Status Report on Worship Through Music

    “Status Report on Worship Through Music,” Ensign, Jan. 1975, 73

    Status Report on Worship Through Music

    “The name Hymn Practice is to be changed to Worship Through Music.” (Sunday School Bulletin, vol. 4, no. 5, August 1973.)

    The time set aside during Sunday School worship service for singing is designated as Worship Through Music and its emphasis is on spirituality instead of on learning the hymns in a technical way.

    Brother Rendol L. Gibbons, chairman of the Sunday School Music Committee, is concerned that the program is not yet fully understood and is anxious that all members become aware of how beneficial it can be.

    Specifically, the Sunday School has listed five goals for this time of musical worship:

    1. Developing a spirit of testimony through the text messages.

    2. Unifying the Sunday School service by complementing the spoken messages.

    3. Helping members to improve their feelings about themselves and the gospel.

    4. Teaching families how to use hymn singing at home.

    5. Developing musical skills so that singing and listening become more effective ways to worship.

    Sunday School Guideline, an annual publication outlining Sunday School programs, outlines a specific topic for Worship Through Music each month; this may be coordinated with the inspirational talks and the family spiritual presentation. For example, for February it’s “Friendship,” and the hymns suggested are “Let Us Oft Speak Kind Words,” “Rise Up, O Men of God,” “Should You Feel Inclined to Censure,” and “Sweet is the Hour When Thus We Meet.” Although hymn singing is central to Worship Through Music, the Sunday School suggests creativity in making this an uplifting, beneficial experience. The singing could be supplemented by soloists, ensembles, and testimonies. The ward choir could sing. Along with the suggested hymns, Sunday School Guideline offers scriptures and quotations by poets and General Authorities to enrich the topic. For January these include the Seventh Article of Faith [A of F 1:7] and a statement by Joseph Smith about prophets.

    A pamphlet recently published concerning Sunday School music states: “Music can communicate feelings. As people understand the reinforcement of the music to the spiritual message and learn that singing can be a means of expressing feelings, they sing with more intent. To sing a hymn as only a procedure in a meeting leaves people with little spiritual expression or communication.”

    Properly used, Worship Through Music will reinforce the spiritual message of Sunday School and truly express spiritual feelings.