Hymn singing prepares way for gospel truths to be taught

Make use of hymns

Worship through singing- Be in tune with Spirit of the Lord

The singing of hymns "is one of the best ways to put ourselves in tune with the Spirit of the Lord," Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Council of the Twelve said during the Saturday morning session.

"I wonder," he continued, "if we are making enough use of this heaven-sent resource in our meetings, in our classes, and in our homes."

Elder Oaks cited scriptural references to hymns, including the fact that the Savior and His apostles sang a hymn at the time of the last supper. (Matt. 26:30.) Then he said, "The apostle Paul advised the Colossians that they should be `teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord' " (Col. 3:16)."

As evidence that the direction to praise the Lord with singing in not limited to large meetings, Elder Oaks explained that the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles always begin their weekly meeting in the Salt Lake Temple with a hymn.

He said: "According to my records, the opening song most frequently sung during the decade of my participation has been `I Need Thee Every Hour.' Picture the spiritual impact of a handful of the Lord's servants singing that song before praying for His guidance in fulfilling their mighty responsibilities."

Elder Oaks counseled that "When a congregation worships through singing, all present should participate." He remembered sitting in a sacrament meeting in Salt Lake City where he observed about a third of the congregation was not singing during the sacrament hymn.

Then he said: "I believe some of us in North America are getting neglectful in our worship, including the singing of hymns. I have observed that the Saints elsewhere are more diligent in doing this. We in the center stakes of Zion should renew our fervent participation in the singing of our hymns."

He listed some conventions that should be followed in worship through music. One was following the proper pace of the hymns rather than singing too fast or too slow. Another was selecting music that is proper for the Church setting. Also, he advised that vocal or instrumental numbers in worship services should facilitate worship, not be looked upon as performance opportunities for artists.

"Our sacred music prepares us to be taught the truths of the gospel," Elder Oaks said. "This is why we are selective in the kinds of music and the kinds of instruments we use in our worship services."

He added: "Sacred music can help us even where there is no formal performance. For example, when temptation comes, we can neutralize its effect by humming or repeating the words of a favorite hymn."

Elder Oaks concluded, "We who have `felt to sing the song of redeeming love' (Alma 5:26) need to keep singing that we may draw ever closer to Him who has inspired sacred music and commanded that it be used to worship Him."

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