I have come across a lovely little book this week. It traces the history and importance of music in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It details the humble beginnings of the first hymns collected by Emma Smith (published in 1835), then onward through the generations of LDS composers, and forward to the grand choirs and stage productions of today. Music has become a legacy. It is an essential fiber in the fabric of our lives as individuals and as a church. We love the arts and music! And indeed, we believe it is one of the highest ways to express our devotion to God; to celebrate the wondrous life He has given us. Besides the fact, music makes life fun!
One of our early prophets expressed his sentiment as follows:
“There is no music in hell, for all good music belongs to heaven. Sweet harmonious sounds give exquisite joy to human beings capable of appreciating music. I delight in hearing harmonious tunes made by the human voice, any musical sound that can be made belongs to the Saints and is for the Saints.”
– Brigham Young, March 6, 1862
It certainly would be hell if we had to live in a world without music! What would we do without it? There is nothing that can bring us closer to feeling any emotion than when a good song is playing. It is a sure way to feel the warm and loving Spirit of our Heavenly Father when we participate in glorious music; either as the performer, or the listener. Music is a higher form of communication. It can express a million thoughts and concepts in a single note, while proving pages of words inadequate.
I am incredibly thankful for the vast and amazing musical cornucopia that we have to feast on. We are the luckiest generation to yet live on earth! We are able to enjoy more eras, genres, styles and experiments of composition than ever before. With the flick of the wrist, or click of a “mouse”, we have millions of tunes at our disposal; eagerly waiting to dance across our ears. It’s truly a miracle that so much creative sound can come from one little planet! And, most of that sound is exquisitely beautiful. The angels must be proud.