Musical Snobbery – UPDATED Now with Worshipful Axework

MCQ - March 22, 2011

As Mormons, we are musical snobs.  There is approved music and unapproved music.  The borders of the musical promised land and the musical slums are as hard and fast as any railroad tracks that separate the good part of town from the bad, and that extends to instruments as well.  Or at least that has been the case within my memory.  You don’t get to play much music other than Hymns in the chapel.  And no matter what you play, you better play it on an approved instrument.  The list of instruments that you have heard in your chapel is probably as short as the list of instruments I have heard in mine: organ, piano, violin or viola, cello.  Maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ve heard an occasional flute or bass viol, but not much else.  Is there a good reason for this?

Here is the language from the new Handbook 2 on the subject:

Guidelines for Choosing Appropriate Music for Church Worship Services

All Church music should be consistent with the following guidelines.

The hymns are the basic music for worship services and are standard for all congregational singing. In addition, other appropriate selections may be used for prelude and postlude music, choir music, and special musical presentations. If musical selections other than the hymns are used, they should be in keeping with the spirit of the hymns. Texts should be doctrinally correct. (See “Hymns for Congregations,” Hymns, 380–81.)

Secular music should not replace sacred music in Sunday meetings. Some religiously oriented music presented in a popular style is not appropriate for sacrament meetings. Also, much sacred music that is suitable for concerts and recitals is not appropriate for a Latter-day Saint worship service.

Music in Church meetings should not draw attention to itself or be for demonstration. This music is for worship, not performance.

Organs and pianos, or their electronic equivalents, are the standard instruments used in Church meetings. If other instruments are used, their use should be in keeping with the spirit of the meeting. Instruments with a prominent or less worshipful sound, such as most brass and percussion, are not appropriate for sacrament meeting.

So you can see that “most brass or percussion” are specifically discouraged, if not outlawed completely.  I’m not sure why this is.  What is it about a trumpet that strikes our current ears as “less worshipful.”   I think a french horn can be as worshipful as any instrument, but then I feel the same way about an electric guitar.  Isn’t “worshipful” a function of what you are playing and how you are playing it rather than the instrument? 

And what about acoustic guitars?  Why can’t our worship service include them?  I have heard that some wards have allowed this on occasion but have never seen it myself and never heard of it happening recently.  I want to see more musical options in our meetings and certainly in our ward talent nights.  Let’s open up our musical minds and experience a full cornacopia of musical options, not just the standard four or five narrow instruments.

I am intrigued that the new Handbook 2 language may open up more musical possibilities, but I am not optimistic.  What do you think?  Can guitars be included under these guidelines?  What about worshipful woodwinds?  What is your experience with these instruments and what do you hope to see in the future?

88 Comments »

  1. We had guitar at Christmas, and will have flute and cello at Easter. I’m trying to let all the different musicians old and young to participate somehow. I’m also working on a ward band for a summer outdoor concert.

    A lot of it depends on getting the Spirit’s approval first; the bishopric is pretty good about going with that.

    Comment by Coffinberry — March 22, 2011 @ 6:30 pm

  2. My experiences in our church are pretty typical. However, one of the coolest church concerts I’ve ever been to was in a 600 year old chapel in Germany with 6 trombones. It was stellar. I wish we could do that.

    Comment by Tracy M — March 22, 2011 @ 6:30 pm

  3. Believe it or not, I fully sustain that passage. I do think that certain instruments would change the tone of our meetings, including brass or percussion instruments. It doesn’t mean those instruments are bad, nor does it mean that kind of music is bad. But our meetings have a very particular vibe and they’re trying to maintain that vibe.

    That doesn’t mean our hymns couldn’t use a big time update. They really can. I’ve really been admiring Orthodox music lately and sometimes wish that we could have something like this going on at church. Now THAT’S the kind of change I can get behind.

    Comment by Syphax — March 22, 2011 @ 6:31 pm

  4. PS, and this is coming from a guy who had one of the strongest spiritual experiences of my life at a King’s X concert.

    Comment by Syphax — March 22, 2011 @ 6:36 pm

  5. We’ve had acoustic guitar a few times, most recently the Sunday before Pioneer Day last July. I remember, because that number came just before I was to speak. While I’m sure acoustic guitar can be entirely worshipful and reverent, that time it was accompanying an especially depressing performance of a folk song (“The Lonesome Roving Wolves”) that didn’t belong in sacrament meeting no matter how pioneerish it was. I really had to struggle to get myself into the right frame to speak immediately after that ended. So I’d guess that while the instrument and its sound can be reverent, it *may* be that the kinds of music most often played on guitar (or other “snobbishly” frowned upon instruments) is the problem rather than the instrument.

    The most unusual instrument I’ve ever heard in church was a tin whistle. It was used to highlight a hymn (can’t remember which one; it may come to me) and its wistfulness was poignant and perfectly matched to the church service.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 22, 2011 @ 6:49 pm

  6. The limitation of approved instruments may be about harmonics which add to the fullness of the music and the listening enjoyment. Brass instruments produce few harmonics and overpower the highs of other instruments and vocals. Acoustic guitars are simple box shapes that produce complex harmonics for only the frequency the box is tuned to but few harmonics for other frequencies a violin or cello is a much more complex instrument producing complex harmonics for three frequencys each resulting in a fuller sound.

    Comment by Howard — March 22, 2011 @ 7:53 pm

  7. I once attended a Baptist service up here in Canada where they had the service music done by a full band, electric guitar, drums and all.

    It was not conducive to the Spirit. It was raucous and energetic and to some people it was probably fun but it was just way too jarring for me.

    I’m sure there are mis-steps in how the rules are applied but I think the church is wise to keep a leash on these things.

    Comment by Proud Daughter of Eve — March 22, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

  8. I knew you could find a topic that you and I could agree on.This is easy let history be your guide.there are principles and practices in the church and some leaders confuse them.Here around a camp fire stand my ancestors playing fiddles and harmonicas and square dancing .These brothers and sisters knew how to have fun. They loved to watch the prophet pull sticks with the young men of the camp and he loved to laugh and have fun.Our Mormon history is full of stories of saints who were not born with sticks up their xxx .I can not think of a single calling that I held that i did not break or bend some rule,but I never broke any principles in doing so.We Mormons are made up of people from many different backgrounds and some times our leaders bring their own personal prejudice with them.When our dance festival group asked if the could bring some music videos to celebrate the end of our final practice,other leaders said i would be sorry that kids can not be trusted to use good judgement. Of course I responded we teach them correct principles and then let them govern themselves. They did not disappoint me because they knew I trusted them.A inspired leader can be talked into bending rules and a uninspired leader can drive people away from the church.,Inspiration comes from prayer.

    Comment by marv thompson — March 22, 2011 @ 8:10 pm

  9. Mormons are not music snobs. True snobbishness requires at least a some pretense to taste. Mormons, as a group and institution, have very poor musical taste– as evidenced by the instruction given in the HBI. There are few instruments more appropriate to honoring the King of Kings than a trumpet– in fact I’m pretty sure that’s how the return will be announced.

    Comment by PaulM — March 22, 2011 @ 10:04 pm

  10. I’m glad that some people have heard other instruments in the chapel, like a guitar or two.

    Ardis, I bet that the problem with the performance you’re referring to was the piece of music rather than the instrument. I bet if we were careful about pre-approving the musical selections, we could have a lot more leeway on instrument choice.

    Howard, that’s the most interesting comment I’ve ever heard on this topic. I don’t know enough about it to know whether that’s part of the reason behind these rules or not, but it sounds fascinating.

    PDoE, I’m not suggesting we become Baptists or Evangelicals and rock out in sacrament meeting. But that doesn’t mean we couldn’t broaden our musical list a little and open it up to a few more instuments as long as, as Coffinberry says, the Spirit approves. Seems to me that we could get that approval for a much broader list of instruments and musical selections if we tried.

    marv, I think you’re right to look at our history. Clearly, the early saints didn’t even have organs for many years, and yet surely they had the Spirit in attendance. I don’t know what musical instruments they had, but I suspect they would be surprised by our limitations.

    Comment by MCQ — March 22, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

  11. Paul, you’re probably right about that announcement, but a proclamation is different from a worship service.

    I think you’re wrong about taste, however. Many Mormons I know are very heavily into music and have very developed taste. Talk to Syphax.

    Syphax, I thought I’d have an ally in you at the very least.

    If I can find it, I’m going to post my recording of my friend playing Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning on electric guitar. It’s as worshipful as it gets.

    Comment by MCQ — March 22, 2011 @ 10:11 pm

  12. In the 30 years I have been a member of the church, I have reached a number of conclusions about church music. To wit

    1. As a precondition of being called to the position of Chorister, an individual must show proof of severe arthritis. The reason being that this is the only guarantee that the music will be very, very, very slow.

    2. The selection of hymns for the hymnal must have been made by a group of High Priests like me, as we would be sure to select music that it is easy to to sleep to. We can”t have anything that might wake us up.

    3. Never overestimate the musical taste of a ward. My wife I saw an entire congregation weep and cry as a speaker tearfully recited the words to “Put Your Shoulder To The Wheel.” We, of course, also witnessed a ward talent show be won by a trio composed of mouth harp, washboard and broomstick bass.

    4. If you do have a very good chorister, be sure to praise the music. Tell him or her how wonderful he or she is. In other words, give the person no reason to ask for a release. Also, be sure to let the Bishop know that you are sure that the ward will go to an extremely warm place in a hand basket if you didn’t have the wonderful music provided by sister or brother so-and-so.

    In all seriousness there are a variety of of other reasons why our music is not always (seldom?) enthralling: the dearth of talent a ward could have, nineteenth century hymns compoed in a minor key (giving a dirge like quality) and what I call “whitebread disease.”

    To find out if you have “whitebread disease” there is a simple test. Just answer two questions

    1. Which version of Tutti Frutti do you like best? The Reverend Richard Penniman’s (Little Richard) or Pat Boone’s?

    2. Which hymn do you prefer? Amazing Grace or Put Your Soulder to the Wheel?

    I do not think I even have to give the answers for you to get the point. The Tabernacle Choir and the soloists at General Conference are great. But what we too often hear in our local meetings is flat out boring. I often call what we hear “anti-missionary” music.

    Imagine that you are a non-member and come to a sacrament meeting for the first time. Does the music inspire you? As you watch the congregation sing a semi dirge, do you see joy in the message of the Lord? Does it make you want to come back next week?

    Comment by Stan Beale — March 22, 2011 @ 11:50 pm

  13. Stan, those are good questions and you’re right. Just what is it that we’re protecting by keeping out the vast majority of music and instruments from our worship services? Is our music so awesome and infused with the Spirit that we need to protect it from being hijacked by the infidels? Does anyone really believe that our music is so great that it couldn’t benefit from a bit of change?

    Comment by MCQ — March 23, 2011 @ 12:19 am

  14. You want to hear music that will rock your soul,go to a black baptist church,As ward mission leader I often visited other churches,we do not have a corner on the holy spirit.Talk your bishop into inviting a choir from another church to come and visit and perform . Reaching out through music or sports can do a lot to undo false beliefs about us.We some times act as though we were afraid of our brothers and sisters who attend other churches.My good friend the bishop called the faithful of other churches dry Mormons.Ask any non member what famous Mormon have they heard of ,and most likely they will reply the Osmonds.

    Comment by marv thompson — March 23, 2011 @ 4:09 am

  15. Well, nowdays they’re more likely to say Mitt Romney, but they might say Brandon Flowers or some other musician too, which would be great.

    Neon Trees is a great band that is made up of Mormons. There are lots of musical Mormons out there besides the Osmonds, thank goodness.

    Comment by MCQ — March 23, 2011 @ 4:43 am

  16. I will say, as music chair / choir director in our ward, I feel very fortunate because our ward is very blessed musically (5 organists, about a half-dozen more pianists, Mr. Tim of Moosebutter, at least 4 composers/improvisors, 7 or more guitarists, a choir of 32+ that there isn’t room on the rostrum for, children that love to sing and sing in tune, and enough band musicians including a fine 7th grade drummer to even be thinking about a band). When the congregation sings in sacrament meeting, sound fills the chapel & gym (we overflow). So I will admit that our ward is probably unusual, judging by the comments here about music in Church.

    That said, I wanted to add these things: I used to think that if I were ever called to a position that would pick music, I would pick “different” music. But it didn’t turn out that way under the guidance of the Spirit.

    Second, when I visited my cousins’ Methodist church this past summer over 4th of July weekend, they too seemed to have a no-brass in the sanctuary rule. But the music director wanted “God of Our Fathers” to have an actual brass fanfare, So they got around it by having the trio of brass players play in the vestibule outside the sanctuary. It was a very cool sound. I’m just saying this because maybe it isn’t just Mormons with these kind of rules.

    Comment by Coffinberry — March 23, 2011 @ 5:34 am

  17. It’s just sacrament meeting, which is not meant to be the totality of anyone’s music experience. Remember the conducting joke: “Never smile at the brass section. It will encourage them.”

    Comment by John Mansfield — March 23, 2011 @ 6:07 am

  18. I bet that the problem with the performance you’re referring to was the piece of music rather than the instrument

    This. An instrument is a tool and as such may or may not be the right one for the job depending on your cultural or historical preferences, but there’s nothing inherently worshipful or irreverent about the physics of vibrating strings or columns of air.

    Although Howard presents an intriguing theory (“the limitation of approved instruments may be about harmonics which add to the fullness of the music and the listening enjoyment”), there’s no way the musically illiterate congregations I meet with on Sunday are qualified to weigh the relative merits of timbre, especially when the distinctions range from “pure” (single harmonic) to “rich” (multiple harmonics) as opposed to, say, from “evil” to “righteous.”

    Comment by Peter LLC — March 23, 2011 @ 7:05 am

  19. I think I agree with all of that Peter.

    John, the rules aren’t necessarily limited to Sacrament Meeting, they extend to any meeting in the chapel. I have even seen some serious limitations placed on music played in the cultural hall. And most ward and stake talent nights hew very closely to the traditional Sunday instruments, as well.

    But even if we are talking only about sacrament meeting, do we really need to limit ourselves so narrowly? If the goal is just to be worshipful, there must be a way to accomplish that with more than four or five instruments to choose from.

    Comment by MCQ — March 23, 2011 @ 7:38 am

  20. My ward is lucky to have Mark Abernathy (of the Sabre Rattlers, with whom I play sometimes). He performs hymns on his acoustic guitar with world-class Nate Olson on fiddle. My ward gets LOTS of visitors on sundays, and there are generally a few raised eyebrows when they go up to the pulpit to perform, but by the end everyone is sold on the value of guitar+fiddle combos in Sacrament meeting.

    And btw, the dynamic range of a trumpet is perfect for making the babies in the audience cry. Let the infants and high counselors sleep!

    Comment by Kyle M — March 23, 2011 @ 8:03 am

  21. Well, that is part of the issue, too… before you can expand the repertoire, you have first got to have in your ward musicians with the skill to create a sound that works in sacrament meeting. (I recall someone in the bloggernacle once describing a french-horn number used in Sacrament Meeting which sounded as though it would have been very appropriate to me, but their success was largely because the musicians were extremely highly skilled).

    I think the handbook instructions quoted above allow for all sorts of music and instruments in ward activities and on appropriate occasions, while still giving Bishoprics/Music Chairs an ‘out’ to screen from sacrament meeting not-so-skilled musicians on almost any instrument (as well as skilled musicians who are intending to “perform” rather than invite to worship). One of the challenges of being Music Chair is to look for meaningful ways to develop the music talent in the ward. There has to be room for both “make a joyful noise” and for music that helps the listener worship.

    As for the selection of instruments available to a ward, I suspect that many parents, when choosing an instrument for their child (on which they will spend much time, money, and mental peace), encourage the choosing of instruments that can be used for Church as traditionally understood. That might be part of the reason there is not a wider variety of instruments on which to call for use in Sunday meetings.

    Comment by Coffinberry — March 23, 2011 @ 8:21 am

  22. There’s plenty of time to sleep in priesthood meeting. I say, wake them up! I’m sick of everyone sleeping through sacrament meeting. I’m sick of the music of the living dead. Time for Mark and Nate to take their act on the road, Kyle.

    Comment by MCQ — March 23, 2011 @ 8:26 am

  23. Our Bisop who just got released after 6 plus years owns a music store and it showed in our SM

    We had performances with…

    Clarinets
    Flutes
    Violins
    Sax of different types
    Guitars
    Cello
    Bass Clarinets

    We never had brass and drums though

    Comment by bbell — March 23, 2011 @ 8:35 am

  24. The concerns about a limited instrument selection for sacrament meeting bring the similar confines of rock to mind. Almost everything I hear on the radio is drums, electric bass, an electric guitar or two, synthesizer, and vocalist. The “trumpet playing bands” or songs pop up here and there, but generally the instrument selection for rock bands is fixed. To some extent, the instrument confines make rock what it is.

    Comment by John Mansfield — March 23, 2011 @ 8:50 am

  25. Some random notes:

    Yes, I’ve heard French horn in sacrament meeting. It was beautiful.

    On the topic of a prohibition or discouragement of brass in the chapel, someone else will have to confirm the memory, but I recently attended a stake performance of selections from the Messiah and it seems like there were brass instruments.

    Until I was recently released as ward organist, I would regularly play an arrangement of prelude music which I called “The Bloggernacle Special.” It included Amazing Grace and Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing and some others that are regularly mentioned in discussions of music in the Bloggernacle. The Bloggernacle does tend to have specific tastes in music. : )

    That said, I heartily agree with Coffinberry’s experience in choosing music for the meetings. (“I used to think that if I were ever called to a position that would pick music, I would pick ‘different’ music. But it didn’t turn out that way under the guidance of the Spirit.”) I had that same experience again and again.

    And finally, I recently taught a workshop to the Relief Society about music and had a section on church music. For my example of good devotional music, I played an arrangement of How Firm a Foundation by the MoTab and a selection from the Lower Lights: A Gospel Revival (Ye Elders of Israel). As an example of bad worship music, I used a very ponderous selection from the church music tapes, which are now downloadable as MP3s on the church website. And after the workshop, a new convert wanted to talk to me about the Osmonds. (!)

    Comment by Researcher — March 23, 2011 @ 8:52 am

  26. Woodwinds are too hippy-dippy for worship. We saw the result of playing woodwinds and guitars in 1968. Summer of love, indeed! History has shown us that people who play these instruments cannot tell the difference between love, which always results in marriage, children and appropriate clothing and recreational activities, and lust, which sometimes results in children, but children who commit crimes.

    Brass is out, too. The still small voice doesn’t live in a trombone. He’s taken His seat in the strings section.

    Comment by Thomas Parkin — March 23, 2011 @ 9:10 am

  27. bbell, that’s pretty darn good. He needs to preach that doctrine.

    John, you clearly need to expand your musical listening experience. Besides, you can’t really complain about rock limiting itself to synthesizers. a synthesizer is not one instrument, it’s all instruments.

    Researcher, are you sure that was the Spirit? Or were you just being haunted by the ghost of Ezra Taft Benson?

    Thomas, just because you lost a lot of brain cells in the sixties is no reason to be down on anything related thereto. Woodwinds, guitars and brass are not precisely equivalent to sex, drugs and rock-n-roll.

    Comment by MCQ — March 23, 2011 @ 9:38 am

  28. Couldn’t have been ETB because we never sang How Great Thou Art or I Believe in Christ.

    We did sing sunshine songs several times a year, though. Who can I blame that on??

    Comment by Researcher — March 23, 2011 @ 9:58 am

  29. I’m not complaining about rock’s set of instruments. As used by rock bands, synthesizers pretty much are just one instrument, as much as the electric guitar is. Here’s the playlist of a station I will often listen to: link. Many fine songs there that I would be glad to listen to, nearly all using just the instruments I mentioned. Is there really any question what the standard instruments are for a rock band?

    Comment by John Mansfield — March 23, 2011 @ 10:04 am

  30. I figured I’d disappoint you MCQ, but I guess I just see where the Brethren are coming from on this one. I just like keeping the different purposes for music in different spheres. If I felt that more Mormons were GOOD at music around here, and sensitive to changes in tone, feeling, etc., I would change my mind.

    Do I think the paintings on the top of the Sistine Chapel are beautiful, inspiring, worshipful, etc.? Of course. Do I think we should get local members to decorate chapels in the style of Michaelangelo? Hell no. There is an “uncanny valley” problem. A bunch of amateurs trying to reproduce nude figures in a worshipful way? The idea makes me shudder.

    I’d rather hear simple, plain piano/organ done right, predictably, every week, than musical experimentation done wrong most weeks. After looking over what I just wrote, it seems that my reasoning leads unavoidably to the conclusion that I’m an even bigger, more arrogant snob than the ones you’re complaining about: the kind that thinks that the average Mormon out here is incapable of doing music right for a worship service, so we might as well give them a color-by-numbers service and forbid them to deviate from it. I’ll go pray for humility now.

    Comment by Syphax — March 23, 2011 @ 10:36 am

  31. Researcher, I fear you have only yourself to blame, as does Mansfield for failing to listen to bands that employ horn players, banjos, hurdy-gurdys, accordions and harmonicas.

    I don’t know what to say about you, Syphax, but prayer certainly couldn’t hurt.

    Comment by MCQ — March 23, 2011 @ 10:54 am

  32. My response last night was probably snarkier than it should have been But old age and 2:00 A.M. does that to you. It also makes you forgetful. I should have mentioned an idea of a former Bishop. He had suggested to the Stake President that Stake Music Missions be created. Specifically individuals or small groups be called to be made available for other wards than their own to call upon them for their abilities. He felt that sharing outstanding talent would improve the music in sacrament meting. For various reasons it went nowhere, but I think it still has merit.

    My wife had two additional suggestions. First, have longer and more in depth conducting classes. In our stake its about one hour. Too little time to accomplish much. Second, put the winners or the best hymns from the Church hymn writing contest on the web. There may be some more interesting music available

    Comment by Stan Beale — March 23, 2011 @ 10:56 am

  33. Brass is a dilemma the issue is the high amplitude of the instrument this problem can be experienced by watching sopranos sing while brass is playing you will see their lips moving but you won’t hear much voice this occurs even when high notes are avoided by brass because high amplitued harmonics are being emitted at two and even three octaves above and below the work around is to mic the sopranos but if this is happening to the sopranos you know it carries over at a lower maginitude to to other instruments and vocals as well. The issue is not the skill of the musician but the amplitude of the instrument.

    Comment by Howard — March 23, 2011 @ 1:16 pm

  34. Good ideas, Stan.

    Howard, Brass instuments don’t have to be played as accompaniment with singers. They can be played on their own in an instrumental piece.

    Comment by MCQ — March 23, 2011 @ 1:41 pm

  35. “Woodwinds, guitars and brass are not precisely equivalent to sex, drugs and rock-n-roll.”

    Slippery slope, MCQ. Just like everything.

    “Is there really any question what the standard instruments are for a rock band?”

    Tambourine?

    “I’d rather hear simple, plain piano/organ done right, predictably, every week,”

    Simpler the better. Those Casio keyboards they bought in mass several years back because they were very much cheaper than buying pianos for whatever room is hosting P-hood opening exercises were a step in the right direction. Next time, though, they should be monophonic. Slippery slope, again. First you give ground and let a little harmony in, next thing you know you’ve got guitars, then free love, or worse. Case in point: The Catholic Church. Started off good, with the monophonic chanting, next allowed polyphony, next allowed all those boys in robes, next thing they know they’ve got a whole false P-hood full of diddlers.

    Comment by Thomas Parkin — March 23, 2011 @ 2:23 pm

  36. Expect a blog post on this subject soon. You got my gears turning.

    Comment by Syphax — March 23, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

  37. #34 MCQ wrote regarding brass:

    They can be played on their own in an instrumental piece.

    What is an example of a suitable piece?

    Comment by Howard — March 23, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

  38. I have seen people play the French horns and a euphonium in Sacrament Meeting. They were accompanied by the piano. It worked, but only because the musicians were outstanding. I can understand why they have the “no brass” rule, because only a few really good musicians could pull it off without sounding awful or inappropriate. (The bishop of that particular ward ignored the handbook on the music issue.)

    I agree that a lot could be done to improve music in Sacrament meeting. The big problems I have see is that choristers and accompanists often let the music drag. The tempo needs to be picked up. Another problems is that much of the membership doesn’t sing like they should.

    Comment by rk — March 23, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

  39. The posts that blame the ward members or the chorister are dead on target.I have been to wards that the music reminded me of a wake more then a spiritual experience.I assume all of you posters will raise your kids with great music of all types,that you will pay for music lessons even for your less talented children.Curse the darkness or light a candle .You can make a difference so when the lord returns he can be greeted by a great Mormon choir.The best test of spiritual music is would you invite Jesus to sit and listen to it with you.I am sure Jesus would enjoy the music of fiddler on the roof or the sound of music but he may frown at a hard rock concert.Does the music I expose my self to, lift my spirit??

    Comment by marv thompson — March 23, 2011 @ 5:06 pm

  40. Jesus would totally mosh.

    Howard, come on man. Ode to Joy!

    Comment by MCQ — March 23, 2011 @ 6:36 pm

  41. My cousin regularly plays the saxophone at meetings. She’s REALLY good.

    Comment by annegb — March 23, 2011 @ 6:54 pm

  42. Great marching band music MCQ.

    Comment by Howard — March 23, 2011 @ 7:05 pm

  43. I would hate to question the spiritual inklings of others, but I do often wonder how much it is the Spirit restraining us from liking or selecting a piece of music, and how much it is our very ingrained biases. As a convert, I can say that I most assuredly have felt the Spirit when listening to a full on evangelical band set-up. At least I thought I did…

    I would only add that while lifelong Mormons seems to be the most dedicated to preserving the set “vibe,” for investigators, our current church music is like garlic for vampires. Okay not that bad, but it doesn’t, as another commenter noted, inspire a feeling of joy and a desire to return.

    Comment by Kate M. — March 23, 2011 @ 8:46 pm

  44. to mcq Moshing is a dance in which participants push and/or slam into each other. It is most associated with aggressive music genres, such as hardcore punk and heavy metal. It is primarily done to live music, although it can be done to recorded music. Yes mcq ,you seek to get a rise or you need to check your testimony which ever. Jesus will pass on the mosh pit.I am a 7th generation mormon and my wife is a convert,she is the more strict of the two of us.I like cola drinks ,some r rated movies and music of the 40,50.60.70.80,90′s but the music needs to have some redeeming quality and there is a lot of music that fails that test. Maybe what i am seeing on this site is a movement from mainline lds beliefs and a group of people who need the church to change to fit their personal beliefs,it happens every generation. When will someone post, what i love about the church???

    Comment by marv thompson — March 23, 2011 @ 9:26 pm

  45. marv, this is a place to talk about Mormon beliefs and practices that we don’t necessarily get to talk about at church or other locations. We don’t send our posts to the Church Office Bldg. and we aren’t demonstrating on Temple Square. In other words, we’re just talking here. If you don’t like what we’re talking about, feel free to go elsewhere. If you have things you want to say, feel free to comment or start your own blog. You shouldn’t be looking to others to post what you love about the Church.

    In the meantime, just because you don’t like certain kinds of music or dancing doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t. I think a lot people will be surprised about what he likes and doesn’t like. For myself, I think he could be right at home in the mosh pit.

    Comment by MCQ — March 23, 2011 @ 11:41 pm

  46. Just to be clear what you’re getting at, would this mosh pit be part of a religious service? Could it function in place of the way we usually sing a hymn with organ before the Aaronic priesthood administers the sacrament? Or is it something for a Friday or Saturday night recreation?

    Comment by John Mansfield — March 24, 2011 @ 3:46 am

  47. Your right mcq,as a mormon I am liberal,but I am not liberal enough to except some of your beliefs.We all draw a line we will not cross,I pray none of us will ever regret where we drew our line.may God bless you and yours.When I see God in a mosh pit I will know that I was wrong about your beliefs and attitudes. One parting thought ,the world is on the brink of some serious crap,,pleas get your survival food and gear ready to save those you love.the issues you raise are fun but they mean nothing if the time comes for us to take a real stand against evil,our brother satin is real and he hates it when we listen to the prophet.

    Comment by marv thompson — March 24, 2011 @ 7:16 am

  48. If we can stretch the rule about the words of songs being doctrinally correct (do we really believe that the little Lord Jesus, no crying he made?), I think it would be fine to stretch the rules about what musical styles are permitted. We really are missing out on some really fine, uplifting and Christ-centered possibilities that are present in the Christian world today.

    Comment by Eric — March 24, 2011 @ 9:24 am

  49. Kate M. said:

    I would only add that while lifelong Mormons seems to be the most dedicated to preserving the set “vibe,” for investigators, our current church music is like garlic for vampires. Okay not that bad, but it doesn’t, as another commenter noted, inspire a feeling of joy and a desire to return.

    Yes, that bad. I grew up in another variety of Christianity and converted to the LDS church as an adult. If I were to ever go back (and I won’t), it would be because of the music. We really are missing out. :(

    Comment by Eric — March 24, 2011 @ 9:44 am

  50. I hear the following non-piano and organ instruments at least a few times a year in Sacrament Meeting:
    Flute
    Clarinet
    Bass Clarinet
    Viola
    Violin/Fiddle
    Cello
    Upright Bass (acoustic!)
    Acoustic guitar
    Handbells

    Probably more. With the byword being “appropriate” it is all a matter of local leadership and their taste and preferences. In my area, we have a combination of willing leadership (extending even to a song sung in Latin), musical skill, and an effort to invite the spirit, even if that means we go beyond replicating Sacrament Meeting musical numbers we have already seen.

    There IS, however, the very real possibility that, in an effort to spice things up, we create a spectacle rather than a spiritual environment. SM should not feel like a talent show, and it can with a mini-orchestra up front.

    Also, song selection is to be considered. While musicians may yearn to stray away from, for example, I stand all Amazed/Oh How Lovely was the Morning mashups, the congregants will likely feel the spirit from it, as they meditate on the lyrics, which they know. That cannot be said for much of Bach’s religious cannon–those same congregants will instead focus on why Sis. T is such a show-off and why can’t she just play a nice hymn?

    Comment by ESO — March 24, 2011 @ 10:12 am

  51. This thread alone shows just how much variance of opinion there is on what is worshipful and what is not. I’m all for expanding the musical selection of our services, but I’d rather err on the side of caution than on experimentation.
    A gradual broadening is the approach I favor (with maybe the occasional piece that’s quite beyond the norm) As ward choir director I’ve started us rehearsing a version of the Protestant hymn “Were You There” for Easter. I think this fits in with the Spirit of our services with a sound and feel that’s just different enough to make you pay attention more and think about the message of the music more. The same could be said of thousands of pieces available in mainstream Christianity.
    I once sang for a Methodist Choir where we sang two new selections for two services every Sunday. It’s here I learned how small our musical selection really is. Their hymnal alone has almost 800 hymns! While much of it wouldn’t be appropriate for our services, I’d say around at least half would. (In fact I copied down the info for many of the songs we sang so I could use them one day for one of our choirs:)

    My experience has been mostly with choral selections but I think the same is true of instrumental

    Comment by Bret — March 24, 2011 @ 10:49 am

  52. Syphax (30) – I think Coffinberry’s last paragraph in 21 also responds well to your concerns. Sure, there aren’t many people in our wards right now who are talented enough to play a trumpet or electric guitar “worshipfully”, and as long as we’re not allowed to use those instruments, its safe to assume we won’t have a slew of appropriately-talented musicians. But one could imagine that if we were allowed to broaden our instrumental biases a bit, that after a generation or two we might have a number of adequately-talented trumpeters and guitarists. Especially as experience would slowly teach us what works and what doesn’t.

    I agree that if we were to let trumpeters perform in sacrament meeting, we’d have a number of nightmare experiences. I just doubt that it would be a never-ending nightmare.

    Comment by B.Russ — March 24, 2011 @ 11:21 am

  53. Exactly right, B.Russ, and you can certainly screen them beforehand, which is what should be happening regardless of your rules.

    Seems to me that it’s our job to encourage and cultivate musical talent among the saints and diversity of talent is as important as any other issue in that area.

    ESO, your list doesn’t have any instruments that are even slightly out of the ordinary except guitar and handbells. Handbells are just a function of location, because their use is not very widespread, so you will only be able to have them where there are people who play them.

    But there are a lot of people who play acoustic guitar, and encouraging them to learn to play worshipful music is important. Just having guitar selectons in sacrament meeting on regular occasions would be a huge step forward.

    Comment by MCQ — March 24, 2011 @ 12:45 pm

  54. marv, I hope you’re not leaving us over a mosh pit. If it helps, you should know that I have no firmly held beliefs on moshing with Jesus. Most regular readers know that there is a lot on this site and others that is said tougue-in-cheek. It’s important not to take everything so seriously.

    The only serious point I was making, if there was one, was that it seems a tad presumptuous to say that we know one way or the other what Jesus’s musical tastes are or where he might be found. If someone tells me they found Jesus in a mosh pit, or a heavy metal concert, or a punk festival, or a baptist revival or a drug den or a bordello, or whatever, I would believe them. At any rate, I’m certain Jesus would go to any one of those places to get any one of us.

    I’m also glad that you feel strongly about emergency preparedness marv, but since that’s not the subject of this thread, I’ll leave that alone for now.

    Comment by MCQ — March 24, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

  55. I would make the argument that Jesus can be found where His spirit is and that is how He shows us what He likes, but I don’t really care to belabor that point.

    Handbells I think could easily become more widespread and accepted in our meetings as they’re really easy to learn so long as you have any sort of rhythm and their music is usually in sync with what our meetings are going for (our ward had a performance of a few pieces for our Christmas Cantata). It’s just that a set of them costs a lot and they take numerous people to perform.
    I’m also a fan of good, classy acoustic guitar in church

    Comment by Bret — March 24, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

  56. Simply responding to this in your OP:

    “Maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ve heard an occasional flute or bass viol, but not much else. Is there a good reason for this?”

    And the frequent mention on the thread that they don’t hear many woodwinds. It just doesn’t seem that you need to be very “lucky” to hear these. Oh, and we get a harp a few times during the year, too.

    FWIW, our handbells are played by kids, and the set is far from expensive. I wonder if some Baptist Church that is electrifying might sell you a real set for a decent price?

    Comment by ESO — March 24, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

  57. Oh wait, yeah the clarinets are unusual. I can’t remember the last time I heard clarinets at church. I would love that. A harp would be nice too, and I don’t think you can play a harp without being worshipful, but like with the handbells, you just don’t see that many people performing harps, so I’m not surprised that it’s a bit unusual to see one in Church.

    We need to start pushing our good guitarists and woodwind players to do some great worshipful music. I think it would be great to see a gutar with an acoustic bass, clarinet and flute doing a great arrangement of “I need thee every hour.”

    I’ve updated the post with some stuff I found on YouTube. Let me know what you think.
    also, check out this post at BCC.

    Comment by MCQ — March 24, 2011 @ 4:24 pm

  58. Boogie-woogie is a style of piano-based blues that became very popular in the late 1930s and early 1940s, but originated much earlier, and was extended from piano, to three pianos at once, guitar, big band, and country and western music, and even gospel. loved to go to my bishops house and listen to him play church tunes in boogie – woogie style. Every one in the ward would gather around him at church dinners an listen to him play,but he would never play the music in the chapel. my bishop was kool,but he did not go against church rules even if they some times did not make sense.I can remember that at most road shows in our stake we would have music from many different Instruments. There is a time and a place for all good music,i only have a problem with those leaders who believe that they can choose the time and place based on their own personal beliefs.When you are in a leadership position ,your given a priesthood handbook, if it aint in there then you had better pray about it.

    Comment by marv thompson — March 24, 2011 @ 7:15 pm

  59. mcq,,you can add elvis to your youtube pics http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3XdXEJEI4E amazing grace

    Comment by marv thompson — March 24, 2011 @ 7:19 pm

  60. The best guitar choice is a nylon stringed classical acoustic guitar because it has minimal distortion and maximises musical fidelity.

    Comment by Howard — March 24, 2011 @ 8:33 pm

  61. Any guitar is better than no guitar, which is what we have now, at least in my ward.

    marv, I really hate to be the one to break the news to you, but Elvis is dead.

    Comment by MCQ — March 24, 2011 @ 10:10 pm

  62. Anyone who can not feel the spirit when Elvis sings gospel music is also dead,snobbery comes in many forms.I thought I had seen them all till i started visiting lds blogs,not just yours but most of the ones i go to.I have seen blogs dedicated to food storage that are filled with adds so some brother or sister in the gospel can make another buck.life is to short to waste and if I am not lifting people up then I am wasting what few years I have left.There have been accounts of those who have been translated,I do not know anyone who has to worry about that .Most mormons will be totally amazed at how many non mormons make it to the celestial kingdom and how many snobs miss the mark.When i worked for IBM my worst customers were Mormons ,and when my other customers found out i was mormon,they would always tell me of their bad experience with mormons.My with was a convert and she came away from meetings wanting to scream sometime at how most mormons feel about nonmormons.The stupid rules about music and other things are not because the church wants to act stupid ,but because even though we have been taught correct principles the prophet can not trust us to govern ourselves.We ask for a single guitar and next thing ,we ask for a rock band.there is tons of great music and i have heard it in the cultural hall where it belongs.

    Comment by marv thompson — March 24, 2011 @ 11:14 pm

  63. mcq,you want to hear great guitar,then youtube les paul.

    Comment by marv thompson — March 24, 2011 @ 11:18 pm

  64. I checked out your youtube offerings and out of five stars I rate them 1 5 2 and 3 .Now that is not important because if they enjoying their music then that is all that matters,but only one qualifies as being qualified for a sacrament meeting.And if you are all honest you would say the same.You might reply that there are piano players and organ players who also are not qualified and i would have to agree ,but until more parents reach deep into their pockets and train more of our children in music,we will have to suffer with 2nd rate talent.Back in the olden days of the 60′s wards had way more talent then we have now,members now spend money so their kids can play sports but nothing for music. Our schools have done the same thing.

    Comment by marv thompson — March 24, 2011 @ 11:36 pm

  65. mcq , as you said you never know if all that is said is just tougue-in-cheek.

    Comment by marv thompson — March 24, 2011 @ 11:39 pm

  66. marv, maybe you should take a break and relax for a while. You seem tense.

    BTW, the correct ratings of the videos above are 3, 5, 4 and 5. You need at least a 4 to qualify for sacrament meeting, so three out of four qualify.

    You may not recognize the gentlemen in the second video but they are former punk rockers from the band New York Dolls. They played the above hymn to memorialize their bandmate, Arthur “Killer” Kane, who died shortly after converting to Mormonism.

    My friend Brian is the guitarist in the first video and the video is not his best version of that song, but it’s not bad. Better than a 1 at any rate. We’re not going to have an electric guitar in sacrament meeting any time soon, but if we did, I see no reason why it couldn’t be something like that, if done right.

    The last video is Mark Abernathy from the Sabre Rattlers. It deserves a five for certain.

    I don’t know the musicians in the third video, but with a little polish that number is totally sacrament meeting ready.

    Comment by MCQ — March 25, 2011 @ 2:33 am

  67. #52. Perhaps, but why do we automatically think that because we can feel the Spirit during something, it needs to be hauled into Sacrament Meeting? I can feel the Spirit during a sports game. Does that mean it should be incorporated into Sacrament Meeting? I can feel the Spirit during the Endowment session. Should we move that into Sacrament Meeting?

    The Spirit can be felt in lots of different places in a lot of different ways. Sacrament Meeting is about the sacrament first and foremost. Everything else is an appendage to that, and there is a very particular vibe that the Brethren wish to preserve during that meeting that they believe compliments the sacrament particularly. There are lots of virtuous, lovely, etc., things in this world that don’t belong in Sacrament Meeting, because there is a point when ceases to be Sacrament Meeting and becomes something else (a fireside, an exhibition, an emotional love fest, etc.). There are lots of “something elses” that are good, they’re just not Sacrament Meeting.

    Trained musicians might be more sensitive to tones and moods, so yeah, I guess in a couple generations we could breed a set of musicians who would play appropriate music in Sacrament Meeting, but you also have to understand that trained musicians (ALL trained musicians) are performing, not just serving. Any that tell you different are just lying. And it’s very hard for a performer to NOT turn any use of their talent into an exhibition of their own talent.

    Comment by Syphax — March 25, 2011 @ 6:25 am

  68. Not just any guitar will do to understand the reason for this it helps to know why guitars sound the way they do early electric guitars needed steel strings because they used magnetic pickups but it gave them a bawaaang sound which was then amplified through a tube amplifier which distorted the bawaaang sound this is the sound of rock and roll hardly “worshipful” as you call it. A steel string acoustic guitar also has this bawaaang sound a plain nylon string guitar does not but a wound nylon string guitar has a little of it. If you want a worshipful sound avoid steel strings and wound strings use plain nylon.

    Comment by Howard — March 25, 2011 @ 6:42 am

  69. life is to short to waste and if I am not lifting people up then I am wasting what few years I have left.

    You need not worry. You have lifted me up marv.

    Comment by B.Russ — March 25, 2011 @ 7:03 am

  70. Perhaps, but why do we automatically think that because we can feel the Spirit during something, it needs to be hauled into Sacrament Meeting? I can feel the Spirit during a sports game. Does that mean it should be incorporated into Sacrament Meeting? I can feel the Spirit during the Endowment session. Should we move that into Sacrament Meeting?

    Well, first of all I never said that everything that inspires the spirit belongs in Sacrament Meeting. I totally agree that there are many things that are praiseworthy (that inspire the spirit) that do not belong in Sacrament meeting.

    The Spirit can be felt in lots of different places in a lot of different ways. Sacrament Meeting is about the sacrament first and foremost.

    Well, I don’t know about that. I completely agree that the Lord’s Supper is without a doubt the most important part of Sacrament Meeting. But I’m not sure its what its “about”. If it were, Sacrament Meeting would be much shorter.

    On the lds.org website (hardly canonical, I know) it isn’t listed as “Sacrament Meeting” but “worship service”. I think thats a step in the right direction. It is the one hour every week when we should be worshipping. I can think of a multitude of talks I have heard (genealogy, pornography, home teaching, etc. etc. etc.) that are far less worshipful than a heartfelt rendition of “I Need Thee Every Hour” would be on a Spanish guitar.

    So no, my barometer is not “Does it inspire The Spirit”, but “Is it worshipful”. If it is (AND is conducive to The Spirit) I see little reason why it shouldn’t be in Sacrament Meeting.

    Comment by B.Russ — March 25, 2011 @ 7:12 am

  71. Right, but I think the lds.org website is going to use terminology that is familiar to people who have never attended our church. No other church I know of uses the term “sacrament meeting.”

    Now I guess you can argue that our sacrament meetings SHOULD be a “worship service” as other Christians understand the term and less a “sacrament meeting.” Which I think is a different argument. What I’m saying is that the current vibe of our sacrament meetings would most definitely be altered if we had more musical experimentation, to the point where it would be something different. And if that happened, I would probably still enjoy it, but I’d also like a separate meeting that was quiet and less flashy where I could just think for an hour, maybe even take the Lord’s Supper, where there aren’t musical egos hamming it up on stage… in other words, a sacrament meeting.

    Comment by Syphax — March 25, 2011 @ 9:32 am

  72. Look, as a compromise how about we axe priesthood meeting and replace it with ward musical praise time.

    Comment by Syphax — March 25, 2011 @ 9:38 am

  73. The best guitar choice is a nylon stringed classical acoustic guitar because it has minimal distortion and maximises musical fidelity.

    Not just any guitar will do; to understand the reason for this it helps to know why guitars sound the way they do. Early electric guitars needed steel strings because they used magnetic pickups but it gave them a bawaaang sound which was then amplified through a tube amplifier which distorted the bawaaang sound. This is the sound of rock and roll, hardly “worshipful” as you call it.

    While it’s true that the early efforts to amplify an acoustic guitar’s volume have led the creation of new genres of music that are not necessarily appropriate for sacrement meeting, it just doesn’t make any sense to compare electric and acoustic guitars on the basis of distortion and fidelity–both types of instrument are simply platforms for vibrating strings. Of course steel, nylon or gut strings sound different, but the “signal” they produce cannot be said to be distorted or of lesser or greater fidelity–it just is what it is.

    You can quibble with the way amplification of these signals colors the sound, whether the acoustic guitar’s soundbox or an electric guitar’s pickups etc., but even here there is no combination of electric guitar + steel strings + plus amplifier that inevitably = (audible) distortion or low fidelity.

    To the extent that distortion defines rock and roll, well, for the most part it’s intentional, but in the early days distortion was the result of overdriving amps that although not designed to distort just weren’t up for the job, rather than any inherent fly in the ointment of electric guitar amplication. Plenty of tube guitar amps offer lots of “clean” headroom and can be played loud without distorting.

    Comment by Peter LLC — March 25, 2011 @ 9:50 am

  74. I agree that the Sacrament is the essential thing about Sacrament Meeting. It is the only thing that couldn’t be let go of. I think meditation and reflection are essential parts of the experience of taking the Sacrament, only things that are conducive to quiet meditation are appropriate through that point. Once that period of meditation is passed, then I think we could loosen the leash and let the meeting be full of things that would tend to enrich us.

    One of the problems is that you might be enriched by a kind of art that I’m not prepared for. I may carry with me associations and preferences that would limit my ability to appreciate, that would make the experience uncomfortable for me. I don’t know that Sacrament Meeting, however far we want to stretch it, is going to be the best place for educating ourselves about more difficult or challenging content. Yet, it seems that as the generations shift, some stretching is called for. I have no idea where that line should be – but it will surely move generationally.

    “And it’s very hard for a performer to NOT turn any use of their talent into an exhibition of their own talent.”

    Sure. But we are all performing. Speakers are performing. Congregation members can be performing in their roles as parent, Priesthood holder, or whatever, etc. We are acting our parts within the kind of cultural drama that has been made for / by us. Everyone will have to work very hard to ameliorate (because it will only rarely be completely overcome) their desire to connect their performance to their ego, and let more truth in. :)

    Comment by Thomas Parkin — March 25, 2011 @ 10:12 am

  75. Just right, Thomas.

    Syphax, there is a ton of room between the music we have now, which is mostly a bore, and musicians “hamming it up.” Let’s not be afraid to improve just because some people might take it too far. As I said before, we can do careful screening prior to the meeting, and should be doing that already.

    Comment by MCQ — March 25, 2011 @ 10:22 am

  76. Syphax, I guess my feeling is that once the bread and water have been passed and the deacons sit down, the sacrament portion is over. I do agree that the ordinance should be done with great reverence, and I think (most of) the sacrament hymns are appropriate for setting the proper mood. Or in other words, I definitely don’t want to hear “There Is a Green Hill Far Away” done a la Jimi Hendrix.

    But I think as the meeting rolls on, it has become its own beast. And under any circumstances, I think at least half of the talks given during the meetings I’ve attended are less appropriate (for a “sacrament” meeting OR a “worship service”) for the mood than any trumpet or guitar would be.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of the yelling and dancing and epileptic convulsions of some of the congregations of other faiths I’ve seen parodied. But I think we Mormons do need a time where we “praise The Lord”. I think its essential for good spirituality. I think that’s what Sacrament Meeting is for.

    Comment by B.Russ — March 25, 2011 @ 10:33 am

  77. Sorry ,I am so stupid,for a moment I forgot that most of you are not old enough to remember how meetings use to be.6am dad wakes me for priesthood meeting,main subject why is ward teaching only 50%.We go home and dad fixes breakfast,then he wakes the girls and mom. We all have a great breakfast and get ready for Sunday school.I love this meeting we get to practice songs in chapel meeting before we break into Sunday school classes.We go home for a late lunch. Dad lets us watch some tv while he reads his field and stream magazine.About 5:30 we get ready for sacrament meeting ,in the winter is is already dark.Sacrament meeting hasn’t changed much.Now what in the heck has this to do with the subject at hand.The practices of the church change,In the 70′s we had an oil crisis ,we changed to the consolidated schedule,so families could save money on gas.I miss the old Sunday school ,we sang three or four songs and the ward was taught how to sing the songs of Zion correctly.As the church grows it changes,not in principle but in practice.We may miss the old but there is always a reason for the change.Oh by the way many more musical Instruments were used in Sunday school opening then we see now.

    Comment by marv thompson — March 25, 2011 @ 10:33 am

  78. Strings of varying types can be tuned to the same note but each will produce a different timbre (which is distortion) some with more or less distortion and therefore more or less fidelity as well. I love tube amps but regardless of headroom a tube amp has more distortion than solid state amp.

    Comment by Howard — March 25, 2011 @ 10:37 am

  79. I’m no physics expert (and less a music expert) but I know enough to know

    timbre =/= distortion

    Comment by B.Russ — March 25, 2011 @ 10:43 am

  80. If I understand marv correctly, and I think I do, then he is suggesting that since oil prices have continued to skyrocket recently, that the church needs to make Sunday meetings a once-a-month event in order to save people gas money.

    marv, I completely agree.

    Comment by B.Russ — March 25, 2011 @ 10:44 am

  81. I don’t think anyone should be so bold as to say they understand marv.

    Comment by MCQ — March 25, 2011 @ 11:00 am

  82. PS. primary was on Tuesday afternoons and relief society was on Thursday nights.On Saturday dad would sign us up for a ward work project cannery in L.A. or sometimes we would take a two hour drive to a church farm and move irrigation pipes.One Friday a month we wold have a ward dinner with a lot of music,pot luck most of the time.There was a joke that a Mormon was a person going to or coming from a meeting.My favorite thing was July pioneer day at Jack west’s ranch,Pit BBQ, horse rides for the kids fiddle music ,square dancing ,camp songs.We are not that church anymore, we grew up we have a lot of people who can not trace their Mormon linage back 7 generations, my great black sister say she feel left out at pioneer days,she says she does not have any pioneers in her linage,I reply oh yes you do.you are that pioneer.

    Comment by marv thompson — March 25, 2011 @ 11:10 am

  83. marvelous marv now likes you guys,it takes time,just like Brussels sprouts.But you guys are ok and I have heard education week speakers at BYU say the day might come when the only church meeting we have will be in our homes.It works for the Amish and they have a 85% retention rate with their children. One thing is constant and that is change.

    Comment by marv thompson — March 25, 2011 @ 11:20 am

  84. marv,

    I’m old enough to remember that stuff, and fondly, too. (except the mid-week Primary … oooo how I hated that.) Best thing about evening Sacrament Meetings was the good excuse to sing God Be With You someplace besides a funeral. And coming home to treats and Wonderful World of Disney.

    Comment by Thomas Parkin — March 25, 2011 @ 2:35 pm

  85. Next to building temples ,high on the list in every mormon community was the building of a cultural center.We build church buildings with cultural centers in most.We use the basket ball court weekly but the stage gets little use except to store chairs under.My stake put on a play ,OUR TOWN, and it was a great event .It was the only play we did in 20 years that i lived there.There were some road shows ,but a full play or a musical festival was not done.Why build the stages if we are not going to use them.My wife and I were ward leaders for two california dance festivals at the rose bowl.There was such a great spirit at the end ,and when we were in the parking lot and the prophet drove by and everyone broke out with we thank the o god for a prophet,I thought the parking lot would be flooded with tears.Our kids tore off parts of their costumes and traded them with kids from other areas,great friendships were forged.Music needs to fill our ward more often ,we have a place for it and that place is the cultural hall.My dad was a convert and an orphan ,and that is why ,I am more liberal then the seven genertion side of my family from my moms line,But even liberal mormons need to obey the rules ,we just find a way around them and to bend them with in the spirit of doing good.I started a horse and mormon days in my stake and it became a tradition for several years,BBQ ,western music,horse events,good fellowship.when the stake was split it stopped .The thing is one person can start a tradition or can sit back and say we don’t have fun anymore.

    Comment by marv thompson — March 25, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

  86. Two thoughts.

    One – even the music that is allowed can be made into feeling the wrong spirit. I once saw a woman singing “O Holy Night” for the Christmas program raise her arms up full-on broadway style when she hit the high note. While it did teach me how to laugh hysterically on the inside while keeping a straight face on the outside, it was rather distracting.

    Two – listening to a polynesian elder perform “Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy” on guitar was one of the highlights of my mission. The spirit was super-strong as you could tell he meant every word.

    Comment by Jacob M — March 28, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

  87. A TIME AND A PLACE FOR GREAT MUSIC
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Z7KUM5qbgw

    Comment by marv thompson — June 19, 2011 @ 7:37 am

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