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'My soul delighteth in song of heart'

"Music is of enormous importance in our worship services," said Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve at the October 1991 general conference. "I believe that those who choose, conduct, present, and accompany the music may influence the spirit of reverence in our meetings more than a speaker does. God bless them.

"Music can set an atmosphere of worship which invites that spirit of revelation, of testimony. We are told in the handbook that music and musical texts are to be sacred, dignified, and otherwise suitable for a Latter-day Saint meeting' (General Handbook of Instructions, 1989, pp. 2-5) and thatorgans and pianos are the standard instruments used in sacrament meetings. Other instruments, such as orchestral strings, may be used when appropriate, but the music must be in keeping with the reverence and spirituality of the meeting. Brass and percussion instruments generally are not appropriate.' " (Handbook for Church Music, 1975, p. 17.)Elder Packer, now acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve, said further: "An organist who has the sensitivity to quietly play prelude music from the hymnbook tempers our feelings and causes us to go over in our minds the lyrics which teach the peaceable things of the kingdom. If we will listen, they are teaching the gospel, for the hymns of the Restoration are, in fact, a course in doctrine!

"I have noticed that an increasing number of our leaders and members do not sing the congregational songs. Perhaps they do not know them or there are not enough hymnbooks. We should sing the songs of Zion - they are an essential part of our worship. We must not neglect the hymns nor the exalted anthems of the Restoration. Read the First Presidency's introduction in the hymnbook. The Lord said, `My soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, 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.) Do not let our sacred music slip away from us, nor allow secular music to replace it."

Elder Packer said that when music is presented which, however appropriate for other occasions, does not fit the Sabbath, much is lost.

"A choir which favors secular music above sacred music on the Sabbath becomes a chorus," he said. "In that respect, they teach the ways of men and, in doing so, miss the opportunity to inspire, and deny the power that they might otherwise have. The Spirit does not ratify speech nor confirm music which lacks spiritual substance."

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