It's the Fantasy Mormon Hymnal!

LDS-HymnsI heard a rumor recently that the LDS hymnal is going to be updated with a revised edition.

Now, just to quell any Bloggernacle rumormongering (which, as this BCC post points out, has gotten insanely out of hand), please note that I haven’t been able to get any confirmation on this rumor and have started to doubt that it’s actually true.

But true or not, it got me thinking.

What would a first-rate LDS hymnal look like for the early 21st century?

What hymns would need to go, and what would be added? So I started making a fantasy list of possible deletions and additions.

So, for this first of two hymn-related posts, here are five that I would axe. Next week I’ll talk about additions—but feel free to chime in now with any suggestions about the hymns you love and hate.

  • “Praise to the Man” (27). If I could jettison just one song from our repertoire, by God it would be this one—and it’s a shame, because the tune is fabulous and the tempo brisk, unlike the more snail-like LDS hymns. But this theology is simply awful. How is it that Mormons can insist up and down and until Tuesday that we don’t worship the prophet and yet continue to sing this hymn? Here the recently deceased Joseph Smith is communing with Jehovah, mingling with gods, and making plans on our behalf from heaven . . . kind of like God makes plans for us from heaven. Even worse, the song is all about how we need to glorify Joseph Smith, not God: “Kings shall extol him, and nations revere.” I realize this hymn has already been made slightly less vengeful and bloody from a 1927 revision, but that’s not enough: the whole concept of this song is about worshiping a human being. Only God deserves our worship. End of story.
  • “If You Could Hie to Kolob” (284). Oh, this song. On the one hand, I appreciate the sweeping faith claims of statements like “There is no end to glory; there is no end to love.” On the other, we could really stand to get rid of statements like “There is no end to race.” I once sat near some African American visitors when we sang this hymn in sacrament meeting. I think their first WTH moment came with the opening line “If you could hie to Kolob” (uh, what’s that?) and was cemented by “There is no end to race.” They did not return.
  • “Keep the Commandments” (303). What this hymn has going for it is its simplicity, both musically and theologically. It’s so singable and memorable and short!. But the “keep the commandments/he will send blessings” equation just doesn’t work in the real world, and it’s wrong for us to promise it. Plenty of good people keep the commandments and still have difficult lives. Also, the song says that we should keep the commandments because “in this there is safety and peace.” Since when are safety and peace the primary concerns of the Savior who said he came not to bring peace, but a sword? I’m not talking about physical safety here, and I don’t think Jesus was either; he was trying to shake people out of their comfort zones ideologically. This hymn does exactly the opposite. It wants us to keep the commandments just so no one rocks the boat.
  • “Battle Hymn of the Republic” (60). While we’re on the subject of weapons and violence and whatnot, how about this one? Can we just agree that this hymn emerged from a particular time and place in U.S. military history and is not something we need to trot out on every patriotic American holiday—particularly as we are supposed to be a global church? And are we really 100% on board with this exacting, vengeful God, the one who stands ready to impale us with his “terrible, swift sword”?
  • “There Is Sunshine in My Soul Today” (227). I hate to scrap another tuneful, fast-ish hymn—especially one written by a woman, since we don’t have nearly enough women hymnodists. But, people! This is one of those songs that may be totally appropriate for your personal devotions when you happen to embody the shiny/happy/rainbows-and-unicorns moods the song demands, and totally inappropriate to force other people to sing in church. You don’t know what they’re going through, or whether they’ve just been diagnosed with cancer, or are having a faith crisis, or a thousand other things. This song is like shaking someone by the shoulders and shouting, “YOU FEEL THE SPIRIT RIGHT NOW, DON’T YOU?!” Not pastoral.

How about you? What hymns would you like to make disappear? Which ones do you love?


  1. I quit singing Praise to the Man a year or two ago. I now just quietly sit that one out, thankyouverymuch.

  2. Author

    Yes, I think that’s one that calls for silence. I do love the tune though.

    After posting this I was thinking about a story a friend told me about going to church the first Sunday after 9/11. One of the assigned hymns that day was “There Is Sunshine in My Soul Today.” I guess the bishopric had made up the program before 9/11 and didn’t think to change it? At any rate, my friend and her husband just sat that one out. It was surreal.

  3. “There is Sunshine in My Soul Today” would be on my list, too, as would “Count Your Many Blessings.” They just don’t seem very true to life. Give me “Where Can I Turn For Peace?” any day.

  4. I Believe in Christ. It goes on _forever_, and it’s a lyrical mess, with each verse kind of a grab bag of stuff that seems like it was jammed together mostly to create very basic rhyme.

  5. Jana,
    I have to quibble about “There is Sunshine in My Soul Today.” My severely disabled son passed away about a year and a half ago. Throughout his life, the line, “There is music in my soul today, a carol to my King, and Jesus, listening can hear the songs I cannot sing.” This is the song I sang for my little boy who could not sing. I will always love this hymn.

  6. The reason I’d drop “Praise to the Man” is because it was meant as a personal tribute from one man to another. I don’t believe it’s something for everyone to sing. And the prophet-worship rubs me the wrong way, too.

  7. “How is it that Mormons can insist up and down and until Tuesday that we don’t worship the prophet and yet continue to sing this hymn?”

    But Jana, dear, Mormonism does worship Joseph Smith; the entire edifice is built on and around the man. Without Smith Mormonism wouldn’t exist. Belief in Jesus isn’t enough — to be “worthy” of the temple, a person must also believe in Smith.

    ““keep the commandments/he will send blessings” equation just doesn’t work in the real world ….”

    I agree, Jana. But (like it or not) Mormonism is a prosperity theology, invented by an itinerant farmer desperate to make it big. Promising blessings in return for obedience *is* Mormon culture — and it’s Mormon doctrine.

    “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven … upon which all blessings are predicated .. [a]nd when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” [D&C 130:20-21]

  8. One Sunday a couple of years ago, I was asked to give a talk, and used the occasion to invite a Muslim coworker to come to church to listen. The opening hymn was “Hope of Israel”, which I heard much differently with my Muslin friend in attendance than I normally would, with its calls to “Strike for Zion”, “flash the sword” and “ev’ry step we conquering go.”

    I disagree with your assessment of the message of “Keep the Commandments” and “There is Sunshine in my Soul.” Those are key gospel messages, and it is absolutely true that there is Safety and Blessings associated with keeping the commandments, even while experiencing a life of trial and difficulty. My only complaint of “Keep the Commandments” is that the melody is boring, and there are no additional verses. Its better as a Primary song than one for Sacrament meeting.

    It has been since 1980s that we have had our current hymnal. It does need updated! But for me, it would be to add new hymns, not remove ones…

  9. AHH, you are so right about these choices. If we could scrap “There is Sunshine in My Soul”… however, one of the great things about this song are the words to the second verse… About Music and Jesus listening…. Otherwise, get rid of it. I would only add: “I’m a Pilgrim, I’m a Stranger #121” Has anyone ever sang this in Church, ever…? the “vulture’s prey” line is disturbing.

  10. I object to the second stanza of “As sisters in Zion.” The errand of angels is given to women AND men. This line lets men off the hook and implies that women are the ones who should be doing the heavy lifting! And while I’m at it, I will just say that would be nice to get rid of sexist language throughout! Like “divide my gifts from thee with every PERSON that I see.” But I’m not greedy– I’d be ok with SISTER there!

  11. Fun article! A few thoughts:

    * Congrats on the use of the word “hymnodist.” A google news search reveals its the third time the word has been used this year in the set of documents Google categorizes as news (and this site falls into that category).

    * “Praise to the man” – yes its a bit weird, but from my perspective – and a note to any LDS hymnodists working away – I would grieve the loss of this stirring hymn. Joseph Smith – flaws and all – did indeed die as a martyr. Perhaps you are having a hang up with the word “praise”; call me a google simpleton, but googling “praise” provided this definition: “express warm approval or admiration of” This is a singularly unique LDS hymn, and I would hate to see it go.

    * “If you could Hie to Kolob” – another awesome to sing hymn. Lets just drop the space/race couplet.

    * Battle Hymn of the Republic – too awesome to sing to drop. The reasoning to drop it is too steeped in “presentism.”

    Disagreements aside,…

  12. “In Our Lovely Deseret.” Cute and all, but it never fails to make us giggle when we have to sing, “Tea and coffee and tobacco they despise, Drink no liquor, and they eat But a very little meat.”

  13. 1. I can’t believe that no one has yet mentioned “Love at Home,” with its cloying images of blooming roses and “bliss complete.” 2. If all the martial hymns disappeared, I would never miss them. 3. The thing that has always bothered me about “Keep the Commandments” is that the words of the second half don’t string together well. 4. I will admit to liking “If You Could Hie to Kolob,” but only since it has been set to the Kingsfold melody; singing it in its entirety gives one a true sense of eternity. And in P.P. Pratt’s defense, I’m pretty sure that when he wrote “There is no end to race,” he meant the whole human race, not its color-based divisions. (At least, I hope that’s what he meant.) 5. My biggest wish for a new LDS hymnal is that the Church will include more songs from musical traditions other than that of American/English Protestants. Everyone’s worship experience would be enriched by singing songs from a variety of cultures–not just translations from English.

  14. No new hymnal … see the Sept. 2015 Ensign, “The Hymnbook Turns 30”. Per the article: “Because translation work is ongoing, and given the quality and continued usefulness of the current hymnbook, there are no plans at this time for a new edition.”

  15. Along those same lines, “Israel, Israel, God Is Calling” is one to ditch, despite its (supposed) upbeat tempo.

  16. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing “Sunshine” performed in the style of true, hand-clapping, praise-shouting gospel choir (i.e., NOT the MoTab), then you know what an awesome hymn it really has the potential to be. I would absolutely keep that one.

    On another note, “The Iron Rod” not only invites giggles with its phallic imagery, but it usually sounds like a dirge, as most organists play it somewhere in the range of lento to lentisimo. Please, let’s scrap it!

  17. See, here’s the thing. I don’t see a problem with there being “no end to race” as we define it now. Why wouldn’t God keep us just as we are, in our glorious diversity?! What, we’re all going to be the same color now as perfected beings? I’ve always understood that when we are given perfected bodies, they would still be recognizably US. That implies varying colors of skin as much as anything else. The difference will be that, especially given greater understandings, race won’t be quite the issue that it is now. Race won’t be a means of judging anyone, and maybe we will FINALLY be able to all just appreciate how beautiful each race really is.

  18. Gone – all the Utah-centric hymns:

    Our Mountain Home So Dear
    O Ye Mountains High
    The Wintry Day, Descending to Its Close – has anyone every sung this? It’s ridiculously slow and difficult to sing and about something sitting by their window thinking about how awesome Utah is.

    We’re a global church now!

    To add:

    Come, Thou Fount
    Beautiful Savior
    (both already included in the German hymnal along with many other awesome hymns we don’t enjoy.)

  19. Let’s change the title of “O My Father” back to its original title of “Invocation, or The Eternal Father and Mother.”

  20. I might get some flack for this one, but I really hate the tune of As Sisters in Zion. It has always reminded me of a Prarie Dawn song, from Sesame Street.

    Kinda hate In Our Lovely Deseret. Not really a worshipful song.

  21. Jana, did you play off Wheat and Tares ‘Hates Hymns’ post on Sept 1st?
    Hymns to Add:
    1) Come thou fount of every blessing
    2) Jerusalem by William Blake
    3) Don’t kill the little birds (from the old blue LDS hymnal)
    4) The lord bless you and keep you (John Rutter. Anything by him!)
    5) The Resurrection Day (fast-paced dance, Brigham’s favorite hymn).
    6) Though in the Outward Church Below (Replace stupid ‘wheat and tares’ lyrics with Mozart’s original about eternal marriage.)
    7) “Simple Gifts” (Shaker Hymn)
    8) What child is this?
    9) Lo how a rose er blooming
    10) All the LDS German hymns from Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, etc.
    11) Morning has broken
    12) There is a French old LDS hymn about Heavenly Mother (?)
    13) The other ‘Away in a Manger’
    14) O Holy Night
    15) Bozhe Moi (Russian Orthodox)
    16) O come o come Emmanuel
    17) Chester (American tune -lyrics by Phillip Doddridge)
    18) You’ll never walk alone
    19) My Heavenly Father loves me (v.1 “father”,…

  22. I have always regretted the constant slippery slide toward mediocrity and the mainstream, but it may be inevitable. I trust Sister Riess’ intentions because she does a good job with this blog, but stop with the all out tackles to get us more like everyone else. I don’t want to be a Methodist Christian because I am a Mormon Christian. I don’t even like my church’s insistence on us actually, really please, we promise we are Christians campaign, because I don’t think we are in the sense others talk about Christ. We have enough going on with apostasy (the denials apostasy is happening) and our own faith trials. So, let’s change a few lyrics like we’ve done in the past, because then we won’t need to deal with our unique theology. On the other hand, our hymns and scriptures still provide clues of our origin. I love Joseph Smith like my prophet and brother. I love the Lord like my God.

  23. 1) My comment above was cut, but ‘My Heavenly Father Loves Me’ can be sung with 3 verses:
    v. 1 “Father”
    v. 2 “Mother” (e.g. ‘she gave me my eyes that I might see . . . etc.)
    v. 3 “Heavenly Parents” (e.g. ‘for all their creations for which I’m a part, yes I know Heavenly Parents love me.)

    2) No one suggest “Faith in Every Footstep”. It is copied on programs so often, I’m afraid they will have to include it, but I don’t look forward to it. The music has some problematic part writing and some awkward chordal progressions. It feels like part A becomes schizophrenic and turns into part B (the chorus) without any warning.

    3) Mac Wilberg is extremely talented, but despite his enormous corpus of music, his style tends more toward soundtrack arrangements or dramatic choral works. I can’t point to anything that would work in the hymnal.

    4) Could we add the Jewish Kol Nidre without ruffling feathers? It’s so meaningful.

  24. We just need to start singing A Key Was Turned in Latter Days instead about the founding of the RS.

  25. I’d like to jettison as well the Utah-centric hymns: O Ye Mountains High, Our Mountain Home So Dear, Firm as the Mountains Around Us (not sung in LDS wards in the Midwest or in England, for some reason). Israel, Israel God is Calling is a call to leave wherever you are and gather to Utah.

    Welcome, Welcome Sabbath Morning assumes the pre-1980 Sunday school schedule. Whatever Bruce R. McConkie’s virtues, his contributions to the hymn book make me cringe. God Save the Queen [sic, folks] has no place in the hymn book; if Her Majesty should visit an LDS meeting, the anthem should be played but never sung. The English sing “Jersualem” on patriotic occasions – even in LDS meetings.

    For that matter, let’s either pull the U.S. patriotic hymns or, if the English hymnal is going to keep being used in other countries, start including they anthems of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Ghana, Ireland, South Africa, Botswana…

  26. I second “I Believe in Christ” with its boring music and random-phrase-generator content. I also second “Keep the Commandments,” which is like the ultimate Correlated hymn. It does away with any worship or praise or even mention of God or Jesus (by name). It’s all about obedience. It emphasizes the worst aspect of the Church, the focus on obedience over everything else.

    I agree with your point about battle imagery, but there are lots of hymns I would get rid of before “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” For example, “Hope of Israel,” with its lines like this:

    Flash the sword above the foe!
    Ev’ry stroke disarms a foeman;
    Ev’ry step we conq’ring go.

    Also, how about “Thy Spirit, Lord, Has Stirred Our Souls”? This line always makes me cringe:

    We see anew our sacred goals

    Our *goals* are sacred now? What are we, a business or a church? Can we sing praise to our vision statement too?

  27. This would have to be researched, but I do not think the word “race” in the hymn If you could hide to Kolob is a reference to nationality/ethnicity especially taken in the context of the entire verse. It is probable that in this hymn race = an onward movement; an onward or regular course. I love that hymn. Please consider the many other plausible theories for why you haven’t seen the visitors again. We’re you friendly and did you speak with them and find out about them?

    There is Sunshine in my Soul is a sad song for me, but still one of my favorites to sing.

    I like the other songs too, I agree with one of the other commentators about “I believe in Christ” boring to sing.

    I would like to see “Come thou Fount” added.

  28. Let’s get rid of Praise to the Man, but re-set Awake and Arise to PtoM’s fabulous Scottish tune. They’re in the same meter, and A&A needs something a lot more rousing to go with its pretty cool lyrics. ” The dream of the poet, the crown of the ages, / The time which the prophets of Israel foretold . . .”

  29. Re #12, I believe you’re thinking of “Souviens-toi”. I only know the first verse and it’s not really about heavenly mother but it references heavenly parents. It’s a very lovely hymn.

  30. Our hymnbook has many beautiful hymns in it, but at this point in time it’s unforgivable how culturally narrow it is. We claim to be a living church, but the hymnbook is mired in the past. I’d love to see more songs from the gospel tradition, as well as other cultural traditions. “Take My Hand, Precious Lord.” “I’ll Fly Away.” “Give Me Jesus.” “My Song Is Love Unknown.” “His Eye Is on the Sparrow.” If we truly believe this gospel is for the entire world, our hymnbook should reflect that!

  31. For me the first choice is easy: I would cut is “In Our Lovely Deseret.” HARK! HARK! HARK! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

  32. I have always hated to sing, I Am A Child Of God.
    The line that sticks in my throat is, ” With parents Kind and Dear.”
    Many kids coming from broken homes, orphans or homes filled
    with regular child, spouse abuse, just feel sick at this.

    I never ever join in with this, too much pain, so untrue.

  33. Most of the hymns in the 20s. Maybe not jettison, but don’t sing them during a sacrament meeting.

    All they America specific hymns at the end.

    All the battle motif hymns (onward Christina soldiers, etc.).

    I always felt that Come, All Ye Sons of God (Men) was the goofiest hymn I ever heard. Whenever it comes up I like to imagine barking seals singing it in my head.

    In Our Lovely Deseret. The WoW references make it silly.

  34. Dean, some English wards do sing “God save the Queen”, most notably at the time of the diamond jubilee. Whats with ripping that out (it’s the British national anthem), whilst suggesting the anthems of Canada, Australia etc be included!

    My current ward sings “I vow to thee my country” on Remembrance Sunday each year. I was in a ward choir that sang “Jerusalem” at church once, but haven’t heard it otherwise in LDS services, though my kids sing it regularly at school, and know it by heart.

  35. I don’t think worship is ever explicitly implied in “Praise to the Man,” but I can see how it might make people uncomfortable. Additionally, wasn’t it this song that largely initiated President Hinckley’s testimony as a young man? I would imagine it has served as a vehicle for a witness from the Spirit for more than one individual, leading to other, more important witnesses as well.

    Additionally, I know the Lord lets Church leadership do much of their own thing so as not to “command in all things,” but I think He could have had the hymn yanked decades ago if it bothered Him and didn’t have a purpose. Maybe I just think too simply.

    Serving in Denmark, I enjoyed many of the local Hymns they put in the LDS Danish hymnbook, even if some of them weren’t entirely doctrinal.. I often found myself looking for ways to translate them into a good english version (a footnote is all you’d need for discrepancy). I would love to see the Church pull these Hymns from around the world.

  36. In the new hymnal, I would hope that there could be a robust digital component with all the lyrics (translated) and music from all the international lds hymnals. Additionally, our options would expand exponentially if wards would interchange the tunes with similarly metered lyrics. There is an index for this purpose, but wards are uncomfortable doing it, I think because we have many persons who like to sing harmony, but need the music to do so.

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were a digital site that would combine selected and compatible tunes and lyrics into a formatted hymn? Wards could print off copies (for choirs) or on the back of programs, or better yet, have saints sing from their cell phones or iPads, in addition to the old way (by ear). Another option would be to revert to an older version if the hymnal which is split in half…text on the bottom, plain music on the top. The chorister would choose a tune number AND a lyric number for each hymn. Low tech…high variety!

  37. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were a digital site that would combine selected and compatible tunes and lyrics into a formatted hymn?”

    Fantastic idea.

    We could also have hymns included several times in the hymn book, with the more popular alternative tunes. This is already the case with a couple of them I think. I’d find it preferable to separating the words and music, being one of those who likes to see the music, and sing parts.

  38. Andrea,

    Thanks for sharing this. We have had difficulty singing hymns since the death of a child. I put that verse on a card and passed it to my wife in Sac Meeting yesterday, it was a timely message.

  39. I understand I’m supposed to be turned off by singing ‘Praise to the Man’, but I can’t help singing and loving it anyway. Besides, I’m one of the millions that want to know Brother Joseph!

  40. Hedgehog,
    Glad you feel the same way! I think it would solve so many of the complaints on this and other threads, that the words don’t match the tune (poor word painting). The chorister could magnify his/her calling by putting together inspired and musically artistic combinations of tunes and lyrics.

    If the powers that be choose the split hymnal, they need to put in both tunes for “away in a manger”.

  41. You picked 3 of my favorites, “If You Could Hie to Kolob,” “Praise to the Man,” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” But in my mind, we should throw the whole hymnal out as we don’t know (as a people) how music works! I’ll never forget how much I hated “There Is Sunshine in My Soul Today,” a song I saw as yet another dirge to drone out on Sundays. Until, that is, I heard it sung in a Protestant church and thought, “WOW! This song is awesome when sung to tempo!”

  42. in Our Lovely Deseret…. Where we are all perfect!

    Talk about putting pressure on ourselves!

  43. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing was in the previous hymnal, but inexplicably was deleted from the 1985 edition. Yet every year it is sung by the Tabernacle Choir at least once in its broadcasts. There are several dozen obscure hymns we never sing that could be deleted to make room for this wonderful song.

    Maybe you think “Praise to the Man Who Communed with Jehovah” is too much deifying of Joseph Smith, but I agree with John Taylor, that his work as the prophet of the last dispensation has been vital in making the atonement of Christ available in its fullest form to mankind. As Professor Truman Madsen said, Joseph is a window through which we can better see, and worship, the Savior. We also sing about Joseph’s Frist Vision and his translation of the Book of Mormon. “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet” indeed.

  44. I agree about including other musical traditions! The French hymn book has some beautiful songs I wish we would translate and add to the English one. I am sure there are songs already approved for other countries that would be great to add as well. If we can translate one direction, it would be nice to go the other direction.

    (Also, Love At Home always reminds me of when I was a kid and my sister would sing facetiously while my other siblings fought. I can’t take that song seriously.)

  45. Actually, i moved from Australia when I was little. I can’t speak for other countries, but I know the chapels had an insert glued into the hymn book with “Advance, Australia Fair” on it.

  46. “”This is one of those songs that may be totally appropriate for your personal devotions when you happen to embody the shiny/happy/rainbows-and-unicorns moods the song demands, and totally inappropriate to force other people to sing in church.”

    The reasoning apparently behind removing Sunshine seems a little troubling and maybe a slippery slope — we need to take it out because it’s too focused on joy?

    I’m all for recognizing that many participants will arrive at church with some kind of heavy heart. A gospel that matters is going to be one that wrestles with sorrow, mourns with those that mourn, meets pain where it’s found. And that 9/11 story is surreal.

    But taking joy-focused songs out of the hymnal? Should we also take it out of the curriculum too?

  47. What a lovely list (and lighting a candle rather than cursing the darkness!). I love most of the suggestions I know so much I suspect I’ll find new things to love among those I don’t.

  48. A blog post like this only reaffirms comments that I have made about Jana Reiss in the past; that she obviously neither understands the church she belongs to nor the doctrine it teaches. She obviously also does not understand the meaning of the hymns in the hymnal.

    Jana, get a clue. Every article you write criticizes some aspect of your church. Don´t you think maybe its time to re-evaluate the reasons you became a Mormon? If you feel that so much of it does not agree with your personal philosophy, maybe you should be looking for a church created more in your image.

  49. We sang God Save the Queen in sacrament meeting today, in honour of her majesty becoming the longest reigning monarch of Britain this week.
    I have to think the folk putting the hymnbook together 30 yrs ago didn’t anticipate this else they’d have printed Queen not King in the text…

  50. Um. Throw the mormon bashing elsewhere where it belongs. We are trying to talk among those of us who are practicing mormons about a useful update to our hymnal. This is not a platform for you to spew you mormon-hater dialogue. Move on, Debbie,dear.

    Now…i definately think its time to see Praise to the Man go. I felt it was confusing when i brought investigatirs to church and that was the first him we sang. We have some amazingly wonderful artists out there who have written beautiful music. I think the church needs to put a call out for newer more today relevant hymns. I bet the saints would clamor to the prophets call to submit nrw humns for consideration.

  51. You miss the point– which seems to be your specialty. “Sunshine in My Soul” does NOT mean that everything in your life is going your way, and you have NO worries or misfortunes. It means that, despite all, you remember the gifts God has given you, and are grateful. Perhaps that’s the part that escapes you, and if you grasped it, you could appreciate the hymn better?

  52. My thoughts would be to jettison the Utah-centric hymns that still survive, particularly the Utah War ones. (“Up Awake, Ye Defenders of Zion” tops that list, but “For the Strength of the Hills We Bless Thee”, “The Wintry Day, Descending to Its Close,” “O Ye Mountains High,” and “Our Mountain Home So Dear,” stand out as Utah-centric hymns. Thank goodness they removed “Utah, We Love Thee” for our current hymnal.) “In Our Lovely Deseret” and “For The Strength of the Hills We Bless Thee” seem to be among the 50 “highly recommended” hymns used in compiling all current LDS hymnals, so those ones aren’t likely to leave soon. “Sons of Michael, He Approaches” is also bit out of date, since we have specifically renounced the Adam-God doctrine at least three times over the years. Suggestions for inclusion would be some of the LDS hymns that have been written and popularized by performances in general conference, Mormon Tabernacle Choir CDs, etc., like “This is the Christ,” “Faith in Every Footstep”, the Psalm of Nephi hymn set to Finlandia (“I Love the Lord”), “What is This Thing that Man Calls Death,” and “Come, Lord Jesus Come” from the Savior of the World musical. African-American spirituals like “Go, Tell It on the Mountain,” “Rise Up Shepherd and Foller,” “Were You There?”, etc. would also be nice to have added, as would Protestant hymns that are popular among Mormons (think “Come Thou Fount” or “Simple Gifts”). Resetting of music, such as those done by Robert Gardner (“Savior, Redeemer of My Soul,” “Come, Ye Disconsolate,” etc.) would be great. Other Protestant hymns that I am fond of include “Now the Greenblade Riseth,” “Wondrous Love,” and “God Who Spanned the Starry Heavens.”
    That being said, it’s unlikely that a major change will be made any time soon and our current hymnal does have a lot of great things going for it.

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