Whence Is That Goodly Fragrance Flowing?

On the Sunday before Christmas, it has become my custom to play a 30-minute prelude on the piano in our chapel before the start of church. The music, consisting of sacred carols from different countries, varies from year to year. A short printed program, providing some background information on each piece, is placed in the pews, and reverence is given renewed emphasis. 

One of the pieces I played this past Christmas was Whence Is That Goodly Fragrance Flowing? a 17th century French carol about the Nativity of Christ and the calling of the shepherds to Bethlehem. It begins with this verse:

Whence is that goodly fragrance flowing,
Stealing our senses all away?
Never the like did come a-blowing,
Shepherds, from flow’ry fields in May.
Whence is that goodly fragrance flowing,
Stealing our senses all away?[1]

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Bishop Duane G. Hunt

In the mid-1970s, sportswriter Frank Deford was sent by his employer, Sports Illustrated, to cover an NCAA convention in Chicago. The day following his arrival, Deford wandered into a nearby coffee shop to get some breakfast. The place was quite crowded, but he spied a lone vacant seat at the end of the counter and seized it.

He initially took no notice of the person sitting next to him. But after unfolding his newspaper, he glanced to his left and was taken aback by a man attired completely in white. Yes, it was none other than the legendary founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Colonel Harland Sanders. Continue reading “Bishop Duane G. Hunt”

Solitude and Society

Melchizedek is an obscure individual who makes but one appearance in the Bible, and most folks can’t tell you where or when. But Latter-day Saints sure can, for the high priesthood of Mormonism bears his name. Unfortunately, our exclusive focus on his priestly authority causes us to miss something profound in his encounter with Abraham. 

To grasp the import of this episode, we have to focus on what was going on in Abraham’s life before Melchizedek arrived and what immediately followed. In other words, we have to read it in context.

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The Rising Generation and the End Times

In 2001, an email containing the following excerpt from a talk attributed to Boyd K. Packer circulated rapidly in LDS circles:

You were in the War in Heaven and one day when you are in the spirit world you will be enthralled with those who you associate with. You will ask someone in which time period he lived and you might hear, I was with Moses when he parted the Red Sea, or I helped build the pyramids, or I fought with Captain Moroni. And as you are standing there in amazement, someone will turn to you and ask, ‘Which prophet’s time did you live in?’ And when you say Gordon B. Hinckley, a hush will fall over every hall, every corridor in heaven and all in attendance will bow at your presence. You were held back six thousand years because you were the most talented, most obedient, most courageous, and most righteous. Are you still? Remember who you are.[1]

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