LDS Church announces hymnbook, children’s songbook revisions

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Members of a congregation in Paris, France, sing a hymn during a worship service. (Mormon Newsroom)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced it will be making “significant changes” to the “Hymns” and the “Children’s Songbook” the church uses in its worship services, according to a news release from Mormon Newsroom.

An official notice was sent to all church leaders detailing this announcement.

“Under the direction of the First Presidency, committees have been assembled to recommend revisions to the current hymnbook and children’s songbook,” the official notice reads. “When the revisions are complete, there will be one hymnbook and one children’s songbook, offering the same hymns and songs in all languages. The new collections will be created over the next several years to reflect the needs of members around the world.”

Among the selections will be hymns that “teach of the doctrines of the gospel,” the news release says. The process is expected to last several years.

The committees selected by the First Presidency will be in charge of making recommendations to revisions in the current music books.

At the end of the process, there will be one hymnbook and one children’s songbook, with every song included in each language translation of the books. New audio recordings will also be available online as the new printed books are made available, as well as “additional hymns and songs applicable to specific language and areas” distributed digitally.

The news release also detailed that national anthems will be removed from the printed hymnbooks.

“We recognize the power that sacred music has to unify the members of the church throughout the world,” said Elder Ronald A. Rasband, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. “We desire to offer a consistent core collection of hymns and songs in every language that reflects the diverse needs of the global church in our day.”

The first hymnbook was created by Emma Smith, the wife of Joseph Smith, in 1835. In 1985, the hymnbook was revised into the one currently used.

As seen throughout the history of the church, music has played an important role.

“The language of music is universal. Even if we come from different cultures and speak different languages, singing together brings the same spirit to everybody,” said Elder Erich W. Kopischke of the Seventy.

With this announcement, the church has opened a submission period to send in “original hymns, children’s songs, song texts without music or music without text” for consideration at newmusic.lds.org. Each individual may only submit five hymns and five children’s songs for consideration. On online survey is also available for feedback. The submission deadline is July 1, 2019.

“Perhaps the most meaningful hymns and songs of the Restoration have not yet been written,” said Elder LeGrand R. Curtis Jr. of the Seventy. “We encourage our talented members to prayerfully consider what they might add to the body of music already known and loved by the church.”

To make a submission, use or create a profile for free with the LDS account — member or nonmember — at ldsaccount.lds.org.

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