• Quote of the Day

    “Surely the reason Christ said, ‘Father, forgive them,’ was because even in that terrible hour He knew that this was the message He had come through all eternity to deliver.”
    —Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

The Healing Power of Hymns

In know that many people (particularly those who feel the need to express themselves in the bloggernacle) put down the Church’s hymns. Heck, I’ve got my own “Worst of the LDS Hymns” list stored safely in the folds of my gray matter somewhere, I suppose. But regardless of our personal musical tastes, it is undeniable that the hymns can have a powerful effect on people who are seeking comfort and healing in their lives. This fact is brought out in an article in this month’s Ensign. “The Healing Power of Hymns” is a collection of stories from Church members whose lives have been touched in some way by particular hymns.

I think we all could tell similar stories if we thought about it for a while. For instance, I once knew someone who told me that the hymn “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” will always hold a special place in his heart because it was one of the first hymns he remembers singing and enjoying when his family was investigating the Church when he was a child. He recognizes that this hymn is probably not as musically excellent as other compositions such as Handel’s aria of the same name from the Messiah, but that doesn’t matter as much to him, because this was the hymn that first helped him gain a testimony of the Savior.

The hymn “More Holiness Give Me” expresses one of my heart’s desires, and though I don’t think it is one of the greatest compositions of all time, I always enjoy singing it because it reminds me of my “strivings within.” Does anyone else have a story to share?

5 Responses

  1. I love the battle/marching hymns like “Onward Christian Soldiers,” “Behold A Royal Army,” “Hope of Israel,” and “Carry On.” While I was taking classes at my university’s institute, we always sang these great hymns at devotionals or firesides it was thrilling to know that I was one in this crowd of strong youth expressing my desire and conviction to serve the Lord. As I had just began my activity in the Church, I felt a strength and humility through these hymns that spoke of standing strong in the face of adversity and being one of noble birthright to carry the Lord’s standard. Today I still feel joy when I sing these words, knowing that even though it seems I am attacked from all sides, I am not alone. I am part an army that stands together that the Lord will lead to victory.

  2. Another hymn which lacks in musical strength yet which holds a special place in my heart is the now seldom-sung “Do What Is Right”. I think this is one of the first hymns I learned to sing as a child, other than Primary songs, due to its simplicity. I associate it with the positive role models I had in Primary and my emerging sense of self amid family and friends in a common cause. The stubborn side of me also likes it for its “take all comers” attitude.

    “Now We’ll Sing With One Accord” I also like for its simple proclamation of the gospel when the Restoration was new, and the fact that it is one of I believe two hymns which refer to the Book of Mormon.

    There are many other hymns I love which are more common ly sung like “The Spirit of God” and “Now Let Us Rejoice”. I think we could beat most other Christian denominations hands down on the strength of our hymns alone!

  3. Equinox: I like many of the marching hymns, though I sometimes put them down a bit. There are some, particularly those by Evan Stephens, that are really inspiring.

    jnilsson: I never thought of comparing our hymns to those of other faiths, but I suppose we do have a pretty good variety. I could personally use a few more like “If You Could Hie to Kolob” and “Adam-ondi-Ahman.” Good stuff.

  4. I am a large and burley man, but there are times when I cry like a little child when I sing “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer.” I have a strong testimony of the reality of the First Vision. The spirit I feel while singing this hymn strengthens that testimony. Hymns don’t just help us to be comforted, they bring the spirit into our hearts to remind us of the truthfulness of the things we believe.

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