LDS congrgation singing hymnsWith the ever-increasing worldwide membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Church has grown well beyond the boundaries of the Mountain West. Now, with members in more than 180 nations who lift their voices in song and praise to the Lord, the time has come to make some necessary changes in the music that is sung.

On Monday, 18 June 2018, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that it is developing a new Mormon hymnal for worldwide use, as well as, a replacement for the Children’s Songbook. The hymnal currently in use by the Church dates to 1985. At that time, there were under 6 million members, and most of those members resided within the United States. Today, there are more than 16 million members, and approximately 60 percent live outside of the United States.

In an 18 June 2018 Facebook post, Paul Cardall, an award-winning composer, and successful owner of the independent record label, Stone Angel Music, said, “Hymns are a powerful tool to help all God’s children speaking 100s of languages [to] learn the teachings of Jesus and [to] improve the quality of [their] lives. Singing hymns allow us to repeat in our mind Christ’s message of unconditional love and [the] responsibility [we have] to act for good as believers. . .. For me, revising the Hymnbook is an opportunity to clarify doctrine and teach principles of happiness that unite believers in serving one another.”

Elder Ronald A. Rasband, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said, “Along with prayer and the scriptures, hymns invite the Spirit into our hearts and strengthen our testimonies of Jesus Christ and His gospel. We recognize the power that sacred music has to unify the members of the Church throughout the world. We desire to offer a consistent core collection of hymns and songs in every language that reflects the diverse needs of the global Church in our day.”

Elder Erich W. Kopischke of the Seventy said, “The language of music is universal. Even if we come from different cultures and speak different languages, singing together brings the same spirit to everybody.” And Sister Cristina B. Franco, second counselor in the Primary general presidency, said, “Those songs still ring in my ears, along with the gospel principles that they taught me while I was very young.”

LDS children singingThe project of creating a new Church hymnal which will “offer the same hymns and songs in all languages” will take several years to complete. According to religionnews.com, an interesting change is that national anthems will no longer be included in the printed hymnals. However, “sacred music of local interest may be made available to members by language through digital channels as appropriate and doctrinally correct.”

The Church is also accepting feedback from members and encourages them to make suggestions about the music they like via an online survey. Members who write original music can submit up to five hymns and five children’s songs for consideration. The deadline for submissions is 1 July 2019. Religionnews.com reports that in a FAQ accompanying the announcement, the Church is encouraging submissions from “multiple cultural styles,” even if the proposed songs don’t “match the musical style that has typically been included in the hymnbook or Children’s Songbook in the past.” A composer or author will need to create a profile using his or her LDS Account to submit music or lyrics. Anyone (member or nonmember) may obtain an LDS Account free of charge at ldsaccount.lds.org.

Members Respond to Song Requests for New Edition of Church Hymnal

Following the announcement on 18 June 2018, that the Church would be revising its Hymns and Children’s Songbook in order to bring members across the world together in song, Church News asked readers to send in their responses of what they would most like to see included in the new edition of the Hymns. More than 400 people responded with their top picks. See the lists below:

Top 10 favorite hymns (two of which are not currently listed in the hymnal):

  • “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”: 57 votes
  • “I Stand All Amazed”: 21 votes
  • “How Great Thou Art”: 17 votes
  • “Because I Have Been Given Much”: 16 votes
  • “Be Still, My Soul”: 16 Votes
  • “If You Could Hie To Kolob”: 15 votes
  • “How Firm a Foundation”: 14 votes
  • “Amazing Grace”: 12 votes
  • “I Know That My Redeemer Lives”: 12 votes
  • “Where Can I Turn for Peace”: 11 votes

Additional favorite hymns not currently listed in the hymnal:

  • “Be Thou My Vision”
  • “Consider the Lilies”
  • “Each Cooing Dove”
  • “His Eye Is on the Sparrow”
  • “Take Time to Be Holy”
  • “Holy, Holy, Holy”
  • “In the Garden”
  • “I Will Be What I Believe”
  • “Just As I Am”
  • “Lift Every Voice and Sing”
  • “My Shepherd Will Supply My Need”
  • “Softly and Tenderly”

It should be noted that people also requested that multiple patriotic hymns be included in the new edition of the hymnal. Those hymns will not be included in the print version, but will be made available in the individual language versions online. According to Mormon Newsroom, “The new music will be compiled into one hymnbook and one children’s songbook, offering the same hymns and songs in all languages. In addition to the printed books, new audio of the hymns and songs will be recorded. The music will be available online once the new books are available. National anthems will not be included in the printed hymnbooks.” It should be noted, however, that there is no word from Church leaders on whether the policy on acceptable instruments used during services will change considering the presence of a new hymnal.

Copyright © 2018 Mormon Music. All Rights Reserved.
This website is not owned by or affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the Mormon or LDS Church). The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. The views expressed by individual users are the responsibility of those users and do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. For the official Church websites, please visit LDS.org or Mormon.org.