On Sunday, October 6, 2002, at 08:13 AM, Paul Osborne wrote:

> (JWR says)
>> But I
>> think they could have found better music for it.  The tune doesn't
>> measure to the lyrics.
>>
>> Of course that is just my opinion, and it is just a matter of
>> taste.
>
>
> Is something wrong with me? I really don't care for the music of quite 
> a
> few of the LDS hymns. Some of them come off as whiny and annoy my 
> senses
> as I try to worship and I actually put the book down. My wife feels the
> same way so maybe I'm not alone in this thing. I would be relieved to 
> see
> the hymnbook reduced by about 50% and enjoy the balance just fine.


Music is an art form, and is therefore subject to varying tastes.  The 
hymn tune you find annoying may be extremely uplifting to others.  I am 
personally very glad that my tastes were not used to choose the hymns 
in the hymnbook.

As for "I Believe In Christ", I've heard several different settings of 
the words.  I personally believe that the John Longhurst setting that 
is in our hymnbook was chosen so that the saints would sing all of the 
words of the hymn.  In this case I think the hymnbook committee felt 
that the words were more important than the setting.

Speaking of the Longhurst setting, many years ago I was the organist 
for the priesthood leadership session of an area conference.  I take 
great care with the music I play for such a meeting, and carefully plan 
what I am going to plan when the visiting authorities enter the room.  
Usually I play "I Am A Child Of God", as it speaks the basic message of 
the gospel well.

For this conference our visiting authorities were President Monson and 
Elder Nelson.  Our stake center was filled to capacity, and the usual 
ambient noise of the saints meeting in gladness was present in great 
abundance (in other words, it was NOISY!).  As it came time to have the 
authorities enter the room, I carefully started to modulate into a good 
key for "I Am A Child Of God", and starting playing "reverent chords" 
(i.e. filler music) to bridge until they entered.

Once people in the room started to rise I started playing, and to my 
amazement I started playing the Longhurst setting of "I Believe In 
Christ", something I had not planned to play.  The effect, combined 
with the entrance of two prophets of the Lord, was electric.  The room 
instantly became silent and filled with the Spirit.  There was no sound 
in the room other than my music.   The felling was truly awesome.

I started concentrating on my playing, since I had not planned what I 
was playing, and the next thing I knew President Monson was standing at 
the side of the console, talking to me and thanking me for the reverent 
music (and lauding my mother for making me practice, she is indeed a 
patient woman :) ).

I'm glad I was receptive to the Spirit that day.  The right music for 
the right occasion really did add to the meeting. The only other place 
I have played where I have felt the Spirit as strongly is in the 
waiting area of the Oakland Temple.  I know this:  it isn't me or my 
music that brings the Spirit, but music can truly help us worship the 
Lord.

Harold Stuart

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