The Tabernacle Choir Blog

The Story Behind the Primary Song “If I Listen with My Heart”

During the October 2014 general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed “If I Listen with My Heart,” by composer Sally DeFord. The arrangement sung was by the Choir’s associate director Ryan Murphy.

Every song has a different story, and this one is as sweet as its tender melody. In her own words, DeFord recounts the story of “If I Listen with My Heart” on her website:

“One Sunday when my daughter, Amy, was a little girl, we were both sick. We had to miss church, and we were both asleep in bed. After church, Amy’s dad woke both of us to say that our home teacher had come to help give us a blessing. I wasn’t happy to have to wake up, and I was less happy to have to climb out of bed, but I grumped out into the living room. We had our blessings, and I grumped back to bed.

“Later that week, Amy said to me, ‘Mom, you know when Dad gave us a blessing when we were sick?’ I did remember. ‘Well,’ she continued, ‘When dad put his hands on my head I felt soooooo good inside!’

“Amy had listened with her heart, and I had not. So she heard the Savior’s voice comforting her, and I missed it. That’s why I wrote this song for her—because she had taught me a wonderful lesson about listening to the Holy Ghost.”

Throughout the years, “If I Listen with My Heart” has been included in several official LDS Church magazines and is also included on the Church’s LDS Music app under additional children’s songs. Here is the Choir singing “If I Listen with My Heart” during the October 2014 general conference.