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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

These Aren't the Droids You're Looking For

by Reid:

I recently saw a friend deploy a Jedi mind trick in an attempt to evade being 'volunteered' for an assignment at a church function. He waved his hand and said "these aren't the droids you're looking for." Genius! Though a relatively new convert, he demonstrated maturity well beyond his years in the Church in that moment. Even though he was only joking around, his bold move really got me thinking about the Jedi mind trick.

For those that need a refresher on how the mind trick is played to perfection, review the dialogue from this scene in Star Wars Episode IV - A New Hope here.*

Obi-Wan Kanobi uses the Jedi mind trick on stormtroopers
at a checkpoint at Mos Eisley spaceport on Tatooine.

Obi-Wan Kanobi assured young Luke Skywalker that the mind trick could be employed to good effect since "the force can have a strong influence on the weak minded." My friend had no other options. Tactically speaking it was a brilliant move. But it didn't work for him. He and his wife were 'volunteered' anyways. They took it all in stride. You win some and lose some, right?

There's actually a number of other examples in which the Jedi mind trick didn't work--even for a Jedi. Luke had it working pretty well with Bib Fortuna, but things got sideways in a hurry when he tried it on Jabba the Hutt** (here to watch Luke's strikeout). In Qui-Gon Jinn's attempted use of the mind trick, things went poorly from the outset.

Although there are times when I think mastery of the mind trick would come in handy, those reasons are mostly selfish. Jedi doctrine forbade a Jedi from ever using the mind trick for personal gain.*** It is probably better for all of us to think about being victimized by such trickery rather than becoming a master of it. In this context, Obi-Wan's use of the mind trick at Mos Eisley reminds me of a classic passage in the Book of Mormon. In it, Nephi describes Satan deftly using the mind trick for his own selfish purposes:
And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well--and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them carefully down to hell.

And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none--and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them in his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance. (2 Nephi 28:21-22)
Obi-Wan Kenobi and Jabba the Hutt both agree that those most susceptible to the mind trick are the weak minded. It has become a standard operating procedure for the world to casually wave a hand and say 'these aren't the droids you're looking for'. We are sometimes too easily persuaded that evil is okay, that darkness has a subtle luminescence and that something that is bitter actually tastes kinda good (Isaiah 5:20). This weak-mindedness, called carnal-mindedness by both Paul (Romans 8:6) and Nephi (2 Nephi 9:39), can bring about our spiritual demise. Spiritual mindedness, on the other hand brings peace and eternal life. This spiritual mindedness can confer on us a type of situational awareness that alerts us to deception. Like Jabba or Watto, we see right through the hand waving and soft tones that would lull us into a dumbed-down state of complacency.

Our vulnerability to these kinds of deceptions will wax and wane over time as our spiritual mind subjects our carnal mind (and vice versa). During weaker moments many of us will resort to trying to deploy a mind trick ourselves to suit our selfish purposes. But remember the advice of Nephi, lest any of us think we can sweet-talk our way past the checkpoint to heaven:
O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name (2 Nephi 9:41, emphasis mine).
Evidently Nephi knew a thing or two about Jedi mind tricks.

*Mos Eisley Space Station

Stormtrooper: Let me see your identification.
Obi-Wan Kenobi: You don't need to see his identification.
Stormtrooper: We don't need to see his identification.
Obi-Wan Kenobi: These aren't the droids you're looking for.
Stormtrooper: These aren't the droids we're looking for.
Obi-Wan Kenobi: He can go about his business.
Stormtrooper: You can go about your business.
Obi-Wan Kenobi: Move along.
Stormtrooper: Move along. Move along.

**Luke Confronts Jabba the Hutt

Bib Fortuna: May I present Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight?
Jabba the Hutt: I told you not to admit him!
Luke: I must be allowed to speak.
Bib Fortuna He must be allowed to speak.
Jabba the Hutt: You weak minded fool! He's using an old Jedi mind trick.
[Jabba shoves Bib Fortuna aside]
Luke: You will bring Captain Solo and the Wookiee to me.
[Jabba laughs]
Jabba the Hutt: Your mind powers will not work on me boy.

*** See this this link for more information on Force Persuasion.

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Reid is an endocrinologist from Henderson, Nevada. He's blessed with wonderful wife and three great kids. His interests are charitably characterized as eclectic: cycling, fly-fishing, history, travel and the coinage of the Flavian dynasty of Imperial Rome. With a deep-seated belief that people habitually do dumb things, he's trying really hard to keep things positive. People are not making it any easier these days. The gospel has helped a lot. Blog:

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