The Veiled Cave
The Voyagers – WayFinders – Ancestors
The Necklace
Heihei the Rooster

Moana – A Parable of Christ – Part 1
Moana – A Parable of Christ – Part 2
Moana – A Parable of Christ – Part 3
Moana – A Parable of Christ – Part 4
Moana – A Parable of Christ – Part 5
Moana – A Parable of Christ – Part 6

WARNING: If you have not seen the movie yet, the remainder of this post is full of spoilers. I had to assume that readers had already seen the movie in order to write it.



One of the most moving scenes for me was when Moana asked the right question to finally discover the answer she had been seeking for so long. Things that are spiritual often work this way, requiring a wrestle on our part before God knows that we really desire the truth and are prepared to receive it. When, initially acting as her escort, Grandma Tala pulled back the veil of vines covering the blocked-off cave, my mind instantly went to the symbolism of The Secret Garden, the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett, which is of deep personal significance to me. I instantly knew that this would be a cocoon-like moment of healing for Moana; of safety and soul-expanding discovery.

When I saw the inner cavern, especially the second veil of the waterfall, my mind went to the beautiful ordinances of the LDS temple, where Latter-day Saints discover who they are, and who they have the potential of becoming. I cried when I saw a boat, which I knew would be Moana’s own, marked with the symbol of the covenant, to clothe and carry her correctly on her journey across the sea. Our Heavenly Father really does provide us all things that are expedient: that we really genuinely need. I cried when Moana approached the almost altar-like drum.  With every one of her three attempts to drum, to knock, to ask, she grew bolder in asking an answer. I cried when four lights arose, and illuminated the promise of all the truth to her.

Here are your origins! This is who you really are! These are those from whom you are really descended! I thought of Adam and Eve, and how satisfying; how sweetly fulfilling it is to know my descent from these, my first earthly parents. Yes, I do believe that I am their literal descendants, and if they could navigate the way back to our Heavenly Parents, so can I.



We believe that we have a right to revelations, visions, and dreams from God, our heavenly Father; and light and intelligence, through the gift of the Holy Ghost, in the name of Jesus Christ, on all subjects pertaining to our spiritual welfare; if it so be that we keep his commandments, so as to render ourselves worthy in his sight. – Joseph Smith

screen-capture-18Then came the first we hear of the song, We Know The Way. I got goosebumps at that point and I still get goosebumps every time! The same thing happens to my oldest daughter and one of my sons also claims to have a feeling of familiarity with the film and music, as if he has only been waiting to see it again. It is as if our Polynesian blood is screaming out of our veins that this is true! This is our people! We both get this feeling of love and pride in our people when we watch and hear the Whale Rider, too. I just bawled through it, that first time. I think it is my favorite song from the whole movie! I think of Lehi and Nephi. I think of Jared and Mahonri Moriancumer. I think of Noah, and the righteous eight. I think of Hagoth (Alma 63:5) who my mother taught me was my Book of Mormon forefather; whose actions led to the settling of the Polynesian islands. I think of my Hawaiian ancestors. Of my Pilgrim ancestors and others who crossed the Atlantic to claim liberty for themselves and their posterity in America. Waaaaaaah.


Latter-day prophets have declared that Hagoth’s ships reached the islands of the Pacific, where they became part of the Polynesian culture. In 1913, responding to a telegram that he had received earlier that “perhaps” they were some of Hagoth’s people, President Joseph F. Smith told a group of Polynesian Saints, “I would like to say to you brethren and sisters from New Zealand, you are some of Hagoth’s people, and there is NO PERHAPS about it!” He explained that when he was a missionary in Hawaii the Spirit had testified to him that the Polynesians were descended from Lehi (in William A. Cole and Elwin W. Jensen, Israel in the Pacific [1961], 388). Later, in the dedicatory prayer of the Laie Hawaii Temple, President Heber J. Grant thanked Heavenly Father that “thousands and tens of thousands of the descendants of Lehi, in this favored land, have come to a knowledge of the gospel” (“The Dedicatory Prayer in the Hawaiian Temple,” Improvement Era, Feb. 1920, 283). – Book of Mormon Student Study Guide, Alma 63: Nephite Migrations Into The Land Northward.

When we see the Way-Finders the second time, during Moana’s comforting and strengthening open vision upon the open sea, I am just as quick to bawl, because it is just as significant a scene to me as the first time.


From “I Am Moana (Song of the Ancestors)”
Who am I?
I am a girl who loves my island [I love the Church]
I’m the girl who loves the sea [I love the Lord and want to do His Will]
It calls me [Alma 5:38, 41, Jacob 6:4-7]

I am the daughter of the village chief
[I am a Child of God. I was born of goodly parents (1 Nephi 1:1)
We are descended from voyagers
Who found their way across the world
They call me [Noah, Brother of Jared, Lehi & Nephi, Hagoth, Pilgrims/immigrants, etc (Mormon 8:35, Enos 1:12-18, 1 Nephi 13:12-13)]

I’ve delivered us to where we are
I have journeyed farther
I am everything I’ve learned and more [D&C 122:7]
Still it calls me [Abraham 3:23, 25]

And the call isn’t out there at all, it’s inside me [1 John 3:2, John 17:18-23]
It’s like the tide; always falling and rising [Alma 32:28, Alma 26:12, 2 Nephi 4:20-30]

I will carry you here in my heart; you’ll remind me [Matthew 6:21]
That come what may [Romans 8:35-39]
I know The Way [John 14:6]
I am Moana! [My own will = The Will of God]


The Tahitian people are known as some of the greatest seafaring people in all the world. [A mission president]… tried to describe [to me]… the secret of their success…
He said, ‘The weather may be terrible, the vessels may be leaky, there may be no navigational aids except their inner feelings and the stars in the heavens, but
they pray and they go. They pray and they go. They pray and they go.

– Thomas S. Monson


Come what may, I know the Way


At first, I called it Moana’s necklace. Next, I called it Grandma Tala’s necklace.  But then, I realized, upon watching the movie for the second time, that when Moana saw her ancestor pass by in his boat, during in her open vision, he was wearing the same necklace, modified only a little bit to be male with the shark teeth and shells. He touched his hand to the pendant, and gave a nod, as if in solemn salute or commending acknowledgement. Moana understood, and returned the gesture. This scene came back into my mind during the passing of the sacrament last Sunday, when I thought about the words, And are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep His commandments that He has given them, that they may always have His Spirit to be with them (D&C 20:77, 79). The words of Article of Faith 3 then came to mind, “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.” So I think the necklace symbolizes obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by keeping our covenants. Every week we deliberately choose to put the necklace back on, just like our obedient ancestors did (John 15:10). We wear the necklace in order to carry our most treasured possession.


On a cautionary note, keep a close eye on Maui in the scene where he and Moana first meet. Watch what he does with his necklace, just before he begins to sing praises to his god: the god of himself. There is an obvious lesson here. (Proverbs 3:3, Deuteronomy 11:8)


I have heard a lot of people talk about the supposedly extremely stupid rooster sidekick, Heihei. They all felt he was put in the movie as comic relief. He doesn’t seem to be viewed as a sidekick by anybody else but Maui, either. At first, I believed them, and I admit that I was a little concerned. Why? Because we take recreational interest in the Chinese zodiac at our house – we love going out for Chinese food – and one of my children is a Rooster. I was concerned for his feelings, especially when he came home from watching Moana and told me that the rooster was “just a stupid bird”.  He didn’t have to say anything else. I could see the glimmer of disappointment and the touch of shame in his eyes. So, I decided to really watch this fowl and determine for myself what his value was or wasn’t.


I am I, Don Qui-HeiHei

When we first are introduced to the bird, he’s attempting to nest in the coals of a fire (Malachi 3:2, 1 Nephi 22:7). When we next see him, Moana is discussing the bird with an elder who sees no value in him, other than as food. Then they both witness the rooster as he swallows a huge rock and gags it back out. Senseless, right? No, not right. I think HeiHei represents the average, ordinary, everyday disciple of Christ. The one who seems to do nothing great, otherwise sneeringly called sheeple, bobbleheads or Molly Mormons. Those unsung heros who single-mindedly stick to doing what they are supposed to be doing, as they understand it, even when it doesn’t make sense even to themselves, let alone to anybody watching them (1 Corinth 1:27, D&C 4:5). The Heihei’s of the Kingdom of God stick to the program even when they are scared: in those moments when God “removes the coconut” from their eyes to seeing a bigger picture or responsibility than they ever imagined for themselves: what do you mean I’ve been called to be a Primary teacher?!  Faithful saints like these, even when they, for inexperience or fear, sometimes fall off the boat or lose faith, are brought back home because, despite their lack, they are trying the hardest that they can (Matthew 13:41)., Remember that Heihei still somehow found the way to get on the boat in the first place. Somehow this little bird found a way to stay on board, avoid predators (including Maui), survive bruising dark voyages locked in the hold for his own protection, skirt around death by the hands of the Kakamora, etc.

“Just” swallowing rocks? You bet that was Heihei’s mission and it turns out that was no insignificant or mindless thing, after all!  He was there to be the bearer and protector of the Rock, aka the Heart of Te Fiti, and he fulfilled his mission splendidly (2 Nephi 28:16, Alma 37:6, D&C 1:19)! His song, “O, I am Heihei!” includes regurgitative noises at the end!  At two crucial points in Moana’s mission, Heihei was there, in a flash, doing what he had been training for, Rocky-like, for all of his days back in the village (D&C 84:85). My children now proudly declare back to me how they watched the movie close and also found at least 4 ways in which the Rooster fulfilled his mission:

Heihei prepared.
Heihei did his part in getting to and staying with the boat.
Heihei protected the Heart of Te Fiti from the Kakamoras, at the risk of his own survival. Heihei rescued the rock for Moana as she was navigating through the narrow way.


1 Corinthians 4:2, D&C 38:30, Alma 37:6-7, D&C 21:7, D&C 127:4

My children tell me that the real chicken was the pig! Hilarious! (Especially when comparing the biblical teachings about the pig to those mentioning the rooster.)

For more of my thoughts about roosters – and there is surprisingly more – please continuing reading in Part 4 of this post under the heading  “Maui’s Animals Forms”.

Moana – A Parable of Christ – Part 1
Moana – A Parable of Christ – Part 2
Moana – A Parable of Christ – Part 3
Moana – A Parable of Christ – Part 4  NEXT
Moana – A Parable of Christ – Part 5
Moana – A Parable of Christ – Part 6

NOTICE TO ARTISTS: I draw with words, but most people still want to see pictures, and I do not own any images.  Wherever possible, I have tried to turned to fan art and merchant art, rather than Disney, for illustrations.  If you would like an image removed, please contact me. I will take your art down immediately.