From the Church

Read Lloyd Newell’s final ‘Spoken Word’ message and watch the Choir’s tearful farewell performance

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“Music & the Spoken Word” host Lloyd Newell and his wife Karmel stand in front of the Tabernacle Choir as they are sung one final goodbye.
Screenshot from video.

According to Choir president Michael Leavitt, “Music & the Spoken Word” host Lloyd Newell gave 1,753 “digestible sermons and insights” throughout his 34 years of providing the “spoken word” for the weekly broadcast. And on Sunday, June 16, he delivered his swan song.

“In all these years, I’ve never used a personal pronoun, but this morning in the spoken word, I do,” Newell told Deseret News. “I talk personally.”

Here is what he shared as his final “Music & the Spoken Word” message:

We all experience change—at times refreshing, often challenging, and sometimes overwhelming. In time, we can look back and see God’s sustaining hand in our life. Gratefully, with that perspective we are able to look forward with the peaceful confidence that He will “guide the future as he has the past.” (“Be Still My Soul,” Hymns,” no. 124.)

Speaking of the past, on Nov. 25, 1990, I stood here in the Tabernacle on Temple Square and delivered a Spoken Word message for the first time.

I was younger then—and, as I well remember, more than a little overwhelmed. Now, nearly three and a half decades later, I’m not so young, but sharing an inspirational message with you each week is still a great honor. As I look back, I can see how God has helped me along the way.

That first time, and many times since, I have felt the surpassing blessing of His peace. Now, looking forward, I have the quiet confidence that I can count on His divine help, and so can you. We can trust the Lord and His promises.

Over the decades, I’ve spoken often on this broadcast about trusting in God, holding on to hope, going forward with faith. Today, I offer a message from my own experience—an experience unfolding even as we speak.

Starting next week, my wife and I will begin serving as missionaries for our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In that work, we will have the privilege of leading more than 200 volunteer missionaries, from ages 18 to nearly 80. What a joy that will be!

Obviously, that means change—trading the microphone for this name badge, which I will wear every day. In this new chapter of our lives, we trust that the Lord will guide the future as He has the past.

One way the Lord guides all of us is through other people. Over the years I’ve compiled a long list of people to thank — too many to mention by name today. Even so, a few of them deserve special mention. My talented and supportive wife has been at my side every step of the way, and our four children have grown up with their father giving the Spoken Word. I simply could not have done this broadcast without my family’s unfailing love and support.

Change comes for all of us. It’s an essential part of God’s plan for our happiness and growth. But there is no reason to fear. If we trust Him and His purposes, if we strive to carry on with faith and devotion to Him, His peace will be with us, now and forever.

A few years ago, my friend and associate Mack Wilberg composed music to my own statement of this truth—a hymn with these words, which will now be sung by the choir.

As pilgrims on a sea of strife,
Oft wounded, lost and weak,
We fast and pray for heaven’s strength,
Thy help, Thy grace, we seek.
We place our burdens at Thy feet;
We yoke ourselves to Thee,
And with this heartfelt plea, O Lord,
May we be more like Thee.

Until we meet again, dear friends, may peace be with you, this day and always.

► You may also like: In honor of his final performance, Lloyd Newell’s advice on finding peace as a parent you’ve likely never heard

You can watch Newell’s touching, final message and the hymn he wrote with Choir conductor Mack Wilberg in the player below.

When Sunday’s broadcast came to a close, Bishop Gérald Caussé thanked Newell for his years of service.

“You’ve been more than a representative of the church and of the choir, you’ve been a witness of the Lord to the world,” he said. “We are so grateful for you, Lloyd, the beautiful and warm tone of your voice, the loving expression in your face, your messages of wisdom, and particularly, the inspiration that we felt in every one of your words.”

Bishop Caussé also thanked Newell’s family for their support and said that while Lloyd and his wife Karmel are starting a new mission serving as mission leaders in Los Angeles, their purpose is fundamentally the same: “to testify to the world about the divine nature of God.”

As Newell and his wife stood on the stage of the Conference Center in front of the Choir, the Choir sang “God Be With You Till We Meet Again” as a final farewell.

You can watch the moving performance in the player below as members of the Choir and the Newells shed grateful tears for their years together.

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Video Companion
The Tabernacle Choir sings “God Be With You Til We Meet Again” one final time for long-time host Lloyd Newell.

► You may also like: ‘Music & the Spoken Word’ says farewell to longtime host Lloyd Newell

Habits of Holy Men

In addition to writing for the weekly broadcast, Lloyd also authored a book called Habits of Holy Men, co-written with author Don H. Staheli.

Prominently displayed on the front of every Latter-day Saint temple are the words, "Holiness to the Lord." The promise of holiness uplifts and enlivens. In a noisy, troubled world, holiness gives peace, purpose, and perspective that cannot be found in any other way. Habits of Holy Men explores what holiness means, why it is so vital, and how it can be attained. Selecting key habits of holiness found in scripture, this book examines each of these transformative habits and explains why they are so necessary in our modern world.

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