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!
FIRST PRESIDENCY PREFACE TO HYMNS
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.
MUSIC IN OUR CHURCH MEETINGS
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 IN OUR HOMES
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.
MUSIC IN OUR PERSONAL LIVES
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