Music and the Spoken Word

The Miracle of Transformation- Sunday, August 28, 2016

There’s something enchanting about butterflies. Even on our busy days, we almost can’t help but stop and watch when one flutters by. And most of us know the familiar green chrysalis from which a beautiful monarch butterfly will someday emerge.
But what’s happening inside that chrysalis may surprise you. Many of us think a caterpillar is simply hibernating in there, slowly growing wings. But what’s actually happening is even more miraculous. Once encased in a chrysalis, the caterpillar releases enzymes that turn its body into liquid. From this watery soup, the entire creature is rebuilt. The muscles, the nervous system, the heart—everything is completely re-created, and the lowly caterpillar transforms into a brilliant butterfly.1
And if such a transformation can happen with caterpillars, why not with people? Can we too, regardless of our past, “put off” our old selves and improve our lives?2 Can we undergo an inner metamorphosis as wondrous as the outward transformations we see in nature? Can a life that has experienced failure become a success story?
The answer is yes—not only can we change, we were meant to change. Just as the caterpillar was not created to remain a caterpillar, we were created to grow, progress, and improve. If we allow it, life’s experiences have a way of melting away our stubbornness, our selfishness, and any other weaknesses we might have—changing us, in effect, into a wiser, more generous, and more loving person.
Of course, great change is not immediate, any more than nature’s miracle with the caterpillar happens in an instant. Sometimes it may even feel as though we’ve made a soupy mess of things. There may be days when it seems that “the harder [we] try, the harder it gets.”3 But if we believe enough to keep trying, we can become more than we have been in the past. Step by step, we can give up bad habits that hold us back, traits that damage relationships, and attitudes that darken our outlook. We can acknowledge our mistakes, apologize to those we’ve offended, and set a new course toward a brighter future of love, compassion, and humility.
Every caterpillar carries within itself the makings of a beautiful butterfly. And every one of us can remake ourselves into a thing of wonder and, on glorious wings, discover we can fly.

1. See Ferris Jabr, “How Does a Caterpillar Turn into a Butterfly?” Scientific American, Aug. 10, 2012,
2. See Colossians 3:9–10.
3. Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Inconvenient Messiah,” Ensign, Feb. 1984, 71.

August 28, 2016
Broadcast Number 4,537

Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square

Mack Wilberg

Guest Artist
Jenny Oaks Baker

Andrew Unsworth

Lloyd Newell

Down to the River to Pray
American folk hymn; arr. Mack Wilberg

I Know That My Redeemer Lives
Lewis D. Edwards; arr. Kurt Bestor

Steal Away
Spiritual; arr. Gilbert M. Martin

The Lord My Pasture Will Prepare
Dmitri Bortniansky; arr. Mack Wilberg

Star of Bethlehem, from Ben-Hur
Miklós Rósza; arr. David Zabriskie

And Then Shall Your Light Break Forth, from Elijah
Felix Mendelssohn