Good can come from broken things


Breaking the soil for planting


I liked the talks in the priesthood session of General Conference this evening.


I’ll share one image that I appreciated, from Elder Randy Funk of the Seventy.


He alluded briefly to the value of broken things.


We break the ground to plant wheat.  We break wheat to make bread.  We break bread to create the emblems of the holy sacrament.


Nice series of thoughts.  I could imagine it being turned into a poem, and perhaps even a hymn.


Without things being broken, they can’t turn into the things that they’re intended to be — e.g., fruitful soil, bread, and the centerpiece of a deeply significant religious ritual.


Compare these two New Testament passages:


“Very truly I tell you,” says Jesus, “unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:24 NIV).


But someone will ask,” writes the apostle Paul, “’How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?’  How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies” (1 Corinthians 15:35-36 NIV).



  • mike

    You left out one item from Elder Funk’s “broken” chain. We take the sacrament with broken hearts.

    It was a great talk. I found myself repeating in my mind the “broken chain” on the ride home.

    • DanielPeterson

      Ah. I don’t even remembering hearing that. Makes it even better. Thanks.

      That’s why I look forward to reading it.

  • Steven Barton

    Reminds me of a beautiful song by Julie Miller, titled “Broken Things”

    You can have my heart
    But it isn’t new
    It’s been used and broken
    And only comes in blue

    It’s been down a long road
    And it got dirty on the way
    If I give it to you will you make it clean
    And wash the shame away

    You can have my heart
    If you don’t mind broken things
    You can have my heart if you don’t mind these tears
    Well I heard that you make old things new
    So I give these pieces all to you
    If you want it you can have my heart

    So beyond repair
    Nothing I could do
    I tried to fix it myself
    But it was only worse when I got through

    Then you walked right into my darkness
    And you speak words so sweet
    And you hold me like a child
    Till my frozen tears fall at your feet

  • Charles Wilson

    From “The Inconvenient Messiah,” Patricia Holland’s part:

    “I guess what I’ve come to you today to say is that God uses broken things—and I quote:

    ‘It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. . . . it is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever.[“Broken Things,” an excerpt from Vance Havner, The Still Water(Old Tappan, NJ: Flemming H. Revell, 1934). Quoted inGuideposts, October 1981, p. 5]‘”

  • RaymondSwenson

    “A broken heart and contrite spirit” are the sacrifice the Savior announces are to take the place of blood sacrifices as he speaks to the Nephites as they listen in the darkness. A broken heart is like a broken horse, one that is no longer defiant and self-willed, but obedient and submissive to its master. One of the truths that has been incorporated into Islam is the need for this submission of our hearts to the will of God, a principle taught by King Benjamin (as taught by the angel to him) in Mosiah 3:19.

    Sadly, the broken heart is something that some of our modern Evangelical Christian neighbors seem to have omitted from their doctrine. Unlike the Evangelicals who insist that salvation requires us acknowledging Christ as our Lord and Master, some of them insist that Christ’s grace saves us without changing us, and they actively berate Latter-day Saints for believing in the need to purify our hearts, repent and live obediently because it gives us a role in our own salvation, and therefore does not “honor” God’s power to save us without our puny help.

    “Breaking” and dividing things is a theme that appears in the scriptures in connection with making covenants, as described in several articles published by FARMS and BYU over the years. It has ties to offering sacrifices, and recording covenants on two divided parts of a single item, like sealed and unsealed parts of a record written on metal plates (including the pension record of a Roman soldier).