First new hymnbook addition announced for global collection – Church News

Six years after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced it was working to create a new hymnbook for members to use as part of their worship and gospel study, the first new addition to the musical collection has been announced.
“Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” is the first hymn the Church has shared since receiving more than 16,000 original songs and many times that amount in suggestions of existing songs to be kept or added to the global Church’s new hymnbook. The song is one of 12 that will become available on May 30.
“The reason that we provide sacred music for members of the Church is to assist them in coming close to the divine in worshiping their Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ,” said Steve Schank, the Church’s Hymnbook Committee chair.
That first batch of songs will be immediately available in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French, according to the Church. The music will be published in both the Gospel Library and Sacred Music apps. It will also be available on the Church’s website.
The first hymnbook of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was published in 1835 in Kirtland, Ohio. Emma Smith, wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith, was called to compile the selection of hymns. Through a revelation given to Joseph Smith as recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 25:11-12, the Lord indicated that Emma would be inspired as to which songs should be included in the collection.
“And it shall be given thee, also, to make a selection of sacred hymns, as it shall be given thee, which is pleasing unto me, to be had in my church. For 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.”
The Church publishes sacred music today on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, a variety of Church apps, the Church website and in Church magazines. The first music published by the Church was printed in The Evening and the Morning Star newspaper in 1832, only two years after the Church was founded.
The current hymnbook of the Church has been in use since 1985. Since then, Church membership has nearly tripled around the globe. A book of songs specifically written for children was published by the Church in 1989. The current hymnbook project aims to combine music for all ages into one printed collection, with additional music also being available on digital platforms.
Mack Wilberg, music director for the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, said the growth of the Church is one reason for a new hymnbook.
“We’re now, more than ever, a worldwide Church. And to be able to share hymns together from the worldwide Church is a really significant and an exciting thing,” he said.
Ryan Murphy, associate music director for the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, also serves as a hymnbook committee member.
“As we continue to have members of the Church from different cultures and backgrounds and diverse life experiences, we’re increasing the reach of our offerings through the hymns that allow people to feel they are included in this hymnbook and that their voice can be expressed in worship through the hymns,” he said.
Increasing faith in and worship of Heavenly Father is one of five guiding principles the hymnbook committee follows.
Anfissa Smith serves on the hymnbook committee and expressed her excitement at the unification of the hymnbook across many languages.
“How exciting is this work — to have one hymnbook that represents languages from all over the world and will be unitedly one Church?” she asked. “There is just something so special about singing pure doctrine.”
Smith’s comment touches on two of the other guiding principles: to teach the core doctrine of the gospel with power and clarity, and to unify members throughout the Church.
The Church also indicated that it plans to release additional batches of hymns every few months until the project is complete. Latter-day Saints who speak languages other than English, Spanish, Portuguese and French will also see music released for them over the next three years.
The final two principles the committee strives for are inviting joyful singing at home and at church, and comforting the weary and inspiring members to endure in faith.

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