Singing is a big part of our Church meetings. Young children in Primary learn the basics of the gospel and feel the stirrings of testimony through the songs they sing. They feel the good spirit of these songs and they love them. When my husband was the Bishop of our ward, he would interview children ready to graduate from Primary and ask them what their favourite part of Primary was. Invariably, they answered that it was the songs. They loved singing the Primary songs. We have many beloved hymns as well that help us learn and express our beliefs.
We are blessed to sing the same hymns and Primary songs wherever we live in the Church and many of us sing them often in our homes. These songs bring a wonderful spirit of goodness to our homes. We express our faith through them and we teach our children with them.
The blessings we sing about in the first verse of this hymn include faith, peace, scriptures, and living prophets. In the second verse we are told:
“God’s truths protect the hearth from wrong when error’s ways allure,
Lift minds from self to nobleness, Keep thought and action pure.”
Learning the hymns can keep us safe at home and away from home. Boyd K. Packer learned about the protecting power of hymns from his brother shortly after WWII.
“My brother, Colonel Leon C. Packer, was stationed at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. A much decorated B-24 pilot, he became a brigadier general in the Air Force.
“…[H]e told me how he was able to hold himself together under fire. He said, ‘I have a favorite hymn’—and he named it—‘and when things got rough I would sing it silently to myself, and there would come a faith and an assurance that kept me on course’” (Boyd K. Packer: The Spirit of Revelation, October 1999).
In a later talk, President Packer gave further advice on this subject:
“Choose a favorite hymn or song… one with words that are uplifting and music that is reverent, one that makes you feel something akin to inspiration. There are many beautiful songs to choose from. Seek the guidance of the Spirit in making your selection. Go over the song in your mind carefully. Memorize it. Even though you have had no musical training, you can think through a simple song. Now use this as the course for your thoughts to follow. Make it your emergency channel.
“Whenever you find shady actors slipping from the sidelines of your thinking onto the stage of your mind, put on this CD, as it were. It will change your whole mood.
“Because the music is uplifting and clean, the baser thoughts will slip shamefully away. For while virtue, by choice, will not associate with filth, evil cannot tolerate the presence of light. In due time you will find yourself humming the music inwardly, almost automatically, to drive out unworthy thoughts” (Boyd K. Packer: Worthy Thoughts, Worthy Music, April 2008).
Vernald W. Johns (1902-1999), the writer of this hymn text, reported that “the thought of the joy the gospel brings to those who live its principles, as felt in our own and other families, provided the title line that had to be expanded. Because I am a music director in the Church, it was natural for me to think of joyfulness in terms of song.” (Karen Lynn Davidson: Our Latter-day Hymns, p. 299).
Composer G. William Richards (1918-2005), who served as a member of the 1985 Hymnbook Executive Committee, reported that in the work of that committee “many texts were passed around each week which had been submitted without tunes. This one was circulated for a month or so and appeared to be an orphan, so I took it home with me one night”(Ibid). He soon had the music written and submitted it anonymously. A simple and dignified hymn tune, Brother Richards gave it the name DYRENG because his wife’s home in Manti, Utah, the Dyreng home, “had many glad songs arise in it” (Ibid).
Congregation Choir Arrangements
Our Congregation Choir arrangements add a beautiful, alternate accompaniment to the original SATB found in the hymnbook. This alternate accompaniment could be used with the SATB as a piano/organ duet accompaniment for the entire congregation or for a large choir. It could also be used alone as a more embellished accompaniment for a solo singer or group, or just to enjoy as a piano solo.
Listen to our arrangements below. You will first hear just the organ doing the introduction. The piano joins in on the first verse and then the countermelody (vocal in one; flute in the other) joins in for the second demonstration verse.