25 years ago
A new LDS hymnbook, the first published by the Church since 1948, came off the presses Aug. 2, 1985, according to the Deseret News 2010 Church Almanac.
The first printing of the new hymnbook, with its now-iconic forest green cover, contained 5,000 copies. About 25 percent of the 341 hymns were new in some way — either old hymns with new or varied music and lyrics, or hymns appearing in an LDS hymnbook for the first time.
An article in the Aug. 11, 1985, edition of the Church News detailed new additions to the hymnbook. Besides the inclusion of hymns such as “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “How Great Thou Art” and “Away in a Manger,” the new hymnbook featured a First Presidency message, an eight-page guide on how to use the hymnbook and seven indexes, including one with scriptures relating to each hymn.
Darwin Wolford, a member of the hymnbook committee and a music professor at Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) said the addition of scriptures to the hymnbook made it a valuable tool for worship.
“In the past, music has been like a bouquet of flowers, something beautiful but not necessarily integral to the worship service,” he said. “With the scriptures, each hymn will be an integral part of the worship service or meeting or personal study.”