Tuning the sheepherder's violin

In his address at the October 1981 general conference, Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve related an account of how Arturo Toscanini, conductor of the New York Philharmoic Orchestra, received a brief, crumpled letter from a lonely sheepherder in the remote mountain area of Wyoming.

The sheepherder had written that he had only two possessions - a radio and an old violin. The batteries in his radio were low and would soon die, and his violin was so out of tune that he couldn't use it. The sheepherder had one request: "When you begin your concert (which was broadcast by radio) sound a loud A' so I can tune myA' string; then I can tune the other strings. When my radio batteries are dead, I'll have my violin."The conductor complied; at the next concert carried by radio, he directed the musicians to join together in a perfect "A" note.

Elder Haight said, "The lonely sheepherder only needed one note, just a little help to get back in tune; he could go on from there. He needed someone who cared to assist him with one string; the others would be easy. Then, with all strings in tune - in harmony - the lonely sheepherder would have a source of companionship and joy and could play uplifting strains."

He said that there are many whose batteries may be low or whose strings are in need of tuning, souls who have been neglected or are not sufficiently involved in a meaningful Church responsibility or may have a feeling of injury, hurt or unworthiness.

"Some have allowed themselves to get out of tune," he observed. "They may have lost the pitch and drifted from the original score."

Elder Haight said that the Savior commissioned His disciples to not only baptize but also to teach. (See Matt. 28:19-20.)

"The future of the disciples was now clear - as with the Church and its members today - to bring new souls unto Christ and teach them. Teach them the commandments, teach them the principles of the gospel, teach them the love of God and love for one another, teach by the Spirit, teach with love. Then they can and will obey and live the commandments," Elder Haight said.

"None are to be lost, but everyone is to feel the love of the Master through His servants. He knew that to carry the message of the gospel to all nations would require active participation by everyone baptized - not just some, but everyone."

Elder Haight said that when the Savior's enemies complained because He mingled and ate with sinners, Jesus spoke of the shepherd who left the ninety and nine to search for the one sheep that had gone astray. (See Matt. 18:12-14.)

Elder Haight spoke of those who are to be shepherds to others today, including home teachers, priesthood leaders, and the general membership of the Church.

"The Prophet Ezekiel warned: `Ye feed not the flock.

" `The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost.' (Ezek. 34:3-4.)

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