“The view of the Earth from the moon fascinated me,” said Frank Borman, the commander of Apollo 8. “A small disk, 240,000 miles away. It was hard to think that that little thing held so many problems, so many frustrations. Raging nationalistic interests, famines, wars, pestilence don’t show from that distance.”
Borman is just one astronaut to comment on what the Earth looked like from the moon. Many of them have said it made them feel small, or it made the Earth seem fragile.
As the distance between the astronauts and Earth increased, political differences, boundaries and difficulties fell away. All those things that divide us were no longer visible.
Few of us will get the chance to land on the moon or even go into space, but sometimes we have to take a step back and view things as they are. Instead of allowing national, racial, cultural or ethnic differences to divide us, we as the Scroll editorial board believe we should strive to be one.
In the June 18 message announcing a new hymnbook and Children’s Songbook, Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said music has the power to unify us, so he hopes this new hymnbook will reflect the “diverse needs” in the Church.
A cursory search on Twitter for “LDS hymnbook” brings up some interesting results. Some people have been suggesting adding “In the Garden of Eden” by I. Ron Butterfly or hoping for the removal of “There is Sunshine in My Soul Today.”
Whether the Church does decide to return “Come Thou Fount” to its rightful place in the hymnbook, this is only one way the leaders have been working to unite us as one.
At the beginning of June, the Church hosted a “Be One” celebration, honoring the anniversary of President Spencer W. Kimball’s revelation on the priesthood. The leaders have also changed the visiting and home teaching programs and combined the high priests and elders into one quorum.
What are the leaders trying to do with this? Perhaps they’re figuratively viewing the Earth from the moon, seeing beyond the borders, the red vs. blue, the social classes, the wars and seeing us as one.
“Only the comprehension of the true Fatherhood of God can bring full appreciation of the true brotherhood of men and the true sisterhood of women,” said President Russell M. Nelson at the celebration. “That understanding inspires us with passionate desire to build bridges of cooperation instead of walls of segregation.”
With the creation of a new hymnbook, the Church is trying to open up to its international, diverse audience. But there are still people who can’t seem to reach the “be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:27).
A glance at the headlines reveals the latest and greatest in wars, lies, violences and other atrocities happening every moment of every day.
How can we become one with each other?
Next time you meet someone who is different than you are, don’t immediately react to their differences. Instead, take a step back and view them as you would the Earth from the moon. Look at them as a whole person, not just the flaws you see.
They’re beautiful, aren’t they?
“For those who have seen the Earth from space, and for the hundreds and perhaps thousands more who will, the experience most certainly changes your perspective,” said Donald Williams, a late American astronaut. “The things that we share in our world are far more valuable than those which divide us.”
Once you’ve seen the beauty of the Earth from space, your view can change forever. And once you’ve seen the beauty of a human being, you are never the same.
“Differences in culture, language, gender, race and nationality fade into insignificance as the faithful enter the covenant path and come unto our beloved Redeemer,” President Nelson said at the “Be One” celebration. “(May we) overcome any burdens of prejudice and walk uprightly with God — and with one another — in perfect peace and equity.”
It’s going to take more than a hymnbook to unite us and make us one, but if we all figuratively view the Earth from the moon and see how we can be united despite oudifferences, that’s one step closer to the stars, one step closer to heaven.