Under-rated Hymns

In the chorister’s thread, some discussion has come up (okay, it’s been mostly me) about under-rated hymns. I think that this is an interesting enough subject to deserve its own thread.

As Nate and others point out, the hymn book has a number of problem hymns –unsingable, unplayable, and possibly in the book for political reasons. At the same time, there are a number of great hymns in there that I rarely or never hear sung in church. A few of those are:

O Savior, Thou Who Wearest a Crown — see my comments on it here.
Saints Behold How Great Jehovah — a nice restoration hymn with a catchy, fun melody and fun movement in the men’s parts. It kind of reminds me of For the Beauty of the Earth or Come, Ye Children of the Lord, both of which I like (if for no other reason, because the men’s part doesn’t consist of D-D-D-D-A-A-A-A — see We Thank Thee O God For a Prophet).
Come Unto Him — there’s really nothing else like this in the hymn book. It’s intensely personal and narrative in form; the music is also unlike the typical Evan Stephens (not that Stephens is bad or anything — but this is totally different).
For All the Saints — a great hymn from a non-LDS hymn tradition; unfortunately, it gets avoided.
All Glory, Laud and Honor. This one actually does get sung every once in a while, but not nearly as much as it should. This one is also unlike any other in the book — its age (1300 years old) make it a unique experience.

There are many others — what do readers think are the underrated hymns? Please, let’s stick with hidden gems, not well-known, well-loved hymns. I’m sure there are more out there . . .

78 comments for “Under-rated Hymns

  1. Julie in Austin
    March 29, 2004 at 3:58 pm

    I have a problem with O Savior, Thou Who Wearest a Crown. I can’t help thinking of the Simon and Garfunkel song America.

    (In fact, before I realized it was the same music, I was waiting patiently for the bishop to tell the organist that S & G wasn’t an appropriate choice for prelude music . . .)

  2. Adam Greenwood
    March 29, 2004 at 3:59 pm

    Concur with For All the Saints.

    I also regret that The Battle Hymn of the Republic hardly gets sung anymore, partly because congregations tend to make it sound incredibly clunky, but also I suspect because it’s several sizes too militant for modern tastes.

  3. Thom
    March 29, 2004 at 4:54 pm

    My personal favorite hymn is “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” I learned to love it on my mission in Thailand, where it is a favorite of the Thai saints. Unfortunately it is not even in the most recent hymn book anymore, although the Tabernacle Choir sang it in October conference last year. Anybody know why it was dropped from the 1985 hymn book?

  4. Kristine
    March 29, 2004 at 4:57 pm

    All Glory, Laud and Honor is especially appropriate for next Sunday, which the rest of the world celebrates as Palm Sunday while we’re off having General Conference. I always try to have it on the program in the run-up to Easter, working around GC [long rant on why GC should work around Easter instead deleted].

    For All the Saints is likewise linked to the Christian calendar–it’s typically sung on All Saint’s Day (first Sunday in November). I think we shy away from it mostly because it’s tricky for the organ, but also because the words don’t quite make sense the way we have them. We’re missing a verse which makes explicit the connection between ourselves and the Saints who have died (“we feebly struggle, they in glory shine.”) There are some slight theological quibbles, so I can understand why they would have left it out, but it makes the rest of the text a little puzzling. I think I’m a little glad we don’t do it, because it REALLY needs a good organ. The bass line is just lost on a wheezy little Allen.

    As you might imagine, I have a long list of hymns to mention here, but my kids are “baking” in the kitchen. The rest will have to wait till tonight. Sigh.

  5. paul
    March 29, 2004 at 5:30 pm

    Abide with Me. NOT Abide with me Tis Even Tide. The tenor in this piece is amazing. We never sing it. Kristine, is this primarily a sacrament song? What other times should/could one sing it?

  6. lyle
    March 29, 2004 at 5:46 pm

    Don’t have a hymn book with me for examples, but I lament the fact that the extra verses of the hymns don’t get sung. I don’t think they are extra. If we aren’t going to sing the whole song…don’t sing it at all.

    Also…that there is no innovation & imagination. Why can’t we sometimes change some of the words in the hymns?

  7. MDS
    March 29, 2004 at 5:56 pm

    291–Turn Your Hearts

    One of the few great hymns of the temple.

  8. Grasshopper
    March 29, 2004 at 6:13 pm

    I like:

    We’re Not Ashamed to Own Our Lord
    How Long, O Lord, Most Holy and True

  9. March 29, 2004 at 6:16 pm

    Kristine, why’d you delete your rant on Easter and General Conference? I’d like to read. As I think I’ve made clear before, I’m very much in sympathy with you regarding the relevance of the liturgical calendar.

    Speaking of Easter and music, we don’t have nearly enough Easter hymns in our hymnbook. So many Christmas carols (though not all the best ones), so little opportunity to worship through praise at other times of the year. (Thanksgiving in similarly relegated to three measly hymns, none of which are given their proper due. But I’ve mentioned my love for “We Gather Together” before too: http://www.timesandseasons.org/archives/000059.html .)

  10. Kristine
    March 29, 2004 at 6:55 pm

    Russell, STOP!! You’re stealing my post for later tonight!!

  11. MDS
    March 29, 2004 at 7:13 pm

    I don’t know. Ever since watching “Kolberg” in my German Historical Film class, “We Gather Together,” which appears there as “Wir treten zum Beten” seems too much like a Nazi anthem to me.

  12. William Morris
    March 29, 2004 at 7:15 pm

    I agree with Paul about “Abide with Me” and also add one of my favorite hymns “Be Still My Soul.”

    And I wish that more choristers would have us sing at least the 4th verse (in addition to the first three) of “Nearer My God to Thee” as it contains one of my favorite lines from the hymnal: “of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise.”

    Here’s a seaonal one that I love, but I’ve never heard sung in a meeting: “Ring out Wild Bells,” a great hymn for the new year with lyrics by Tennyson.

    Oh yeah, and I love the imagery of “A Wintry Day Descending to a Close.”

  13. March 29, 2004 at 7:34 pm

    The hymns are often one of my favorite parts of church — not necessarily because I’m a music guru (I’m not, by anyone’s imagination), but because there’s often a lot of importance that’s very beautifully stated in these hymns…and a lot that’s overlooked in ones that we really don’t sing often.

    When I was abroad in Russia, one of the favorite hymns in my branch was O Say What Is Truth (272). I don’t know if it’s one that’s sung often elsewhere, but no ward I’ve ever been in sings it and it’s kind of catchy — gets stuck in my head every time I take my Russian hymn book (not quite a hymnal, more a dog-eared spiral-bound notebook) off the shelf.

    I also really like Adam-ondi-Ahman (49) and have fond memories of my mother teaching my brothers and me to sing In Our Lovely Deseret (307) as children.

    William: One of my good friends used to be our chorister, and she made sure we sang Ring Out Wild Bells every chance we got — her mother hated that song, and she’d try to slip it into the program for that very reason (aside, of course, from the obvious that it’s a pretty cool song and she liked it). I’m a big fan of I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day mainly because it’s Longfellow, and he’s a favorite poet of mine.

  14. Ivan Wolfe
    March 29, 2004 at 7:54 pm

    My favorit overlooked hymn is “Ring Out Wild Bells”

    My favoirte misplayed hymn is “Behold A Royal Army” – I have only once heard it played at the correct tempo. Nearly every organist misreads the tempo markings and plays it at half speed so it becomes a funeral dirge instead of a triumphant march.

    As for Come, Thou Font – I heard Darwin Wolford once say (my memory of this is spotty, but I’m sure I heard him say this once when I was at Rick’s college) that it was left out of the 1985 hymn book by sheer accident – it was intended to be included, but no one noticed it wasn’t in there until after the hymn book was published.

  15. Kristine
    March 29, 2004 at 9:18 pm

    All you folks who like singing the “extra” verses should come to my ward; I make us sing them all. They’re not extra, they’re just printed that way so the treble and bass lines don’t get separated so far that it’s hard for the pianist/organist to read them. I especially love the last two verses of Redeemer of Israel–“Restore my dear Savior the light of thy face” is a really important way to link the saga of the children of Israel to the individual worshipper; the connection never gets made if you don’t sing that verse. Similarly, several of the sacrament hymns, especially Eliza’s don’t mention the sacrament itself until the last verse, and the point is missed entirely if you stop in the middle.

  16. March 29, 2004 at 9:54 pm

    Well, I like Kipling’s God of our Fathers, especially the missing verse and the end cap “For frantic boast and foolish word, thy mercy on thy people Lord” and “for heathen heart that puts her trust, on reeking tube and iron shard, all valiant dust, that builds on dust, and guarding calls not thee to Guard”

    Or the missing verses of the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

    I miss Come Thou Font of Every Blessing, myself, and sing it once in a while just for the Spirit it carries.



  17. Mary
    March 29, 2004 at 11:46 pm

    I’ve just begun to read your discussions here in the last week and find them addicting. So delighted to find humor and intelligence surrounding gospel topics. Being a longtime chorister in every organization except Priesthood I have to add in my two cents. I am quite moved now by the hymn “Lord, I Would Follow Thee” after spending the better part of last year teaching it to all the Primary children, even some of the little Nursery folks. Many of them, even 4 year olds, memorized most of the song and when we sang it recently in Sacrament Meeting, several turned to look at me with a pleasing “I know this one” look on their faces. The recent practice of adding one hymn into the recommended Primary songs each year is inspired in my view. The hymnbook is, in a certain sense, a 5th book of scripture, at least if you consider the truths that are taught and the poetry and music that enables them to take deep root in the heart. The glory of God may be intelligence, but the pleasure of God is music. I wonder sometimes if we will find the language of heaven to be musical, instead of spoken?

  18. VeritasLiberat
    March 30, 2004 at 1:13 am

    Arwyn, do you happen to have the lyrics to “How Great Thou Art” in Russian? All I can remember is one line, “Kak Bog velik! Kak Bog velik!”

  19. March 30, 2004 at 1:52 am

    If You Could Hie to Kolob, of course, but I already said my piece about it, at some length, on a previous thread.

    The dark and beautiful closing hymn, Thy Spirit, Lord, has Stirred Our Souls is seldom sung, but perhaps out of worry that it won’t accurately describe the meeting preceding it.

    Be Still My Soul is one of my favorites, but just about any words set to the theme from “Finlandia” probably would be.

    I don’t hear Lead, Kindly Light too often, though it has the best bass line in the whole hymn book. And I especially like the curious way the cadences are delayed, falling, after a little lilt, on beat two instead of one (One step enought for me-E… Remember not past yea-EARS, etc.)–a little reminder of the patience the song is supposed to instill.

    Know This, That Every Soul is Free, has some of the best lyrics and one of the best 4-part settings in the book (though I’m prejudiced towards it since a former professor of mine wrote the music).

    I also like “How Gentle God’s Commands,” though I like the melody a little better sung to another text from Christian hymnody that uses it:

    “Blessed be the tie that binds
    Our hearts in Christian love.
    The fellowship of kindred minds
    Is like to that above.”

    (You might recall these words sung to the “How Gentle” melody in the moving cemetary scene from “Our Town.”)

  20. March 30, 2004 at 2:07 am

    I also love “God of our fathers, known of old.” You can’t beat Kipling. And the longer arrangement of “Rise up O men of God,” is so powerful. Any priesthood choir looking for a great hymn to sing in stake conference or whatever can just turn straight to 323.

    But I have to say that “If you could hie to Kolob” easily makes it to my short list of Worst Hymns Ever. Blecch.


  21. March 30, 2004 at 2:55 am

    John, don’t get me started on why and how you are so, so wrong about If You Could Hie to Kolob. (Links below if you’re interested).

    All I will say here is that you, my dear brother in the gospel, lack both musical sensitivity and cosmic imagination, and I pity you.


  22. Kristine
    March 30, 2004 at 8:16 am

    John, you’d better watch it! Talk like that can get you in a heap of trouble at the family reunion ;>) (nothing worse than 68 Haglunds singing a hymn you hate in 6-part harmony over and over again!!)

  23. March 30, 2004 at 9:51 am


    I actually don’t — I’m not sure we ever even sang that one in my branch. I’m not seeing it after flipping through the hymn-notebook, either. Looked around on Google for it, too, but couldn’t find it — though that’s not too surprising. Collections of hymns in Russian aren’t really that popular online yet…

  24. March 30, 2004 at 10:03 am

    One of my favorites is All Creatures of Our God and King. I think I have heard it sung at church 2-3 times in my life.


  25. March 30, 2004 at 10:08 am

    I think the lyrics in the LDS hymnal differ slightly from the lyrics in the link above, but I couldn’t find the LDS lyrics online.

  26. Kristine
    March 30, 2004 at 10:22 am

    I always loved “I’m a Pilgrim, I’m a Stranger.” The harmonies were mangled for the new hymnbook, presumably in the name of simplification, but the original Leroy Robertson music was some of the most interesting hymn-writing we had. It’s probably just as well that we don’t sing it too much–it’s pretty difficult for most congregations and when it’s sung badly, it’s really really awful!

    Other greats we haven’t mentioned yet: “Arise O God and Shine,” “Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise” (also a great Palm Sunday hymn in other traditions: “Hosanna, Loud Hosanna, the little children sang…”), “Behold the Mountain of the Lord,” “Our Father, By Whose Name,” “Jesus, Mighty King in Zion”

    I could keep this up for a long time. Just think how many of these we could learn if we didn’t have to sing “As Sisters in Zion,” and “Because I Have Been Given Much” every other week in RS!!

  27. lyle
    March 30, 2004 at 10:24 am

    O say what is truth is fairly popular in the Dominican Republic. I think I sang it every other Sunday :)

  28. Thom
    March 30, 2004 at 11:14 am

    In Thailand, the members like to sing “God Be With You Till We Meet Again” at the end of every sacrament meeting, baptism, whatever. We missionaries tried to explain that the “till we meet, at Jesus’ feet” line indicates that it is a hymn for use at funerals and such, but they didn’t care. They loved it everyweek, and I think they were right about it.

  29. cooper
    March 30, 2004 at 11:40 am

    While it’s not in the hymnal I really like Faith in Every Footstep. It is difficult to learn for an entire congregation, but I think if the time were spent learning it, everyone would enjoy it.

    I also like Lead Kindly Light. I do not have a hymnal with me. I will have to wait until later to really participate in this topic.

  30. William Morris
    March 30, 2004 at 1:22 pm

    The Romanians also love “God Be With You Till We Meet Again” — Doamne sa te ai in grija sa [if I remember correctly — literal translation would be ‘May the Lord have you in his care.’

    Speaking of my mission…

    Near the end of it I wrote an extra verse to “Be Still My Soul” — a verse for the latter-days so to speak.

    I don’t know what the copyright issues are, but with so many moderators that are lawyers, I’m sure that if this is inappropriate or troublesome, they’ll take prompt action.

    So the following lyric is only meant to be a poetic homage. It is not meant to actually be sung in conjunction with the hymn “Be Still My Soul”:

    Be still my soul — thy Lord is coming soon
    To rule, redeem and council with the just.
    Light shall flow forth, eclipsing sun and moon
    Lifting the hearts of men to perfect trust.
    Be still my soul — let not thy flame abate.
    The bridegroom tarrries — thou must watch and wait.

  31. Dan
    March 30, 2004 at 1:44 pm

    I had never heard “Hail to the Brightness of Zion’s Glad Morning” (#41 or 42, I think) until my mission to Germany, where we sang it a lot. I still can’t remember singing it here in the U.S. The tune is lovely and the words profound.

  32. nikki
    March 31, 2004 at 12:26 am

    My favorite hymn is Praise to the Lord, #72. I heard it for the first time in the MTC when an elder sang it as an a capella solo. I was really taken with it and learned to play it on the organ (it’s kind of hard). Now that I’m the ward organist, I slip it in when the chorister doesn’t get me the music in a timely manner. I’ve never heard it sung in any other ward.

  33. Mary
    March 31, 2004 at 9:50 am

    The German ward I lived in also sang “God be with you till we meet again” when a ward member moved away. At the end of the sacrament meeting, the congregation would rise, turn towards the leaving member or family and sing. It was beautiful.

  34. March 31, 2004 at 12:44 pm


    At the risk of a Haglund family choir filled with righteous ire, I will attempt to justify my dislike of IYCHTK. When I think of this hymn, I think of Don Shula’s comment on the movie Titanic: “Too long, too much water.”

    I guess I just don’t like long hymns. I would also say A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief, I Believe in Christ, and I Know That My Redeemer Lives are among my least favorite hymns. Why? Too long, too much water.

    And now, let the outrage commence.


  35. Kristine
    March 31, 2004 at 1:05 pm

    It’s OK, I wouldn’t defend any of those hymns on musical grounds, though I think they serve some important sociological functions. (I would say that IYCHTK is in a completely different musical league–ask your Mom; I’m sure a full-blooded Haglund can tell the difference :) ) And actually, the text of “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” is kind of nice with the melody of “Poor Wayfaring Man…” Y’know, with a guitar and mandolin. The problem is that it’s a folksong, not a hymn, and trying to dress it up as a hymn makes it really boring!

  36. Ethesis
    April 2, 2004 at 8:39 pm

    Well, of “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief, I Believe in Christ, and I Know That My Redeemer Lives” I really like two out of the three.

    I don’t sing well, but I used to sing a lot of hymns to myself and I liked “of Grief” and “My Redeemer Lives”

  37. anthony
    May 24, 2004 at 5:22 am

    I still, even after leaving the church, sing redeemers of israel, for courage, comfort and strength

  38. D. Fletcher
    May 24, 2004 at 11:40 am

    The best hymns are the ones with Protestant origins, Vaughn-Williams arrangements, etc. The only LDS hymn of the same quality is The Spirit of God.

    All Creatures, For All The Saints, Praise To The Lord, are all great hymns. I do like singing all the verses, or perhaps saying to the congregation, “we’ll sing 1, 3 and 5 today.”

    My arrangement of “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief” contains all 7 versus, sung very fast, akin to an Irish Ballad. I try to freshen up the accompaniment by improvising on each verse, making each a little different (like a movie score).

    I Believe In Christ isn’t a bad text, but the music needs some different sections. Essentially, each verse contains two verses of text, sung back to back, that are precisely the same. So, if you do all four verses, you are really singing eight.

  39. May 24, 2004 at 11:50 am

    D.: It strikes me that musically speaking, virtually all of our hymns have a Protestant origin, since most “distinctively” Mormon hymns use or adapt pre-existing folk tunes or hymns, e.g. Come Come Ye Saints. I think that this is the case for The Spirit of God as well.

  40. D. Fletcher
    May 24, 2004 at 12:00 pm

    Yes, Nate, you’re right, I wasn’t very clear. The hymns I like the best come from Protestant “high church” settings, like those from the Church of England. I also think many of these are very old. “A Mighty Fortress” may in fact be plainchant, which was passed on over the centuries, adding harmony, etc., and ultimately given words by Martin Luther.

    “The Spirit of God” is an interesting case. We know that the Saints sang it in Kirtland, but the tune was different (most likely the tune to “Now Let Us Rejoice.”) The tune we sing today is from 1888. Where did it come from? Who put it to the words of The Spirit of God? One might suggest that it was an early Mormon musician. But the RLDS uses this same tune! Very interesting.

    Other favorites of mine: Lead, Kindly Light; In Humility, Our Savior; Abide With Me, Fast Falls The Eventide.

    I also favor hymns which are personal witnesses, as opposed to doxology (Praise God). In other words, “I” hymns.

    I Stand All Amazed is quite an interesting hymn. I wish the music were better, but the words stand apart from almost everything else in the book.

    A Poor, Wayfaring Man of Grief is also an “I” hymn. It’s a story about “I” meeting the Savior in a vision. Quite compelling.

  41. Kristine
    May 24, 2004 at 12:04 pm

    D.–you didn’t mention the worst part of “I Believe in Christ” having identical sections, which is that everybody slows down in the middle *and* at the end of each verse, so that by the time you sing the last verse, it’s p-a-i-n-f-u-l-l-y S-L-O-W! (except, of course, when you’re playing the organ, I’m sure!)

  42. D. Fletcher
    May 24, 2004 at 12:26 pm


    I like The Spirit of God fast. When Chris Crans was here in NY, I would play it so fast, and then he would lead it in 2 instead of 4.

    It’s fast enough so one can sing, “The Spirit of God like a fire is burning,” all in one breath.

  43. May 24, 2004 at 12:29 pm

    I never thought I would hear a version of “I Believe in Christ” which wasn’t numbing, but the Sunday before last I did. It was a missionary farewell, and two sisters of the young man leaving (Cleveland, Spanish-speaking) sang that hymn while their father accompanied on guitar. He’s not a superb guitarist by any means, but he’d played around with the tempo, and added a couple of bridges, the result being a piece of music that really flowed rather than marched. The fact that his sisters are great vocalists also helped, of course. Anyway, it struck me as truly enchanting (perhaps moreso than it deserved simply because I’d long considered “I Believe” to be a completely unredeemable hymn).

    Other thoughts:

    “Upon the Cross of Calvary” is my favorite sacrament hymn. I hated it as a deacon, because we could never break the bread in the time it took to sing the song, and I always found it mildly embarrassing to still be preparing the bread while the organist went into time-filler mode. Don’t know why; I just did. Anyway lyrically and doctrinally, it’s the simplest and truest sacrament hymn, I think.

    I don’t understand why hymns so thoroughly identified with Protestant Americana as “Rock of Ages” and “How Great Thou Art” can make it into the hymnbook, while “Amazing Grace” cannot.

    In my experience, we overdose on Christmas carols and hymns (though mostly the same ones, over and over), while paying scant attention to Lenten, Easter, Thanksgiving or practically any other holiday hymn. This past Thanksgiving, on the Sunday following the holiday, our organist was quietly playing “We Gather Together” as prelude music; when I went up and thanked her afterward for remembering the holiday, we commiserated for a bit on how it and other fine holiday-appropriate hymns are too often ignored.

    Two hymns that I’m quite certain I heard more than any other while on my mission in Korea were “Guide Us O Thou Great Jehovah” and “Beautiful Zion Built Above.” I never made a study of it, but I assumed that these hymns were among those that just worked well in translation. Whereas I was once informed by a Korean member that the existing translation of “The Iron Rod” is simply incoherent.

    Speaking of “The Iron Rod,” I still refer to that hymn as “To Nephi Seer of Olden Time.” I also still refer to “Oh How Lovely Was the Morning,” and insist on singing “you who unto Jesus.” Curse the church music department and all their crummy grammarians!

  44. May 24, 2004 at 12:38 pm

    Russell: I always found the popularity of “In Our Lovely Deseret” in Korea baffling. I think that Korea is the only place that I have ever sung this one as a congregational hymn in sacrament meeting.

    BTW, I find “I need thee every hour” in Korean fabulously beautiful for some reason. Rather than being a statement of personal need, it gets translated as a petition: “Nul humkae hap so soe! Un hae ro uh shin ju.”

  45. D. Fletcher
    May 24, 2004 at 12:40 pm

    Yesterday, I went and heard a recital given by Jamie Peterson, a soprano, with piano and clarinet. The recital was a fund-raiser for cystic fibrosis.

    Jamie sang 3 of my hymn arrangements:

    Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing
    Amazing Grace
    All Creatures Of Our God And King

    It was very good indeed.

  46. Kristine
    May 24, 2004 at 1:55 pm


    I’m fond of pointing out that Amazing Grace was in one of the hymnbooks Emma compiled. I think we’d have a pretty different hymn tradition if she had stayed around and been able to prevail over W.W. Phelps as the dominant voice in the hymnals. In some ways it would be sad–we’d have fewer traces of early Mormonism in the hymnal, but we’d likely have some really good stuff from the Protestant tradition. And maybe the neo-orthodox emphasis on grace would have been present all along, instead of seeming like something newish in the latter part of the 20th century.

  47. Kaimi
    May 24, 2004 at 2:07 pm

    This is a fun thread. A few thoughts:

    1. I’ve always liked Amazing Grace. Recently, while returning from a friend’s funeral, I heard a performer singing it at Penn Station. She had a beautiful voice, it was a well-timed hymn for me, and I bought her CD on the spot (and have listened to it since). It’s a powerful song.

    2. D., you fail to mention that your arrangement of The Spirit of God is one of the best in the church. (And I’ve got Steve Evans, Greg Call, and anyone else who has attended Manhattan 1st to back me up on that claim). I especially liked a variation I heard you do once, on the Ephraim-be-crowned line — I think it was to a D major, but I’m not quite sure where it went to after that. And I agree that The Spirit of God is great fun to play (though I lack to skill to improvise on it — about all I can do is to connect the dots in the bass of the chorus, where they scream out “connect me! connect me!”).

    3. I’m a little puzzled about some of the hymns in the Spanish green book that aren’t in the English. I always thought it would be fun to sing a few of them.

    4. There are times when it’s best not to sing all verses. Such as when the organ bench breaks. Our creaky old organ bench (which I previously complained about in another thread somewhere here) finally gave in last week. Poor Amy, who was playing, had to play as she stood straddling the pedals.

    The last hymn on the program was How Firm a Foundation. We sang three verses, and it ended. Nobody was complaining (least of all Amy).

  48. D. Fletcher
    May 24, 2004 at 2:30 pm

    This is so funny, Kaimi.

    Yesterday, just as Jamie launched into “Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing,” it began to pour rain.

  49. D. Fletcher
    May 24, 2004 at 2:58 pm

    This little thread, and many dialogues I have had over the years about the hymns proves to me, once again, how important the hymns are to the Church, and by extension, music. The Church pays little lip-service to music, or any of the arts, but can we imagine our little world without music or art? Hymn-singing is the only way the congregation participates in Sacrament Meeting (except for Amen-ing). Singing is in fact…worship–more than talks, more than prayers.

    I suggested to Claudia Bushman that what the Temple ceremony needs is music, not background music, but actual singing.

  50. D. Fletcher
    May 24, 2004 at 3:01 pm

    This little thread, and many dialogues I have had over the years about the hymns proves to me, once again, how important the hymns are to the Church, and by extension, music. The Church pays little lip-service to music, or any of the arts, but can we imagine our little world without music or art? Hymn-singing is the only way the congregation participates in Sacrament Meeting (except for Amen-ing). Singing is in fact…worship–more than talks, more than prayers.

    I suggested to Claudia Bushman that what the Temple ceremony needs is music, not background music, but actual singing.

  51. May 24, 2004 at 3:49 pm

    D., not to disagree with your sentiment (with which I agree–hymn-singing is a vital and oft-ignored aspect of worship), but for the sake of being consistent with other comments I’ve made, I must disagree with your claim that “hymn-singing is the only way the congregation participates in Sacrament Meeting.” We take the sacrament, after all. Such sacramental participation is, I think, the truly central aspect of worship; everything else, while necessary, is insufficient on its own.

  52. D. Fletcher
    May 24, 2004 at 4:07 pm

    Yes, I neglected to include the Sacrament, and it is certainly central to Sacrament Meeting.

    But since it is a ritual, it is still a passive experience. One can make an active worshipful response to taking the Sacrament, of course, by analyzing in the moment our level of faith, progress, and stake in Christ, and taking (or not taking) the Sacrament accordingly. But most people (huge generalization, I know) take the Sacrament every week somewhat by rote. It has become passive. As has most of the hymn-singing; it has become rote. But the sacrament is a ritual, specifically the same each week. Hymn-singing is supposed to be different each week, each week bringing a renewed energy to communal spirituality. Worship (to me).

  53. Evelyn Green
    May 31, 2004 at 5:15 pm

    Do you have lyrics for the chorus of “How Great Thou Art” in German?

  54. Evelyn Green
    May 31, 2004 at 5:16 pm

    Do you have lyrics for the chorus of “How Great Thou Art” in German?

  55. Evelyn Green
    May 31, 2004 at 5:16 pm

    Do you have lyrics for the chorus of “How Great Thou Art” in German?

  56. Gary Cooper
    June 1, 2004 at 1:03 pm

    D. Fletcher,

    On your thought about adding singing, not just background music to the temple ceremonies. Hugh Nibley has pointed out that, from what we can cull from apocryphal and other writings of the time period, the Ancient Church’s temple ceremonies involved not only singing, but dancing, a reflection of the Hebrew cultural affinity of same as modes of worship. The Lord seems to adapt the endowment and other ordinances from time to time to minister to the specific needs to each generation–would adding the element of singing, even if just a “hymn of praise”, enhance our worship? I think it could. I have to say though, that when I was sealed to my wife, and took her through the vail during her own endowment, I was so emotional I doubt that I could have carried a tune, but I sure *felt* like singing! (Incidentally, I have spoken to temple workers who have related to me that on mumerous occasions they have heard singing–beautiful, full-throated singing, in the temple, but no singer could be seen…)

  57. D. Fletcher
    June 1, 2004 at 2:48 pm


    If I could, I would add music everywhere in my life, certainly to every sacred meeting.

    But I have heard from a few people that singing (specifically, and music in general) are difficult and not faith-promoting for them. I wouldn’t want to marginalize these people by adding singing to the one meeting they currently enjoy, the one without music.

    The act of singing, of course, is physical, and I can understand why some people might not be up to it.

  58. Gary Cooper
    June 1, 2004 at 3:01 pm

    D. Fletcher,

    Yeah, I agree with you. When the Lord is ready for us to sing in temple, I have confidence he’ll let us know through our leaders. In the meantime, as with any other issue, we always have to be sensitive to the needs of everyone.

  59. Karen
    June 11, 2004 at 2:44 pm

    Wow, I stumbled across this site by accident but feel like I found kindred spirits! As I’m reading the posts I keep nodding my head and saying, yes, exactly, I love that one too! Three songs that I love that aren’t apprently sung in our area (I just moved here) are True to the Faith (254), Carry On (255), and As Zion’s Youth in Latter Days (256). I had the Relief Society sing Carry On as a closing hymn a couple of weeks ago and there was much talk afterwards about what a pretty song that was and how they hadn’t heard it before. I was shocked… but I like to rock the boat a bit so I’m glad it was something new which lightened the meeting a bit – while still keeping the spirit of course!

  60. Rob
    July 7, 2004 at 7:20 pm

    I was wondering where I could get the Russian hymn lyrics online?

  61. Rob
    July 7, 2004 at 9:02 pm

    I was wondering where I could get the Russian hymn lyrics online?

  62. August 18, 2004 at 6:53 pm

    I’m Brazilian and I’m a few lost, because I don’t speak English very well and I’m trying to find the lyric of “I stand all amazed”. I thing it’s the best hymn. Here, in Brazil, it calls “Assombro me causa”. I love it, and I fell a worm in my heart when I list it. A friend of mine gave a CD with some hymns in English, but I would like some lyrics and this lyric (of I stand all amazed) is my priority.
    If somebody could send me it I will very, very grateful.
    My e-mail is [email protected].

  63. September 30, 2004 at 11:59 am

    why is that hymn not found in the lds hymn book

  64. GAF
    September 30, 2004 at 1:05 pm

    I’m a latecomer again. But I read this topic with interest, as I have just been called to be the ward organist. Unfortunately, I had never played the organ prior to this calling (I’m not even that good of a piano player, but all the decent musicians in the ward turned the calling down). So if any of you are in my ward (which I doubt) and get tired of hearing the same old hymns sung for the nth time, please accept my apologies on the behalf of 95% of the worldwide church’s organists, because for the most part, the familiar songs are the easiest ones to play for us novices.

    Hoo-boy, how I would love to play ‘For All the Saints’ but have to fall back on ‘Sweet Hour of Prayer’ because I can play it without fumbling for every chord.

    But for Thanksgiving, I am planning to play “All Creatures of our God and King” with the help of my daughter. There is no way I’d be able to play it by myself, but I love it so much that I just can’t not play it, so Kate and I will do it together.

  65. george klinger
    January 21, 2005 at 3:49 am

    Several years ago, back in Chicago, the Illinois Chicago Mission had a medley of Faith in Every Footstep and The Spirit of God that was one of the most spiritually powerful combinations I’ve heard in my twelve years of Church membership.

    Does anyone know where I can find it or aomething similar?

  66. D. Fletcher
    January 21, 2005 at 10:01 am

    This was a great thread. Glad to see it resurrected so I can read through it again.

  67. AH
    May 13, 2005 at 3:20 pm

    I never hear ‘Rock of Ages’ played. Maybe they’re afraid people will start singing the Def Leppard version.

  68. Minerva
    May 13, 2005 at 3:32 pm

    I like God is Love, and it is almost never sung.

  69. Eric S
    May 13, 2005 at 4:22 pm

    One favorite of mine is The Daydawn is Breaking. I love the “Beautiful bright millennial day” part. I think I have heard it played once in the last fifteen years. There are a number of good hymns in this largely ignored section of the hymnal (after the restoration songs and before the sacrament songs).

    One question I have is why we never sing the “extra” verses. They are in the book so we can sing them, right? Many songs don’t really make sense or are incomplete when these verses are left off. What really bugs me is when there is a song sung in Sacrament meeting that says something like “Verses 1,2, 5, and 6 are particularly appropriate for Sacrament meeting” and what do we sing? That’s right verse 1-4, even if verse 3 and 4 are talking about baptism.

  70. Miranda PJ
    May 13, 2005 at 11:37 pm

    I like “Who’s on the Lord’s Side.” Whenever we sing it, I feel an urge to point at people, but I don’t because my husband would kill me.

  71. annegb
    May 14, 2005 at 2:28 pm

    I like Be Thou Humble, page 130, I think.

    When I was the Relief Society chorister, we sang God is Love almost once a month. I love that song. Also The Light Divine.

  72. Minerva
    May 14, 2005 at 10:02 pm

    I’m glad to hear that you sang God Is Love a lot. My great-great-grandfather wrote the music, and I am always sad it isn’t sung more.

  73. Roland
    June 27, 2005 at 8:02 pm

    Does anyone have any Russian lyrics for “Battle Hymn of the Republic”? I realize that it is more an American hymn, but it doesn’t have to be.
    Thanks for any help

  74. Bill
    September 11, 2005 at 11:20 pm

    Check here:


    Depending what you mean by legitimate, you may or may not want to accept the fourth verse.

    I also emailed you

  75. penny emery
    September 17, 2005 at 11:13 pm

    As a Relief Society Chorister, I am having a wonderful time choosing and listening to wonderful womens voices singing some of the “less often sung” hymns. But from comments from the women I have learned that the “less often sung” hymns were “quite often sung” not so long ago. From time to time we sing the “extra” verses especially when they directly relate to the lessson. Can anyone suggest where I can find information on the hymns and their histories–maybe on line?

  76. Kaimi
    September 17, 2005 at 11:54 pm


    I don’t know about online, but Karen Davidson (who has written a few hymns in our book) has a book about the hymns, published by Deseret. It’s in many of the Deseret Book stores, and is also for sale online, at http://deseretbook.com/store/product?product_id=100023755 .

    The book sells for $20 new, but it has been around for a few years, so if you look for a bit you should be able to find a used copy. (Check regularly with Deseret Auctions, or at used book stores online like Abe Books, which currently lists one at $8 plus shipping: http://dogbert.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?isbn=0875791379&sortby=2&AID=9836638&PID=536211&SID=33150593&cm_ven=CJ&cm_pla=536211&cm_ite=Abebooks-Book+Redirection+Allowed&cm_cat=1069946 ).

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