Wednesday, November 2, 2016

John Taylor on enjoyment of God's creations

President John Taylor (1808–1887) was born in England and immigrated to Canada where he and his wife were converted after hearing Parley P. Pratt preach.  He was ordained an apostle in 1838, and became the third president of the Church in 1880, serving until his death in 1887 at age 78.
"Is there anything gloomy in the works that God has made? Turn where we will, we see harmony, loveliness, cheerfulness, and beauty.
"The blessings of providence were made for man, and his enjoyment; he is placed as head of creation. For him the earth teems with the richest profusion; the golden grain, the luscious fruit, the choicest vines; for him, the herbs, and flowers bedeck the earth, shed their odoriferous perfumes, and display their gorgeous beauty; for him, the proud horse yields his back, the cow gives her milk, and the bee its honey; for him, the sheep yields its fleece, the cotton-tree its down, and the worm its silk. For him, the shrub and vine bloom and blossom, and nature clothes herself in her richest attire; the rippling stream, the pure fountain, the crystal river flow for him, all nature spreads her richest charms, and invites him to partake of her joyousness, beauty, and innocence, and to worship her God.
"Talk about melancholy in the fear of God, and in his service! It is the corruption of the world, that has made men unhappy; and the corruption of religion that has made it gloomy: these are the miseries entailed by men, not the blessings of God. Talk about gloom! Is there gloom in the warbling of the birds, in the prancing of the horse, in the playfulness of the lamb, or kid; in the beauty of flowers, in any of Nature's gifts, or rich attire, or in God, that made them, or in his service?"
- John Taylor, The Government of God (1852), p. 30
Click here to read the full article

I love the beautiful simplicity of a song our children sing:
Whenever I hear the song of a bird
Or look at the blue, blue sky,
Whenever I feel the rain on my face
Or the wind as it rushes by,
Whenever I touch a velvet rose
Or walk by our lilac tree,
I'm glad that I live in this beautiful world
Heav'nly Father created for me.

- "My Heavenly Father Loves Me" (Children's Songbook #228)
There is a beauty and glory in the world around us that we too often ignore as we get caught up in our problems. President Taylor encourages us to recognize that gloom and melancholy are the results of our own "corruption" and can be overcome by noticing and remembering God's gifts to us.

The Book of Mormon prophet Alma must have sensed this spirit, as he testified in his conversation with Korihor: "...all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator." (Alma 30:44)

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