Sunday, June 3, 2012

GCBC Week 10: “In Tune with the Music of Faith”

I’m ahead today! I might have something to do with the fact that my husband is off playing soldier today, and the kids are still asleep. Either way, I am excited for GCBC this week.

4939624151_65d3d1cc3b_bImage Credit: BFS Man

I am a musician. I was raised to be a musician (my mother is one of the most sought-after piano teachers in central Arkansas). So I feel like I understand what Elder Quentin L. Cook is saying when he talks about “the music of faith.” I think we had the discussion a few weeks ago that the way an apostle speaks doesn’t always resonate with every person, so don’t be worried if Elder Cook’s “music of faith” metaphor doesn’t do the trick for you. There are 14 other prophets and apostles who probably said something just the way you needed it!

Incidentally, at our Stake Conference a few weeks ago, one of the counselors in our Stake Presidency used a musical metaphor that I thought I would share because it was just so good. If you have ever been to a symphony performance, you know that a symphony tunes their instruments to the same A (440 Hz) usually given by an oboe before the concert begins. If you’ve heard this “tuning” you know that it is not in any way comparable to the beauty of the music that will follow. In fact, most of the time for the average listener it’s pretty annoying to listen to. The counselor then commented on how, after the intermission, the orchestra tunes again. He thought, “These people are professionals. Why do they need to tune again?” And then he realized that they are professionals, and they want to make sure that even the slightest error is corrected before they move on to the actual masterpieces they are there to perform.

Repentance for us should be like that – we should “tune” (repent) even when it seems like there is no fault or no error. Because even the slightest error can damage the sound of a beautiful symphony.

In Tune with the Music of Faith – by Elder Quentin L. Cook

Obsessive focus on things not yet fully revealed, such as how the virgin birth or the Resurrection of the Savior could have occurred or exactly how Joseph Smith translated our scriptures, will not be efficacious or yield spiritual progress. These are matters of faith.

… when we inculcate into our lives scriptural imperatives and live the gospel, we are blessed with the Spirit and taste of His goodness with feelings of joy, happiness, and especially peace.

These quotes really stuck out to me because I have been concerned about this attitude among those members who would pretend to be “intellectuals”. There is that “obsessive focus” on those things for which there is no official revelation or doctrine. I do not mean to say that there is no place for thoughtful, faithful inquiry on such subjects, but in my experience, personal revelation on “fringe” subjects comes when I “inculcate into [my life] scriptural imperatives and live the gospel”. Ironically, it is when I focus on the basics that my understanding of complex ideas and doctrines is increased.

I guess that isn’t quite so ironic when you consider the scripture Elder Pieper shared in his talk:

“That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day” (D&C 50:24)

What thoughts did you have while studying Elder Cook’s talk from conference?

If you are new to General Conference Book Club check out the About GCBC page and join in the discussion!


  1. Hi Becca! You ARE on top of things today!

    I think the thing that struck me in Elder Cook's talk was his comparison between Mark Twain's commentary on the Book of Mormon and that of the Egyptian expert, and how the secular knowledge of the professor was a perfect beginning place for his testimony. I *love* it when my college education suddenly reveals to me another truth or a new layer to the gospel, don't you? And I love how it illustrates how secular knowledge can really work hand in hand with spiritual knowledge.

    Oh, and I LOVE his quote from Elder Oaks about how important it is "to distinguish between youthful mistakes which should be corrected and sins that require chastening and repentance. Where there is lack of wisdom, our children need instruction. Where there is sin, repentance is essential." That is going on my fridge this week for me to think about.

  2. I took so many notes during this sermon! Becca's comments are very similar to some of my thoughts, so I'll sharing something else that caught me: that concept of resonance with truth. Whenever an individual comes to their own conversion (and that should happen for every single person, regardless of how long their family has gone to church), it seems like there's always a component of resonance: something in the gospel causes their soul to vibrate and holler: "YES! That's it! That's what I remember!" After all, aren't we hear to remember? Our souls have more knowledge than we know; when we follow through on the little stewardships, we're given greater remembrance, greater light, greater knowledge--true conversion. It's very, very cool.

  3. As he spoke of the weakness of the people in the tower in lehi's dream I can see potential for myself to develop each of those weaknesses. Something for me to think about.

    I love the quote that we should "have courage to refrain from judging."

    i loved the Elder Oaks parenting tip. when childreen are young their youthful mistakes can be very messy and take up a lot of parental important to keep that in perspective. At the same time some childishness we let go...because we're tired or it doesn't deamnd our attention like spilled milk might. Interesting perspective.

  4. I've been thinking about your musical thoughts, specifically that of your stake conference and tuning. How does service in the gospel work to tune our hearts to the music of faith? My friend who gladly and cheerfully serves as Nursery Leader to 20 active little ones on Sundays while serving as Wolf Leader to 18 ACTIVE 8 year olds on Tuesdays seems to better hear the music of faith than I do. Just thinking about her makes me tired, and yet she never seems to be. So many things can serve to get our spirits out of tune. I think of our piano, that seemed to get quickly out of tune one year. We counseled with our piano tuner as to how to prevent this and protect our instrument. He told us about another family whose out of tune piano was eventually tied to a leak in their water main--water was pooling under the foundation of their house, directly under the piano and the moisture was causing the piano to go out of tune. For us, the problem was the seal on one of the windows in the room had been damaged so that cold air in the winter and hot air in the summer was entering the room in large quantities to affect the piano. For me, failing to care for myself (exercise, sleep, nutrition) negatively impacts my ability to stay in tune. Persistence, like E. Cook talked about: FHE and scripture study and his mention of 2 Ne 25:26 (all our actions and plans pointed to Christ to show our children the way home), tunes our spirits. That notion of daily working at scripture study, daily feeding and guiding our children's spirits toward Christ seems to fit so perfectly in line with the concert ideal--tuning and retuning and tuning in front of the audience because the perfection of the tune is more important than the appearance of perfection if the sound is off.

    Finally, the most powerful thought for me was "Mothers and fathers praying with children may be more important than any other example." I know teaching my children to access the powers of heaven is the only real weapon I have against monsters and nightmares in the night, against bullies and bad tests at school, against all that is truly terrifying in the world. My children need the powers of heaven as much as I do.

  5. I loved this quote: "The message, ministry, and Atonement of Jesus Christ, our Savior, are our essential family curriculum."

  6. This talk of E. Cook will be our lesson this coming 4th Sunday and I'll be the teacher. Thank you for your thoughts and thank you for your testimony.

  7. I am giving a talk in sacrament using this talk as my reference. I loved everyone's comments and testimonies and I hope it's okay if I reference all of you!! What beautiful insights and thoughts!

  8. I know I am late in posting on this talk. It was amazing. This is not my very first time listening to this. But my family is doing a review each day in our morning devotional and today this was the one chosen from our General Conference Jar. My children colored pictures for their scripture journal while they listened to this and they begged me to hear it 3 times.
    I have been talking with them a lot about being in tune with the Spirit and hearing the guidance given to us daily. I have printed off Several quotes from this talk and they are being hung for further reflection.
    They are: What we are speaks so loudly that our children may not hear what we say
    May our lives be in tune to the Music of the Gospel
    and His Spirit guides; his love assures that fear departs when faith endures.
    I stand all amazed at so much truth packed into such a short talk. The Lord know what we need to hear and he sends us disciples to share his word.
    I am going to tie this talk into the story of the Touch of the Masters Hand during our scripture study tonight! That would be perfect.


What makes your soul delight? This is my invitation to you to share your thoughts right here on my blog. I read every one of them, and I appreciate them!

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