Paul admonished the saints at Ephesus: "Be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." (Eph. 5:18-19.)
References to music and singing in the Old and New testaments, Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants indicate the Lord's servants in all ages have recognized the power of sacred melody to convey and confirm gospel truths. (See "Music" and "Singing" entries in the Topical Guide in the LDS edition of the King James Bible.)Indeed, in this dispensation, the Lord said, "The song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads." (D&C 25:12.)
In the preface to the Church's current hymnbook, published in 1985, the First Presidency wrote: "Inspirational music is an essential part of our church meetings. The hymns invite the Spirit of the Lord, create a feeling of reverence, unify us as members, and provide a way for us to offer praises to the Lord.
"Some of the greatest sermons are preached by the singing of hymns. Hymns move us to repentance and good works, build testimony and faith, comfort the weary, console the mourning, and inspire us to endure to the end."
Further in the preface, the First Presidency added that hymns can lift spirits, give courage, move to righteous action, fill one's soul with heavenly thoughts, bring a spirit of peace, and help in withstanding the temptations of the adversary.
In his October 1994 general conference address, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve cautioned Church members to be careful about music selected for worship services.
"Many musical numbers good for other wholesome settings are not appropriate for church meetings. Our hymns have been chosen because they have been proven effective to invite the Spirit of the Lord. . . .
"Our sacred music prepares us to be taught the truths of the gospel. This is why we are selective in the kinds of music and the kinds of instruments we use in our worship services. This is why we encourage our choirs to use the hymnbook as their basic resource."