half as excited to see it as the one I was standing in line to see now? Would I want to take a girl I liked to see it? Would I take my bishop? My friends? Would I invite the Savior?

    What started as a simple thought evolved into deep reflections about my life and the motion picture I would make. The concept remained in my mind long after the true film ended and I had driven my date home. In fact, I kept thinking about it for weeks. I couldn’t get rid of the concern I felt wondering what type of movie it would be.

    Who will be the star of my movie? Who else could have the lead role in “Dan Lindstrom on Earth” but Dan Lindstrom? I find that fascinating. Having my name first helps me when I feel depressed or discouraged. All I do is remember that the camera is recording all my thoughts and actions, and I become happy and start doing something positive.

    In the film “Man’s Search for Happiness,” we are told that each of us will be held accountable for every minute of our lives on this planet. This means that perhaps my movie will not only show what I did but what I could have done if I had used my opportunities to the fullest. Thinking about that helps me decide to use my time more wisely. I want to be found in holy places.

    I did a little research about filmmaking, too. In the library I studied the responsibilities of a producer. I learned that he takes all the risks. He manages the finances, so he takes the greatest gamble. If the movie is a success, he might earn millions of dollars; if it fails he might lose everything he has. I must be the producer of my movie, since I am the one taking the chances. It will tell of exaltation or outer darkness, or somewhere in between. I am the one who oversees production, who determines where the movie will be filmed and what quality of film will result.

    The producer also hires the supporting cast. I do the same thing in my life movie, in a way, because I decide who will appear in it and how prominent their roles will be. The people I associate with and the person I marry are decisions I must make.

    A director is vital to any film. Satan is always more than willing to direct. In fact, he doesn’t even wait to be asked. He’ll try to take control whenever he can. The Holy Ghost is also willing to direct. But neither of these two directors works for free. Although Satan may be eager to get started, he demands an eternal fee. The Holy Ghost demands strict obedience to principles of cleanliness and righteous living. I alone decide which power I will allow to direct me, and I hope and pray that I may have the wisdom and the strength to allow that to be the Holy Ghost.

    I am aware that there will be no stunt men filling in in my show. When things become rough or dangerous, I can’t call for someone to take my place. The Lord decided we would come to this earth and experience life directly. I can’t ask someone else to do it for me; I must act out every frame.

    There will, however, be editing in my film if I ask for it. In a highly technical motion picture, like “Star Wars” for example, many scenes are shot over and over from various angles and then the best clips are used in the final version. If something isn’t right the first time, it can be improved upon and tried again. Editors labor strenuously deciding what to keep and what to throw away. The Lord has given us a similar method of taking out bad scenes and closing up the gaps. It’s called repentance, and it’s just as effective as the man with razor blade and tape who slices and splices films in Hollywood. Anything eliminated by the Lord’s method, however, is gone forever and he doesn’t hold it against us. (See D&C 58:42.)

    What happens though, if after editing (repenting) there’s not much left of my film? If it seems that might happen to me, then I need to become a good writer. It is my responsibility to make the scenes worthwhile and exciting, to develop the plot and lead it to a glorious climax. Too many people sit and rest and wait for life to happen.

    Regular entries in my journal help me not only record progress on my film but also provide a place to list daily goals and prewrite scenes before acting them out. Morning prayers help prepare the script for the day. Evening prayers analyze progress on another exciting scene in my movie. Each day should be a beautiful and powerful episode.

    I am grateful to the Lord for my chance to be here on this planet and for the power and trust he has vested in me. I know he expects me to do many good things of my own free will, and perhaps this idea of making a movie of my life will help me to do such things. I hope that I will find, if I do produce such an imaginary picture, that I will be happy to stand in line to see it when it comes on the screen.

    Show References

    • Dan Lindstrom is a singer in the Sunshade and Rain trio. He is also a seventy, and has been set apart as a general missionary (without specific assignment) for the Church.