Music & the Spoken Word: The power of good thoughts

Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This is an encore performance of “Music & the Spoken Word” with a new “Spoken Word” selected and recorded while the choir prepares to resume the weekly performances. This will be given Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021.

A beloved children’s book from decades ago contains this keen observation: “A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely” (see “The Twits” by Ronald Dahl).

Good thoughts, positive thinking, optimism, hopefulness — no matter what we call it, it’s powerful. And that power goes far beyond making a person look more lovely. Good thoughts change the way we look at life, which in turn affects the choices we make. So it probably isn’t an overstatement to say that good thoughts can change the very course of our lives.

This principle is illustrated in a folk tale about two employees of a shoemaker. Both were assigned to travel to a remote region and sell shoes to the people living there. After several days of hard work, both employees reported back to the shoemaker. One was discouraged, declaring: “What a waste of time. None of these people wear shoes.” But the second saw things differently, exclaiming, “What a great opportunity! None of these people wear shoes!” (see “Disposition or Discipline?” by Michael Josephson on Both had the same task and the same challenges; the difference was in the way they thought about it all. A positive outlook produces positive results.

That doesn’t mean people with good thoughts never experience bad times. Good thoughts don’t shield us from trouble, but they can keep us going when troubles present themselves. Good thoughts give us a sense of hope and peace, of strength and resolution. Good thoughts give meaning and direction to our day-to-day pursuits. Good thoughts empower us to build and bless the lives of others — something that is so needed in a world full of anger and negativity.

Best of all, good thoughts can bring us to God, the Creator of this beautiful world and the giver of every good thing— including, of course, good thoughts, for all that is good comes from God.

Tuning in …

The “Music & the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160AM/102.7FM, KSL.comBYUtv, BYUradio, Dish and DirecTV, SiriusXM Radio (Ch. 143), thetabernaclechoir.orgYouTube and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. MST on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at

See the Church News’ archive of ‘Spoken Word’ messages