Famous Latter-day Saints

Lloyd Newell: The Voice Behind "Music & the Spoken Word"


What has been your favorite memory with Music & the Spoken Word?

There have been so many memories and wonderful moments over these 25 years. Each week I am blessed to begin my Sunday with the greatest choir on earth. I’ve traveled with them to Europe, Israel, Canada, and to most parts of the United States. I’ve seen so many choir members come and go over the years, but always there’s that same commitment and consecration to their calling. Along with the Orchestra and Bells on Temple Square, we become like a giant family as we travel and perform together. It is a blessing and privilege to associate with them.

Where do you get your inspiration for your messages week after week?

Because I’ve been doing it for so long, I find ideas all around me. The execution is sometimes a challenge, but the ideas are everywhere. I find ideas for Spoken Words as I read and ponder, as I interact with others and listen to their stories and experiences, and as I look around and see life unfolding. Some of my best ideas come from my wife and family. They also will hear, read, or see something and say, “That would be a good Spoken Word.” We’ve all raised our antenna and find ideas everywhere.

Where is the most interesting place you’ve traveled to for your calling?

That’s hard to say because I’ve enjoyed every place I’ve traveled to with the choir. But if you forced me to choose, I’d have to say that the most intimately meaningful tour for me was to the Holy Land way back in 1992.

What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?

Probably the most recent, The Gospel of Second Chances. It’s a message I care passionately about and believe with all my heart. I believe that the final chapter isn’t written in anyone’s life—always there is hope for everyone.

What is something not many people know about you?

I was once a television news anchor for CNN.

How do you juggle your family, your calling, and your career?

Like everyone, you do your best and try to align your actions with your values and beliefs. I try to put first things first and remember what Goethe said, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” First and foremost, I’m a family man—husband, father, son, brother.

What’s something you “geek out” over?

I don't really “geek out” . . . but I do love my iPad and MacBook Pro.

How has this calling been challenging over the years?

It may sound a bit corny, but this calling has only been a blessing and an honor. I consider it a sacred trust and a great privilege.

Do you like to sing?

Yes, but I'm not on par with the choir. There’s a reason I’m “the Spoken Word” and not a singing member of the choir!

What is the best thing about your calling?

When President Gordon B. Hinckley called me in 1990, he said, “You’ll do it till further notice.” It’s hard to believe that it’s been 25 years. He also told me that “this calling will change your life.” He was right, and in a way I certainly did not comprehend at the time. This calling has changed my life and the life of my family for the better.


Get more “spoken words” from Lloyd Newell in his book, The Gospel of Second Chances, available at Deseret Book stores and deseretbook.com.


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