Hymns

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Overview

“Great power can come from memorizing [hymns]. To memorize a [hymn] is to forge a new friendship. It is like discovering a new individual who can help in time of need, give inspiration and comfort, and be a source of motivation for needed change.”
-Elder Richard G. Scott, The Power of Scripture

“Perhaps we do not attach enough importance to the habit of praise in our children’s devotion. Praise and thanksgiving come freely from the young heart; gladness is natural and holy, and music is a delight. The singing of hymns at home and of the hymns and canticles in church should be a special delight; and the habit of soft and reverent singing, of offering our very best in praise, should be carefully formed.”
-Charlotte Mason 3:143

Adding hymn study to your homeschool is as simple as choosing a hymn and then singing it together. It is unclear exactly which hymns Charlotte Mason used with her students, but it is safe to say they were from an Anglican hymnal. The LDS hymnal shares many hymns with the one Miss Mason would have used. For more information on hymn study, see our blog postings. The following is a list of suggested hymns that were selected to provide exposure to the best hymns from both our own hymnbook and the greater Christian world.

Hymn Schedule · 2017–2018

September: Lead, Kindly Light 

October: Oh Say, What is Truth?

November: Come Let Us Sing an Evening Hymn

December*: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

January: On This Day of Joy and Gladness

February: Holy Temples on Mount Zion

March: He Is Risen!

April: Joseph Smith’s First Prayer

May: Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy

June: Be Thou My Vision

July: God of Our Fathers, Known of Old (alternate tune)

August: I Need Thee Every Hour

*Additional recommendations: Good Christian Men, Rejoice & Angels from the Realms of Glory

Background & History

Be Thou My Vision

When we set about designing a hymn rotation, we hoped every once in a while we could introduce you to some of the more meaningful Christian hymns that aren’t in our hymnbook. (Don’t worry. We have a free PDF and recording of the piano accompaniment for you here.) This is one of my favorites: Be Thou […]

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Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy

In one of President Boyd K. Packer’s last General Conference talks, he said, “There is in our hymnbook a very old and seldom-sung hymn that has very special meaning to me.” He goes on to quote the entire text of “Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy”. It’s in our hymnbook arranged for men, but it is […]

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Joseph Smith’s First Prayer

George Manwaring and his family converted to the Church when he was 17 years old; then they immigrated from Cheshire, England to Utah. At only 24 years old, he had the opportunity to see C. C. A. Christiansen’s newly finished painting of the First Vision, entitled “The Vision”. This painting seems to be the first […]

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He Is Risen!

I confess that I’m going to cheat on this hymn post, for two reasons. Someone else has already done a better job with this hymn’s history than I would have, and we are busy designing a 12-year hymn rotation and it’s a lot of work. So, without further ado, I’m going to redirect you to Mormon […]

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Holy Temples on Mount Zion

Tucked away in the hymnbook, accompanied by an unassuming tune, is a poem on temples which I’d like to share with you this month. In particular, I love the last verse, so I hope you’ll try to read that one with new eyes, even if you’ve sung it before. Holy temples on Mount Zion in […]

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Learning Hymns on the Piano—A Piano Teacher’s Perspective

Learning to play the hymns is one of the main goals for many LDS pianists-in-training (or their parents, at least). As a piano teacher for over 15 years, I have learned a thing or two about how students can learn the hymns with the least amount of frustration. Your children’s piano teacher may have their […]

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On This Day of Joy and Gladness

When I think of this hymn, I can imagine the opening sequences of general conference with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing this in the background, welcoming in a happy new day of conference. Or maybe it’s in the middle of a conference session, like so: But did you know that this beautiful, cheerful hymn was […]

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I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

William Studwell wrote a bit about the history of this hymn in his book The Christmas Carol Reader: In spite of the mentions of bells and Christmas in the title, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” is as much an antiwar song as it is a pro-Christmas song. The poetry of this renowned carol […]

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Come, Let Us Sing an Evening Hymn

Chances are, this is going to be an unfamiliar hymn for you. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it sung at a church meeting; my only prior exposure to it was when I plowed through the hymn book, determined to play each hymn therein. And, besides the recordings available on lds.org, there is a grand […]

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Christ before Pilate

Oh Say, What Is Truth?

As a recent convert and young missionary in 1840s Stratford-upon-Avon (the birthplace of Shakespeare!), John Jaques pondered a scene from the life of Christ: Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, “Art thou the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered him, “Sayest thou this thing of thyself, […]

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Other Resources

Maple Hill Academy’s Hymn Rotation – An alternate rotation of LDS hymns loosely structured around the AmblesideOnline hymn rotation.

Out of the Best Books blog – This site includes quotes related to hymns from LDS sources and Charlotte Mason. It also has a description of how the author does hymn study in her home.

Simply Charlotte Mason – Instructions for hymn study as well as other resources and an alternate (non-LDS) hymn list.