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July 16, 2023 - #4896 Music & the Spoken Word

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Conductor: Mack Wilberg
Organist: Brian Mathias
Announcer: Lloyd D. Newell

“Let There Be Light!”
Music: Gilbert M. Martin
Lyrics: John Marriott

“There Is Sunshine in My Soul Today”1
Music: John R. Sweney
Lyrics: Eliza E. Hewitt
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“Venite!” (organ solo)
Music: John Leavitt

"Join We Now in Praise and Sing”
Music: Spanish melody
Lyrics: William E. Hickson
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“For the Beauty of the Earth”2
Music: Conrad Kocher
Lyrics: Folliott S. Pierpoint
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“What a Wonderful World”
Music and lyrics: George David Weiss and Bob Thiele
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“Redeemer of Israel”3
Music: Freeman Lewis
Lyrics: Joseph Swain; adapted by William W. Phelps|
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

  1. From the albums Then Sings My Soul and This Is the Christ.
  2. From the albums Love Is Spoken Here and 9/11: Rising Above.
  3. From the albums Come, Come, Ye SaintsThen Sings My Soul; and Called to Serve.

The Spoken Word

This Wonderful World

July 16, 2023
(Recorded in Mexico City, June 2023)
Lloyd D. Newell

We feel better when we spend time outside. Most of us know this by experience, and research backs it up. Spending time in nature has been shown to help reduce stress, clarify thoughts, and improve our well-being.1 A walk in the woods, a morning in the garden, a visit to the seashore can both calm and enliven our senses.

Of course, you don’t have to live near a forest or beach to receive the benefits of nature. Many cities set aside green spaces, like this one in Coyoacán Park in Mexico City. When we’re surrounded by cement and pavement, our souls long for the natural world. We smile when we hear a bird’s song. We slow down when we catch the fragrance of a fresh blossom. We pause and whisper when we see a squirrel.

Nature has that effect on our senses—it helps us see, feel, and think more clearly, and as a result, we make better decisions. In fact, studies have shown that cities with green spaces tend to have less violent crime.2 After connecting with nature, we often find greater self-control, even in tense moments.

During an especially stressful time at work, one woman decided to walk through a nearby park each day during lunch. Something about the soft breeze, the fresh air, and the vibrant green leaves helped reset her thoughts. The problems didn’t go away, but she felt able to face them with a revived sense of peace and perspective.

Why does nature influence us so deeply? Perhaps because connecting with creation also connects us with the Creator. An ancient prophet observed, “The earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, … witness that there is a Supreme Creator” (Alma 30:44). And the psalmist declared, “The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord” (Psalm 33:5). Ultimately, nature directs our gaze heavenward, to God.

So the next time life feels heavy, confusing, or overwhelming, try spending some time among God’s creations. Notice how much closer you feel to Him. You may discover how much He wants you to feel His love through the wonder and beauty of His wonderful world.

  1. See Christopher Bergland, “Why Living Near Greenery Helps Us Think Better,” Psychology Today, Apr. 27, 2022,
  2. See Katherine Cullen, “Can Green Spaces Reduce Violence?,” Psychology Today, Sept. 23, 2021,