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Question

 

Gramps,

I love following the beat or rhythm to a song (without improper words).  What I don’t understand is why does the hymn song book not have the beats that we enjoy?   It’s all too quiet except for the song “Called to Serve.”   Someone once told me the Lord requires reverence in His church.  But my question is how can we enjoy music when it means nothing?

Dallas

 

Answer

 

Dallas,

Music is one of the most powerful methods of communication we know about. Any given type of song can have a long-lasting effect on the listener. Sometimes even mentioning a well-known song can bring it fully back to one’s mind as though it had just been heard. This is currently called an ‘earworm’ online and other places.To your question, but not quite directly yet, music is written with this fact in mind. It is written with specific intentions on the part of the composer. I have a favorite band I love to listen to, and they write their music with clear goals on what they want the listener to experience. They’re not evil or satanic, or gang-oriented, etc. At the same time, I’ll never listen to them during church. It’s just not appropriate for trying to feel the spirit.

You see, the music in the hymnal is also written with clear goals in mind, chief among them being to help the singer feel the spirit and thus feel closer to the Savior, the Gospel, etc. Have you ever noticed that the Sacramental hymn is always about Christ’s atonement? Why would that be? Surely we already know about it, but why the song also?

The purpose of the hymns, and the reason we sing them is a far different thing from the reason we listen to other popular types of music during the rest of the week. Let’s read a scripture about this in Doctrine & Covenants 25: 11-12; Here is where Emma Smith, Joseph’s wife, was given an important job in the early church.

11 And it shall be given thee, also, to make a selection of sacred hymns, as it shall be given thee, which is pleasing unto me, to be had in my church.

 

12 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.

 
Let me repeat a part of those verses again; the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me. When we sing a hymn, we are uttering a prayer unto Heavenly Father. While I know the Lord delights in many kinds of music, I just don’t think electric guitars and a good beat are appropriate for the hymns of the church.Remember that the hymns are not songs written for our ‘enjoyment’ in the same manner that rock and roll, or blues, or country songs are. They are written to strengthen our spirituality, and to invite the Holy Ghost into our hearts as we worship the Lord on the Sabbath. They are also written as prayers to Heavenly Father quite often. Pick a hymn, especially a sacramental hymn, and just read the words. Don’t worry about what the song sounds like. Often, the very words are literally written as a prayer to God. Just read the words, and then imagine those words in a party song, or a rock and roll song, or a country song….the conflict is immediately clear.When you want to enjoy a good beat and strong rhythm, you have a wide variety of music to listen to, but when the time comes for church, those kinds of things distract from the spiritual needs we are seeking to fill at church on Sunday.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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