I have always been drawn to the teaching power of technology and the arts, especially when they come together to teach the things of God.
In 1996, I was asked to participate in the Mormon Arts Festival at Tuacahn in St. George, Utah. It was amazing to feel the heady creativity in the air as LDS artists from all levels and disciplines came together to support one another.
I have marveled many times at the talk given by Elder M. Russell Ballard about the arts at the first festival in 1995. He had given some pretty specific guidelines as to how to be successful in our endeavors to serve God and mankind through the gifts and talents bestowed by the Great Creator. He issued a call and proclaimed a blessing. Surely the time had come for another great work to be done.
Here are a few key excerpts:
"It is my judgement that much success will come as we become more expert and more able to harness the wonderful technology that our Heavenly Father has given man to proclaim His message . . . "If we are determined to live by Heavenly Father's plan . . . we will use all that God has given us to help bring to pass His purposes. We will lift, inspire, and change hearts to help make people better than they might have been."
"We call upon all members, those in the arts and those seeking to appreciate the message of good art, to expand their vision of what can be done. If we are going to fill the world with goodness and truth, then we must be worthy to receive inspiration so we can bless the lives of our Heavenly Father's children. Never in the history of the world have truth and technology been so available and so prepared to help 'bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man' (Moses 1:39). But our power and ability to be successful will be in direct proportion to our faithful adherence to the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ as we seek to convey those teachings to others in ways that are edifying and inspiring to them."
"This is the time, brothers and sisters, to make our voices heard."
I was not in attendance in person, but I felt the power of the Apostolic mandate through the power of technology at a later time. I believe this was for a purpose, as I learned very succinctly that the Lord uses diverse ways and means to bless his children, and that such a call and blessing rolls forth whether or not any particular person partakes or even hears.
Over the years, I watched the festival dwindle, and saw many turn from what appeared to be such a clear mission. I became very distraught and saddened at what appeared to be happening. I was sad at how few artists I would talk to had read or even heard of Elder Ballard's talk. It seemed pretty clear to me what Elder Ballard had said about using technology to come together and bless the lives of Heavenly Father's children, and it just didn't seem to be happening.
Then I started gathering articles of interest to me concerning LDS art and technology and things making a difference to mankind. As I started to put these stories together, I could see an amazing pattern emerging. LDS artists, of all disciplines, are using their talents and gifts to bless the lives of others. The miracle of Elder Ballard's blessing was coming forth, even though most of those performing the miracle knew not of the message.
There is now an undeniable groundswell of the coming together of art and technology in answer
to many great prophetic calls from the Lord's leaders of the kingdom.
The power of that blessing can now be plainly seen.
It is being fulfilled and the new song is being composed, and we will continue to reap the rewards forever.
Thanks for stopping by.
May the Lord's choicest blessings be upon all of us as we strive to serve Him.
John P. Starrs
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