When I listen to, or watch, much older pieces of religious film or music, I find something that is sorely lacking in today’s attempts to write religious music or create religious film. It is reverence.
In modern religious music and film, when there is reverence for God (and there often isn’t), it just isn’t heartfelt. It is the Sunday School reverence of folding our arms and not talking out of turn instead of revering him in truth. Reverence for God is now an attitude we adopt, but it is no longer something that springs from our hearts. It is no longer part of us.
What springs forth from Isaiah’s heart when he sees God is foreign to us when we read of it:
2 Nephi 16:1 In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
2 Above it stood the seraphim; each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
3 And one cried unto another, and said: Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.
4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
5 Then said I: Wo is unto me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips; and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts.
Today’s divinity is our buddy, who would spurn the distance that reverence or worship would imply.
But that is only today’s divinity. As ephemeral as the societal temperament from which he springs, he is the work of men’s hands and minds. And we should know better than to worship him, for he is a false God.
But the God of heaven and earth is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And when those who know him best come into his presence, they have a different reaction than our modern hearts lead us to.
Ether 3:6 And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear.
Their reactions are born out of of knowledge, not of ignorance. They know something of him in whose presence they stand. They know of what Joseph Smith wrote:
“It is a great thing to inquire at the hands of God, or to come into His presence; and we feel fearful to approach Him on subjects that are of little or no consequence”.