Latter-day Saint Video Vault celebrates decades of uplifting, funny, weird, and sometimes cringe-worthy Mormon-related videos, most of which are now found on YouTube. Join Jared Jones every other Friday as he breaks down one of these classics.

I hope everyone had a pleasant Easter and can use this week’s film—Greater Love —to extend the spirit of the season. This 12-minute classic was released by Brigham Young University and produced by the Visual Transit Authority. Greater Love doesn’t have any church branding or religious imagery.

Greater Love opens with brother and sister Chris and Jenny observing hummingbirds at backyard feeder. They are the BLONDEST brother and sister I have ever seen. They ponder what would happen if a hummingbird gets hurt, and the Chris says that the other hummingbird will pitch in and help out even if one would die (remember this for later).

Cut to a family dinner scene that could play out in any home across the world. Chris and Jenny argue because Chris thinks Jenny is chewing like a pig. He drives her to tears much to the consternation of their parents. Loud chewing really bothers some people. Maybe Chris is suffering from misphonia. Regardless he is told to go sincerely apologize. He sees how he upset her and offers to take her to the pet shop to cheer her up.

Free-range parents everywhere would applaud most of what comes next. Chris and Jenny walk to the pet store by themselves. They walk home. AFTER DARK. Chris drinks from a public water fountain. No child-themed Camelbak Eddy in sight. Unfortunately, the bucolic outing comes to an abrupt end when Chris is hit by a car.

They are rushed to the hospital and the parents arrive to comfort Jenny. Chris is in serious condition but needs AB negative blood that is so rare the closest supply has to be flown in. He may not be able to last until the blood arrives. It turns out Jenny has that blood type and the Dr. will allow her to donate enough blood to help meet the need until the airlifted blood arrives. Jenny agrees and bravely gives the blood. After she gives the blood Jenny urns to her parents and asks,

“When do I die?”

“You thought if you gave your blood away you die? You thought you would die and you would give your life for Chris?”

“Well, he’s my brother.”

Jenny’s willingness to give blood in the face of certain death is clearly symbolic of Christ’s willingness to give His blood for us. The title of the film even borrows Christ’s own words to make the symbolism clear: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”( John 15:13).  The child actors, sibling relationship and basic plot all serve to make a film that focuses on a message that is still relatable today. Even for those not interested in the religious message, the film still works. We can all help each other out as we go through life. Kids and adults alike can relate to the film and only a few modifications would be needed if it were remade today.

Musings, Thoughts and Trivia

  • Although it sounds like a cover band, Visual Transit Authority was actually a Utah-based production company run by T.C. Christiensen. The company collaborated with BYU and LDS Motion Picture Studios on many films.
  • AB- blood is quite rare. According to The American Red Cross it exists in 1% of Caucasians, 0.3% of African Americans, 0.1% of Asians, and 0.2% of Latino Americans.
  • My wife is a physician at a children’s hospital, and the belief among children that one will die after giving blood is fairly common. Kids often ask follow up questions about where their blood comes from and if you take mine how will I get more?