Music and the Spoken Word

The Need for Light - Sunday June 10, 2018

Have you ever noticed how plants bend toward the sun? Whether it’s trees in a forest, flowers in a garden, or a potted plant in your window sill, most plants tend to grow in the direction of the sunlight that gives them life. Botanists call this heliotropism, but it’s really much simpler than it sounds. Plainly stated, most living things prefer light over darkness.

It’s true of plants, and recent research has shown that it’s true of people as well. We all have an inherent desire to look toward the positive, away from the negative, toward light, and away from darkness.

A business professor has noted this principle and applied it to corporations and other organizations. He calls it the “heliotropic effect”: just as a plant flourishes in plentiful sunlight and withers in darkness, people and groups prosper “in the presence of the positive and languish … [in] the presence of the negative.” He goes on to suggest that this simple principle “has enormous implications for how we rear our children, … how we train leaders, [and] how we educate our students.”

In fact, it may have implications for how we live our everyday lives. There is much in the world that is harsh and dark and negative. We cannot altogether avoid it, but we can turn away from it and turn toward the light. We can favor hope over despair, faith over doubt, positivity over cynicism. Every time we express gratitude, offer a helping hand, or give an encouraging compliment, like a flower by the window we are bending toward the light that gives us life.

Not only that, but we are also bringing light into the lives of others. If plants and businesses prosper in the light, so can our relationships. As our words and actions draw on heavenly light, people will be drawn to our light and love. And if there’s one thing this darkening world needs, it’s more goodness, more love, and more light.

1 Kim Cameron, “The Heliotropic Effect: The Wheatley Institution’s Approach to Ethics and Virtuousness,” lecture given at Brigham Young University, Apr. 1, 2016,

June 10, 2018
Broadcast Number 4,630

Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square

Mack Wilberg
Ryan Murphy

Andrew Unsworth

Lloyd Newell

Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah
John Hughes; arr. Mack Wilberg

Psalm 148
Gustav Holst

Trumpet Tune in Seven
James C. Kasen

Deep River
Spiritual; arr. Mack Wilberg

Battle of Jericho
Spiritual; arr. Moses Hogan

This Little Light of Mine
Spiritual; arr. Mack Wilberg