Spencer W. Kimball was the twelfth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While he served the church he suffered from throat cancer. I was a young girl, but I remember the small raspy voice of this great man as he struggled to deliver the messages of God.
“It is sad to me to see in the congregations many people standing silent when they could be singing their hearts out. I wonder constantly if they would sing happily today if for twelve years they could only move their lips through thousands of songs and could make no sound? I wonder if the silent ones can even imagine what it is like to be unable to join fellow singers in praise to their Lord in music?” Spencer W. Kimball
My father served in many leadership positions. He had no exposure to music in his formative years and has difficulty carrying a tune. He was accustomed to remaining silent during the hymns because of his lack of ability, until a visiting apostle reprimanded him. He made it clear that the Lord did not care about the quality of the voice, only the sincerity of the singer. If their leader did not sing, then why should his congregation? It wasn’t pretty, but my father began to sing.
Why does it matter? Why would a prophet of God, faced with terrible health issues, only mourn the loss of his ability to sing? Why would an apostle of God chastise my father for not singing off-key? Simply, music is one of the most pure forms of worship.
The scriptures make this point clear. The book of Psalms is a collection of songs of worship. Modern scripture reemphasizes the point.
For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.
Wherefore, lift up thy heart and rejoice, and cleave unto the covenants which thou hast made. D&C 25:12
If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving. D&C 136:28
Here are the thoughts of several others.
Music is part of the language of the Gods. It has been given to man so he can sing praises to the Lord. It is a means of expressing, with poetic words and in melodious tunes, the deep feelings of rejoicing and thanksgiving found in the hearts of those who have testimonies of music is both in the voice and in the heart. Every true saint finds his heart full of songs of praise to his Maker. Those whose voices can sing forth the praises found in their hearts are twice blest. Bruce R. McConkie
When we rejoice in beautiful scenery, great art, and great music, it is but the flexing of instincts acquired in another place and another time. Neal A. Maxwell
We are able to feel and learn very quickly through music, through art, through poetry some spiritual things that we would other-wise learn very slowly. Boyd K. Packer
There come to one’s soul heavenly thoughts as he joins in heavenly expressions coupled with heavenly melody. David B. Haight
Put it together and you have a clear message of the importance of music in learning the gospel of Jesus Christ. It speaks to our hearts because it is part of God’s nature within us. It opens our minds to the workings of the Spirit. We celebrate and recognize the beauty and blessings of life when we surround ourselves with good music.
The scriptures spell it out for us, and great men reiterate it. Music matters to God.