When faced with life's challenges,
it is Important to Remember
that although Daniel was saved from the lions,
he was not saved from the Lion's Den.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Silent Sound

Did you know that there is a sound that children can hear, but their parents can't?  I have heard about it before, but never known where to find it.  I have heard about it because I sometimes teach college classes and cell phones continue to be a big problem in class.  Presbycusis is a common degenerative condition that affects most adults. (How is that for a fancy name of a condition that you just might have!  Do you feel old yet?)
People who are affected by this usually start losing the ability to hear higher frequency noises around the age of 18 and their hearing progressively deteriorates throughout their later years in life. Can you believe that the association between advanced age and high-tone deafness was first described by a Dutch scientist in 1899.
This condition is considered a natural side effect of aging, and the exact cause of this type of hearing loss is unknown.
Modern day teenagers have discovered a way to take advantage of this unique situation.  There are cell phone ring tones on the web that allow teenagers to hear this sound in places that receiving calls or text messages might be inappropriate.  Places like church, school, concerts and work.
I was surfing the web the other night (something I like to do, but don't usually find the time for) and I came across a website that plays the sound over your computer.  As long as the speakers are on you can hear (or not hear) the noise.  It is called a mosquito ring tone.  I went to one of the web sites and played the "noise" over my computer.  All three of the girls immediately said, "what is that annoying noise?  What is making that sound".  They started looking around for it.  My husband said, "What noise?  There is no unusual noise in here."  The girls than started to explain the noise to him.  He did not believe them.  They argued about the buzzing sound.  I sat, smiling at my computer.

How does what you hear or don't hear make a difference in learning the gospel?  We have heard often, that we need to become as little children.  My little children can hear things that I can't.  They can listen to things that I don't know.  Maybe the message should be to learn to listen as a child would listen.  To really pay attention to that soft sound.
How many of you have ever sat in a church meeting, or gospel discussion and had something in the talk just really make a difference in how you look at things?  Have you ever wondered why others don't learn the same information that you do?  I have.  Especially when I believe that it is a great talk or lesson.

I was reading in one of the past ensigns and found this thought:
"Now I would ask you to think about...your own ability to have great spiritual experiences as you attend a class or a sacrament meeting on Sunday. What is your role in creating the environment in which the Spirit can teach you the things you need to know?  If you find a Church class or a sacrament meeting boring, does that say more about the teacher—or about you?
Consider the response of President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) when someone once asked him, “What do you do if you find yourself caught in a boring sacrament meeting?” President Kimball thought a moment, then replied, “I don’t know; I’ve never been in one.”  With his long years of Church experience, President Kimball had undoubtedly been to many meetings where people had read their talks, spoken in a monotone, or given travelogues instead of teaching doctrine. But most likely, President Kimball was teaching that he did not go to sacrament meeting to be entertained; he went to worship the Lord, renew his covenants, and be taught from on high. If he attended with an open heart, a desire to be “nourished by the good word of God” (Moroni 6:4), and a prayer—rather than judgment—for the speakers, the Spirit would teach him what he needed to do to be a more effective and faithful disciple. President Kimball was teaching the principle of learning by the Spirit"  (A. Roger Merrill, “To Be Edified and Rejoice Together,” Ensign, Jan 2007, 64–69).  

This simple story about President Kimball really struck a cord in me.  I could not say the same thing about my own experiences in church meetings.  I think that President Kimball was trying to teach me that I need to take responsibility for my own learning.  I need to do the things to prepare myself so that the Spirit can teach me.
I have sometimes heard people complain that they did not like a lesson or talk.  I know that there have been weeks where I don't think that I learned anything.  Reading this about President Kimball made me take another look at the way I do things.
I have learned that part of taking responsibility for my own learning means taking the time to prepare to be taught.  When I read my scriptures daily, study the lesson, and pray for the teachers and the speakers, I have found that I get much more out of my meetings.  I also started carrying a composition notebook and pen in my scriptures.  It is a small one that fits in the pocket of my scripture case.  I use that to write down the thoughts, scriptures, and stories that mean the most to me.  I try to find at least one thing in every talk that applies to me.  I have been doing this for a little more than two months now, and I can honestly say that I have not been to a boring meeting since I have started this experiment.

So, take this challenge and prepare yourself to be taught.  You might just be a little surprised as your ears are opened and you hear the lessons that the Lord wants you to hear and find a way to apply them in your life.   And you just might find out (as I have done) that there really are no boring Sacrament meetings.

By the way, I didn't hear the mosquito noise either, but I sure wasn't going to let my girls know that!  Sometimes, what they don't know, won't have the chance to hurt them!


  1. Wow!! I am going to take your challenge and try finding something in every talk that applies to me. It was easy to do in conference, as all the talks seemed to be for me. Thanks for posting this. You really got my attention with the cell phone beginning.

  2. Wow! I need to repent!!!! I have to go (get to go!) to a lot of meetings and it's easy to get bored. This gives me a new attitude to consider.

  3. Don't worry, if you look at the end, you will see that I have only been doing this for a couple of months now. I think the Lord teaches us best when we are ready to hear him!
    Thanks for your comments and for taking the time to read.

  4. Sorry to focus on the un-spiritual part of this post, but I found the mosquito ring tone hearing test. I played it while my daughter was next to me reading. She immediately stopped reading and looked around. I played the different frequencies and could only hear the first two or three. When she kept hearing it, Sabrina said, "What is that sound?" I told her what it was and that I couldn't hear most of them. She asked why. I told her that happens as we get older. She said, "So that means you're almost ready to die?" So now I feel REALLY old.