Music in Our Refined Heavenly Home
Elder Douglas L. Callister of the Seventy spoke at a BYU devotional in September 2006. In his talk, he spoke of our heavenly home and painted “a word picture of the virtuous, lovely, and refined circumstances that exist there.” He detailed the “language, literature, music, and art of heaven.”
Below is an excerpt from Elder Callister’s talk, published in the Liahona magazine.
If we could peek behind the heavenly veil, we would likely be inspired by the music of heaven, which is probably more glorious than any music we have heard on this earth.
When some music has passed the tests of time and been cherished by the noble and refined, our failure to appreciate it is not an indictment of grand music. The omission is within. If a young person grows up on a steady diet of hamburgers and french fries, he is not likely to become a gourmet. But the fault is not with fine food. He just grew up on something less. Some have grown up on a steady diet of musical french fries.
This would be a good time to sift through your music library and choose primarily that which uplifts and inspires. It is part of the maturing process of your eternal journey. This would also be a fine time to learn a musical instrument or improve musical skills now partially possessed.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “We . . . live in a world that is too prone to the tasteless and we need to provide an opportunity to cultivate a taste for the finest music. And likewise, we’re in a world that’s so attuned to the now. We need to permit people to be more attuned to the best music of all the ages.”
Recognizing the penetrating influence of great music, Oscar Wilde had one of his characters say, “After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own.” After the first performance of Messiah, Handel, responding to a compliment, said, “My lord, I should be sorry if I only entertained them—I wish to make them better.” Haydn “dressed in his best clothes to compose because he said he was going before his maker.”
Some events in life are so sublime that they cannot be imagined without the companionship of beautiful music. We could not have a Christmas without carols or a general conference without sacred anthems. And there could not be a heaven without music of surpassing beauty. President Young said, “There is no music in hell, for all good music belongs to heaven.” It would be punishment enough to go to hell and not hear a note of music for all eternity.