Episode 190: As Church releases 13 new hymns, leaders discuss ongoing hymnbook project and sacred music

Elder Isaac K. Morrison, Primary General President Susan H. Porter, and Hymnbook Committee Secretary Brooke Hirst give an inside look at the sacred, ongoing project

Six years after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced in 2018 that it was working to create a new hymnbook for members to use as part of their worship and gospel study, leaders have released the first batch of hymns in four languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese and French.

On this episode of the Church News podcast, Elder Isaac K. Morrison, a General Authority Seventy; Primary General President Susan H. Porter; and Hymnbook Committee Secretary Brooke Hirst talk about this sacred ongoing project. They are joined by guest host Church News Editor Ryan Jensen, who leads a discussion about the 13 new hymns released on Thursday, May 30, 2024. They discuss how sacred music helps members better worship Heavenly Father and the Savior Jesus Christ.

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Elder Isaac K. Morrison: I want to talk about “Think a Sacred Song.” We all go through difficult times in our life that we’re supposed to make decisions between good and bad. And this song reminds us all to think a sacred song. Think of those words that will give you power. And the chorus is just so amazing: “Your heart and mind will open / to let the spirit in, / and you will feel its comfort again.” I think that the power of sacred music is to bless us, help us to be in tune with the Spirit. And this is a song that will remind us. It is a song that would bring joy. It will edify us, it will comfort us, it will bless us to be able to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. And that is the essence of what we are doing here, is to help all of God’s children to come to Him.


Sarah Jane Weaver: This is Sarah Jane Weaver, executive editor of the Church News, welcoming you to the Church News podcast. We are taking you on a journey of connection as we discuss news and events of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Six years after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced in 2018 that it was working to create a new hymnbook for members to use as part of their worship and gospel study, leaders have released the first batch of hymns. Elder Isaac K. Morrison, a General Authority Seventy; Primary General President Susan H. Porter; and Hymnbook Committee secretary Brooke Hirst join the Church News podcast to talk about this sacred, ongoing project.

They are joined by guest host Ryan Jensen, who is the Church News editor. He leads the discussion about the 13 new hymns, which were released on Thursday, May 30, 2024. We turn the mic over to them as they discuss the ways this sacred music will help members better worship Heavenly Father and the Savior, Jesus Christ.


Jon Ryan Jensen: President Porter, Elder Morrison and Brooke Hirst, welcome to the Church News podcast.

Elder Isaac K. Morrison: Thank you.

President Susan H. Porter: Thank you.


Jon Ryan Jensen: We’re really excited to have the three of you here. This is a subject that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been talking about, they’ve been speculating about, they’ve really just been excited to talk about sacred music and especially the new sacred music that is going to be included as part of the new hymnbook project. This is a project that started in 2018. I’d love to hear from the three of you; just kind of set the stage for us. What has been happening behind the scenes in these past six years to lead up to today’s release on May 30, the release of the first batch of new music as part of this project? Brooke Hirst, can you help us with that?


Brooke Hirst: I would love to answer that question. I work as a project coordinator in the Priesthood Department for the Church, and I’ve been working on this effort since 2019. So, a little while after the project was announced, but I’ve been working on it for a couple of years. And instead of thinking about what happened since 2018, I like to step back a little bit, and I see a testimony of the Lord’s hand guiding His work in what happened even before 2018, even before we knew there would be a new hymnbook.

Specifically, this product will be a globally unified hymnbook. And that means that we will be translating it in a lot of languages very quickly. And there were things that work in the Translation Department, setting up new tools of the way music is translated, years before we knew that there would be a new hymnbook, that is making this process possible today. And those that work on this effort know that it wasn’t just the Translation Department. It was people being prepared to be music editors and people being prepared to be text editors, that years before we knew that there would be a revision, the Lord was working in their lives so that they would be prepared to gather at this time and help this project. And we see it every day.

And it is, like I said, it’s just a testimony that this is the Lord’s work. But in answer to your specific question — “What exactly happened?” — so besides that preparation, there was organization, so a hymnbook and a songbook committee were formed to choose what the content would be. There was the announcement to the Church, there was the call for new submissions, asking members to submit hymns and songs that they’d written so that we could consider that for this product.

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First 13 songs released for new hymnbook


Jon Ryan Jensen: Which I understand brought a deluge of submissions.

Brooke Hirst: So many. So many; 17,000 unique submissions.

Jon Ryan Jensen: It’s only a couple songs that go through.

Brooke Hirst: Exactly. So many.


President Susan H. Porter: One thing I loved about that time was when members of the Church were not only invited to submit new hymns but invited on the website to say, “What are your favorite songs? What songs that are not in the hymnbook you would love to see in the hymnbook? What are your favorite ones? What are your least-favorite ones?” That created so much excitement. And I was not serving in my calling at that time, but my whole extended family felt so seen, that the leadership of the Church wanted to know what are the feelings of the members of the Church. That was very invigorating to all of us, to feel like we could have a say in that important part of our worship.


Jon Ryan Jensen: Yeah, President Porter, I’m glad you brought that up, because there are many people who may not be inclined, like myself, to write music. I can’t write music, but I love singing the sacred hymns and the Primary songs. And so that was a way for everyone — or more people, at least — to feel involved in that process.


Elder Isaac K. Morrison: I think that what Sister Porter and Brooke said is just very important. We have seen miracles in this project. It is a miracle. We have gotten help where it’s just so wonderful that that help came at a point that we needed it most. We have seen people who are willing to contribute to offer their talent to bless this wonderful work. And of course, this is a First Presidency project, and so we have their blessing, in addition to our leaders and advisers and all the help that we can get. I feel that we have seen the hand of the Lord in this project. There are many things that have gone on behind the scenes, and we talk about things, we discuss things. But in every meeting, we leave feeling fulfilled, that this is how the Lord wants it to be done. And I have seen that on a daily basis as we work on it.


Jon Ryan Jensen: I love that, Elder Morrison. Is there a way that you could share, kind of give us a behind-the-scenes look of what that looked like as you evaluated the music that was submitted, what you were considering for a global audience of a growing Church, and maybe some of the simplicity that I’ve heard you were looking for?


Elder Isaac K. Morrison: Actually, we have a guideline from the First Presidency on what to include in the new hymnbook. And they gave us five or six points. One is that it has to increase faith in and worship of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, that we look for Him; that it will teach the core doctrine of the gospel with power and clarity; and that it invites joyful singing at home and at Church; and that it will comfort the weary and inspire members to endure in faith — I love that — and then finally, it’s going to unify members throughout the Church, as Brooke mentioned earlier.

And so this is the core of everything that we do, that it aligns with what these strategy goals are from the First Presidency. And that is how the team that we work with would go ahead and recommend songs to the senior Brethren for review. And it’s a whole process; maybe Brooke will walk us through that process. But from what I’ve seen, it goes through over 30 or 35 general authorities and general officers to look at it and to review it and be comfortable, and then before it comes out as we have it today — I mean, the first batch of 13 hymns.

A congregation sings a hymn. The first batch of 13 songs have been released for the new hymnbook, “Hymns—for Home and Church,” on May 30, 2024. | Cody Bell, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


Jon Ryan Jensen: Elder Morrison, I recently had a chance to travel to the Pacific Area, and it wasn’t just the general authorities, right? It was also people around the world, members of the Church around the world, so they could give their input on how the music works or might not work for them as well. Brooke?


Brooke Hirst: That’s right. So, we’ve talked about the submissions and the survey. We also have had area meetings where we’ve met with local sacred music translators in areas, and we’ve asked them about the sacred music in their area, what’s their experience like going to church, what works well, what might be even better for them. And we’re really seeking members’ feedback. And we’re so grateful for all of the feedback that we have received. And for the 17,000 submissions that we received, it was important that they were evaluated by members around the world, not just locally in Utah.

So, we took a lot of time finding musicians and lyricists, people that are familiar with the text, in many languages so that each submission could be reviewed in the language that it was submitted in. We were so excited to receive submissions in many languages. And there ended up being more than 160 members who participated in helping us review the new submissions, and it took a long time, a couple of years to review all of those submissions, and we’re still reviewing them and making decisions. The project’s not done yet.


Jon Ryan Jensen: President Porter?

President Susan H. Porter: I’ve loved in this project how it’s been such a great combination between members of the Church, those professionals who are trained — trained lyricists, trained with text and with music, so having this rich professional background — and then, as Elder Morrison talked about, called leaders. It’s been this beautiful melding of everyone bringing their piece to the table to enrich the experience we have in our Church meetings and at home, which is a big piece of this project, to do everything we can to make this music accessible for people to sing at home.


Jon Ryan Jensen: Elder Morrison, I want to ask you: Why is now the right time for a revision of this hymnbook?

Elder Isaac K. Morrison: Well, the growth of the Church is just incredible worldwide. The last time we had a review like this was in 1985. That is almost 40 years ago. This revision is just so needed and essential, as a way of unifying all members worldwide. I’m from Africa, as you know, and we love to sing. And we love to be included. We are part of this global Church. And it’s so nice for our voices to be heard in the Church.

We have also seen some inconsistency in the music offerings across languages spoken by members of the Church. We also have issues with some licensing limitations and music publishing that would require that we do this again to make sure that we get the right license and no limitations to be able to use in the prints as well as on the digital platforms.

Again, there are also some few hymns that have fallen into disuse, and we can take this opportunity to make way for new ones that members would really value. And then finally, some gospel principles which were under addressed or underrepresented in our current editions, it is the time for us to be able to amend it and make it clean and just universal to include everyone.


Jon Ryan Jensen: And we’ve talked a lot, then, about language and geography, but President Porter, it’s also a span of age as well. Can you talk a little bit maybe to this point of how important it is for these songs to be accessible and easily learned by Primary children and youth?


President Susan H. Porter: Yes, this is exciting, where now, instead of having a Primary songbook and a hymnbook, we’re going to have one book with Primary songs included. And this is going to be a greater opportunity not only for — well, for both our Primary children to learn the hymns, and for our sacrament meetings, stake conferences, other worship services to include some of these beautiful Primary songs. I think we’ve all noticed over the past number of years that Primary songs, the new ones being written, are so rich in doctrine. And I think members of the Church will be so excited to be able to sing them in worship services.


Jon Ryan Jensen: President Porter, I was thinking about it the other day. I love it as well, because in a recent handbook adjustment, we also have seen the option for baptized members of the Church, as young as 8 years old, be able to offer prayers in meetings like sacrament meeting. And so now you have that young participation with just that purity of those children who are able to sing the songs they’re learning in Primary and pray as well.


President Susan H. Porter: Yes. We’ve had a concern over the years that children grow up with the idea that “Sacrament meeting is Mom and Dad’s meeting, so my job is to just be quiet so they can learn, and then I get to go to my meeting, which is Primary.” But this will, as you say, really reinforce and help us realize that the Lord wants to nourish every person He has invited to His meeting, and that includes children.


Elder Isaac K. Morrison: May I add to that, with President Porter’s permission. We get the opportunity to go for stake conferences, and in stake conferences, I specifically invite stake presidents to have a Primary choir or to have a Primary speaker, a Primary child speak for three minutes about why he believes in Jesus Christ or why he loves the Savior, Jesus Christ. And it is just interesting to be in the room to see.

First, when the Primary children are singing, every parent, every grandparent wants to be there, and they want to be there on time. That’s one way of getting everyone to come so that they want to see the Primary child singing. Secondly, when a Primary child is speaking, all the kids in the room are just, you know, watching this Primary child: “This is one of my own who can connect to me. He’s speaking, or she’s speaking, to me, and I love to listen.” Well, that is always my highlight in stake conferences. When the adults come, “Oh, OK, all right. OK.” But the Primary kids just bring a wonderful spirit. And that is exactly what President Porter is talking about. And I have seen that firsthand. And I just love that experience.


Jon Ryan Jensen: As a father of four, I’ve seen that definitely myself with my family; when my kids speak, when they sing, grandma and grandpa want to be there. Aunts and uncles who are close want to be there as well.


President Susan H. Porter: I wanted to just refer to something Elder Morrison mentioned earlier, and that is about having one unified hymnbook for the whole Church. I’ll never forget a number of years ago, my husband and I were visiting the branch in Galilee, in Israel. And at the front of this little, tiny branch — there were maybe 30 people in attendance — were four song boards. So, one said English, these are the hymn numbers we’re going to use if you speak English. These are the hymn numbers we’re going to use if you speak Hebrew or Russian or German, were the four languages. And so now with this global hymnbook, every member of the Church will have the same hymnbook with the same hymn numbers. It will be so unifying for all of us.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sing hymns as part of worship. Thirteen hymns that will be included in the new hymnbook will be available digitally on May 30, 2024. | Cody Bell, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


Jon Ryan Jensen: I love that as well. We saw recently President Emily Belle Freeman and Sister [J.] Anette Dennis were in Europe and Asia as well and shared pictures of that same thing. I think it is a great unifier to have those numbers be the same across all the books.

We’ve talked about what has led up to today’s release. But now, I would love for us to actually get into it. This is the exciting part. The music is here, the first songs have been released, 13 of them today. Before we talk about the songs themselves, can we talk about what format they’re available in so that members know what they can actually go and find? Is this just sheet music? What are we providing for them as a Church?


Brooke Hirst: So, this is a digital release, which means the sheet music is available online and in our apps. So, you can go to the Church music website at You can go to your Gospel Library app and find the Music icon. You’ll open that up, and there will be a brand new icon that is the “Hymns — For Home and Church” icon.

If you don’t have the Sacred Music app, I highly recommend that you add that to your phone, because that has a richer music experience than just the Gospel Library does. There are actually playlist features, so you could make a playlist of the new hymns and songs, all of them in a row, or if you have favorites right away, you could just make playlists of that as well. That’s where the sheet music is. We also have audio recordings available. There’s piano accompaniment only, guitar accompaniment only, or vocal melody only with piano accompaniment. And all of these are released in four languages today: English, Spanish, Portuguese and French.


Jon Ryan Jensen: What a big day. So this isn’t just “Hey, here are the songs,” but people can go and listen to those right now, they can learn from that listening experience, and they could start using them as early as this weekend in their sacrament meetings and their other Church meetings?

Brooke Hirst: Absolutely. We hope that they will.


Elder Isaac K. Morrison: I am looking forward to my next stake conference this weekend, and I’m going to make some suggestions to the stake president: “How about if we sing ‘Gethsemane,’ or if we sing — ‘Think a Sacred Song,’ or something from the new hymnbook.” I think the Spirit will just be wonderful in that meeting.


Jon Ryan Jensen: And with us having that fast opportunity to turn around and sing some of these songs, I think it’s important to note that they’re not all songs that people will be unfamiliar with. Some of them are songs that people already know and have heard, and some are new. For those that are being reintroduced in the hymnbook, at least in English, why was now the time to include something like “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”?


President Susan H. Porter: I believe that was the most-requested hymn when the Church did the survey, just overwhelmingly people were requesting that beautiful hymn and all it means to them and all it teaches them of the Savior.


Jon Ryan Jensen: I love that. We also heard in general conference “His Eye Is on the Sparrow,” and that hymn being sung is probably new to a lot of people. Can one of you share a little bit behind that song? Brooke, can you help us with that answer?


Brooke Hirst: I would love to. “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” is internally what we call a “borrowed hymn,” which means it’s a hymn that’s existed for a long time, we just haven’t had it in our collection, but other Christian denominations are singing it in their congregations. So we’re really excited to be singing it along with them. This is one of my favorite new hymns, and I actually brought a little story. I’m just going to read a paragraph for you about the history of this hymn.

It was written by an author, her name is Civilla D. Martin: “Early in the spring of 1905, my husband and I were sojourning in Elmira, New York. We contracted a deep friendship [with] a couple by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle — true saints of God. Mrs. Doolittle had been bedridden for nigh 20 years. Her husband was an incurable cripple who had to propel himself to and from his business in a wheelchair. Despite their afflictions, they lived happy Christian lives, bringing inspiration and comfort to all who knew them. One day while we were visiting with the Doolittles, my husband commented on their bright hopefulness and asked them for the secret of it. Mrs. Doolittle’s response was simple: ‘His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.’”

I love that story. And when I sing that song now, I think of that, of people, not just that specific story, but people that I know that have hard circumstances but that are some of the happiest, most cheerful, joyful people that I know because they have a testimony of Jesus Christ, and they believe in a Heavenly Father who loves them and cares for them. And each song has a message that I think can give us hope and comfort and joy, and I love “His Eye Is on the Sparrow.”


Jon Ryan Jensen: I imagine that it’s great to hear the words of someone who wrote a song. I imagine others shared their feelings as well. How are they being talked to or notified if their songs are being included? And are any of those writers going to be caught by surprise about the inclusion? I’m really interested to hear what that process is like from the songwriter’s side.


Elder Isaac K. Morrison: I think that for this release today, every contributor has been notified. For future releases, we would ask for their patience, we would notify everyone before any of the songs go out. But it’s been just a great blessing to have all of them submitted. And I see that this is a way of their consecrated offering to the Lord. And even if it is not accepted, of course, we have 17,000, we can use all of them. If we want to put 17,000 hymns and songs together, we’ll have like maybe 10 feet.


Jon Ryan Jensen: We need to do the small plates, is what you’re saying. This is just a summary.

Elder Isaac K. Morrison: And so even if we don’t use it, or even if it is not accepted, they should know that the Lord is appreciative of their effort, and we are also very grateful for their willingness to submit, and that we would express appreciation to each one of them.


Jon Ryan Jensen: OK, so the ones who are now live, they know that their songs are there. But just because the first batch has come out doesn’t mean that your song has not been included if you haven’t been contacted.

Elder Isaac K. Morrison: That’s correct.

Jon Ryan Jensen: So patience on that side, and we will see more of these songs come. I love that.


President Susan H. Porter: Another thing that’s gone behind the scenes is, for instance, the hymn that Brooke mentioned, “His Eye Is on the Sparrow,” is currently in many Christian hymnbooks. And so there’s a team behind the scenes that works with creating relationships and trying to figure out the appropriate approvals needed and so for us to include it in our collection. So I think worldwide as people join the Church, they may now be able to sing songs in our congregations that are familiar to them from their previous Christian faith tradition.


Jon Ryan Jensen: All right, I want to get into a little bit of a, you know, maybe a sticky area for some. Asking about favorite hymns is like asking about favorite scriptures; every scripture is important. But is there a hymn out of this first batch that stands out to each of you? President Porter, is there one of these that you are most excited about for members of the Church?


President Susan H. Porter: Well, I have to choose a Primary one — not because I have to, but I want to. This is one that so many of us have already heard our Primary children sing, and that is “Gethsemane.” I think we vastly underestimate the spiritual capacity of children, and to be in a congregation and see a little 4-year-old singing with all their heart, “Gethsemane! Jesus loves me.” And through this beautiful song, they’re taught that Gethsemane is not so much about the suffering, but it’s about the evidence of God’s love for them, and that that love is not only universal, but it’s for them personally. And they are learning that, and they are able to teach it to us as adults through this beautiful song.


Jon Ryan Jensen: I love that. It is a beautiful song, and I’m really excited for that one to be included. Brooke, do you have a favorite?


Brooke Hirst: I love them all, but I really love “When the Savior Comes Again.” And I’ll share a little inside story, a little bit about this one. When the new submissions got to the final round, which is hymnbook and songbook committee looking through them, of course all hymnbook and songbook committee members approach their task very prayerfully — even, I know, many of them fast before they do their work associated with the hymnbook and songbook committee. They were reviewing the first packet of children’s songs, and afterward, as they were meeting, many of them said, “There’s one song I feel should be in this,” and another would say, “Oh, me too. There was one that I’m really pretty sure should be part of the collection.”

And that was a theme that we heard. And this was the song: “When the Savior Comes Again.” Independently, people had reviewed it, and they all felt that this was a needed message. And I love it. It’s a beautiful children’s song about when the Savior comes again. And I think in this new hymnbook for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where a purpose of our Church is to help prepare the world for when the Savior comes again. I love this song and its message.


Jon Ryan Jensen: Thank you, Brooke. Elder Morrison?

Elder Isaac K. Morrison: Well, I don’t know which one to pick, but I love them all too. One that I want to talk about is “Think a Sacred Song.” It jumps up to me, so appealing to me because of — they remind us in this song we all go through difficulties; the rising generation, especially, go through times in their life that they’re supposed to make decisions between good and bad. And this song reminds us all to think a sacred song, think of those words that will give you power. And the chorus is just so amazing: “Your heart and mind will open / to let the spirit in, / and you will feel its comfort again.” I think that the power of sacred music is to bless us, help us to be in tune with the Spirit.

And whenever we are challenged with, you know, having to choose between good and bad, this is a song that will remind us. It is the song that would bring joy, it will edify us, it will comfort us, it will bless us to be able to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. And that is the essence of what we are doing here, is to help all of God’s children to come to Him, to know Him and to build faith in Him. And I think it’s a great reminder, just like all of the other songs, too, it’s a great reminder for us to be able to make the right choice, even when it’s difficult.


Jon Ryan Jensen: I love that all of you focused on the message of the doctrine of Christ — “What is it that this particular song is teaching us about the Savior and Heavenly Father’s plan for us?” Elder Morrison, you also said it’s for all of God’s children. Brooke, perhaps this is for you: Why was it important to include some songs that maybe sound a little different than some of the hymns that we’re typically accustomed to hearing, different rhythms or phrasing, different characteristics musically?


Brooke Hirst: Sure. Well, this collection is a globally unified collection, which primarily means that Church members around the world will have the same core collection of hymns with the same numbering. But it also means that we are including favorite hymns and songs from around the world into that core collection. So previously, there might have been a specific hymn that was only in the Tongan hymnbook or only in the Swedish hymnbook. And we can’t divulge today any specific things that are being considered, but in all languages, we reviewed all the hymns and all the songs, and we looked at that criteria that Elder Morrison mentioned earlier in our conversation about “Does it increase faith in Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father? And does it unify Church members?” And we found many things in other languages that fit that criteria.

So then began the work of creating what’s called a transcreation in English and Spanish and Portuguese so that we can have it in a unified collection. It’s a very complex process to translate something from another language that has different rhythms and a different sound, because hymns generally have a similar sound because hymnody is what it is. It’s a Western European form that many people worship in. But when a hymn is written in a different area with a different language, it will have a little different feel because it is meant to support that language and where you emphasize, if you emphasize the last syllable of your word or the first syllable of your word. It takes some effort to make a translation that works in other languages, but that’s being done, and it is an important thing, and our collection will be more diverse than it was before.

A Bible and a book of hymns rest on chairs as community members and former prison inmates gather to attend a sacrament service of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in West Valley City on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024. | Marielle Scott, Deseret News


Jon Ryan Jensen: I remember being on my mission — I served in Colombia, and we spoke Spanish — I remember the first time that I saw or heard a hymn that I had never heard before in English, and I had to go back to my English book to see if it was in there, and it’s not there. And I didn’t realize that we did that as a Church, but it’s one of my favorite hymns now, and I love that we have that ability to work through that process. Brooke, do you have any specific examples of songs where that has happened?


Brooke Hirst: I do. In this first release, we have examples. So, “Il est né le divin Enfant” is a current French hymn that in this release in English is called “He Is Born, the Divine Christ Child.” Previously, that hymn was only in our Church’s French hymnal, and now it’s available in these four languages, and it will be translated and be available in additional languages. Another example is the Christmas children’s song “Star Bright” in English, called a “Estrella de luz” in Spanish. That’s another one that was currently only in the Spanish Children’s Songbook. And now it will be in this collection.

This is a good chance for us to also talk about: Why are we publishing Christmas music in May and Easter music in May, where we just had Easter not too long ago? So, these advanced-release batches will be released in other groups of languages in other time periods. So, it might be that it’s released in your language in September when it would make more sense to have a Christmas song, or in January when it would make more sense to receive an Easter song. So we didn’t pick the titles with a specific focus on a specific language group and when you would release it. We just are putting together language that we know will be useful to members, and they can use it at the time of year that works for them.


Jon Ryan Jensen: I love that. That’s great. President Porter?

President Susan H. Porter: When we receive our new hymnbooks, one thing members of the Church will notice is in existing hymns, perhaps there might be a few words that have been changed. And so that’s another thing that’s gone on behind the scenes, and it’s been so carefully done, is the lyrics of every existing hymn that will stay in the hymnbook has been reviewed, for a couple of reasons. Perhaps the song was written in the 1600s or 1700s and word meanings have changed. Perhaps the language is not as inclusive as we would desire. And so I think Church members will also rejoice in some of their favorite hymns where there might be a few words, a few phrases changed to invite joyful singing as a global, unified Church.


Elder Isaac K. Morrison: I love when she said, “joyful singing.” The goal is to make sure that all these hymns would bring the joy that comes from hymn singing. Every hymn invites us to come to the Savior, Jesus Christ. I wish we have that joy, too, as we sing it. You need to come to Africa and see how we sing so joyfully. And we hope that this will continue to add to the joy we have already as members of the Church and always remember that the intent for this is to make sure that we are joyful, because the gospel is a plan of happiness, right? It’s full of joy. And sometimes we can’t take it out of our worship service. We need to let it be seen. We need to act it. We need to in our worship, in our singing. This joy needs to come out so clearly.


Jon Ryan Jensen: Well, I think that English, Spanish, Portuguese and French speakers are going to be feeling a lot of that joy right now. But there are some members who don’t speak those four languages. Can we get maybe even at a high level what the committee hopes will happen with the next release when others may see these songs in their languages or the next release of other songs?


Brooke Hirst: We don’t have the exact month when they will be released next, but we can tell you that the next batch of languages that are being worked on right now are Mandarin Chinese, German, Japanese, Korean and Tagalog. And the entire project will be complete by the end of 2030 in 50 languages.

Jon Ryan Jensen: Wow.


President Susan H. Porter: As I think about, let’s take just sacrament meeting. Sacrament meeting, a lot of times, it’s I’m sitting in a pew and I’m listening, I’m enjoying beautiful testimonies or talks. There are two parts of sacrament meeting that all of us participate in together: the sacrament and singing. Those are the two points where the reason really for us gathering, because I can actually sit at home and hear a recording of, you know, Brooke’s beautiful talk in sacrament meeting last week. But when I choose to gather with the Saints, I partake of the emblems of the Lord’s sacrifice together with the other members, and then I get to raise my voice in singing with my ward or stake family. And so singing is a very important part of our worship service. It allows us all to praise the Lord and His gospel and His Son together.


Jon Ryan Jensen: That immediately brought to mind Doctrine and Covenants 25:12. And to read those words in Doctrine and Covenants, where the Lord said, “the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me,” it is that song, it is that unifying prayer that we are offering at the same time, in unison, to Heavenly Father that really helps us feel the spirit of the doctrine we’re singing.

President Porter, you talked about the significance of singing hymns in sacrament meeting. A couple of these songs are actually specific to preparation for the sacrament. Do you want to talk about those?


President Susan H. Porter: I’m so grateful we have two new ones that we’ll be able to sing receiving the emblems of the Lord’s sacrifice: “As Bread Is Broken” and “Bread of Life, Living Water.” And even the title of “Bread of Life, Living Water” invites reflection and purpose, recalls to mind the Savior’s words that He is the Bread of Life and offers us the living water.


Brooke Hirst: I will add about the sacrament hymn President Porter mentioned “As Bread Is Broken.” At the bottom of the sheet music, members will find what is called an explanatory note, which is a few sentences that explain something about that hymn; sometimes it might be historical or explaining a word. In this hymn, it talks about that we know that when the Savior was crucified, His bones weren’t broken, which was in fulfillment of prophecy. So this hymn talks about as bread is broken, we think of the Savior, whose flesh was broken, but that His bones weren’t broken. And so I love the symbolism in the hymn, but also that this new collection will have those explanatory notes and give members just a little deeper dive into some of the hymns of some meaning that I think will be really significant.


Jon Ryan Jensen: I love that. So we’ve mentioned now, I think, all but two of the 13 hymns being released today. We have two more: One that I think is pretty familiar to those who listen to the Tabernacle Choir, “It Is Well With My Soul.” Brooke?


Brooke Hirst: “It Is Well With My Soul” was written by Horatio Spafford, and he had just experienced many very difficult circumstances in His life. His 4-year-old son lost his life in the Great Chicago Fire, then his wife and daughters were crossing the ocean to come and be with him, and all of his daughters drowned in a shipwreck. And if I’m remembering the story correctly, he was then again crossing the ocean to be reunited with his wife, I believe. And the words of this hymn just came to his mind, that he felt the peace of the Lord comforting him, that despite all of these really difficult things, that it was well with his soul because he had a testimony of Jesus Christ.


Jon Ryan Jensen: So that leaves us with one final song on the list. President Porter?

President Susan H. Porter: One of my very favorite songs. We have used this all over the world, and we’ve heard children’s sing “I Will Walk With Jesus” in every imaginable language. In a world today where loneliness is on the rise, to have children and all of us picture ourselves walking with Jesus, that we can choose to walk with Him. He will walk with us. He’s going to accompany us to our heavenly home. We need never feel alone. We can always feel His support and strength with us.

Primary General President Susan H. Porter plays the piano.
Primary General President Susan H. Porter plays the piano during a Friend to Friend event. | Screenshot from


Jon Ryan Jensen: I love that message. Brooke, can you share with us the full list of the new hymns released?

Brooke Hirst: Yes, I would be happy to: “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” “When the Savior Comes Again,” “It Is Well With My Soul,” “I Will Walk With Jesus,” “His Eye Is on the Sparrow,” “Think a Sacred Song,” “As Bread Is Broken,” “Bread of Life, Living Water,” “Gethsemane.” And now to the holiday selections: “Hail the Day that Sees Him Rise,” which is an Easter hymn, “He Is Born, the Divine Christ Child,” “What Child Is This?” and “Star Bright.” Those last three are all Christmas songs.


Jon Ryan Jensen: Elder Morrison, can you explain a little bit how members will see the numbering of these hymns? Are they just going to be slotted in with the existing hymn numbers, or will this be unique?


Elder Isaac K. Morrison: This will be unique. They will have a different numbering system for the Sabbath and weekday songs. It starts at 1,000. So it’s 1,001, 1,002, 1,003, all the way down. And then when you come to the holiday songs and hymns, Easter and Christmas, it starts with 1,200, so 1,201, 1,202.


Jon Ryan Jensen: Which is not indicative of the fact that there’s going to be 1,200-plus songs in there. It’s just how we’re starting the numbering with the newly released songs.

Elder Isaac K. Morrison: Yeah. I think this is also a good chance to talk about how many we expect. We probably would expect about 450 to 500 hymns and songs in this revision that’s currently going on. So we are not going to expect to have 1,000, but a very decent number of about 500.


Brooke Hirst: And not all the new hymns and songs will be advanced released first. The hymnals will be in our pew before we would get through all of those. So you could in your mind kind of logic out, “Well, they’ve only left room for 200 non-Christmas hymns before the Christmas start.” And there will be more than 200, but we’ll have the print hymnbooks before we would be able to release that many batches of digital hymns and songs.

Jon Ryan Jensen: How exciting.

Brooke Hirst: So our high-level timeline projections would be hymnbooks in the pew in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French by the end of 2026, and then available in print in all 50 languages that are currently scoped for this product by 2030.


Jon Ryan Jensen: Well, this is a big day, an exciting day. And I love that we’re going to be able to appreciate some of these hymns in a staggered release and learn them one at a time. I don’t want to miss any of them, so I love this format that we’re using.

At the end of the Church News podcast, we love to give our guests the final word. And so I would love for each of the three of you to share with us what you know now following the work that you have done on this project. We’ll start with Brooke and then Elder Morrison and President Porter: What do you know now after all the work that has been put in on this new hymnbook project?


Brooke Hirst: One thing I’ve learned being part of this project is that every hymn and every song is someone’s favorite hymn or song, and there are also other people that don’t like that as much. And what that has taught me is that singing hymns and songs is a great opportunity for me as a disciple of Christ to have charity and to look outside myself and not just think about my own perspective and my own likes. But when I’m sitting in a congregation to sing with my whole soul, with the people in the pew in front of me and the people in the pew in the back of me, whether it is my favorite hymn or my favorite song, because chances are they’re someone in that congregation that it is their favorite.

And I’m so excited to have so many new hymns and songs that I will come to love and that I will learn from others, what are the neat things about this, because people will share their perspectives. And there will be things that will be retired, and that will be sad. It will give me a chance to mourn with those that mourn, but at the same time to rejoice in the opportunity of new things that are coming.

And I would add that I bear my testimony that this is the Lord’s work and that this is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is not an exaggeration to say we see miracles daily — I would even say hourly, sometimes, as we’re working on this project. And it’s evident that His hand is in this work and that His hand is in our lives and that we as His children are His work. As I have worked on this project, many times the Spirit has told me, “Brooke, the hymnbook is not as important as you and your family and your children. And I’m letting you be a part of this because it’s helping you be a better disciple of Jesus Christ.”


Elder Isaac K. Morrison: I love what Brooke just said. And, Ryan, earlier when you quoted a scripture, in Section 25 of the Doctrine and Covenants, I think what has just come to my mind from the question you just asked is Section 90 of the Doctrine and Covenants, Verse 11, and I just want to read just a line: “For it shall come to pass in that day, that every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language, through those who are ordained unto this power.”

I feel strongly that what we are doing now, which is sanctioned by the First Presidency and the Twelve, is a way of communicating God’s love to all His children everywhere in their own language. Music and hymns bring us closer to the Spirit, bring us closer to God and Jesus Christ. And I have a strong understanding that we are in a way preaching the gospel and bringing all to the Savior, Jesus Christ, that they can feel it, they can know of God’s love for them.

I also feel so strongly that they will receive blessings, prayers will be answered, miracles will happen because of these hymns that are coming out. For me, it is a strong testimony that I have that we are children of our Heavenly Father, we do have a purpose here on earth, and we all can help each other to be able to support each other to be able to return to His presence. I have seen that God leads His Church. It is just wonderful to see the members of the Twelve and First Presidency unitedly supporting this and giving us feedback and things to work on. And I am so blessed to be part of this project. And I think that I am having a wonderful renewing of my testimony that the Church is led by living prophets.


President Susan H. Porter: So grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to play a very small part in this and to have my eyes open to the hundreds of members of the Church here in Salt Lake and across the earth who have sought our Heavenly Father’s will in this project, and then today to learn more from Brooke and Elder Morrison. I’ve loved at the most important times in our world’s history that there has been singing — at the birth of the Savior and when He comes again. And I look forward to joining in song with all of us at the Second Coming of the Savior and throughout eternity as we praise our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, for their mercy and their love in song.

It’s been reborn to my soul that music somehow bypasses a lot of things in our minds and can go straight to our hearts. When my husband’s mother was in the advanced latest stages of dementia, she didn’t know who anybody was, she could still sing the songs of Zion. And I think that this project has taken maybe a little longer than was initially announced, but that’s because of the great care that’s been taken to make sure that as we unite as members of the Church, singing those songs, words and melodies that stay with us through our entire lives that have a profound effect on our testimony of the living Lord and His Son, that they be the right words with the right music.

And I rejoice in thinking and reflecting, as Elder Morrison has just said, of the increased testimony and love of our Savior that can come. I also think of the homes throughout the Church where people maybe don’t have any musical training, but because of these beautiful resources made available, we’ll all be able to have in our homes and with us this beautiful music throughout our lives.


Sarah Jane Weaver: You have been listening to the Church News podcast. I’m your host, Church News executive editor Sarah Jane Weaver. I hope you have learned something today about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by peering with me through the Church News window. Please remember to subscribe, rate and review this podcast so it can be accessible to more people. And if you enjoyed the messages we shared today, please make sure you share the podcast with others. Thanks to our guests; my producer, KellieAnn Halvorsen; and others who make this podcast possible. Join us every week for a new episode. Find us on your favorite podcasting channels or with other news and updates on the Church on

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