I love music and have yet to make a post concerning this subject, and so I must now do so. From what I have seen and heard, music is a big part of many religions. Sabbath meetings often start and end with music. This is not singled to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But it is music in Mormonism that I wish to talk of today.
The First Presidency has included a preface message in the LDS Hymn books. This message expresses the importance of having music in three areas of life - Church meetings, the home, and our personal lives - and so it is these three areas that I wish to focus on.
Music In Church Meetings
From the First Presidency preface we read:
"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."
This is not new. Even the apostles in the Bible used hymns for similar purposes. In Colossians it is recorded, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." (Colossians 3:16)
Hymns carry a message of Christ. They talk of Christ, they rejoice in Christ and they preach of Christ. It is for this reason that the Lord told Joseph Smith, "For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me," (D&C 25:12).
When a faithful follower of Christ sings a song about Christ does not this sound like a prayer unto him? When congregations sing these songs they help each other come spiritually toward God.
Music In Our Homes
Again returning to the Presidency message we find the following:
"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."
This morning I came across a story that shows this. The story is told by Elder Dallin H. Oaks:
"Last spring some of our children and fourteen of our grandchildren had a family outing in the mountains. One of our activities was a meeting to share experiences and testimonies. We gathered at the appointed time, but the little people were only gathered in body. The large spirits in those little bodies were clamoring for more of the exciting outdoor activities they had been enjoying. The cabin where we met was too small to contain them, and it seemed as if a dozen restless children and their outcries were ricocheting off the walls in every direction. Grandparents will appreciate the apprehension I felt at trying to sponsor something serious in that setting.
"Suddenly the instinctive wisdom of young mothers rescued our efforts. Two mothers began to sing a song familiar to the children. Others joined in, and within a few minutes the mood had changed and all spirits were subdued and receptive to spiritual things."
- Worship Through Music, October 1994 -
Through spiritual music siblings can put down their disputes, and families can be brought together in happiness.
Music In Our Personal Lives
Back to the Presidency:
"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."
Elder Oaks has stated that "Sacred music can help us even where there is no formal performance. For example, when temptation comes, we can neutralize its effects by humming or repeating the words of a favorite hymn."
Spiritual songs can bring our very thoughts back to the will of the Lord. Through music we can invite the Holy Ghost to dwell with us.
Want to know more about Mormonism? Ask a missionary here.