Monday, April 23, 2012

Zion Is Not When Everyone Plays the Same Instrument and the Same Melody

As many of you know, one of my favorite General Conference talks of all time is Elder Joseph Wirthlin's "Concern for the One" - given four years ago in April 2008.  It included an analogy that is one of the best, most beautiful I have heard:

Tied to this misconception is the erroneous belief that all members of the Church should look, talk, and be alike. The Lord did not people the earth with a vibrant orchestra of personalities only to value the piccolos of the world. Every instrument is precious and adds to the complex beauty of the symphony. All of Heavenly Father’s children are different in some degree, yet each has his own beautiful sound that adds depth and richness to the whole.

I need to be comfortable enough with my own saxophone that I can play joyfully amid the piccolos - even if the oboes take a break for a while and leave me playing a solitary harmony that might not even be heard by the piccolos.

I also must be fine if the only sound that I can hear temporarily is the sound of those piccolos - recognizing that they also contribute to the full sound of the orchestra.  Every once in a while, they might be a bit too shrill, but I still must recognize the need for their sound and learn to appreciate it and accept it as an integral part of the symphony in which I am playing.  The aim, in my opinion, is not to weaken the piccolo section but to strengthen the other sections around them. 

I must care for others enough to continue to play and strive to make the orchestra's harmony richer and fuller, but not be bothered if, at any given moment or even for an extended period of time, my harmony sounds a bit jarring because the clarinets and tubas have stopped playing around me.  I also can't blare my saxophone in an attempt to be heard disproportionately to my representation within the orchestra, since an instrument played too loudly never adds beauty to the orchestral sound but, rather, only drowns out the beauty that is possible with a more "charitable" and harmonious approach.

Zion is not when all people play the same instrument and the same melody.  Zion is when all people value the diverse instruments being played and use them to create a perfectly (completely, fully developed) harmonious sound.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like the analogy, too, but he seemed to be referring to personalities as opposed to differing beliefs within the church. I often think of the City of Enoch and wonder if a quarter of the people thought SSM was acceptable, if the women felt the patriarchal order was a man made institution meant to keep them in check, and so forth. A variety of musical instruments does sound wonderful if everyone is following the same music.