At the time of the Restoration, there was no shortage of sacred music that could have been used as hymns by the newly formed LDS Church. Yet Emma Smith was charged with compiling “a selection of sacred hymns . . . which is pleasing unto me, to be had in my church” (D&C 25:11). Eighteenth- and nineteenth- century musical forms and lyrics were dirge-like, focusing on man’s evil nature and relief through death. This presentation traces Emma’s legacy in creating a new, distinctive genre of sacred music that continues to dominate the LDS hymn tradition. Following this presentation, join in as we do a little “shape note singing,” an exuberant style of community singing and the original form in which many of our favorite hymns were sung.
Richard Rands, Janet Brigham Rands