Show Me The Way

Can a blog post about Peter Frampton bring spiritual insight? Depends on you. Anyone who appreciates classic rock, or was a child of the 70s, instantly knows Peter Frampton and the song, Show Me the Way.

Back in ’76, when I was busy cheering for Rocky and attending High School, Peter Frampton released what is arguable one of the great live rock albums of all time, Frampton Comes Alive. One of the songs that was always on the radio was Show Me the Way. It was a huge hit and still has the ability to throw me back to that era with just the first few guitar chords.

Frampton explained that the song was about a girl he was enamored with at the time. “I just met somebody that gave me such confidence. My life is completely changed. All the lyrics in that song are about me and her.” (link)

I imagine a huge percentage of songs written are about falling in love, being in love, falling out of love, etc. This song was not an exception. Here are some of the lyrics.

I wonder how you're feeling
There's ringing in my ears
And no one to relate to except the sea
Who can I believe in?
I'm kneeling on the floor
There has to be a force
Who do I phone?
The stars are out and shining
But all I really want to know

Oh won't you show me the way
I want you show me the way

Well, I can see no reason,
You living on your nerves
When someone drops a cup and I submerge
I'm swimming in a circle,
I feel I'm going down
There has to be a fool
To play my part
Someone thought of healing,
But all I really want to know

Oh won't you show me the way
I want you show me the way

Yeah, you are probably singing along with it, just like you did back then.

Meanwhile, at a high school in Ireland, a band made up of teenagers called Feedback, decided to play Show Me The Way for their high school talent show performance. It was a huge success, and the band felt it was the first time they ever really came together as a band. Here is their yearbook photo:

Feedback continued, but eventually changed their name to U2. You might have heard of them.

Is there anything remotely spiritual in this so far? Nope. Let’s continue…

A couple of weeks ago, Bono released a list of songs to celebrate his 60th birthday.Along with those songs, he wrote a letter to each of the singers behind those songs. Included on his list was Show Me the Way.

He wrote to Frampton and said, “Dear Peter, Before Joey Ramone gave me my voice, this song saved me as a singer. U2 played it in the Mount Temple gym… I used to turn it into a prayer. I have always believed that God hears me clearer when I sing, not when I speak.”

That is what I found interesting about this whole thing: The man who wrote the song wrote it as a love song. A teenage boy who borrowed it, heard it as a prayer.

Which is right? Both.

Who can I believe in?
I'm kneeling on the floor
There has to be a force
Who do I phone?
The stars are out and shining
But all I really want to know

Oh won't you show me the way
I want you show me the way

It works, right? It does sound like a prayer if your heart is tuned to that.

Inspiration can come from unlikely sources, and at awkward moments. (I have had my share unexpected tears in movies that aren’t even remotely sad or spiritual.)

We all know that the Holy Ghost is eager to find inroads to our hearts. It is most obvious that scripture reading, praying, and listening to religious music and/or talks can quickly bring the Spirit, but, he is not limited to that.

Personal experience has taught me that the Holy Ghost will exploit any opportunity he is given to touch my heart, if it is open. It might be while reading a book, or contemplating art. It can come from quiet meditation, or in the midst of conversation. The still, small voice can reach out to us while enjoying nature, or in the middle of a decidedly secular movie. Sometimes he reaches out to us in the strangest ways, and at the strangest times.

One of the decidedly significant, spiritual experiences of my entire life took place on an airplane, (not a temple) as I was listening to a song that would never be played in a sacrament meeting. I wasn’t praying, or reading the scriptures when the Spirit reached in a grabbed my heart with an intensity I have never forgotten. (I included this story in my 2nd book, so I won’t relate it here.)

We are all familiar with Moroni’s teaching that “by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” (Moro. 10:5.)

However, I do believe that we often limit ourselves, and limit the influence of the Holy Ghost, if we think that the only way he can reach us is through the standard “Sunday School answers,” of study, prayer, temple attendance, etc.

I also believe that sometimes we limit ourselves, and limit the influence of the Holy Ghost to help us, if we think the only things he can help us with are “spiritual” issues. We often forget that Moroni said he can help us know the truth of all things.

All things. “All things” includes what we define as spiritual, as well as those things we don’t readily consider spiritual. While we make a distinction between temporal and spiritual, the Lord has tried to clarify that He doesn’t see it that way:

“Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created.” (D&C 29:34)

So, to God, it is ALL spiritual. WE are the ones that make the distinction.

The prophet Joseph F. Smith said, “With God all things are spiritual. There is nothing temporal with Him at all, and there ought to be no distinction with us in regard to these things. Our earthly or temporal existence is merely a continuance of that which is spiritual. Every step we take in the great journey of life, the great journey of eternity, is a step in advance or in retrogression.” (link)

I’m not sure that I remember to look at things that way often enough. Am I just hearing a song, or am I hearing a prayer?

When I am struggling through the current economic difficulties, am I listening for the voice of the Spirit to help me make decisions? Personal finance guidance? When to sell a house? When to buy a house?

When I am reading or watching the news, am I letting the Spirit help me know – in my heart – which things are true, and which are not?

Do I let the Spirit have a voice to tell me that maybe that new series on Netflix isn’t the best use of my time?

When injustice, hate and chaos all play out before us, are we open to letting the Comforter comfort us and help us maintain, and share peace?

Is the Spirit involved in my education, my career, my leisure time, my social life, etc. – all while remembering that none of it is really temporal?

Even in the midst of something as serious as a pandemic, do I invite the Spirit into my heart and mind to help me know what science du jour I should believe, and how I should personally respond? All things, right?

President Marion G. Romney said, “Being in tune with God is being spiritual.” (link) Am I in tune, and therefore, spiritual?

Several years after Joseph Smith was martyred, he appeared to President Brigham Young. Hear his message:

“Tell the people to be humble and faithful, and be sure to keep the spirit of the Lord and it will lead them right. Be careful and not turn away the small still voice; it will teach you what to do and where to go; it will yield the fruits of the kingdom. Tell the brethren to keep their hearts open to conviction, so that when the Holy Ghost comes to them, their hearts will be ready to receive it.” (link)

President Benson taught that, “This latter-day work is spiritual. It takes spirituality to comprehend it, to love it, and to discern it. Therefore seek the Spirit in all you do. Keep it with you continually. That is our challenge.” (link)

President Boyd K. Packer stated a number of times, “We all have the right to inspiration and direction by the Spirit of the Holy Ghost.” And then he adds, “We all live far below our privileges.”

Do we?

Do I limit the frequency and the power of the Holy Ghost in my life becasue I only listen for him when I’m being “religious,” or in church, or in the temple?

These past few months have given us an opportunity to ask ourselves how we are doing spiritually, without the ability to attend our “go-to” spiritual havens. How has it gone for you?

Can we hear Him? Can the Holy Ghost reach us whenever, wherever, and however he wants?

Are we hearing a prayer, or just hearing a song? Back to the original question: Can a blog post about Peter Frampton bring spiritual insight? Depends on you.

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  1. The first commenter already mentioned Styx’s Show Me the Way. That’s where my mind went too, and I most definitely had a spiritual experience while driving down the road once with that song playing. So I agree totally with everything you said.

  2. One thing I love about the Restored Gospel is that we believe that light and truth can be found just about anywhere and we’re encouraged to accept and embrace all truth.

    Funny thing is when I saw the title of the post, I immediately went to “Show Me the Way” by Styx and couldn’t get that out of my head the whole time I read your post – couldn’t even recall the tune of the Frampton song at all. But I happen to really like the Styx version as it resides on my current “best” playlist so its one that I hear frequently.

    The Styx lyrics are apropos for things going on in the country & world at this time and could easily be taken as a prayer as well. Here’s a sample:

    And as I slowly drift to sleep
    For a moment dreams are sacred
    I close my eyes and know there’s peace
    In a world so filled with hatred

    That I wake up each morning and turn on the news
    To find we’ve so far to go
    And I keep on hoping for a sign
    So afraid I just won’t know

    Show me the way, show me the way
    Bring me tonight to the mountain
    And take my confusion away
    And show me the way

    And if I see a light, should I believe
    Tell me how will I know

    Show me the way, show me the way
    Take me tonight to the river
    And wash my illusions away
    Show me the way, show me the way
    Give me the strength and the courage
    To believe that I’ll get there someday
    And please show me the way….

    1. Good song – but you left out the first verse where he states that it is a prayer:
      “Every night I say a prayer in the hope that there’s a heaven”

  3. WoNdErFuL!
    As I read this to my husband, I was overcome by feeling the spirit and want to thank you for helping me improve myself and him also, and to live up to my blessed privilege that Heavenly Father has given me by living in this beautiful world!

  4. Shades of Alma 5 with lots of questions for personal introspection. And, yes, I sang the song in my mind as I read the words. Loved the angle of it as a prayer. Thanks for your always insightful posts (and your great example of consistency as a blogger!).

  5. I’m sitting here watching the live NASA feed as Crew Dragon prepares to dock with the ISS, on a Sunday, and feeling in awe of the creations of God. And somehow, as I watch this tiny man-made vehicle in the vastness of space, I know God lives. You’re post helps me understand why I’m feeling this way. Thank you.

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