Juvenile Instructor » Southwestern States Mission: Songs of Zion
 


Southwestern States Mission: Songs of Zion

By: Edje Jeter - April 28, 2013

Southwestern States missionaries carried hymn books and sang often [1] but distinguished Mormon and non-Mormon songs: “After supper we talked, and sang them some of our songs. They in turn sang some of theirs.” [2] Missionaries also referred to “the songs of Zion.” [3] Despite the distinction, missionaries sold hymn books—even to those unlikely to convert—and copied hymns for appreciative listeners. [4] 

Part of becoming Mormon was learning Mormon music, so missionaries sometimes went to new members’ homes and “spent the evening in learning them to sing.” [5] As local members learned to sing “our songs,” they sang with missionaries in public meetings. [6] The missionaries seemed to value singing Mormon music at (mostly) Mormon gatherings more intensely than other singing. [7]

As summarized in the table below, the diaries in this study identify fourteen hymns/songs by name, eight from LDS Hymns and six from the Sunday School Hymn Book. [8]

SWSM 45 Table HymnNames 20130426a

“Love at Home” seems to be the only hymn in this group with significant non-Mormon circulation. [9] Below I summarize the circumstances in which these hymns were used.

  • Meetings: “Redeemer of Israel” and five others [10]
  • Party: “Kind Words” [11]
  • Home visits: “Do What is Right,” “Guide Me to Thee,” “O, My Father,” “Weary Not”; listeners cried [12]
  • Preparation for prayer circle for healing: “O, My Father” [13]
  • Pilgrimage: “O, My Father” at Ondi-Ahman and “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet” at Far West. [14]
  • Reunion: “When we found them they was glad to See us and we was glad to See them it was the first Saints we had Seen for 3 months”; they sang, “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet.” [15]
  • Departures: on separating for assigned areas, “the Elders Started to sing a Song,  ‘Fare well dear brethren we give you our Parting hand.’ If I ever thought about home I did then.” [16]

In two instances missionaries noted audiences liking “In Our Lovely Deseret.” [17] All but three of the thirteen hymns—“Farewell, Dear Brethren…,” “Rock of My Refuge,” and “Weary Not”—are in the present English-language LDS hymnal (1985). [18]

 


The “Southwestern States Mission” series (homepage) examines mission life in (mostly) Texas around 1900.

[1] About 450 entries (out of about 4,500, so 10%) explicitly mention music of some sort, usually the missionaries singing or listening to singing. I think the frequency of singing is under-reported in the diaries: witness the routine-ness of the reported singing in meetings and proselyting, the instructions to learn to sing, and the pleasure the missionaries report in singing. Making up a number—and acknowledging time spent traveling, in poor health, or without proselyting success, as well as differences in musical inclination among missionaries—I think missionaries sang, on average, about 40% of the days (ie, three days per week). Missionaries who were healthy, working effectively, not in a transfer, and who did not actively dislike singing very likely sang five to seven days per week (70-100% of days). [Back to post]

[2] Jones, 1902 Jan 27 Mon. The missionaries don’t seem to distinguish “hymns” and “songs”; I will follow suit and use them interchangeably. The phrase “our songs” appears eleven times, variants of “our song books” appear twice, and “our hymns” appears once. By my count, songs are identified as Mormon in 19 of approximately 450 references to singing, or about 4%, so it’s not a strong effect (11 “our songs,” 2 “our song book” variants, 1 “our hymns,” and 5 “songs of Zion”). However, the idea appears in seven of the eight journals (Duffin is the exception), so the idea is broadly distributed. Brooks, 1900 Jan 30 Mon, Feb 04 Sun, May 26 Sat, Jun 06 Wed, Aug 18 Sat; Carling, 1901 Nov 23 Sat, p 65-67; Clark, 1900 Jul 03 Tue, Aug 28 Tue, 1901 Apr 06 Sat; Cluff, 1905 Jan 24 Tue; Forsha, 1900 Jul 24 Tue; Jones, 1901 Dec 25 Wed. [Back to post]

[3] Carling’s phrase is, “the songs of Zion which we so love to sing” (Carling, 1901 Dec 10 Tue, p 84-86). The phrase “songs of Zion” appears five times (with no variant phrasings) from three missionaries. Jones, 1901 Jul 26 Fri, Jul 28 Sun, Aug 08 Thu; Brooks, 1901 May 27 Mon. In 1908 the US missions jointly published a hymnbook entitled, The Songs of Zion, specifically for “Gatherings of Elders and Saints in the Mission Field” (Chicago: German E Ellsworth, 1908). [Back to post]

[4] “They were greatly taken up with our singing and doctrine. The girls coppied some of our songs.” (Folkman, 1901 Dec 17 Tue); “Before leaving, we sang them a song or two, also wrote “O Ye Mountains High” and “In Our Lovely Deseret” for them, as they thought they were very pretty.” (Jones, 1902 Jan 13 Mon); “We asked for shelter. They took us in. They were quite poor and very ignorant. It was a wilderness country where they were living. I don’t suppose they had ever seen a school house, had no education hardly at all. There was quite a crowd of them. They wanted to hear us preach so we sang a few hymns and Elder Reed preached them a sermon. They were pretty well taken up with his talk. Nothing would do but he had to preach for them again in the morning. They were also taken up with our songs and wanted some of the hymn books. There were two or three families represented there so we ordered them three books. They wanted six at first but we talked them into the notion of taking only three as we didn’t want them to spend their money on something that would not do them anymore good than those Hymn books would. We stayed with them until after dinner. We then started on our way. The houses were very scattered through there. We stopped over night with a man by the name of Geffries. We sang a few hymns for them that night.” (Brooks, 1900 Jan 30 Mon); “Since Jan, the Elders of this conference have disposed of 1200 books, principally Book of Mormon, Voice of Warning, Durrant, Latter-Day Prophet, L. D. S. and S. S. Hymn Books also some Doc. & Cov.” (Duffin, 1901 May 19 Sun). “…after dinner we do Some more Tracting. Sell one little hymn book for 10 cts and Sang a Song to the People then go on” (Clark, 1901 May 27 Mon). [Back to post]

[5] “Spent the day at Brother Ben Bass’ in study and talking. In the eveing went a mile to Bro. Burnett’s. Spent the eveing in learning them to sing. Bro. Ben Bass come over with three of his children.” (Folkman, 1901 Jan 14 Mon). The Burnetts and Basses were church members. [Back to post]

[6] “Bro. Williamson’s sons and girls were getting so they could sing some of our songs mighty well so they helped us with our singing. I did most of the talking. Had a good meeting.” (Brooks, 1900 May 26 Sat); “The afternoon was passed away with singing. Bro. Williamson’s girls were getting so they could sing some of our songs pretty well.” (Brooks, 1900 Jun 06 Wed). One of the only physical artifacts connected to the Williamson family’s conversion that has survived to the present is an LDS Hymn Book with Elder Brooks’ name written inside. [Back to post]

[7] This is, of course, a very vague, subjective impression. In about half of the references to songs labeled as Mormon, the missionaries were with other church members. (I count seven of eighteen instances as mostly-Mormon gatherings and two where the Elders are assisted in their singing by local members.) For one thing, they use words like “pleasant” and “love” and “enjoy,” which seems to set these entries apart from entries describing enjoyable singing in other contexts. “…this meeting was the last one, ended the Conference. All the Elders went to Bro. Wm. Odom’s [a church member]. Spent the evening very pleasantly, singing the songs of Zion and talking on the Gospel and receiving advice from Pres. Duffin.” (Brooks, 1901 May 27 Mon); [Upon returning to mission headquarters after months in the field:] “Tuesday evening was spent in reporting our work and in singing the songs of Zion which we so love to sing.” (Carling, 1901 Dec 10 Tue, p 84-86); [On Pioneer Day:] “July 24. We spent the day in talking with Bro Kendricks and Family [church members] writing letters Etc until after supper when we all got our Hymn Books and sang Hymns until bed times” (Forsha, 1900 Jul 24 Tue); “Soon after breakfast we all came back over to Sister Cole’s [a church member]. I spent the forenoon writing letters. Partook of a fine dinner that had been prepared by the kind sisters. I took a short sleep, after which we enjoyed ourselves singing the songs of Zion.” (Jones, 1901 Jul 28 Sun); “We arose quite early and started on our hunt for the Saints. After walking about two miles we arrived at their place. They were all happy to see us. They soon prepared a nice breakfast for us. We spent a very pleasant day singing the songs of Zion, eating fruit, and exchanging our experiences.” (Jones, 1901 Jul 26 Fri). [Back to post]

[8] The table lists the hymns, the number of missionaries who recorded using each hymn (“Missionaries”), the number of times each hymn was mentioned per missionary, the number of different missionaries who mentioned each hymn (“Instances”), and (adjacent to each missionary’s name) the number of different hymns each missionary mentioned.

The hymn references are uncertain because I do not know which hymn books the missionaries used. New editions of the LDS and SS hymn books appeared frequently, along with some locally produced collections. The hymn numbers listed below come from Sacred Hymns and Spiritual Songs for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 23rd ed. (Salt Lake City: George Q Cannon and Sons, 1899); note that the spine read “L.D.S. Hymns” and the book was often referred to as “the LDS Hymn book.” Each hymn referred to a musical score in The Latter-day Saints’ Psalmody, 2nd ed. (G Careless, E Beesley, JJ Daynes, E Stephens, and TC Griggs, composers and compilers, Salt Lake City: Deseret News Co, 1896). The Sunday School references come from Latter-day Saints’ Sunday School Hymn Book, 5th ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Sunday School Union, 1903) and the music from Deseret Sunday School Song Book (Salt Lake City: Deseret Sunday School Union, 1906). Note that for both Sunday School books I’ve referenced editions later than those used by the missionaries.

  • O, My Father,” ER Snow, LDS #130, p 143, Psalm. 233; Duffin, 1902 Jun 20 Fri; Cluff, 1905 Jan 24 Tue; Forsha, 1900 Jul 15 Sun, Aug 14 Tue; Carling, 1901 Nov 23 Sat, p 65-67.
  • Ye Elders of Israel,” CH Wheelock, LDS #305, p 359, Psalm. 281; Clark, 1900 Aug 20 Mon; Clark, 1901 Jan 31 Thu (as, “O Bablond”); Jones, 1901 Nov 30 Sat.
  • O Ye Mountains High,” CW Penrose, LDS #317, p 376, Psalm. 315; Clark, 1900 Aug 20 Mon; Jones, 1902 Jan 13 Mon.
  • The Time Is Far Spent,” ER Snow, LDS #293, p 343, Psalm. 310; Jones, 1901 Nov 30 Sat; Clark, 1901 Aug 15 Thu.
  • We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet,” W Fowler, LDS #152, p 166, Psalm. 271; Duffin, 1902 Jun 20 Fri; Clark, 1900 Jul 02 Mon.
  • Redeemer of Israel,” WW Phelps, LDS #194, p 212, Psalm. 319; Clark, 1900 May 08 Tue; Clark, 1900 Jul 10 Tue; Clark, 1900 Aug 22 Wed; Clark, 1900 Dec 29 Sat; Clark, 1901 Jan 13 Sun; Clark, 1901 Jan 31 Thu; Clark, 1901 Jul 03 Wed; Clark, 1901 Aug 15 Thu; Clark, 1901 Oct 16 Wed; Clark, 1901 Oct 23 Wed.
  • Farewell, Dear Brethren, We Give You Our Parting Hand,” WW Phelps, LDS #217, p 234, Psalm. 257; Clark, 1901 Jun 03 Mon.
  • Do What is Right,” anonymous, LDS #151, p 165, Psalm. 304; Cluff, 1904 Dec 13 Tue. “Do What Is Right” comes from a non-Mormon source but after the original publication seems to have appeared in only LDS hymnals. No author listed, “Do What Is Right,” in John S. Adams, ed, The Psalms of Life: A Compilation of Psalms, Hymns, Chants, Anthems, &c. Embodying the Spiritual, Progressive and Reformatory Sentiment of the Present Age (Boston: Oliver Ditson & Co, 1857), #505, p 253.
  • Guide Me to Thee,” OP Huish (listed as SP Huish), SS #89, p 110-11, Song Book 107; Cluff, 1904 Dec 13 Tue; Cluff, 1905 Jan 24 Tue (transcribed as “Guide Me to This”).
  • In Our Lovely Deseret,” ER Snow, SS #158, p 196, Song Book 190; Jones, 1902 Jan 13 Mon; Jones, 1902 Jan 02 Thu.
  • “My Rock of Refuge,” presumably “Rock of My Refuge” (As swiftly my days go out on the wing), anonymous, SS #57, p 71, Song Book 71; Clark, 1900 Aug 28 Tue. I don’t know where it comes from, but I only find it in Mormon texts.
  • Weary Not,” WH Flaville (listed as Flayville), SS #111, p 138, Song Book 136; Cluff, 1905 Jan 31 Tue. Flaville published multiple hymns, including “Weary Not,” in non-Mormon hymnals, but “Weary Not” seems to have been mostly Mormon thereafter.
  • Love at Home,” John H McNaughton (no author listed in SS), SS #34, p 44, Song Book 44; Clark, 1900 Apr 15 Sun. “Love at Home,” American Sunday School Hymn Book, new ed. (Philadelphia: American Sunday School Union, 1860), #16.
  • “Kind Words,” presumably “Kind Words Are Sweet Tones of the Heart,” SS Songs 91, p 112, Song Book 108; Cluff, 1904 Dec 25 Sun.

Elder Forsha referred to “a song found on Page 64” (Forsha, 1899 Dec 20 Wed), which, if indicating hymn number in LDS Hymns, begins “Shall I, for fear of feeble man, / The Spirit’s course in me restrain?” (byline: Wesley’s Collection), or, if actually indicating page number, begins “Lo! The mighty God appearing, / From on high Jehovah speaks!” (no byline, Hymn 53); in the 1903 SS hymnal (a later edition than Forsha used) no hymn begins on page 64, but “Hymn of Praise” is Song 64, p 80. I presume that Elder Jones’s reference to “singing on page 493, ‘The Time is Far Spent’” (Jones, 1901 Nov 30 Sat), is in error, since none of the hymnals I’ve encountered have 493 hymns or pages and since the 1899 edition has “The Time is Far Spent” as #293.

Cluff also identifies a non-hymn: “Elder Lavon sang several songs among which was ‘I Love You Yet’, a song Nettie [her daughter] used often to sing.” (Cluff, 1905 Jan 02 Mon). Presumably, this song is “I Love You Yet” is by Monroe H Rosenfeld, published by Charles W Held, Brooklyn, 1895. [Back to post]

[9] “Do What Is Right” and “Weary Not” were first published in non-Mormon books and I do not know the source of “Rock of My Refuge,” but I only find them in Mormon hymnals. See Footnote 8. [Back to post]

[10] The hymns that appear only in meetings (without any other detail to determine why they might have been chosen): “In Our Lovely Deseret,” “Love at Home,” “O Ye Mountains High,” “Redeemer of Israel,” “Rock of My Refuge,” “The Time Is Far Spent,” and “Ye Elders of Israel.” I do not discern a pattern in how Clark labeled hymns. He sometimes lists Redeemer of Israel and then does not specify the other hymns. For example: “we commenced our meeting by singing redeemer of Israel. Prayer by Elder Porter. one more hymn.” (Clark, 1901 Oct 16 Wed); “we Sang Some Songs Elder Bond Spoke then we Sang redeemer of Israel. than Elder Clark Spoke some time” (Clark, 1900 Jul 10 Tue); “…I called them to Order and we Sang Redeemer of Israel Prayer was offered By Elder Marshall then singing again.” (Clark, 1900 Dec 29 Sat). [Back to post]

[11] Cluff, 1904 Dec 25 Sun. [Back to post]

[12] “Next we visited an old lady, Mrs. Haem, a German peasant, who we called on one day and who did not want us to come in as “we could not tell her about God, for she had studied the bible since she could first read.” We persisted in a pleasing way in talking to her and she invited us back some time. At first she seemed today to repel our advances, but we sang some of our songs, and the dear old lady fell in love with us immediately. She wiped her eyes on her apron many times; her heart was touched by our simple but earnest testimony and she kept us there for a long time. We sang “Guide Me To This” and she said when she lay in her coffin she would be happy if we could come and sing some of our songs, for they sounded like angels singing. “Oh My Father” made her sob like a child, and when we prayed for her that she might be healed of her infirmities, and blessed and strengthened in body and mind, she said “My dears, you have made me feel better than I have for a long time. Do come and see me again and bless me as you have today.” Sister Boley and I are not singers, but there is something in the word, or the manner of our singing that touches the hearts of the hearers [illegible] and causes the tears to flow, their hearts to open up and we ourselves feel built up and strengthened. I confess our singing sounds sweeter in cottage meetings, than anywhere else. This much I acknowledge, that the Lord does bless us both in our talking, praying and singing.” (Cluff, 1905 Jan 24 Tue);

“She told of how she used to enjoy the singing in the church, so we asked her if she would like to hear us sing one of our hymns. She said yes she would love to hear a church song again, so we sang “O My Father.” ¶ While we sang the tears rolled down the cheeks of the dear old soul also the cheeks of the dear little girl I held on my lap were wet with tears. When we had finished she said “O what a blessed hymn and the words are so true.” As we drove away the old lady bade us good bye with a prayer for God to bless us for helping, and cheering a poor soul.” (Carling, 1901 Nov 23 Sat, p 65-67);

“Yesterday Sister ‘B’ and I went to visit the McAuley sisters and from there to Mr. and Mrs. Card who, though not L.D.S., have expressed to Sister McAuley a desire to have some of the ‘Mormons’ come to see them. They are an old couple and we’re expecting that in the near future the Master will call for them to go. They received us very cordially, took us to the parlor and lit the fired, insisted that we stay as long as possible. Mr Card says he is a Mormon, but thinks it not necessary to be baptized. So we gave him a talk on baptism – the necessity of it which made him look very thoughtful and ask many questions. Mrs. Card says she is a Methodist and will always remain so, but hopes we will come to see them just as often as we can make it convenient. She asked us to sing and pray. We sang ‘Guide Me to Thee’, and ‘Do What is Right.’” (Cluff, 1904 Dec 13 Tue);

“Called on Mrs. Grill who welcomed us with a hearty shake of the hand. She is feeling much better than when we first talked with her. She seems to think this religion we have been talking to her about is just what she has been looking for. When we arrived she was reading our ‘Record of Living Light.’ Her children she has found are the pride of her heart and she has worked very hard to give them an education. We talked on polygamy – she introducing the subject. It seems that she had told some of her friends of our visit and they had [illegible] her for welcoming Mormon women into her home, but unconsciously we found she had been not only defended Mormons, but had defended that principle. At her request we sang two songs and prayed with her. Then with tears in her eyes she bade us good bye and we went down the block to see our old lady H[illegible]. We found her with her two canaries and two little dogs. She was overjoyed to see us and asked for us to sing her ‘Weary Not’ and ‘Oh My Father.’ She said ‘That is beautiful, my dears, it sounds like the angels.’ After spending a half hour with her, conversing on the gospel, singing, praying, with many ‘God bless you, my dears’ and hand shakes amid tears, and fervent prayer for our safety from the dear old lady who wished she had something to give us, we called on Mrs. Burrell” (Cluff, 1905 Jan 31 Tue). [Back to post]

[13] “…here we found. one of the Saints. only one. of a Family Named Gorvins Her Husband. Was not a member. And as he was very sick they had been praying for the Elders to come. And they had Just about. given up in despair as they did not know where to write to send for them they Just had to trust to the Lord to send the Elders. And at sundown we walked in and a happier Family Never was. He said there wasn’t any one but his wife and himself had any hopes for his recovery. and he wanted us to Pray for him as he had all the faith in the world in us as Servants of God. and he believed the Lord would hear and answer. our prayers in his behalf. And after singing Oh My Father. We all formed a prayer Circle and prayed for him. And he Applied for Baptism and set the time for three O’clock the next day. He was in a very Critical Condition Some Years ago. he was working in a saw mill. And the boiler burst a piece of Iron hitting him on the side of the Neck. cutting the Gugler [jugular]. Vein And the Dr took the case as soon as it was done and save him from bleeding to death but now it has started to bleed again and he at times will almost bleed to death before they can get it stopped.” (Forsha, 1900 Aug 14 Tue). [Back to post]

[14] “Our visits to those historic places have been full of interest and pleasure to all of our party. At the altar at Ondi-Ahman we sang ‘Oh My Father,’ after which we all knelt upon the site of the altar and I offered prayer. On the site of the Prophet’s house at Far West we sang ‘We thank thee, O God for a Prophet,’ and on the temple lot we sang” […entry ends without explanation and with blank space left on the page, which is the last page with text in this volume of the diary. The diary picks up again in another volume a month and a half later.] (Duffin, 1902 Jun 20 Fri). [Back to post]

[15] “we leave Mr. Readers place and go about 3 miles to one of the Saint’s When we found them they was glad to See us and we was glad to See them it was the first Saints we had Seen for 3 months. … Then went Back to the Saint’s house and in the evening we held meeting with them we Sang Some Songs and Elder Clark opened with prayer than Elder Bond Spoke. then E. Clark Spoke Then we Sang we thank thee O god for a prophet. Benediction by F. Clark” (Clark, 1900 Jul 02 Mon). [Back to post]

[16] “So on Monday June the 3 the Elders all came together once more to receive their appointments in the field…. Soon after our appointment we packed up our grips ready to Start when bidding all good bye we began to leave the office. the Elders Started to sing a Song Fare well dear brethren we give you our Parting hand if I ever thought about home I did then.” (Clark, 1901 Jun 03 Mon). [Back to post]

[17] “We sang for the closing song ‘In Our Lovely Deseret,’ and some of the people were carried away with it.” (Jones, 1902 Jan 02 Thu); “Before leaving, we sang them a song or two, also wrote “O Ye Mountains High” and “In Our Lovely Deseret” for them, as they thought they were very pretty.” (Jones, 1902 Jan 13 Mon). [Back to post]

[18] “Farewell, Dear Brethren…” was written by WW Phelps and published in Evening and Morning Star (1:5 (1832 Oct), 80, as “Farewell Hymn of the Lord’s Servants”). It was included in the 1835 Kirtland Hymnal (A Collection of Sacred Hymns, for the Church of The Latter Day Saints, 1st ed., #50) and various other LDS hymnals through 1927. It is not in the 1908 Songs of Zion published by the missions or the 1909 Deseret Sunday School Songs.

“Rock of My Refuge,” aka “As swiftly my days go out on the wing,” was not in the 1927, 1948, or 1985 LDS hymnals but it was in the 1950 revision of the 1948 edition (#5, ie, it was in the hymnbook for thirty-five years); it is still in the German Gesangbuch (1996), #49, Wenn so meine Tage rastlos entfliehn.

“Weary Not” appeared in the 1909 Deseret Sunday School Songs, #158, but not in the 1927 hymnal or thereafter in English-language hymnals. Translations appear in the present-day Spanish (Himnos, 1992) #67, “Si la vía es penosa”; Portuguese (Hinos, 1990) #146, “Se a Vida É Penosa”; Samoan (Vi‘iga, 1994) #126, “Pe a Faigat? Le Ala, Taumafai!”; and Tongan (Ngaahi Himí, 1994) #58, “Ka Faingata‘a Ho Hala Feinga.”

The current (Hymns, 1985) titles and hymn numbers for the other hymns are: “O, My Father” (292); “Ye Elders of Israel” (319); “O Ye Mountains High” (34); “The Time Is Far Spent” (266); “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet” (19); “Redeemer of Israel” (6); “Do What is Right” (237); “Guide Me to Thee” (101); “In Our Lovely Deseret” (307); “Love at Home” (294); “Kind Words” = “Kind Words Are Sweet Tones of the Heart” = “Let Us Oft Speak Kind Words” (232). [Back to post]

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9 Comments

  1. This may be my favorite entry in your series so far. It’s wonderful!

    I’ve had an impression from reading numerous diaries and mnutes fron the first, say, 30 years of the 20th century that “O, My Father” was the mst often-sung hymn. I haven’t tried to measure that — your sampling here tends to strengthen that impression.

    I wonder how hymn singing might be used as a proselyting tool today? It’s pssible that people would be more open to music than preaching.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 28, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

  2. Okay, so it took me awhile to get through the footnotes, but that’s some amazing content, Edje. Thank you! And I agree with Ardis: more music! (and specifically more good music.)

    Comment by Amy T — April 28, 2013 @ 4:50 pm

  3. Thanks, Ardis and Amy.

    Ardis: when I was a missionary (1996-8, Brazil) we experimented with singing at every or almost every visit. I’ve also heard of more recent missionaries who sang at door approaches (ie, if they couldn’t get in the door they asked if they could sing).

    Amy: next week’s post is also about music (presuming I get it done on time), though it will focus on when and why the missionaries sang rather than the music itself.

    Comment by Edje Jeter — April 28, 2013 @ 7:18 pm

  4. There is a story in this part of Tennessee that the members of the Hampshire Branch were so isolated from the Church after 1884 that they forgot how to sing the “hymns of Zions.” It wasn’t until a member moved in (I estimate in the 1930′s) who had some musical training that it changed. He had to start teaching songs from scratch.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — April 29, 2013 @ 6:55 am

  5. Hmmm, Elder Folkman (my grandfather) must not have thought much of singing. My Dad, his son, was pretty good at singing the bass parts of the hymns in church, so I would assume Folkman must have sung, but didn’t make note in his journals. Interesting entry in this series.

    Comment by kevinf — April 29, 2013 @ 3:02 pm

  6. Bruce: that’s a great story.

    kevinf: I’m curious: Why do you think Elder Folkman didn’t sing? By my count he mentions singing 76 times (9.4% of entries), which isn’t the highest percentage, but it isn’t the lowest either. Furthermore, he has the second highest percentage (61%) of references to singing for fun or non-structured devotionals (distinguished from, for example, the opening and closing songs at meetings).

    Comment by Edje Jeter — April 29, 2013 @ 5:47 pm

  7. Edje,

    Sorry, I didn’t see his name in the table at the beginning of the post. I didn’t read the footnotes carefully enough, which as anyone knows is where you put all the good stuff. It’s been a while since I sat down with his journals, so I couldn’t recall offhand what he had said about singing.

    Comment by kevinf — May 1, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

  8. [...] [f] In particular, when missionaries and/or church members got together, they often sang “the songs of Zion.” [...]

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  9. [...] the past few months I’ve posted on the hymnbook, Mormon hymnody, and the general role of singing in the Southwestern States Mission. Today I will look at when in [...]

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