The intermediate hymn was “Ye Elders of Israel”
The most popular song in 1833 was a song called “Long, Long Ago” written by Thomas H. Bayly… guess where the music for ye elders of Israel came from??
Here’s what I hope to convey today: let’s all sing. We will be blessed by singing the hymns.
Let’s start with some history:
Calling Emma Smith to make the first selection of hymns in July of 1830, the Lord said, “For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads” (D&C 25:12).
Some of the songs Emma picked are still in our hymnal!
- Spirit of God was hymn 90
- How firm a foundation
- Joy to the World
- I know the my redeemer lives was hymn 79
Several English hymnbooks followed Emma’s 1835 90-hymn book. The Latter-day Saints’ Psalmody was the first hymnbook to include both music and text in 1889. Songs of Zion, published in 1908, included about 100 gospel hymns. The 1985 edition of Hymns, the Church’s current hymnbook, has 341 hymns in 38 languages, with several more languages approaching completion.
Eliza R. Snow collected the first set of songs for children in 1880, published two years after the founding of the Primary Mutual Improvement Association. The Children Sing, published in 1951, known affectionately by members as “the blue book,” includes 199 songs divided into seven sections. Delicate pastel illustrations accompany the 268 songs in the currently used Children’s Songbook, first published in 1989 in 21 languages, which compiled favorite resources from previous songbooks like Sing with Me, More Songs for Children, and Activity Songs and Verses.
I just picked up this book and love it already! It’s so interesting to learn the stories behind some of our favorite hymns, start by reading the cool story about “I am a child of God.”
Many of you are thinking… I can’t sing.
“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise” (Psalm 98:4)
Jay E. Jensen of the First Quorum of the Seventy
- Hymns invite the spirit
- Hymns invite revelation
- Hymns invite conversion
- Teaching children hymns begins at home
- Worship more meaningfully through hymns
Spirit, revelation, conversion, learning, worship
Hymns invite the spirit
President J. Reuben Clark Jr. said, “We get nearer to the Lord through music than perhaps through any other thing except prayer.”5
- Missionary stories.
- Special musical numbers
- Special musical firesides
- Maybe even you’ve experienced dark times… and played a hymn and felt’s its power.
Prelude music is for all to feel the spirit and invite reverence and revelation
Hymns invite revelation
Because hymns invite a spirit of “REVERENCE”… they allow for “REVELATION” to be received.
President Russell M. Nelson
From the New Testament, we also learn that the Lord and His Apostles sang a hymn at the Last Supper (see Matthew 26:30). That tradition continues in our day. Each time members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles meet in the temple, we sing a hymn. It sets a sweet, spiritual tone for our deliberations.
“Because singing the hymns invites the companionship of the Holy Ghost, we become more receptive to gospel truths as we participate.” – W. Herbert Klopfer
Hymns invite conversion
How do we become converted? How does a testimony work? Have we ever heard that our testimonies grow stronger when we share them?
Teach us Unique doctrine to the History of the Church
- “Praise to the Man”9
- “Come, Come, Ye Saints”10
- “Ye Elders of Israel”11
- “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet”12
How about the sacrament hymns… let’s talk about those for a minute.
Sacrament hymn is the opportunity for all to voice their prayerful thanks through music. Sacramental hymns focus our attention on the Lord, his atoning sacrifice, and gospel plan.
How great is this line from a classic: “I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me, confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me.”15
Let’s get our science on…
David W. Stowe, theconversation.com
Why does religious singing bring us together?
Sacred song is one of the most social aspects of religious practice. But it is also an intimate embodied experience. The singer draws meaning from her or his core being: She feels the sound being produced as she hears it.
Creating a musical tone in one’s chest and throat provides sensuous pleasure, amplified by what sociologist Emile Durkheim referred to as “collective effervescence” – the collective energy generated when groups come together in a shared purpose.
Teaching Children Hymns Begins at Home
Play church music in your homes on Sunday mornings instead of turning on the TV! Make that day stand out as different from the rest of the week
One of our favorite things to do at bedtime is singing the hymns. We’ll sing whatever the kids can think of. A favorite lullaby, pretty much the only lullaby I know is the tune to “Reverently, Quietly” thanks to my mom humming it to all of our babies.
Worship More Meaningfully through Hymns
The Book of Mormon teaches that one’s desire to sing praises to the Lord comes with one’s complete conversion to Him. Alma asked this penetrating question: “I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?” (Alma 5:26).
Dallin H Oaks
1993 Worship through Music
I had finished a special assignment on a Sunday morning in Salt Lake City and desired to attend a sacrament meeting. I stopped at a convenient ward meetinghouse and slipped unnoticed into the overflow area just as the congregation was beginning to sing these sacred words of the sacrament song:
’Tis sweet to sing the matchless love
Of Him who left his home above
And came to earth—oh, wondrous plan—
To suffer, bleed, and die for man!
My heart swelled as we sang this worshipful hymn and contemplated renewing our covenants by partaking of the sacrament. Our voices raised the concluding strains:
For Jesus died on Calvary,
That all thru him might ransomed be.
Then sing hosannas to his name;
Let heav’n and earth his love proclaim.
As we sang these words, I glanced around at members of the congregation and was stunned to observe that about a third of them were not singing. How could this be? Were those who did not even mouth the words suggesting that for them it was not “sweet to sing the matchless love” or to “sing hosannas to his name”? What are we saying, what are we thinking, when we fail to join in singing in our worship services?
Dallin H Oaks: “Music is an effective way to worship our Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. We should use hymns when we need spiritual strength and inspiration.”
The closing hymn today is “Master, the tempest is raging”
Written by Mary Ann Baker, she was commissioned to write the song by her Baptist religious leader to write a song about the verses of Jesus stilling the tempest.
From Matthew 8
23 ¶ And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.
24 And, behold, there arose a great atempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.
25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the asea obey him!
Verse 1, the apostles pleading with christ to wake up because of the storm
Verse 2, this verse is how we relate to the ship sinking. We are a vessel for the spirit, sometimes it gets messy and full of sin and anguish, feels like we’re about to sink in despair
Verse 3, after the storm has passed, we ask the lord to stay with us to prevent it from happening again.
The chorus is an acknowledgment of the power of the lord and his presence.
Jay E. Jensen of the First Quorum of the Seventy
The Nourishing Power of Hymns
Important lessons I have learned and seek to apply about hymns are:
- Strive to be more punctual to meetings, sit quietly and listen to the prelude music, and experience reverence and revelation.
- Exit meetings more reverently, allowing the postlude music to extend the spirit of the meeting.
- Sing the hymns. I see some who have access to hymnals but do not sing.
- Use hymns to introduce or to emphasize scriptures and gospel truths in lessons and classes.
- Listen to the hymns more frequently in our homes, inviting the Spirit to prevail.
Things to do while singing
- Think about the messages of the words
- Listen for revelation
Tips for having the power of the hymns in our lives
- Find or create a playlist of your favorite hymns and church music on Spotify or Apple Music
- Use the “sacred music” app in your preparation for lessons or talks to find songs that are relevant to the topic
- Play the hymns in our homes more regularly, or for those that have a daily commute, at least once per week play your favorite hymns playlist.
- Share your favorite hymns or church music with others, Facebook, slack or text message
- Sing the hymns at church, teach your kids how to to sing by handing them a hymnal and showing them how verses work, then be a good example and sing
Like I said at the beginning: let’s all sing. We will be blessed by singing the hymns.