Music and the Spoken Word

The Price of Mortality - Sunday, November 5, 2017

Years ago, a young boy was injured in a terrible car accident. He spent weeks in critical condition and was finally beginning to recover when he contracted a life-threatening virus while in the hospital. Later he was invited to speak to a church congregation about his experiences. Although just 12 years old, he offered insight beyond his years on the problem of pain in the world. He said:
“Some people have asked me what I did wrong to deserve what happened to me. I’m not perfect, but I’m a good boy, and I know this is not something I deserved.
“Others have said, ‘You must be a really strong person for God to give you such a difficult trial.’
“I don’t feel strong, and anyway, I don’t believe God did this as a reward for my being particularly righteous.
“No, I don’t think this happened because I’m particularly bad or particularly good. I believe it happened because I’m mortal, and this is part of the price of mortality. We come to earth, we [make our choices], and other people [make theirs], and sometimes we hurt each other, and sometimes accidents happen.”1
What wisdom and perspective! Life is not perfect—it comes with problems and difficulties, accidents and heartache, but also joy, beauty, and love. Along with the bad is a whole lot of good. Misfortunes and tragedies are neither punishments nor rewards—they are simply the price we pay for the precious gift of life on earth.
So maybe it’s best not to worry if bad things will happen or wonder why they happen. The fact is that bad things will happen—even to good people, sometimes inexplicably. The ones who make it through such moments are those who stop blaming, resenting, and focusing on the bad. Instead they fix their gaze on all that’s right with the world—love, goodness, beauty—and they conclude that mortality is well worth the price. In the end, the ones who find joy are the ones who never stop looking for the good.

-Lloyd D. Newell

1. In Brett G. Scharffs, “Audacious Faith,” BYU Magazine, summer 2017,

November 5, 2017
Broadcast Number 4,599

Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square

Mack Wilberg
Ryan Murphy

Clay Christiansen

Lloyd Newell

When in Our Music God Is Glorified
Traditional hymn tune; arr. Emily Crocker

I Sing the Mighty Power of God
English melody; arr. Mack Wilberg

Festival Toccata on “St. Anne”
William Croft; arr. Frederick Swann

Softly and Tenderly
Will L. Thompson; arr. Mack Wilberg

On a Clear Day, from On a Clear Day You Can See Forever
Burton Lane; arr. Arthur Harris

Hail to the Lord’s Anointed
Samuel Sebastian Wesley; arr. Ryan Murphy