History of the Hymns: A Complete Collection
When the latest version of the hymnbook for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was published, the First Presidency prefaced the book by declaring:
Inspirational music is an essential part of our church meetings. The hymns invite the Spirit of the Lord, create a feeling of reverence, unify us as members, and provide a way for us to offer praises to the Lord. Some of the greatest sermons are preached by the singing of hymns. Hymns move us to repentance and good works, build testimony and faith, comfort the weary, console the mourning, and inspire us to endure to the end. We hope to see an increase of hymn singing in our congregations (“First Presidency Preface,” Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , ix).
In 1830, when the Prophet Joseph Smith’s wife, Emma, was instructed to choose sacred hymns for the restored Church, the Lord revealed, “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” (Doctrine and Covenants 25:12).
For years the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s blog has covered the history of many of our beloved hymns, including hymns that may not have been in past or current Church hymnals. With the announcement of plans for an upcoming new hymnbook, it seems appropriate to compile all of our hymn history blog posts into one.
In a few years’ time, as the new hymnbook is published, stories of new—and perhaps returning—hymns will be revealed. As the Choir increases its repertoire to include new hymns, we will continue to share videos and the stories that inspired the music.