We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words — to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. That is why we have peopled air and earth and water with gods and goddesses and nymphs and elves — that, though we cannot, yet these projections can, enjoy in themselves that beauty, grace, and power of which Nature is the image. That is why the poets tell us such lovely falsehoods. They talk as if the west wind could really sweep into a human soul; but it can't. They tell us that "beauty born of murmuring sound" will pass into human face; but it won't. Or not yet.
For if we take the imagery of Scripture seriously, if we believe that God will one day give us the Morning Star and cause us to put on the splendour of the sun, then we may surmise that both the ancient myths and the modern poetry, so false as history, may be very near the truth as prophecy. At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in.
The true artist can finally articulate a vision of what humanity can trust. In the midst of alienation, the artist can brig community and in the midst of ugliness, beauty. The artist, in short, acts not only as a voice of protest but also as a voice of hope.
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.
Looking to our history, our critics may see little of divinity in the great work of the Prophet Joseph Smith and those associated with him. Were our forebears human? Of course they were. They doubtless made some mistakes. Some of them acknowledged making mistakes. But the mistakes were minor when compared with the marvelous work that they accomplished. To highlight the mistakes and gloss over the greater good is to draw a caricature. Caricatures are amusing, but they are often ugly and dishonest. A man may have a wart on his cheek and still have a face of beauty and strength, but if the wart is emphasized unduly in relation to his other features, the portrait is lacking in integrity.
Cherish your visions; cherish your ideals; cherish the music that
stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the
loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts, for out of them will
grow all delightful conditions, all, heavenly environment; of these,
if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built.
To desire is to obtain; to aspire is to, achieve. Shall man's basest
desires receive the fullest measure of gratification, and his purest
aspirations starve for lack of sustenance? Such is not the Law: such
a condition of things can never obtain: "ask and receive."
SHE walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
How do these marvelous gifts of the Holy Ghost function? Elder Parley P. Pratt (1807–57) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated: “It quickens all the intellectual faculties; increases, enlarges, expands and purifies all the natural passions and affections; and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful use. … It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness and charity. It develops beauty of person, form and features. … It develops and invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens, invigorates, and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being.” Persons enjoying these gifts have “light of their countenances,” and their presence is “a warm glow of pure gladness and sympathy.”