I love it when songs are used as illustrations in talks during the Semi-Annual General Conference of our Church. Thankfully, it happens often. Last week’s October 2010 Conference was no exception.
During the Saturday October 2nd afternoon session, Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared that for his birthday, he received a newly remastered CD of World War II songs by vocalist Dame Vera Lynn. He explained,
“There is a little history as to why my wife would give me this gift. The bombing of London in September 1940 commenced the day before I was born. My mother, listening to the account of the London Blitz on the radio in her hospital room, decided to name me after the radio announcer, whose first name was Quentin.”
[Note: cool Mormon trivia question to include in Family Home Evening and LDS Seminary discussions; “Why is Elder Cook’s first name “Quentin”?”]
Elder Cook stated that one of Vera’s songs especially moved him, entitled When the Lights Go On Again (All Over The World). This song offered encouragement to those who were experiencing the terrible forced black-outs due to the relentless bomb raids, as well as offering hope for a brighter day of freedom and peace.
Vera Lynn’s song became a metaphor for Elder Cook’s message entitled “Let There Be Light!” encouraging Latter-day Saint Families to protect truth [God’s light] and Freedom.
“Freedom and light have never been easy to attain or maintain. . .As Latter-day Saints, we need to do our best to preserve light and protect our families and communities from [the] assault on morality and religious freedom.
He outlined how we can do so.
“Blacking Out” Pornography, and Adding Religious Observance:
“An ever-present danger to the family is the onslaught of evil forces that seem to come from every direction. . .we would be wise to black out from our homes the lethal bombs that destroy spiritual development and growth. Pornography, in particular, is a weapon of mass moral destruction. . . In addition, we need to greatly increase religious observance in the home.”
Be a ‘Source of Light’, and Unite public through common moral values:
“In our increasingly unrighteous world, it is essential that values based on religious belief be part of the public discourse. . . Religious faith is a store of light, knowledge, and wisdom and benefits society in a dramatic way when adherents engage in moral conduct because they feel accountable to God.”
To illustrate his point of moral accountability in the public square, he offered two examples
Honest Conduct Motivated by Accountability to God
“Think about the impact on society if youth didn’t cheat in school, if adults were honest in the workplace and were faithful to their marriage vows. For us the concept of basic honesty is grounded in the life and teachings of the Savior. Honesty is also a valued attribute in many other faiths and in historic literature. . . Clearly, moral values with respect to honesty can play a significant role in establishing light and truth and improving society and should be valued by those who do not have faith.”
Treating All of God’s Children as Brothers and Sisters
Elder Cook expounded how faith based institutions have been influential in eliminating Slavery because of the foundation that all people are “made in the image of God”. He referred to British statesman William Wilberforce who made huge sacrifices to promote the abolition of slavery and other vices [using a second great musical reference, “Amazing Grace” , penned by Wilberforce]. Cook added how the strong Mormon belief in abolition was a major factor behind Missouri Governor Boggs infamous “extermination order” of 1838.
“Let me be clear that all voices need to be heard in the public square. Neither religious nor secular voices should be silenced. Furthermore, we should not expect that because some of our views emanate from religious principles, they will automatically be accepted or given preferential status. But it is also clear such views and values are entitled to be reviewed on their merits.”
Elder Cook concluded that we each can be a beacon of light to the world through protecting our families and encouraging unity and morality in our communities.
For your listening pleasure, I now leave you with Dame Vera Lynn’s song that beautifully illustrated Quentin L. Cook’s talk about LIGHT and FREEDOM.
video created by DVanDeusen
That song, “When the Lights Go On Again, All Over the World,” really touched me. I was old enough to remember World War II. I was about nine when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and despite being young I followed what was happening during that war the best I could. I was very glad personally when “The Lights Went On Again, All Over the World.” Of course, as we all know those lights keep going off and on again figuratively speaking with all of the continuing wars since then.
Thanks, Mormon Soprano for that recording and for your post! It was very helpful as usual.
Before I comment, let me express my gratitude to the Choir for some of most heavenly music I’ve ever heard and felt! Absolutely precious and beautiful!
Now, to this post: again, many thanks for your insightful and delightful comments! I’m excited to share this post with my parents and our missionary companions (Senior Couple missionaries with whom we made eternal bonds and who are also the age of my parents). They are all musical, all sing, and will definitely greatly appreciate your post and the video!