Harmonic Fullness of One…
There are no two people on earth exactly alike. We each have individual characteristics in appearance, desires, thought and attitude that make us unique. While we may be alike in one way or another, and even in many ways, there are always differences. As Barney the dinosaur sings, “You are special. You’re the only one. You’re the only one like you….” In the family of humanity there really are no two perfectly alike, yet unity and oneness are encouraged by politician, coach and prophet. Can oneness be achieved? Thus saith the Lord, “If ye are not one ye are not mine” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:27).
Recently I read a quote, “There should be greater union in our midst than we find today.” That message was delivered in general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by President Lorenzo Snow, in October 1897. So I am a little behind in my reading. That truth rings as relevant today as it did more than 120 years ago when it first fell from the lips of a prophet of God. It does go to show that in every generation we struggle with the same things. Our issues of the day may be different, but the need for unity in dealing with the problems of the day, in progressing as communities and families, is always imperative, and ever has been.
“If ye are not one ye are not mine.”
There are many duties, stations and choices in life. Through birth, education, opportunity, and by divine appointment, we find ourselves in various positions in which we can serve the common good. Through the opportunities that we have we may work in a present station to advance the building of kingdoms and the improvement of circumstances of those with whom we live and serve.
We read this directive from the Lord which points to achieving oneness through our unique efforts and responsibilities. “But, verily I say unto you, teach one another according to the office wherewith I have appointed you; And let every man esteem his brother as himself, and practice virtue and holiness before me. And again I say unto you, let every man esteem his brother as himself. For what man among you having twelve sons, and is no respecter of them, and they serve him obediently, and he saith unto the one: Be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here; and to the other: Be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there—and looketh upon his sons and saith I am just? Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:23-27).
Of living as a community of Saints and serving in the Lord’s Church, the apostle Paul taught, “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another” (Romans 12:4-5, 10, 15-16).
“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love.”The Apostle Paul
The same can and should be said of living as a community of countrymen. We in the United States of America have just experienced a contentious year of unrest, both political and social. The constitutional cords that bind us together as a people have been tested, stretched and frayed by the failure of leaders and activists from within and outside both major political parties to espouse, seek and speak unifying solutions to the troubles of our day. Instead of harmonic voices being lifted to seek common good, unlawful and riotous behavior has prevailed in our streets among peoples from across the political and social spectrum. But, these are not new problems. As students of history, and in reflection of President Snow’s words, we should all know that unrest and disharmony is the common plight of men in all ages when we seek not to unify in our differing ways.
I love music of all kinds. While solo voices provide a unique perspective and singular message, I think duets, quartets and choral music have become more favorable to me as the years progress. When there is more than one singer, a blending of voices must prevail. Like people, there are no two voices that are exactly alike. For the music to become beautiful these different voices must work together and create harmony. The beauty of harmony is that two or more, perhaps hundreds of more, differing sounds come together and create a fullness of one. The same can be said of instruments and orchestral music. What both choral and orchestral music have in common is that they both need instruction, written music and a conductor, to bring them all together in unifying harmony. The scriptures, the Lord and His prophets provide the music and direction.
As the Savior spoke, “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:11, 21-22).
The unity that should prevail within our congregations and between our countrymen should also and most importantly be prevalent in our families. This was the point of President Lorenzo Snow’s more complete comments earlier referred to. Disharmony among the Saints and in the public square is a sign that not all is well in the home. Unity in our homes is essential for any hope of unity we may have in the rest of the world.
“Why should any man be satisfied, why should any husband and father of a family rest satisfied until he effects a perfect union, that is, just as far as a perfect union can be accomplished?”
President Lorenzo Snow
“There should be greater union in our midst than we find today. There is a perfect union in the quorum of the Twelve. Should there not be a perfect union in that quorum? Most assuredly, every one would say Yes, a perfect union in the quorum of the Twelve Apostles. …And there is also a perfect union with the First Presidency, and should there not be? Every one will say, certainly, there should be. …Should there not be a union with the Bishop and his Counselors? Most assuredly there should be. Well, what is more important? Should there not be union in the family? …Most assuredly there should. And why should any man be satisfied, why should any husband and father of a family rest satisfied until he effects a perfect union, that is, just as far as a perfect union can be accomplished? And in this matter the father should make himself just as perfect as a man can in this life be made perfect before his family. And the wife should make herself just as perfect as a woman can possibly do in this life. And then they are prepared to make their children just as perfect as they are willing and are capable of being made perfect. …I know that a great many of the difficulties that now appear, and the disrespect that we find in reference to the Priesthood, among young people, arises from this fact, that there have been difficulties in the home circle, and there has been disrespect expressed in their presence, of the father by the mother, or of the mother by the father. Now I know these things are so” (President Lorenzo Snow, October 1897 General Conference).
Indeed, disharmony in the home plants the seeds of disunity in society.
Nineteenth century prophet President Wilford Woodruff declared that God and His Son Jesus Christ have ever set the example of unity in design and effort. “The Savior said to His Apostles anciently, and to the Apostles in our day: ‘I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.’ [D&C 38:27.] ‘I and my Father are one.’ [John 10:30.] There is a principle connected with this that I think is very important to us as a people and as a Church here on the earth. With all the divisions, and all the discontent, and the quarrelings and opposition among the powers on earth, or that have been revealed from heaven, I have never heard that it has ever been revealed to the children of men that there was any division between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. They are one. They always have been one. They always will be one, from eternity unto eternity.”
“Our union and oneness of sentiment constitutes one of the prominent beauties of the organization of the kingdom of God.”
President Wilford Woodruff
President Woodruff later related, “I always rejoice in seeing my fellow men come to a knowledge of the truth by obedience to the gospel as taught by the servants of the Lord. When men have gone forth in the waters of baptism and received the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, they receive the same truth, the same light as we have received, and thus we become of one heart and one mind, and follow out the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, which attend His gospel. …Our union and oneness of sentiment constitutes one of the prominent beauties of the organization of the kingdom of God.”
It is difficult looking at the world today and having hope that there can be unity in the public square when it it seems improbable that we can even achieve harmony in our congregations and homes, but there is hope. We must work for it. He must ask for divine help. We must make every effort to live lives of harmony unto the Lord and with our fellow man. And there is hope. As President Henry B. Eyring said, “You have seen evidence, as I have, that we are moving toward becoming one. The miracle of unity is being granted to us as we pray and work for it in the Lord’s way. Our hearts will be knit together in unity. God has promised that blessing to His faithful Saints whatever their differences in background and whatever conflict rages around them. He was praying for us as well as His disciples when He asked His Father that we might be one” (October 2008 General Conference).
“The miracle of unity is being granted to us as we pray and work for it in the Lord’s way. Our hearts will be knit together in unity. …He was praying for us as well as His disciples when He asked His Father that we might be one.”
President Henry B. Eyring
May we seek understanding in differences, before prosecuting and judging our fellowman and Saints. May we always set the example of oneness, by being unified in purpose and deed with one another. May the greatest harmony aspired to be achieved within our homes and families. May we go forth in answer to that loving prayer, and be one, singing in harmony a song of redeeming love, that we might be His. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.