Rollout of new hymnbook for Church of Jesus Christ to start next year
It has taken five years and countless hours of review and research, but an announcement about the release of a new hymnbook for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was made during general conference weekend.
The new hymnbook, entitled “Hymns–for Home and Church,” will start its rollout in the first half of 2024 in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French and will be completed by the end of 2026. It will see a final rollout completion in 50 languages by 2030.
In the church’s original 2018 announcement, there were to be two books: general hymns and hymns for children. The church has decided to combine those into one.
“We are pleased to share an update on the anticipated consolidated music collection,” said Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “One way God helps us to feel the Spirit and motivate us to live the gospel of Jesus Christ is through sacred music.”
“Hymns–for Home and Church,” a collection of between 450 and 500 hymns and children’s songs, will be available digitally and in print for use at home and at church.
The first collection of hymns was assembled by Emma Smith, who was directed to do so through a revelation given to her husband, the Prophet Joseph Smith, in 1835. The last time the hymnbook was updated with scriptural reference added was in 1985.
Hymns are an important part of the Sunday services within the church. During the week, students sing in Seminary and Institute classes, while families sing in Family Home Evening. Wherever members, meet music plays a role. In the Latter-day Saint faith, music is considered a prayer to God and members attending temples will meditate to hymns and music played in the chapel area of these buildings.
Latter-day Saints traditionally worship as individuals and families at home and as a congregation in Sunday worship services. Rather than the previously announced hymnbook and separate songbook for children, “Hymns–for Home and Church” will be representative of the communal nature of music and worship, with hymns and children’s songs together in one collection, according to the church.
“Children will feel that they belong in sacrament meeting when we sing from the inspiring collection of children’s songs that will be included in the new hymnbook,” said Primary General President Susan H. Porter, who serves as an adviser to the hymnbook revision.
With the publishing of up to 50 total languages by 2030, this means that Latter-day Saint congregations throughout the world will worship with the same consolidated and unified hymnbook, numbered the same across the languages most spoken in the church.
Many additional languages in which the church is still being established will receive a smaller collection of approximately 60 hymns and children’s songs called “Selected Hymns.”
In the meantime, some new songs are planned to be released digitally in small batches starting in the first half of 2024. They can be used alongside hymns and songs in the church’s current published hymnbook and songbook. These will include popular music of the church composed after 1985 such as “Faith in Every Footstep,” music borrowed from other faiths and some of the 17,000 new songs submitted by members of the church.
Many, if not all, of these new songs will later be incorporated into “Hymns–for Home and Church,” the church has said.
“What a blessing the new hymnbook will be for all of us! I love the power the hymns have to touch my heart as I sing about the savior and His gospel of joy,” Porter said.
In June 2018, the church announced plans to revise its 1985 “Hymns” and 1989 “Children’s Songbook,” along with requesting member feedback about sacred music and calling for member submissions of original hymns, songs and texts. Tens of thousands responded, and more than 17,000 songs were submitted.
According to the church’s hymnbook committee, updates will clarify doctrine, replace outdated language where meanings have changed over time, and ensure that lyrics and musical styles are more universally inclusive.
In addition, more than 150 reviewers worldwide have provided detailed evaluations of the 17,000 new song submissions, the church said. The hymnbook committee is now giving special consideration to several hundred submissions as they finalize their recommendations to church leaders.
“‘Hymns–for Home and Church’ will help deepen conversion to the Lord and His work,” Renlund said. “We pray that it will bless, edify, comfort and cheer you in the coming years.”