A Lesson About Heaven And Hell From ‘The Twilight Zone’

the twilight zone

TheDiscipleMD

As I grew up in the 1960’s and 70’s the emergence of television, with its powerful medium of communication, was just starting to exercise its influence on the culture of our country.  One show from my childhood that I vividly remember was “The Twilight Zone.”  You wouldn’t think that a TV show could have spiritual undertones,  but several episodes that stayed in my mind are those that later tied into gospel themes.

One such episode told the story of a petty thief who had lived a life of crime. The opening scene showed him robbing someone and then being shot as he tried to escape. He then died in the street. The next scene showed him in the afterlife as a “guardian angel” attended to his every need. The thief was so excited because everything he did in his new life turned out wonderful. It showed him gambling on the tables. He won every time. He bet on the horses; every horse he bet on won. He played pool, took one shot and every ball went into the pockets. At the request of his “angel” he asked for and received beautiful women on his arms. He was given everything he wanted to eat. The thief couldn’t understand how he could end up in such a great place. He questioned the angel about it seeing as he didn’t recall doing anything good in his life.  The angel took out a file on him, kind of like “The Book of Life” mentioned in the scriptures.  Everything the angel read was negative.  His “book of life”  was full of the bad things that he had done. The thief scratched his head and wondered how he had ended up in heaven. But, he didn’t care. He just smiled and went on living the “high life”, but after a while this new life became boring and irritating to the thief.  His temper started to rise and he became angry at the “guardian angel”. He complained in an angry voice to the angel:

“It isn’t fun to win every time at everything; nor to have anything I want at my whim”. He then continued:

“I think a mistake has been made. I don’t know how I ended up in such a great place. I don’t much like it here.  I think I should be in the other place. You know where I mean!”  The angel gave him a devious look and said: “I don’t think you understand. You ARE in that place!” It was then revealed that the “supposed” angel was really the devil. The episode ended with the resounding laugh of the devil in the background as the camera panned to the horrified look on the face of the thief.

“For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so… righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility…And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents… it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter. (2 Nephi 2:11, 15).

And so, when the rains descend upon us or during the stormy times of life, remember, opposition is needed and is eternal. Without it, we could not know the good as there would be no evil. Like the thief from “The Twilight Zone” episode, we would soon tire of the sunshine because we wouldn’t know that rain existed!

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