LDS Mormon Great Pumpkin Analogy





Believing in Mormonism and Believing in The Great Pumpkin
by Erin Groscost

Deconstructing Linus: Portrait of a True Believing Pumpkinist as a Young Man

What does the Great Pumpkin offer Linus? Why does Linus spend every Halloween in the pumpkin patch, waiting for the Great Pumpkin to appear? Is it about the toys?

"Each year on Halloween night, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere and flies through the air with his pack of toys for all the good little children in the world."

No. This is about sincerity, a subjective standard by any definition.

I wonder if Linus blames himself every year for not picking the most sincere pumpkin patch for his vigil?

I wonder if other Great Pumpkinists castigate Linus by asserting if he were more in tune with the Spirit of the Great Pumpkin, if he were more prayerful, if he read the Holy Writ of the Great Pumpkin with a greater sincerity, that he could indeed rise to the challenge and, via the Spirit, be lead to choose the most sincere pumpkin patch?

I wonder how many years Linus will feel guilty for this failure and blame himself for receiving no answer no matter how sincere he believes himself to be?

I wonder if Linus ever gets frustrated because there is no objective way to measure sincerity? And if he realizes there is no objective standard for such a thing, I wonder if it ever creeps into his mind that his annual mission is nothing more than mindless busywork?

I wonder, does Linus ever has doubts?

For the time being, however, Linus will put aside his doubts and, perhaps as a means of proving his sincerity, begins to proselyte among his friends for converts. Most shrug him off. But Sally, who has a crush on him, believes Linus and agrees to spend Halloween in Linus’ Pumpkin Patch.

Linus then explains that by using positive language and positive thinking, they may be able to attract the Great Pumpkin to their Patch. He also cautions Sally that negative language and negative thinking will cause the Great Pumpkin to pass them by.

There is no room for doubt when one is a Great Pumpkinist. One should never say if the Great Pumpkin comes but always when the Great Pumpkin comes. "One little slip like that, can cause the Great Pumpkin to pass you by!" It’s hard to imagine a benevolent icon such as the Great Pumpkin punishing TBPs (True Believing Pumkinists) for such a minor infraction, but there you have it.

Sally: The Birth of an Ex-Pumpkinist

Because Sally loves her “sweet baboo” Linus, she sets aside her own Halloween plans of trick-or-treating and a Halloween party in order to spend the evening in the Pumpkin Patch. She converts to Great Pumpkinism because she loves Linus. She respects his opinion. And she wants to make him happy and be supportive. And besides, if it’s really true, WOW! Wouldn’t that be fantastic?

But in the end, the only Being that shows up in the Pumpkin Patch is Snoopy. Linus, believing Snoopy to be the Great Pumpkin, swoons into an ecstatic faint, happy in the knowledge that he has finally deciphered the Great Pumpkin’s standard for sincerity. But, alas, it is a misplaced hope, and when Linus regains consciousness, there is not only no Great Pumpkin there to reward him, there is one upset little girl.

"I was robbed! I spent the whole night waiting for the Great Pumpkin when I could have been out for tricks or treats! Halloween is over and I missed it! You blockhead! You kept me up all night waiting for the Great Pumpkin and all that came was a beagle!"

"I didn't get a chance to go out for tricks or treats! And it was all your fault! I'll sue! What a fool I was. And I could have had candy apples and gum! And cookies and money and all sorts of things! But no, I had to listen to you! You blockhead. What a fool I was. Trick or treats come only once a year. And I missed it by sitting in a pumpkin patch with a blockhead. You owe me restitution!"

Luckily for Sally, she only missed one Halloween. And though she is demanding restitution, because her participation was voluntary, she will never receive said restitution. She’ll simply have to accept the experience as one of life’s absurdities and move on.

However, one can hope that this experience has made Sally a more skeptical person, so that the next time she is presented with such fantastic claims, she’ll perhaps be inclined to do her research before committing any time, money or emotion.

After all, fantastic claims should be supported by fantastic evidence, right?

The question now becomes, has this experience made Linus a skeptic? After yet again not having his Pumpkin Patch recognized as sincere and after having endangered his friendship with Sally, will he continue to believe?

In spite of a complete and utter lack of evidence pointing to the existence of the Great Pumpkin, and a complete and utter lack of the Great Pumpkin’s Promise ever having been fulfilled, Linus is a True Believing Pumpkinist to the core. To even admit the possibility that he may be wrong would be to negate all those years of hard work and sincere belief. Linus simply cannot turn his back on his belief.

So if Linus doesn't become an ex-Pumpkinist, what is his strategy? Well, he’s going to keep on trying, isn't he?

"What do you mean, 'stupid'? Just wait until next year. I'll find a pumpkin patch, and I'll sit in that pumpkin patch and it'll be a sincere pumpkin patch, and the Great Pumpkin will come! Just you wait and see! I'll sit in that pumpkin patch, and I'll see the Great Pumpkin. Just wait until next year!"

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