"We are not measured by the trials we meet -- only by those we overcome."
- - Spencer W. Kimball
April 1, 2014
Sounding Off about Sound Principles
by Vickey Pahnke Taylor

My mom and dad taught me sound principles while I was growing up. Some of them stuck and others kind of just bounced off and trickled down into some pool inside my brain/heart. They were, I would learn later, hanging around awaiting the Proper Teaching Moment.

While I may have had no ears to hear some lessons when first taught, the volume was suddenly turned way up.

I wrote a very short poem about it some years back, which was included in a little book called Apron Strings — Tender Ties Between Mothers and Daughters. My mom had passed away a few years before, and this seemed my way of finally, fully, grieving her passing — missing her and her wisdom.

Anyway, here it is:

Volume Control

Then,
Defiant, free spirit
I would not hear it
When you quietly warned me
Of false friend,
Or proud choice.

Now,
Relying on memory,
Of things you advised me,
This internal alarm
Has remarkably
Loud voice.

Vickey Pahnke Taylor © 2007

I now realize that it’s not just about mothers and daughters. It applies to any of us who attach heart to heart, and will learn from each other while we have opportunity to do so.

Learning sound principles from loved ones allows us to more openly accept from them the ongoing sources that can best prepare us to live a Christ-centered life.

President Ezra Taft Benson taught, “We must be devoted to sound principles in word and deed; principle above party, principle above pocketbook, principle above popularity.” (God, Family, Country: Our Three Great Loyalties, 1974)

True principles bring me strength and give me hope. While people may displease me, and programs may change or unsettle me, the everlasting principles of truth allow me to stand steady. You know?

In addition to the basic principles of truth, here are a few I thought to share with you today. Chosen because they are common sense as well as long-reaching in truth, and sound:

  • “I believe a man should prepare for the worst while working for the best.”

  • President Ezra Taft Benson  

  • “The Lord is saying to us — Here is how you worship. You worship by emulation. You worship by imitation. You worship by patterning your life after mine. You worship by magnifying me and my course, by doing what I have done.” Elder Bruce R. McConkie

  • “Our opportunities to give of ourselves are indeed limitless, but they are also perishable.” President Thomas S. Monson

Service is all about blessings that come to us. It’s like a magical, beautiful, endless of cycle of Giving/Receiving/Giving/Growing. No matter how much we offer in the way of helping, assisting, loving — it comes back around as a blessing upon our heads.  And we quietly have the understanding that, “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God,” (Mosiah 2:17) 

Just yesterday I learned that one of my lifelong friends’ children passed away. So quickly he is gone from mortality. We never know how long we have to be a blessing to someone. Today — now — is the time, isn’t it?

  • “Every sacrament meeting ought to be a spiritual feast.” President Gordon B. Hinckley.   

Okay, let’s stop here for a moment. Having sat through some pretty tough sacrament meetings in my time, this one — similar to something President Spencer W. Kimball also said — used to be hard for me to wrap my mind around. (I know I have ended a sentence with a preposition…. My apologies to you English grammar folks.) 

There have been some extraordinarily long fast and testimony meetings. There have been some interesting goings on up at the pulpit sometimes.

I’ve had my own journey of learning and acceptance. Sunday meetings become a time between me and the Lord, a way of saying, “Thank you” and worshipping God and Christ. The rest?  It is what it is.   

  • This last one is not from a leader or the scriptures, but it is beautiful and true and necessary for us — as children of our Father and as siblings of our Savior — who want us to lengthen our stride and find our best selves: “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

From the book The Help, a beautiful and inspired maid says this over and over to a little girl who is basically ignored by her mother. The message is powerful. It brings me to tears, for there are many who need to be taught these simple, profound principles who never hear them.

I am grateful to know I have kindness in me. I’m thankful that I am endowed with intelligence and that I’m important to my Maker and to my Savior. It’s awesome to know I matter to my family and to others, as well. It helps me in my mortal journey.

I wish I could hold a world seminar that would last for only, maybe, fifteen minutes. In that time, I would want to speak with all of the power of the Holy Spirit I could gather, and share words to help each child of God know it is so. I’d teach a few principles of goodness and truth.

I would want every single one to know they are loved. That there is goodness in them. That they matter.  While they may not have ears to hear it at the time, maybe some day — down the road — the volume would be turned up. And they could understand.

Such goodness to be had.

And goodness matters.


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About Vickey Pahnke Taylor

Vickey Pahnke Taylor is a wife, mom, grandmother, teacher, author, and songwriter. Her undergraduate study at BYU was musical theater. She has a Masters degree in interpersonal communications.

A Billboard award-winning songwriter with hundreds of songs to her credit, she uses music as a teaching tool. But her favorite way to use music has been to sing to her children. You should hear the family's rousing versions of "Happy Birthday"!

In addition to three solo albums in the LDS market, she co-wrote "Women at the Well" with Kenneth Cope and "My Beloved Christ: with Randy Kartchner. She is co-writer of the theme song for Utah's Make-A-Wish foundation, the song for the Special Olympics program, and EFY's theme song.

She writes for several online magazines and columns, and has authored several books. Her website, www.goodnessmatters.com, is her way of continuing to grow goodness in the world, pointing people gently toward Christ and eternal principles of truth.

She has spoken for the Church's various Youth and Family programs for 25 years. She and her husband Dean have eight children and four grandchildren. She adores being a wife, mom and grandmother. She loves flowers, brownies, cooking Italian and Southern foods, the ocean, and laughing every chance she gets.

Vickey was baptized a member of the Church as a teenager in Virginia. She serves as gospel doctrine teacher in her ward, and Dean serves on their stake high council.

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