The Song of the Heart (Heber J. Grant 18)

Music

We are to worship God by singing hymns.

Joseph Smith, receiving the Word of the Lord

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. (Revelation for Emma Smith, July 1830) D&C 25:11-12

Elder Joseph F. Smith

When we listen to this choir . . . we listen to music, and music is truth. Good music is gracious praise of God. It is delightsome to the ear, and it is one of our most acceptable methods of worshipping God. And those who sing in this choir and in all the choirs of the Saints, should sing with the Spirit and with understanding. They should not sing merely because it is a profession, or because they have a good voice; but they should sing also because they have the spirit of it and can enter into the spirit of prayer and praise to God who gave them their sweet voices. My soul is always lifted up and my spirit cheered and comforted when I hear good music. I rejoice in it very much indeed. CR1899Oct:69

Paul

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. (Paul writes from prison to the Church in Colossae, Asia Minor, about A.D. 60) Col.3:16

Bruce R. McConkie

Music is part of the language of the Gods. It has been given to man so he can sing praises to the Lord. It is a means of expressing, with poetic words and in melodious tunes, the deep feelings of rejoicing and thanksgiving found in the hearts of those who have testimonies of the divine Sonship and who know of the wonders and glories wrought for them by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Music is both in the voice and in the heart. Every true saint finds his heart full of songs of praise to his Maker. Those whose voices can sing forth the praises found in their hearts are twice blest. "Be filled with the Spirit," Paul counseled, "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." (Eph.5:18-19) Also: "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." (Col.3:16) (The Promised Messiah, pp. 553- 54) TLDP:431

Related Witnesses:

Isaiah, quoted by Nephi, son of Lehi,

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation. . . .

5. Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things; this is known in all the earth. (Nephi records the words of Isaiah from the brass plates, 559- 545 B.C.) 2Ne.22:2,5

Isaiah

And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.

5. Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. (Isaiah prophesies, 740-659 B.C.) Isa.12:4-5

King Benjamin, quoted by Mormon

I say unto you that I have caused that ye should assemble yourselves together that I might rid my garments of your blood, at this period of time when I am about to go down to my grave, that I might go down in peace, and my immortal spirit may join the choirs above in singing the praises of a just God. (King Benjamin addresses his people, about 124 B.C.) Mosiah 2:28

Paul

What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. (Letter to the Church at Corinth, Greece, about A.D. 55) 1Cor.14:15

Joseph Smith

And it shall come to pass that the righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations, and shall come to Zion, singing with songs of everlasting joy. (Revelation, March 7, 1831; signs, wonders, and the resurrection are to attend the Second Coming) D&C 45:71

Recorded in Job

Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. . . .

7. When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (The Lord teaches Job; he asks him questions) Job 38:4,7

Author's Note: The hymn sung by Jesus and his Apostles at the Last Supper may have been the Jewish Hallel, according to Marvin R. Vincent: "Very probably the second part of the Jewish Hallel or Hallelujah, embracing Ps. cxv., cxvi., cxvii., cxviii." (Words Studies in the New Testament, 1:139)

"And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives." (Matt.26:30)

Appropriate music can increase our spiritual sensitivity.

Elder David O. McKay

Music is truly the universal language, and when it is excellently expressed, how deeply it moves our souls (Gospel Ideals, pp. 256) TLDP:430

Boyd K. Packer

There are many references in the scriptures, both ancient and modern, that attest to the influence of righteous music. The Lord, Himself, was prepared for His greatest test through its influence, for the scripture records: "And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives." (Mark 14:26) CR1973Oct:25

President Heber J. Grant

The singing of our sacred hymns, written by the servants of God, has a powerful effect in converting people to the principles of the Gospel, and in promoting peace and spiritual growth. Singing is a prayer to the Lord, as He has said: "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] ("Songs of the Heart," IE1940Sep:522) TLDP:431

Elder Heber J. Grant

I am confident that the hymns of Zion, when sung with the proper spirit, bring a peaceful and heavenly influence into our homes, and also aid in preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Gospel Standards, p. 170) TLDP:432

Mark E. Petersen

Families would profit by having hymn books in their homes, and using them. In our "family hour" we may use our hymns to good advantage.

A hymn in the home will go far toward bringing into it a spirit of love and worship, just as it does in a meeting in the ward. (A Faith to Live By, p. 170) TLDP:432

Elder Spencer W. Kimball

The responsibility for producing, selecting, and performing music for the Church requires discrimination, taste, knowledge, and the proper spirit: in short, it requires the best efforts that our best musicians can give inasmuch as we are using gifts which the Lord has given us for the purpose of building up his kingdom and as a demonstration of our faith and love for him. We are in a position, as musicians, to touch the souls of those who listen. (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, pp. 519-20) TLDP:431

President Heber J. Grant

The Lord has given a revelation wherein he has said that his soul delighteth in the song of the heart, that it is a prayer unto him, and that it shall be answered with a blessing upon our heads. Let us remember the kind of songs the Lord likes, songs with the Gospel in them. I have gone to conferences where I have heard three or four anthems, with the words of which I could not agree. They were sung to good music but they were not good doctrine. CR1931Apr:132

Related Witnesses:

President George Albert Smith, J. Reuben Clark, Jr., David O. McKay
(First Presidency)

Recently, this question came before the First Presidency and the Twelve who unanimously approved the recommendation that the ideal condition is to have absolute quiet during the passing of the sacrament, and that we look with disfavor upon vocal solos, duets, group singing, or instrumental music during the administration of this sacred ordinance.

There is no objection to having appropriate music during the preparation of the emblems, but after the prayer is offered, perfect silence should prevail until the bread and the water have been partaken of by the full congregation. (Letter to presidents of stakes and bishops of wards, May 2, 1946) MOFP6:252- 53

Some music can be used for wicked purposes; such music is to be shunned.

Boyd K. Packer

In our day music itself has been corrupted. Music can, by its tempo, by its beat, by its intensity, dull the spiritual sensitivity of men. . . .

Young people, you cannot afford to fill your mind with the unworthy hard music of our day. It is not harmless. It can welcome onto the stage of your mind unworthy thoughts and set the tempo to which they dance and to which you may act.

You degrade yourself when you identify with all of those things which seem now to surround such extremes in music: the shabbiness, the irreverence, the immorality, and the addictions. Such music as that is not worthy of you. You should have self-respect.

You are a son or a daughter of Almighty God. He has inspired a world full of wonderful things to learn and to do, uplifting music of many kinds that you may enjoy. CR1973Oct:21,25

Bruce R. McConkie

Unfortunately not all music is good and edifying. Lucifer uses much that goes by the name of music to lead people to that which does not edify and is not of God. Just as language can be used to bless or curse, so music is a means of singing praises to the Lord or of planting evil thoughts and desires in the minds of men. Of that music which meets the divine standard and has the Lord's approval, he says: "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) (The Promised Messiah, pp. 553-54) TLDP:431

Elder John Taylor

Our object is to get and to cleave to everything that is good, and to reject everything that is bad. One reason why religious people in the world are opposed to music and theaters is because of the corruption that is mixed up with them. Wicked and corrupt men associate themselves with these things, and degrade them; but is this any reason that the saints should not enjoy the gifts of God? Is that a correct principle? Certainly not. It is for them to grasp at everything that is good, and calculated to promote the happiness of the human family. (In 13th Ward, Jan. 5, 1873, JD15:271) (The Gospel Kingdom, p. 62) TLDP:431-32

President Harold B. Lee, N. Eldon Tanner, Marion G. Romney
(First Presidency)

Through music, man's ability to express himself extends beyond the limits of the spoken language in both subtlety and power. Music can be used to exalt and inspire or to carry messages of degradation and destruction. It is therefore important that as Latter-day Saints we at all times apply the principles of the gospel and seek the guidance of the Spirit in selecting the music with which we surround ourselves. (Priesthood Bulletin, Aug. 1973, p. 3) TLDP:432

Related Witnesses:

President Heber J. Grant

The Lord has given a revelation wherein he has said that his soul delighteth in the song of the heart, that it is a prayer unto him, and that it shall be answered with a blessing upon our heads. Let us remember the kind of songs the Lord likes, songs with the Gospel in them. I have gone to conferences where I have heard three or four anthems, with the words of which I could not agree. They were sung to good music but they were not good doctrine. CR1931Apr:132

It is appropriate to enjoy good music for purposes besides worship.

President Brigham Young, quoted by John A. Widtsoe

There is no music in hell, for all good music belongs to heaven. Sweet harmonious sounds give exquisite joy to human beings capable of appreciating music. I delight in hearing harmonious tones made by the human voice, by musical instruments, and by both combined. Every sweet musical sound that can be made belongs to the Saints and is for the Saints. Every flower, shrub and tree to beautify, and to gratify the taste and smell, and every sensation that gives to man joy and felicity are for the Saints who receive them from the Most High. (At the dedication of the new theater in Great Salt Lake, March 6, 1862, JD9:244) DBY:242-43

Elder John Taylor

Why, there are some people who think that the fiddle, for instance, is an instrument of the devil and it is quite wrong to use it. I do not think so, I think it is a splendid thing to dance by. But some folks think that we should not dance. Yes, we should enjoy life in any way we can. Some people object to music. Why, music prevails in the heavens, and among the birds God has filled them with it. There is nothing more pleasing and delightful then it is to go into the woods or among the bushes early in the morning and listen to the warbling and rich melody of the birds, and it is strictly in accordance with the sympathies of our nature. We have no idea of the excellence of the music we shall have in heaven. It may be said of that, as the apostle Paul has said in relation to something else-"Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." (1Cor.2:9) We have no idea of the excellency, beauty, harmony and symphony of the music in the heavens.

Our object is to get and to cleave to everything that is good, and to reject everything that is bad. One reason why religious people in the world are opposed to music and theaters is because of the corruption that is mixed up with them. Wicked and corrupt men associate themselves with these things, and degrade them; but is this any reason that the saints should not enjoy the gifts of God? Is that a correct principle? Certainly not. It is for them to grasp at everything that is good, and calculated to promote the happiness of the human family. (In 13th Ward, Jan. 5, 1873, JD15:271) (The Gospel Kingdom, p. 62) TLDP:431-32

President Brigham Young

Some wise being organized my system, and gave me my capacity, [and] put into my heart and brain something that delights, charms, and fills me with rapture at the sound of sweet music. . . . It was the Lord, our heavenly Father, who gave the capacity to enjoy these sounds, and which we ought to do in His name, and to His glory. (In Tabernacle, April 9, 1852, JD1:48) TLDP:430

President Brigham Young

If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving. (Revelation, Jan. 14, 1847) D&C 136:28

Related Witnesses:

President Brigham Young

If the people were all righteous, it would do to dance, and to have music, feasting and merriment. But what fellowship has Christ with Belial? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? or what union have the sons and daughters of God with the children of this world, who fear not God nor regard man. All amusement in which saints and sinners are mingled tends to corruption, and has a baneful influence in religious society. (An epistle of the Twelve Apostles to the Church, Oct. 1, 1844) HC7:282

Joseph Smith

A large party took a new year's supper at my house, and had music and dancing till morning. I was in my private room with my family, Elder John Taylor and other friends. (Entry by the Prophet in his journal, Jan. 1, 1844) HC6:155

Joseph Smith

A large party supped at my house, and spent the evening in music, dancing, &c., in a most cheerful and friendly manner. (At this party Orrin Porter Rockwell made a surprise appearance after nearly a year's false imprisonment in Missouri) HC6:134-35

President Wilford Woodruff,

George Q. Cannon, Joseph F. Smith
(First Presidency)

We desire to see this [Tabernacle] choir not only maintain the high reputation it has earned at home and abroad, but become the highest exponent of the "Divine Art" in all the land; and the worthy head, example and leader of all other choirs and musical bodies in the Church, inspiring musicians and poets with purest sentiment and song and harmony, until its light shall shine forth to the world undimmed, and nations shall be charmed with its music. (Letter to Tabernacle Choir, Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 11, 1895. The First Presidency had accompanied the Tabernacle Choir to the World's Fair in Chicago, Ill., Sept. 1893, when the choir had won second prize in a national contest. The choir's concert at the World's Fair was the beginning of a great missionary work to be accomplished by this musical organization. This letter contains the commendation for their work and a set of rules or regulations governing membership and participation in the choir) MOFP3:267

President Joseph F. Smith, Anthon H. Lund, Charles W. Penrose
(First Presidency)

The progress in music, both vocal and instrumental, in Utah has been general and gratifying. So with different branches of art. (Christmas Greeting) (Deseret News, Dec. 20, 1913) MOFP4:297

Rulon T. Burton, We Believe.

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