You have nothing to fear…

At my nephew David’s funeral a couple of weeks ago (16 October), my great nephew, Dayne Joyner, sang a beautiful song as he stood in the small cemetery in Ivins (near St. George).  It touched us all very deeply, and he has a beautiful voice.  He shared the words with me and I’m so happy to be able to share them with you.  Elder M. Russell Ballard used the title: “You Have Nothing To Fear From The Journey” in a Conference talk in April 1997.  The text and music are by Rob Gardner, and Dayne shared a link to listen to Rob singing it.  (I hope you can find it if you’d like to listen).  Enjoy the words.


You have nothing to fear from the journey,
Though your way may be burdened by thorns.
For the Lord will be with you each step of the way
As you travel with faith through the storm.
And you’ve nothing to fear from your trials,
Though they may seem too heavy to bear.
Take His hand and He’ll lead you gently along
And you’ll find peace and safety there.
There is nothing to fear from the nights that are lonely,
There’s nothing to fear from the cold!
and there’s nothing to fear from what might be tomorrow,
For heaven is with you, And angels watch over His fold.
You have nothing to fear from the journey,
Though your body is tired and worn.
For the Lord will send angels to lift up your arms
And He’ll carry the burden you’ve born.
And you’ve nothing to fear from your suff’ring,
Nor the grief you’ve been called on to bear,
Take His hand and He’ll lead you gently along
And you’ll find peace and safety there.


Uchtdorf quote






Mummy’s getting cranky!

Thanks to my friend Sylvia for sharing. This is a gift to SLEEP-DEPRIVED PARENTS from the Sydney Symphony and the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs. Classical music lovers (I’m one of those) will recognize the music, but have a good time listening to the new words by Matthew Hodge. Mummy’s getting cranky! ENJOY!!  (I hope this link works)





An experiment

Wendy the genius has been helping me again. A week or so ago I received a wonderful song in a YouTube message (or whatever you call those things). One of my great and grand nephews has just completed a 3-month mission in Nauvoo with a group of young adult performers. He served a full-time mission in Mexico and wanted to do more. The 10 YM and 10 YW were chosen from “a cast of thousands” (maybe only hundreds… but there were LOTS who wanted to do it). They actually received mission calls, wore badges, had rules (I should say “kept rules”), and worked HARD!! There may be someone out there who’s been to Nauvoo earlier this summer who saw/heard the group perform. This is a song they sang in the cellar of the Willard Richards home. It’s one of the very last times they sang together. I’ve listened several times, and I can’t keep from weeping. Wow. And FYI: Dayne is the tallest, standing by an Elder who has a suitcoat on. ENJOY!! (I hope my experiment works… if not, Wendy said she’d do it for me; I appreciate the way she lets me “learn by doing,” though).  HERE WE GO!



This is one of my 100 favorite hymns. I love to sing it. I love to read the words and PONDER what they mean. It’s one of the hymns which brings sweet emotion into my heart. I’m sure there are millions of us who feel deep and sweet feelings about the Savior as we read the words or sing this hymn.

In 1985, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (then President Holland of BYU) gave an address to Temple workers. It was printed in the August 1986 Ensign, and if you’d like to read his extraordinary address (title: “I Stand All Amazed”), go to MESSAGES in the blog, and you’ll find the article.



I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me,

Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me.
I tremble to know that for me he was crucified,

That for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died.

(C)  Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me  Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!

I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine
To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,
That he should extend his great love unto such as I,
Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.

I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt!
Such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget?
No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat,
Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet.



A Song for Sunday

In 1966 (before many of you were born, eh?) a movie came out called “The Singing Nun.” Oh, I loved that movie! It was a semi-biographical film about the life of Jeanine Deckers, a nun in France who recorded a chart-topping record with her song “Dominique.”  The movie starred Debbie Reynolds (she was SO good!) as the singing nun, and my favorite song was/is “It’s a Miracle.” If you want to hear Debbie Reynolds sing it, go to  It’s a very happifying song! – like a “happy hymn.” I couldn’t find the lyrics, but I remembered most of them (I used to play my guitar and sing it… when I was sure I was alone), and I listened to this recording of it to fill in a couple of small blanks. It’s just one of those songs which makes me feel good all over – maybe you have songs like that too. I hope you’ll enjoy this one!  The tune is part of what makes it so happifying. I hope it will be a good part of a beautiful Sabbath Day for you.

“IT’S A MIRACLE” – From the movie “The Singing Nun”

How I love to go for a walk along the street

Just to smile hello to the people that I meet

And to watch the show of their happy, happy feet

And I say to myself “It’s a miracle.”

As I walk along I sing a melody

It’s a happy song I’m sure you will agree

And when things go wrong oh how it comforts me

Then I say to myself “It’s a miracle!”

Al-le-lu-a-le-lu-ia I sing as I walk along

Al-le-lu-a-le-lu-ia God gave me such a happy, happy song

Don’t you feel his love and joy in everything

In the wonder of the sparrow on the wing

In the stars above and the song I sing

In the joy of His love, In the stars up above,

In the song that I sing – It’s a miracle!

Al-le-lu-a-le-lu-ia I sing as I walk along

Al-le-lu-a-le-lu-ia God gave me such a happy, happy song

Don’t you feel his love and joy in everything

In the wonder of the sparrow on the wing

In the stars above and the song I sing

In the joy of His love, in the stars up above,

In the song that I sing – It’s a miracle!

Another of the many songs in the movie which I liked is called “With You I Shall Walk,” but I didn’t memorize those words, and I can’t find the lyrics – but here is Debbie Reynolds singing it.


One Sweetly Solemn Thought

When I was first a missionary (53 years ago!), we had a mission song. It was one I didn’t know, but it became very important and meaningful to me as we sang it many times. Maybe it’s one you haven’t heard (or don’t remember) – “ONE SWEETLY SOLEMN THOUGHT.” And oh does it ever provide some ideas for pondering….


One sweetly solemn thought comes to me o’er and o’er;
I am nearer home today than I ever have been before.
Nearer my Father’s house, where the many mansions be;
nearer the great white throne, nearer the crystal sea.
Nearer the bound of life where we lay our burdens down;
nearer leaving the cross, nearer gaining the crown.
But lying darkly between, winding down through the night,
is the deep and unknown stream to be crossed ere we reach the light.
Jesus, perfect my trust, strengthen the grasp of my faith;
let me feel thee near when I stand on the edge of the shore of death.
Feel thee near when my feet are slipping o’er the brink;
for it may be I’m nearer home, nearer now than I think.

In This Very Room

I was in a stake in the southern part of the Salt Lake Valley many years ago. I was going to give a talk, so I was sitting on the stand. I was next to the stake R.S. president, and wow did she have a good voice! I kind of “moved my lips,” hoping people would think it was MEE singing! HA HA (as if). So I asked her about that later – if she did “public singing” (I didn’t call it that, but my memory isn’t working yet today). She said yes, that she was in a group. With a couple of the Nelson sisters (daughters of Elder Nelson). I asked if they could come and sing at the MTC for what we then called “Sisters’ Meeting.” Yes! They sang “In This Very Room,” and it was incredible. The words, the music, and the way they sang it. Perfect. So I asked if they could sing at the BYU Women’s Conference when I was doing a fireside on a Thursday evening (1990). Yes! Oh, it was fantastic!! This song (which I’d rather call a hymn) is wonderful; enjoy the words (and if you know the music, you can sing it to yourself today!)

In this very room there’s quite enough love for one like me,

And in this very room there’s quite enough joy for one like me,


And there’s quite enough hope, and quite enough power

To chase away any gloom, for Jesus, Lord Jesus is in this very room.

And in this very room there’s quite enough love for all of us.

And in this very room there’s quite enough joy for all of us,


And in this very room there’s quite enough love for all the world.

And in this very room there’s quite enough joy for all the world.






The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra started in the nation’s capital with two sold-out performances at the Music Center at Strathmore, and the momentum built from there. The Stern Auditorium /Perelman Stage at New York’s Carnegie Hall was the hands-down favorite concert for most Choir and Orchestra members, and the audience cheered for more. Singing on the legendary stage was an once-in-a-lifetime experience for the singers and instrumentalists. The Carnegie Hall program, which had a classical music emphasis in the first half and a combination of international and American music plus signature Choir anthems in the second, was very well received.

But Carnegie Hall was only one of the exciting venues. There was Bethel Woods, with its nostalgic ties to Woodstock; Saratoga Springs with its many military guests; Yankee Stadium, where the Choir opened the evening with the “Star Spangled Banner” in fitting patriotic fashion; and unforgettable West Point on the 4th of July.

The numbers are staggering: three airplanes, eleven busses, hotel rooms for 600, and four trucks for wardrobe, instruments and luggage, lighting and sound technicians, media and stage crews. Not to mention 320 Choir members and 65 Orchestra members. The behind-the-scenes activity matched what was happening on stage. The two-week tour went off without incident other than some heroics from Mother Nature. Simply put, the 2015 Atlantic Coast tour was wildly successful.

And then they came home to Salt Lake City and sang beautiful, tender hymns for the funeral for President Boyd K. Packer. THANK YOU, CHOIR and ORCHESTRA !!





LDS Hymn Book

I love the hymns. I love the music and the words, and it thrills me when I feel that the right music has been combined with the words. I still refer to this green hymnal as “the new hymn book,” even though it’s now 30 years old.  30??  Really??  Really.

Several times (mostly while serving as a missionary) I have read from the beginning to the end. There’s something wonderful about reading the words – not always singing them, but reading and pondering the words. I love doing this. All of us probably have several hymns we can sing with hardly no thought as to what the words are (let alone what they mean). I’m continuing to memorize more and more hymns so I can think about them no matter where I am. I like being able to do that. I have to keep “brushing up” on hymns I’ve memorized years ago.  It’s great to have good things to put in my mind no matter where, no matter when.  Perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve read the preface in the hymn book. Even if you’ve read it quite recently, see if you pick up new ideas by reading it again. It’s SO GOOD!!  I was going to highlight or underline some of the things shared, but that felt stupid after a while. The only things which stood out were those I hadn’t highlighted…. Enjoy!


Three months after the Church was organized, the Lord, through the Prophet Joseph Smith, instructed Joseph’s wife, Emma, to make a selection of sacred hymns for the Church: “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).

Now, 150 years after the first hymnbook was published by the Church, we are pleased to present this revision. Many hymns found in our original hymnbook and in subsequent editions are included, as are a number of newly added hymns. All have been selected to meet the varied needs of today’s worldwide Church membership.


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. We encourage all members, whether musically inclined or not, to join with us in singing the hymns. We hope leaders, teachers, and members who are called on to speak will turn often to the hymnbook to find sermons presented powerfully and beautifully in verse.

Latter-day Saints have a long tradition of choir singing. Every ward and branch in the Church should have a choir that performs regularly. We encourage choirs to use the hymnbook as their basic resource.


Music has boundless powers for moving families toward greater spirituality and devotion to the gospel. Latter-day Saints should fill their homes with the sound of worthy music.

Ours is a hymnbook for the home as well as for the meetinghouse. We hope the hymnbook will take a prominent place among the scriptures and other religious books in our homes. The hymns can bring families a spirit of beauty and peace and can inspire love and unity among family members.

Teach your children to love the hymns. Sing them on the Sabbath, in home evening, during scripture study, at prayer time. Sing as you work, as you play, and as you travel together. Sing hymns as lullabies to build faith and testimony in your young ones.


In addition to blessing us as Church and family members, the hymns can greatly benefit us as individuals. Hymns can lift our spirits, give us courage, and move us to righteous action. They can fill our souls with heavenly thoughts and bring us a spirit of peace.

Hymns can also help us withstand the temptations of the adversary. We encourage you to memorize your favorite hymns and study the scriptures that relate to them. Then, if unworthy thoughts enter your mind, sing a hymn to yourself, crowding out the evil with the good.

Brothers and sisters, let us use the hymns to invite the Spirit of the Lord into our congregations, our homes, and our personal lives. Let us memorize and ponder them, recite and sing them, and partake of their spiritual nourishment. Know that the song of the righteous is a prayer unto our Father in Heaven, “and it shall be answered with a blessing upon [your] heads.”

The First Presidency





We started having “Home Night” way back when – for as long as I can remember. It was even before it began to be called “Family Home Evening,” with encouragement to gather as a family each Monday evening. I remember being quite excited about “Home Night” as a child. We got to stand by the mantle and recite a poem we learned at school or tell something about our day or week. When we got too tall to “fit” under the mantle, we knew we were really turning into amazing human beings. As we got older, “Family Home Evening” may not have been our favorite thing to do. The 8 of us were spread over quite a few years (18 years between Paul and Richard). I remember times when Mom and Dad would just send us to bed, and then they’d have a more pleasant time (and got all the refreshments to themselves). One thing that began to annoy me increasingly was how OFTEN we sang two hymns: “Love at Home,” and “Let Us Oft Speak Kind Words to Each Other.” I hope it’s not too strong to say that I hated those songs after a few hundred times of singing them…. But yes, I’ve changed as the years have gone by (and I’d give a lot to gather with our parents, who both live in Heaven now, and have all 8 of us there, and sing these two hymns. I’d like to share the words of one of them. I’ll just call it “KIND WORDS.”

  1. Let us oft speak kind words to each other
    At home or where’er we may be;
    Like the warblings of birds on the heather,
    The tones will be welcome and free.
    They’ll gladden the heart that’s repining,
    Give courage and hope from above,
    And where the dark clouds hide the shining,
    Let in the bright sunlight of love.

Oh, the kind words we give shall in memory live
And sunshine forever impart.
Let us oft speak kind words to each other;
Kind words are sweet tones of the heart.

  1. Like the sunbeams of morn on the mountains,
    The soul they awake to good cheer;
    Like the murmur of cool, pleasant fountains,
    They fall in sweet cadences near.
    Let’s oft, then, in kindly toned voices,
    Our mutual friendship renew,
    Till heart meets with heart and rejoices
    In friendship that ever is true.

Text: Joseph L. Townsend, 1849-1942   Music: Ebenezer Beesley, 1840-1906

Just going through the words reminded me something that is a bit “off topic,” but I can’t seem to help myself. Years ago at the MTC (Missionary Training Center), where I worked for many years, one of the General Authorities was visiting. Elder Jacob deJager. “The Happy Dutchman,” as he was called by many close friends. He came to speak to the missionaries, and he had one of those little plastic bird things that you’d put water in, and then when you’d blow, it would make a kind of “jiggly” sound. Well, Elder deJager loved learning and understanding new words in English (he was very fluent, but still loved finding words he wasn’t familiar with). That evening at the MTC he brought one of the plastic birds (with water already in it) and began blowing, right near the microphone, asking if any of the missionaries could guess what he was doing. Eventually he explained that it was “the WARBLING of birds on the heather!”

OK… back to the hymn. I feel there’s a need for more kind words. As the hymn teaches (reminds) us: “They’ll gladden the heart that’s repining, Give courage and hope from above, And where the dark clouds hide the shining, Let in the bright sunlight of love.” “Oh, the kind words we give shall in memory live And sunshine forever impart.”