Photo from LDS Church News
After "Music and the Spoken Word" and a mini concert on Sunday morning, President Monson presented our visiting artists gifts and gratitude.
Natalie Cole responded,
"I've never been deeply as moved as I have been since I arrived here in Salt Lake City. President Monson, meeting you moved me to no end. The presentation of the genealogy was more than I could take. Your church and your people are beautiful people and I am so glad to know that we share the same faith, the same heart. All your hearts are so good. I [could] feel it every day, as I would wake up, that this is my city. Thank you for your hospitality, your love. …I hope to see you soon. God bless."
And Mr. McCullough spoke these very moving words,
"President Monson, I am, oddly, at a loss for words. (That brought a chuckle from the audience) "I want to say it is a thrill beyond anything in my experience to have taken part in the last several days here and an honor beyond my capacity at the moment to stand with two such great Americans, you and Natalie."
"I just want to say one thing quickly. Toward the end of his life, President John Adams was having a conversation in privacy at his home in Quincy, Mass., with the young Ralph Waldo Emerson who was newly out of Harvard College. The president said, 'I wish to God that there were more ambition in the land.' And then he paused and said, 'By that I mean ambition of a laudable kind: ambition to excel, not to have more power or money or fame, but to excel.'
"And I have felt that these past days in a way that I have never been a party to; this desire of everybody involved in this production to excel. Your great Mormon Tabernacle Choir is one of the high achievements of our nation. To me, it stands as a noble attainment, and we've had many of those in our story as a people. I like to think of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Marshall Plan, for example. I would include the Mormon Tabernacle Choir as one of the proudest achievements of our country, an expression of the human spirit for all."
As they faced the choir and orchestra, we sang, "God Be With You 'Til We Meet Again." It was so touching to see the two of them so visibly moved -- I felt such a sense of gratitude well up inside me; I couldn't sing a note.
What a treasured blessing!