06 November 2013

Wonderful Wednesday: Music

Sunday is my favorite day of the week, folks. True story. Members of the LDS church spend three hours of their Sundays in meetings meant to uplift, edify, and rejuvenate. As a kid I didn't have as much of an appreciation for the lengthy Sunday meetings, but gained a greater appreciation for them as I grew older. One of the meetings is called Sacrament Meeting. There are many components to our Sacrament Meeting, but much of it is music; prelude, opening hymn, sacramental hymn, special musical number or congregational hymn, closing hymn, and finally postlude. These things are all included as has been directed by the Lord. Why? What is so great about music? Let me share with you a few quotes from latter-day prophets and apostles about this:

"Music can set an atmosphere of worship which invites [the] spirit of revelation, of testimony."
-- President Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, Nov. 1991, 22

"The singing of the songs of Zion, though imperfectly, with the inspiration of God, will touch the hearts of the honest more effectively than if sung well without the Spirit of God."
-- President Heber J. Grant, Improvement Era, July 1901, 686

"I wonder sometimes if we realize the importance of music. I wonder if we know that the Lord himself is concerned about it. He has given us the information that the song of praise is a prayer unto him. . . . It [is] our privilege, yea, our blessing, to sing and . . . our songs should be sung in righteousness."
-- President George Albert Smith, Church News, Feb. 16, 1946, 6

"Music can act upon our senses to produce or induce feelings of reverence, humility, fervor, assurance, or other feelings attuned to the spirit of worship."
-- President Spencer W. Kimball, Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball (1982), 519

"We get nearer to the Lord through music than perhaps through any other thing except prayer."
-- President J. Reuben Clark Jr., in Conference Report, Oct. 1936, 111

Music plays a pivotal role in our Sabbath worship. Let me share with you part of what the First Presidency published in their Preface to the 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).

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.

Elder Graham W. Doxey counseled:
"When you sing the hymns, . . .ponder the meaning of the words, enjoy the spirit of the music. Sing with enthusiasm without regard to your tones. You will have a good feeling, and your spirit will be enlivened."  Ensign, Oct. 1991, 26
If good music is so essential for enriching our Sunday worship, then it is equally essential for welcoming the spirit to our homes and our hearts all during the week. In D&C section 136 the Lord commanded his people to “praise the Lord with singing, [and] with music.” The hymns are a key component to our church meetings, and they should be sung in our homes with our families regardless of our musical abilities (or lack thereof). Make good music a part of your daily lives and you'll have a bit of heaven in your heart every day. There's a lot of good music out there. Choose the best, and teach your children how to choose the best and you'll enjoy a greater measure of the spirit in your life. Who doesn't want that?

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