Monday, January 2, 2017



Many Christmases ago we attended a concert in the Mount Rose Chapel in Reno, Nevada where once again I was reminded of how much I enjoy the traditional songs of Christmas and how I had not yet learned and sadly still don't enjoy those entries on the program which seem to be more for the vocal experience of the singers than the entertainment of the audience. At that particular conference I heard for the first time Lai Nani Jamieson and Naomi Buccumbuso sing a duet accompanied by Mildred Earl.

I don't really know if I can describe what I heard that night and on many occasions thereafter, but I’ll give it a try from my tone deaf perspective. Somehow it seemed like they were singing backup for one another. Their voices seemed to blend and complement on every note. It is what I would describe as perfect harmony. There were occasions when they were joined by Glenna Leukenga and none of the harmony was lost. I even remember times when Mildred Earl yielded the piano to someone else and the group expanded to a quartet and smoothly they all blended into harmonious wonderfulness. It was remarkable to me that none of them ever felt like they should be highlighted with a solo.

It was quite natural for me during this past Thanksgiving week which we spent with family in Reno, Nevada, to have the remembrance of how much I enjoyed these wonderful women and how well they presented every song writer’s contribution to the world. Knowing the way my mind works it was likewise not unusual that I continued to develop the theme of harmony to cover other aspects of life.

During the founding days of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints there was a lot of attention paid to the principle of harmony and, gratefully, many talks were recorded which addressed this subject. In many ways the scriptures approach and reinforce this concept as one of the major hurdles we were sent to the earth to master.

I remember reading about how the purpose of life was to bring our physical body into harmony with our spirit body. I remember teaching lessons about how, since the spirit body had already chosen to follow Heavenly Father’s Eternal Plan that if harmony would ever come about the physical body would have to change to complement what the spirit body had already become. I suspect that one of the reasons we often feel sorrow and fall short of feeling joy is because of the internal struggle between the two halves of our soul.

I remember reading about how the purpose of marriage is for men and women to become one. I remember teaching lessons about how since neither the man nor the woman were perfect; if perfect harmony were to be achieved, they would have to seek models outside of their union as examples to emulate. I suspect that one of the reasons we often fall short of oneness is that we are determined to defend what we feel is right in spite of obvious contradictions. The heartbreak of separation is almost always a result of one or both parties being unwilling to find a point where harmony exists.

I remember reading about how the purpose of the church is for the members to become as one in a society called Zion. I remember teaching lessons on the wonderful times when groups approached this harmonious level of living, if only for a season. They were described as living in the happiest of times. The fall of these short term Zion societies always came about because individuals gave into the temptation of feeling they were more important than the rest of the group. For some reason most of us feel that defending our point of view is more important than finding harmony in truth as far as we might be able to understand it. For some reason we continue to find more reasons to judge our neighbors than to edify and strengthen them. For some reason we find mortal pseudo-solutions to problems more appealing than those outlined in the Plan of Happiness.

Therefore, we continue to interact with anger, mistrust and hatred, pounding our plow shares into spears and making war.

As the celebration of the birth of the Savior approaches I look forward to these few moments when we will in some way put aside some of our pettiness and let harmony ring, if only for a short season.

As we slowly drive through those specially lighted neighborhoods which every town and city seems to have, with no one zipping and no one putting the life of others in danger, just one continuous harmonious snaking of autos. Unitedly we meander, enjoying for a moment the wondrous spectacle which surrounds us.

Once the madness of Black Friday is behind us we witness people helping their neighbors with their packages, we see people deferring to each other in lines and we see people pausing from political positions to visit about pleasanter topics.

We are amazed as we see people who are normally concerned about making sure their fashion needs are met, forgetting themselves for a moment as they search diligently to find that gift which will bring happiness to the receiver.

It is indeed a marvelously miraculous season when the traditional songs will be sung and a part of the world will momentarily move just a little closer to being in harmony. Sadly, the season will indeed be short and the discordant noises of the New Year will send us all back to the blaring bickering which keeps us far from the purposes of our existence.


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