Saturday's Warrior

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Saturday's Warrior
Saturdays warrior.jpg
Directed by Bob Williams
Produced by Bob Williams
Gary Lewis
Written by Douglas Stewart
Starring Erik Hickenlooper
Cori Jacobsen
Davison Cheney
Bart Hickenlooper
Music by Lex de Azevedo
Distributed by Fieldbrook Entertainment
Release date(s) 1989
Country United States
Language English

Saturday's Warrior is a Latter-day Saint (Mormon) musical written by Douglas Stewart and Lex de Azevedo. The musical tells the story of a group of children that are born into a Mormon family after making various promises in the pre-existence. Two of the children, Jimmy and Julie, encounter personal struggles that help them rediscover and fulfill their foreordained missions in life. Although an explicit timeframe is not given in the dialogue, certain contextual clues (in particular, a song that demonizes the Zero population growth movement) suggest that the story takes place in the late 1960s or early 1970s. The musical explores the Mormon doctrines of pre-existence, foreordination, and eternal marriage. It also depicts abortion and birth control as being contrary to the divine plan of salvation.

Saturday's Warrior was first performed in California in 1973 as a college project.[1] In 1989, Bob Williams made a video version of the musical, setting it on a stage as opposed to giving the movie a more naturalistic look. It is among the first popular LDS films to not be made or sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or Brigham Young University.[1]

A sequel, The White Star, debuted in 2007.

Plot synopsis[edit]

While waiting to be born in the pre-existence, a family of eight children promise each other that they will always be there for each other ("Pullin' Together"). The youngest, Emily, is afraid when her turn to be born comes around, their parents will be tired of having kids, and she won't be born into their family. The oldest, Jimmy, promises Emily he will personally see to it she will be born into their family. Julie, the second-oldest daughter, and Tod, another spirit in the pre-existence, promise each other that, while on earth, they will somehow find each other and get married ("Circle of Our Love").

However, finding themselves on earth, living a mortal life, no one remembers the promises they made before they were born. Julie finds herself desperately in love with Wally Kestler, who is now leaving to serve a two-year mission. Julie promises she'll wait for him ("Will I Wait For You?"). Jimmy is a typical confused teenager, influenced by peer pressure and rebellious against his parents. He finds himself in the company of other teenagers who are critical of his parents for having such a large family and advocate philosophies such as zero population growth and legalized abortion ("Zero Population"). Because of their influence, he becomes upset when he learns his parents are going to have another baby (Emily). Pam, Jimmy's twin sister, who has medical problems and can't walk, talks to Jimmy and tries to help him sort things out ("Line Upon Line"). Jimmy is still confused and leaves home to live with his friends. But when Jimmy has a chance encounter and conversation with a non-Mormon named Tod Richards ("Voices") and then gets a phone call from his family telling him Pam has died, he begins some serious personal reflection ("Brace Me Up"). He decides to return to his family.

Meanwhile, Julie gets engaged to another man (named Peter), and writes a "Dear John letter" to Wally while he's still on his mission ("He's Just a Friend/Dear John"). Wally is devastated, but his companion, Elder Green, convinces him to "shape up" and keep preaching the gospel ("Humble Way"). Though the two companions have not had much success proselyting, they find Tod, who has been searching for answers ("Paper Dream") and teach him by the Spirit. Julie decides she doesn't want to marry Peter after all, but when Wally comes home from his mission, he brings Tod with him, and Julie realizes he's the man she's been searching for all her life ("Feelings of Forever").

At the climax of the movie, Pam dies and meets Emily in Heaven. They joyously reunite, and then she says goodbye to her, as it's her turn to be born. Emily is born, and the main title song, "Saturday's Warrior", is played as a finale.

Musical numbers[edit]

Musical Numbers, as included in the original play soundtrack:[2]

Recognition[edit]

Although Saturday's Warrior is considered a classic in the Mormon community,[3] particularly in the Mormon Corridor, it is not well known in the rest of the world. The themes of Saturday's Warrior resound with many Latter-day Saints—that everyone is a literal child of God, and in remembering this, they will be better able to hold on to their morals and beliefs as they are increasingly criticized and ridiculed especially now, in what is called "the last days" (hence the title, Saturday's Warrior -- Saturday being the last day of the week, an allegory for the last days). It also emphasizes the belief that though their morals may seem restrictive, these morals actually give them more freedom. At the same time, Saturday's Warrior is notable for being a popular source of unsanctioned doctrine not taught by the LDS Church - such as pre-existence-founded romantic relationships reaching fruition during mortality, and families being together before they come to the earth.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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