Tag: harmony

An unknown piece of music

Sunday night I was up late praying and thinking about many things. Sometime shortly after midnight I quieted down and began listening carefully to KBYU FM (classical 89.1) which had been playing in the background. As I listened, they played a piece that sounded to me like it was played on a french horn. Most of the piece was a solo. The piece was delicate, despite the instrument, and it soared and delivered runs of delicate notes. It was astonishing that these notes could come from such a limited instrument. Now I know that there are competent french horn players, and that with practice it is possible to acquire this kind of skill and delicacy with a somewhat cumbersome instrument.

When the piece ended, the KBYU announcer, Peter Van de Graff, informed me that this piece had been played on the tuba. This stunned me. I have never met nor heard any one who can take that heavy, cumbersome and relatively inarticulate instrument and turn it into something that can play music wihch can soar into the skies and dance about like a piccolo. Here are a couple of examples: Baaddsvick and Marshall. The tuba is primarily a percussion instrument. It is like a bass guitar in a rock and roll band. They both thump out a foundation upon which the rest of the orchestra or rock band build melodies. While they exist, there are comparatively few bass guitar solos in rock music. The bass player for Primas, Les Claypool, is a rare exception, but even his amazing gift is mostly percussion. Moving them out of that role is akin to asking Andre the Giant to perform ballet.

As I pondered this, it struck me how very like the heavy, inarticulate, restricted instrument mankind is. But a skilled musician took the very same thing which in normal use gives merely a pounding back beat and brought it front and center in a solo that soared to heaven. If such skill can bring the tuba into submission, then with practice, diligence, desire and the help of God, we can likewise bring ourselves into harmony with God. All things typify Christ and the Gospel. Even that wonderful piece played on a tuba.

My vision of how high man can soar was ratified anew in the testimony of that skilled musician. I believe once we find it is possible to delicately soar in concert with heaven and enjoy the thrilling harmony in God’s creation, that alone should help us rise up. May we each have the humility and the patience and undertake the long-suffering to change our clumsy efforts into a delicate symphony, even so amen.

Philosophies of men

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a great whole.  It requires an overall harmony between all its parts to be understood.  Without that overall harmony it is jarring and discordant.
The problem with apostasy is that it forfeits truths which are necessary in order to comprehend the majesty of Christ’s teachings.  Those truths which get retained are not kept in balance with the rest.  Simple virtues are kept while overall righteousness is forfeited.
No one can argue with the virtue of tolerance.  But it is constrained and governed inside a larger context that prevents permissiveness and sloth.
No one can argue with the virtue of obedience.  Indeed, obedience is itself one of the bedrock requirements of the Gospel.  But divorced from the other virtues inside of which it is regulated, obedience can become a terrible weapon used to separate people from God’s Holy Spirit and drive them into submission to “Popes and Priests.”  (Any man believed to be incapable of leading you into error is a “Pope.”)
No one can argue against the virtue of patience.  But when it is urged to prevent necessary action to develop a god-like people, then it has become a tool for deception and error and not a virtue at all.

Take any virtue and remove it from its overall context within the great Gospel whole and you see how apostasy can warp a people.  They retain the conviction that they are still God’s chosen disciples, because the virtues they practice are in fact, godly.  However, they have become distorted, bloated and swollen.  They are without harmony, capable of great evil or neglect, all the while celebrating their fidelity to the “truth” as they understand it.

You MUST understand doctrine.  You MUST study the scriptures.  But more important than anything else, you MUST seek to gain further light and knowledge by conversing with the Lord directly.  Harmony of the whole is dependent upon His direct guidance and blessings.  You simply cannot move forward a piece here and a bit there, while neglecting the whole composite picture of the Gospel.  He will open it to your view.  He will show you how one part is related to another, and that to another still, so that it all moves forward together.  It is not to all be comprehended at once.  It is to be gained a little bit of the whole here, a further harmony of things there, until the whole moves forward together.  Always moving in balance, in harmony and as a complete magisterial revelation of God’s will.
Latter-day Saints are not immune from this problem of disharmony.  Indeed, it is the great challenge which we have faced since the time of the First Vision.  Joseph’s recalibrating of his own life was constant.  He wanted to reward Martin Harris for his support, petitioned for permission to let him take the 116 pages of manuscript, and when he was told “no” he persisted.  When he finally got the Lord’s reluctant permission it was not for Martin Harris’ benefit, but for Joseph’s.  Joseph was to learn a hard lesson about disregarding good advice from a superior Guide.  (D&C 3: 1-8.)  This comprehension of the harmony of the whole is what provoked Joseph to teach: “the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker, and is caught up to dwell with Him.”  (DHC 2: 8.)
Choose your teachers carefully.  None of them will neglect to emphasize a virtue.  However, without the whole of the Gospel in harmony in their own lives, they cannot bring it into harmony for you.  Finding that harmony IS the great challenge in this lone and dreary world, filled as it is, with the philosophies of men mingled with scripture.