Jeffrey R. Holland Uses Singing in a Choir as an Analogy for Remaining Faithful Through Trials
During the April 2017 general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jeffrey R. Holland gave a memorable talk titled “Songs Sung and Unsung.” The address focused on encouraging members of the Church by referencing the hymn “There Is Sunshine in My Soul.” Elder Holland said: “I wish to lift out of context just one line from it that may help on days when we find it hard to sing or smile and ‘peaceful happy moments’ do not seem to ‘roll.’ If for a time you are unable to echo the joyous melodies you hear coming from others, I ask you to hold tenaciously to the line in this hymn that reassures, ‘Jesus listening can hear the songs [you] cannot sing.’”
Elder Holland spoke about facing difficult days when our faith is tested, saying, “We may have to stand silent for a time and simply listen to others, drawing strength from the splendor of the music around us.” He followed by saying that people who are “musically challenged” have their confidence boosted when they stand next to someone with a more confident, stronger voice. “Surely it follows that in singing the anthems of eternity, we should stand as close as humanly possible to the Savior and Redeemer of the world—who has absolutely perfect pitch,” declared Holland.
His talk continues the uplifting tone, and he encourages us to “sing” in our own voice and explains that Heavenly Father has made each of us unique and irreplaceable. Elder Holland stresses the equal importance of all of God’s children by saying, “The loss of even one voice diminishes every other singer in this great mortal choir of ours, including the loss of those who feel they are on the margins of society or the margins of the Church.”
Elder Holland admitted it’s hard to sing happy, bouncy lyrics when many in the world are suffering due to economic inequality, mental and emotional illnesses, violence, and bitterness. He someday hopes for a world where “a great global chorus will harmonize across all racial and ethnic lines.”
Near the conclusion of his talk, Elder Holland said: “We live in a mortal world with many songs we cannot or do not yet sing. But I plead with each one of us to stay permanently and faithfully in the choir, where we will be able to savor forever that most precious anthem of all—‘the song of redeeming love.’”
Perhaps most importantly, Elder Holland revealed that the seats for God’s choir are limitless. In addition to including those who speak different languages and come from different cultures, Elder Holland expressed: “There is room for the single, for the married, for large families, and for the childless. There is room for those who once had questions regarding their faith and room for those who still do. There is room for those with differing sexual attractions. In short, there is a place for everyone who loves God and honors His commandments as the inviolable measuring rod for personal behavior, for if love of God is the melody of our shared song, surely our common quest to obey Him is the indispensable harmony in it.”