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Music and the Knowledge of Good and Evil
Music, Art, and Media Series
Ezra Taft Benson:
We seek that which is praiseworthy, lovely, virtuous, and of good report; and we salute Beethoven, Shakespeare, Rembrandt, and Michelangelo. In due time, we will also have more of our own giants–particularly great father-patriarchs and noble companions and mothers of men. There is certain music heard and art seen and clothes worn on this campus [BYU] that must pass away–not because the styles change but because our standards will be improved.
When individual actions of some Church members disturb you, here’s another principle to consider. This is the principle of stewardship. As the kingdom grows larger, more and more responsibilities have to be delegated and stewardships handed out. Men respond in different degrees of valiancy to their stewardships. God is very patient and long-suffering as he waits for some of us to rise to our responsibilities. He usually gives a man a long enough rope and a long enough time either to pull himself up to the presence of God or to drop off somewhere below. But while God is patient, no puny arm of man in his stewardship can long impede or pervert the work of the Lord. The mills of God grind slowly, but they grind ever so finely.
Because God has given men their agency, there will always be those who will misuse it. The gospel net draws in the good and the bad, the best and the worst–the worst because the devil, before the final cleansing, puts some of his followers within the kingdom in order to try and destroy it. We have some of them within the kingdom today, and in due course their number shall be known. Time has a way of taking care of all things, of elevating the good and bringing down the bad. If we see things going on within the kingdom that disturb us, we might first resolve if the matter falls within our stewardship. We then might go to the person or people involved. If it is of such a nature that we think it should be called to the attention of higher authority, then we can, in a kindly and quiet manner, take the necessary steps at the proper level.
To publish differences we may think we have with the leaders of the Church, to create strife and division, is a sure road to apostasy. Our task is to stick with the kingdom, not to let anything or anybody disaffect or sour us toward that great gift which Christ has given us–his church.
The Church is true. Keep its laws; attend its meetings; sustain its leaders; accept its callings; get its recommend; enjoy its blessings.
Jesus Christ–Gifts and Expectations, Ezra Taft Benson, BYU devotional, 10 December 1974
12 Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.
13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.
14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.
15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.
16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.
18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.
19 Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ.
We’d write out the whole good spirit vs. bad spirit chart deal here, but formatting it in a blog would be a nightmare, so here’s the link to the whole talk he gave!
Investing for Eternity, John H. Groberg BYU devotional, 15 June 1982
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -Chas Hathaway is the author of the books Scripture Study Made Awesome, Marriage is Ordained of God, but WHO Came Up with Dating? and Giraffe Tracks. Learn more at chashathaway.com. Please participate in the conversation by adding comments and sharing with friends on the web!
Gospel Living Made Awesome is not an official work of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If Chas says something stupid, it's his own fault.
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Glad to hear that you are still podcasting.
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