I distinctly remember laying down on my bed once when I was in high school. As I closed my eyes and relaxed, my mind was filled with music. A symphony, and one which I had never heard before. At that moment, I thought that I must have been experiencing what composers experience. Except I couldn’t control it, slow it down, or replay it. It just was.
I studied music, among other things; but as is common, when I left for the university, I hung up my sheet music along with my running shoes and the rest of my high school paraphernalia (doing everything is a wonderful luxury of that time). I still played my guitar and sang for myself, but the music quickly stopped playing.
My mother is something of a musician, and she once told me that she could hear music too. However, I quickly forgot, filling my life with other pursuits. Lastly, graduate school, a new business and an obsession with Mormon history. But, I had a conversation with my mom yesterday.
She is speaking at women’s conference and was interested in some historical context for a verse of scripture from which she was asked to speak, particularly the last phrase: “Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.” (D&C 101:16) We talked about how Joseph’s vision of Zion, with its twelve temples, consecrated land, and revelations shattered as the citizens of Jackson met at the courthouse at Independence . They issued an ultimatum dictating the expulsion of Mormons from the county. They crushed the printing press which promised the Book of Commandments. They tarred and feathered our bishop. We talked about what it must have been like to have invested your entire wealth and moved your family for a Divine cause that failed. The Lord’s response was to quote the Psalm. “Be still and know that I am God.”
My mother then told me how she thought about Elijah and his revelation. He did not find God in the whirlwind. He needed to be still to hear the voice of the Lord. As an aside, she wondered if this isn’t why we don’t have more Mozarts. Perhaps because in the cacophony of life, no body hears anymore. Then I remembered. And I mourned a bit. And I wondered if the Lord was silent because I had hung him up for other things.
- See Minutes and Resolutions of Meeting July 20, 1833, Missouri Intelligencer and Boon’s Lick Advertiser, August 10, 1833, quoted in William Mulder and A. Russell Mortensen, eds., Among the Mormons: Historic Accounts by Contemporary Observers (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1958), 76-80.