Music and the Spoken Word

What is True Greatness? - Sunday, May 15, 2016

People all over the world, in every culture and clime, pursue greatness. The desire to succeed and excel is as universal as it is natural. But what is true greatness? How do we know when we have achieved it? Some might say that greatness happens in rare, extraordinary moments when someone of unusual ability rises above his or her peers. Howard W. Hunter, himself a great man and beloved spiritual leader, offered a different definition of greatness when he said, “To do one’s best in the face of the commonplace struggles of life—and possibly in the face of failure—and to continue to endure and to persevere in the ongoing difficulties of life when those struggles and tasks contribute to others’ progress and happiness, . . . this is true greatness.”1

Such greatness—far from being unusual or exceptional—can be found all around us, though it sometimes goes unnoticed. It is evident in the humble heroes who consistently do the right thing, even when no one is watching. It’s found in those who, day after day, sometimes year after year, care for their loved ones who are ill or elderly. It could be a father who never lets a teaching moment pass with his children; a mother who sees that the needs of her family are met—even, at times, at the expense of her own; a teacher who notices a struggling student and offers extra, individual attention; a coworker who takes the time to compliment others on a job well done; or a husband and wife who gently love each other and their children. In such commonplace settings, we find the makings of true greatness.

Other kinds of success, based on worldly praise, reward, and recognition, are really just an illusion. Not loud or pretentious, true greatness does not shout from the rooftops or seek attention among the crowds. Most often, true greatness doesn’t grab headlines. It’s usually quiet, often unseen, and frequently unspoken. And the rewards of true greatness are without price or parallel. They include meaningful relationships, the enduring gratitude of loved ones, and the satisfaction of a life well lived. Long after public applause has died away, true greatness lives forever in every heart it has ever touched.
-Lloyd D. Newell

1. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Howard W. Hunter (2015), 162–63.

May 15, 2016,
Broadcast Number 4,522

Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square

Mack Wilberg

Richard Elliott

Lloyd Newell

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

For I Am Called by Thy Name
Crawford Gates

Praise and Thanksgiving
Dale Wood

This Is My Father's World
Franklin L. Sheppard; arr. Mack Wilberg

The Impossible Dream, from Man of La Mancha
Mitch Leigh; arr. Arthur Harris

Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
Rowland Hugh Prichard; arr. Mack Wilberg