The Gospel According to Jack Sparrow

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The Gospel according to Jack Sparrow

One of the most memorable characters in all of Disneydom is Captain Jack Sparrow. He has become the most beloved pirate character since Long John Silver from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island (and of course who could forget the magnificent Treasure Planet also by Disney). While he may not be the most saintly sailor on the sea, Jack Sparrow has much to teach us.

Especially about the gospel.

Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Code

Jack Sparrow
© 2014 DontSpeakSilent. Licensed under CC-BY

Be Kind

“Why fight when you can negotiate?”  -Jack Sparrow

Jack Sparrow is intimately aware of the fact that fighting just leads to more fighting. He negotiates. We should do likewise. I mean that we should never fight with the intention to do harm. More or less, we should be kind and not mean. Joseph B Wirthlin summed it up pretty well when he said, “Kindness is the essence of a celestial life. Kindness is how a Christlike person treats others.”

Let’s all be kind. How about we not fight, negotiate if we have to, but above everything else, be kind.

Pirates Look For Treasure

“Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate.”   -Jack Sparrow

In Luke 12:34 we read, “for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” This is very deep doctrine. It deals with value. Too many people put too much value on money. Don’t get me wrong, I love money just as much as the next person. I like to buy things and eat them (I generally buy food) but I try not to treasure money.

Pirate Treasure Chest
All the glitters isn’t gold

If we think about our experience here on this big swirling blueberry (see the Movie Rocketmanwe’ve all got an egg timer that will go off at some point. I am going to die. You are going to die (see the movie What About Bob). All we have is our time and what we do with it. We would be wise to correctly align our priorities around eternally significant things.

A Pirate’s Problems

“The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?” – Jack Sparrow

This is truly sublime. Yes, I might be somewhat biased (I’m a big fan of positive thinking and paradigm shifting), but this is so true it hurts. Human beings are some of the only creatures, if not the only creature that can think about the way it thinks. We can look at the mental windows (perspectives) through which we view our surroundings. This can let us figure out if the windows are dirty. There’s actually a Mormon message about that.

This is good news for people like Laman and Lemuel. This principle distinctly proves that the way they looked at all of their supposed “problems” was the real problem. We know that they constantly complained, but it was because “they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them” (1 Nephi 2:12). They couldn’t even start to look at their problem correctly, because they didn’t understand the Plan.

Self-Awareness

“Crazy people don’t know they are crazy. I know I am crazy, therefore I am not crazy. Isn’t that crazy.” -Jack Sparrow

As the quote to the right suggests, Jack is ironically very self-aware. He understands that you must “know thyself.” Jack knows that you mustn’t hide your own faults from yourself, let alone the Lord. He knows that recognizing and accepting such faults is the only way that you can overcome them.

This is, in fact, a process of coming unto Christ.  When we come unto Christ, He shows us these weaknesses and makes them into strengths (Ether 12:27). This means brutal honesty. We need to understand “the greatness of God, and [our] own nothingness,” (Mosiah 4:11). That doesn’t mean we should become depressed. We recognize what is, and thank God. His greatness is on our team after all.

 A Pirate’s Life for Me

Pirate Flag
Yo ho yo ho

“But better to not know which moment may be your last. Every morsel of your entire being alive to the infinite mystery of it all.”   -Jack Sparrow

Sometimes we ask why it couldn’t be easier. We ask why we couldn’t know the end from the beginning (Abraham 2:8) as the Lord does. I know I frequently ask that question and have it answered. In part, it’s because we need to learn how to live. We need to learn how to enjoy every moment. This life truly is a gift and we can learn to appreciate it a little more every day.

“Men are, that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25). We are supposed to stop and smell the roses. It’s good for us to enjoy the smell of cut grass, and really savor eating a giant ice cream sundae. Obviously, we need to have moderation, but we also need to really live. We really need to take in our experiences and appreciate what we do have. God wants us to feel alive.

I Will Prevail

“The seas may be rough, but I am the Captain. I will always prevail.” -Jack Sparrow

This is a very important Gospel principle. Here the fateful buccaneer is teaching us to believe. He wants us to believe in ourselves and that things will work out in the end. Based on his own escapades, he believes in himself and that things will work out. It works for him. It will work for us as well.

Life, like the ocean, is unpredictable and seldom forgiving. Elder Ulysses S. Soares taught, “this is a war that we can and will win. The Lord trusts in our capacity and determination to do so.” The Lord trusts us, and what’s more is prepared to help us overcome. We will prevail.

Shall We Not Go On

A Horizon
No end to Glory

“Now bring me that horizon.”                        – Jack Sparrow

Our proud captain knows for every sailor there is the horizon. That, of course, is a metaphor. We are sailors on the sea of life. We are pointed towards our horizon, our celestial goal. Unlike the horizon, we can actually reach our goal. Like Jack Sparrow, much adventure awaits us along the way.

We Have Our Heading

Life is our adventure. We may not be buccaneers in the strictest sense, but we can live by Jack Sparrow’s Pirate code. Ok, his real code isn’t that great, nor is it Gospel related. We can, however, live by the Lord’s code. He is our real Captain, the One at the helm of our lives. He will never run us aground.

Thanks for reading this post. If you have any topic suggestions let us know. Also, we’d appreciate it if you’d share this post with all of your pirate-obsessed friends. God Bless.

Justin Lewis, a lifetime member of the Church, is a current BYU student studying marketing and Italian. He is also a part-time content writer at econfinancial.com, and works at Holdman Stained Glass Studios. He aspires to produce his own podcasts and invest in real estate.