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Cover image: Relief Society sisters in Sierra Leone sing a hymn.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continues to encourage its membership around the world to participate in the revision of the faith’s two sacred books of music — Hymns and Children’s Songbook. Latter-day Saints are invited to consult new informationregarding strategic goals for hymn and song selection, as well as doctrinal priorities for new musical submissions.
“We invite all who are gifted with musical and poetic talent to share those gifts,” said Elder Erich W. Kopischke, a General Authority Seventy and adviser to the songbook revision project.
Those submitting new music are asked to remember that new music should do these five things:
- Increase faith in and worship of Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
- Teach core doctrine with power and clarity.
- Invite joyful singing at home and at church.
- Comfort the weary and inspire people to endure in faith.
- Unify Latter-day Saints and others throughout the world.
Two committees have been assembled to provide recommendations to help the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles decide what goes in each book. “Committee members have expertise in a variety of areas, including music, education, literature, world cultures and Church doctrine,” said Audrey Livingston, the Church’s product manager for sacred music and secretary of both committees.
Since the Church announced nearly a year ago that it would publish new, unified editions of both songbooks, survey responses and musical submissions have come in from more than 40 countries. The most popular recommendation for the new hymnbook is “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” Additionally, many respondents suggest including hymns from other Christian traditions, such as “Amazing Grace,” which has never been published by the Church. Others suggest adding popular contemporary songs in the Latter-day Saint tradition, such as “If the Savior Stood Beside Me” (which has been published in Church magazines, but not in a Church hymnbook).
When the committees finalize the revision process, the new music will be compiled into a new hymnbook and a new children’s songbook. Each will offer the same hymns and songs in all languages across the globe. In addition to the printed books, audio of the new hymns and songs will be available online.