“Music Was the Missionary,” Tambuli, Nov. 1988, 25–26
On a beautiful Sunday morning in the fall of 1841, my great-grandfather, William Minshall Evans, then sixteen years of age, was walking down the streets of Liverpool, England, on his way to church. Suddenly he heard singing that thrilled him beyond anything he had ever heard before. He followed the sound down an alley and up some rickety stairs into a room where a few people were holding a meeting. John Taylor, who later became President of the Church and who had a beautiful tenor voice, was the singer. The song he sang was so beautiful that William remained to hear the sermon.
Upon returning home, William was reprimanded by his elder brother, David, for being absent from his accustomed place in the choir. When asked to give an account of himself, William replied, “I have been where you should have been and I shall not be satisfied until you all hear the wonderful truth I have heard this morning.”
Before long, William and David were converted to the gospel, and then helped convert other members of their family. Three of the brothers and their parents emigrated to Utah between 1848 and 1850. William’s mother died of cholera in Kanesville, Iowa, and her husband was so brokenhearted that he had no desire to continue on to Utah and so returned to England.
The boys experienced all of the hardships and trials of those early pioneer days, but remained true and faithful to the gospel. William had twelve children and passed on a great heritage to his posterity.
I never sing the hymns of the Church without remembering that it was the singing of a hymn that opened the door to the gospel for my family and made it possible for me to enjoy all the blessings that have followed.