A missionary’s primary goal is to:
Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.
Our missionary has been a part of several musical firesides throughout his mission. These have been wonderful experiences for him as he learns to work with other missionaries in putting together a program, coordinating musical numbers, even learning to harmonize with others! These musical firesides have brought an increased unity among the missionaries working on them as each Elder or Sister individually seeks to invite the Spirit through their shared talents.
As the Lord’s spirit fills the room, those attending come closer to God through the experience. Investigators, who have struggled to feel the Spirit, experience the powerful witness of the Holy Ghost through the language of music. Less active members, who hesitate to attend a sacrament meeting, may accept an invitation to come and listen to music in a welcoming setting. Music is a great way to introduce friends and neighbors to the joys of the gospel without pressuring them to commit to something they may not yet be ready for.
… and what a great way for missionaries to introduce themselves to our friends and neighbors!
Music is given of God to further His purposes. Sweet melodies mellow the souls of men and help prepare them for the gospel. After men receive the truth, songs of praise to Deity help to sanctify and cleanse their souls.
~Elder Bruce R. McConkie
Two Sundays back, our bishopric announced a change to our normal sacrament meeting. Instead of talks the following week, we were invited to consider which hymn was our favorite and come to the meeting ready to share our favorite hymns.
To be honest, I was a bit leery about the change—why the shenanigans? Just stick to the normal routine, please!
However, when the following Sunday rolled around, I was willing to see how it worked out. Wow! Was I ever mistaken! Following our renewal of baptismal covenants through taking the sacrament, everyone was invited to come up, briefly share about their favorite hymn, then we sang one verse of that hymn as a congregation.
It was amazing!
We get nearer to the Lord through music than perhaps through any other thing except prayer.
~President J. Reuben Clark Jr.
As soon as the bishop’s counselor sat down after extending the invitation for anyone who wanted to share to come up, there was a nonstop line of people at the pulpit! Shy individuals who might stutter their way through talks were sharing intimate stories of their childhood! Members of our congregation who never share during testimony meetings were sharing their testimonies of gospel truths taught in the hymns. We went over the scheduled time for the meeting to end, yet there were still people wanting to share and sing together as a ward family!
The feeling in the meeting was peaceful and accepting. Joining our voices together in hymns to our God brought unity. I left the meeting feeling closer to God and closer to other people.
In the future, I hope we experience more shenanigans like this! It was wonderful!
For myself, music has the ability to reach past our differences and resonate with our hearts. Music touches something in our hearts and speaks directly to our emotions. Often, I involuntarily close my eyes when listening to especially moving music—just so I can better feel what the music is communicating. What a wonderful blessing music is!
I am excited to see the changes made in the coming years to our standard hymnal. I welcome the additions of new cultural heritages that will be wrought. We are a world-wide Church! Thank goodness our music will now better represent all of God’s children’s hearts!
I am so grateful to an inspired bishopric that rocked the routine of our Sacrament meeting and invited the Spirit of the Lord more fully into our meeting.
I am so grateful to inspired mission presidents who are using music to share the message of the gospel and to unify our missionary’s mission.
Music is truly the universal language, and when it is excellently expressed how deeply it moves our souls.
~President David O. McKay
Growing up all over the world gave Emlee Taylor an opportunity to see the incredible differences the Lord created in humanity; and even better, the passions we all share as members of the human race: love for family, faith, & a desire to make a difference. Emlee lives life with passion—focusing her time now on raising four children and teaching them to recognize truth and to live true to that truth, regardless of others’ expectations. Emlee is passionately in love with her bestest friend and husband of more than 20 years.