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Music in the Church is to bring people to Christ

Michael F. Moody set the tone for his class on "Music for Non-musicians" with this quotation from Shirley Reynolds: "You who have the great ability to inspire people through music are indeed welcome guests to those of us who only have the ability to enjoy it."

Brother Moody, chairman of the general Church Music Committee, said: "Music in the Church is not just for those who read music or have great singing voices. It is for every single member in the ward. There is a need for us to be sensitive to those who are not musicians."There is validity in the claim of all people to "like what they like" in music, he said. "We need to be broad in our tolerance of musical preferences. However, we do have a responsibility to maintain a certain sense of propriety and make sure the music we program is edifying and inspiring."

The purpose of music in the Church is to perfect the Saints and bring them to Christ, he said, noting that the First Presidency Preface in the Church hymnbook lists about two dozen things music does to bless lives.

A secondary purpose of music in the Church is to raise the level of music appreciation, expand the repertoire of members and to educate, he said, but he admonished, "Never let the secondary things overshadow the primary things."

In selecting music that edifies and uplifts, one is on safe ground with the hymns, he said. "They are our liturgical standard. They preach the gospel in a way that is simple and universal."

Hymns link the individual with other members of the ward, with the Saints worldwide, with generations in the past and generations to come, he noted.

In moving beyond the hymns, music that is in keeping with their spirit can be appropriate, "but the further we go away from the hymns, the more we lose some of our people" who may not prefer other musical forms, he cautioned.

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