How to Make (and Unmake) a Mormon Hymnbook

Michael Hicks

Michael Hicks, “How to Make (an Unmake) a Mormon Hymnbook,” in A Firm Foundation: Church Organization and Administration, ed. David J. Whittaker and Arnold K. Garr (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2011), 503–19.

Michael Hicks is a professor of music composition and theory at Brigham Young University.

The hymnbook holds an odd place among Mormon works. In some ways it resembles the standard works because it contains the authorized sacred words and music used in virtually all Church meetings throughout the world. But, unlike scripture, it can change dramatically from one generation to the next. And even the means by which it changes vary over time, from the one-person hymnbook compilers of the early Church to the bureaucratic committees of our day. The only constant is that the making of one hymnbook is the unmaking of its forerunner. Our current book, though, supplanted not only the 1950 edition but also an aborted 1970s edition, whose history reveals some chronic tensions among aesthetic, populist, and pragmatic ideals in a growing church.

For most of the Mormon nineteenth century, ambitious individuals or ad hoc collaborators produced hymnbooks for the general Church, its missions, and its auxiliaries. The best-known of these was the British text-only pocketbook that went through twenty-five editions from 1840 to 1912. In 1889, President Wilford Woodruff authorized a committee of well-trained British musicians to publish the Latter-Day Saints’ Psalmody, the first complete book of four-part musical settings for every text in the British hymnal. Other hymnbooks with printed music soon competed with the Psalmody for Church use—especially Songs of Zion (1908) and Deseret Sunday School Songs (1909). In 1920 the First Presidency created the General Music Committee, a group that within seven years produced a more modern and serviceable hymnbook called Latter-day Saint Hymns (1927). In 1948 it was replaced by Hymns: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and then a 1950 revision by the same name. Hymns was the first collection to do away with all other adult hymnbooks in the Church. For the first time in Church history, the First Presidency wrote a preface to the book as a kind of imprimatur. [1]

In October 1972, President Harold B. Lee called O. Leslie Stone as an Assistant to the Twelve Apostles and in December made him managing director of a huge new Church Music Department. This department consisted mainly of a new Church Music Committee (headed by Harold Goodman) with nine “specialized areas,” including composition, headed by Merrill Bradshaw. [2] In December 1973, after the First Presidency told Elder Stone to have the Music Department “proceed in making guidelines and preparation for a new hymnal,” Goodman appointed Bradshaw as the head of a new four-member hymn committee. They held their first meeting in the boardroom of the twentieth floor of the Church Office Building one week before Christmas. [3]

Bradshaw had definite ideas: he wanted the committee to review about ten thousand hymns, new and old, choose about five hundred that would appeal to an international church, and have a new book ready to issue in the fall of 1975. Committee members immediately brought up problems Bradshaw had not thought of. For example, the racks on the back of pews were sized for books of four hundred or fewer hymns. So they had to trim Bradshaw’s ideal size. The timetable was also questionable, because the Church would have to coordinate with Deseret Book to make sure the stock of old hymnbooks was depleted when the new one came out. Other questions followed, including that of what to call the book. Bradshaw favored “hymnal.” But should it be “hymn book”? “Hymnbook”? What about a broader title that allowed for a wider spectrum of music—“Songs for Worship”?

Bradshaw gave the committee an ambitious flowchart of how the new hymnal—or “hymnbook,” as they decided to call it—would progress (see fig. 1). As they proceeded through the chart and made preliminary decisions, the committee felt momentum gathering. But eight days after the first meeting, their sponsor, President Lee, suddenly died.

Elder Stone hastily wrote to the new Church president, Spencer W. Kimball, to get the project reapproved. The rationale he offered favored genuinely new hymns, “hymns that proclaim the revealed truth in this day and time, hymns that are most meaningful to the present worldwide church. This would mean less Protestant-type hymns.” [4] At the same time, the committee began to define its mission, stated succinctly by Goodman: “We will proceed from the assumption that all hymns, present and past[,] are to be deleted from the Hymn book. Only those will be put into the new Hymn book which can be justified.” [5] To be justified meant to meet one or more of six criteria. Two criteria were the musical quality and the “doctrinal value and poetry” of the text. Two others were the “appropriateness” and “usefulness” of the hymn for Latter-day Saint services. A fifth criterion was a hymn’s “traditional popularity with the Saints.” And the sixth was “insistence of a general authority that a hymn must be included.”

With those in mind, the Hymnbook Task Committee, as they now called themselves, began their zealous weeding and harvesting of hymns. The plan was fourfold:

  1. Review all hymns in the current hymnbook.
  2. Review all hymns from earlier Latter-day Saint hymnbooks and song collections.
  3. Review hymns from as many Protestant hymnbooks as possible.
  4. Use the Ensign, Church News, and even direct mailings to solicit new texts and tunes from Church poets and composers. [6]

As the process unfolded, the committee would decide not only which hymns to include but also whether to revise any that they chose. The most common revision, they decided, would be to lower the keys of many hymns to foster the standard practice in Protestantism: everyone sings the melody in unison rather than singing in parts. [7]

But whatever urgency the committee felt was tempered by the viscosity of working within a larger system. In April 1974, for example, the Music Department advisors (Elders Mark E. Petersen and Boyd K. Packer) finally approved the committee’s fundamental document, “Specifications and Guidelines for the Preparation of a New Hymnbook,” only after five drafts in as many months. [8] Still, the hymnbook committee forged ahead, meeting for three to four hours every two weeks. Each committee member had his or her assignment and, after discussing it with their subcommittees, made recommendations to the whole committee for approval. All hymn reviews were thorough and often severe. When Jerold Ottley’s subcommittee looked at the first 130 songs in the 1909 Deseret Sunday School Songs, for example, they found only nine of them possibly worth including in the new book, and even then, all nine would need revision. [9]

The committee also had to wrestle with broader questions about content and format. Would their choices be in all international Latter-day Saint hymnbooks? They decided they should choose a core of hymns to appear in all hymnbooks and let regional committees choose the rest. [10] And what about patriotic songs like “America the Beautiful” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic”? This question was quickly answered by the First Presidency: all American patriotic songs were out. [11] The committee decided to drop the 1950 hymnbook’s separation of “choral” and “congregational” hymns. Each hymn would now be headed by its actual title when that differed from its first line (e.g., “Love At Home,” not “There Is Beauty All Around”). [12] The new book would group hymns in sections (as the first Latter-day Saint hymnbook had done). That, in turn, would necessitate a far more elaborate set of indices and cross-references. [13]

After a year of reviewing hymns and policies, the committee knew they would be lucky to produce even a first draft of their hymn choices by the fall of 1975—the date they had once hoped to have the book in print. [14] As personal commitments demanded more of the committee members’ time, they began to meet only once a month and give each committee member more autonomy. [15] When November 1975 arrived, they had reviewed all hymns in the 1950 book twice, revoting and sometimes reversing earlier decisions. [16] An excerpt from their collation entitled “Proposed Disposition of the Materials in the Present Hymnbook” suggests the verdicts and justifications for each decision (see fig. 2).

The committee voted to delete over 30 percent of past congregational hymns, 67 percent of choir hymns, and 90 percent of men’s and women’s arrangements. [17] The hymns they cut included old Christian favorites such as “Nearer, My God, to Thee,” “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” “Jesus, Lover of My Soul,” and “Behold, a Royal Army.” They also threw out many oft-sung Latter-day Saint originals, including “Who’s On the Lord’s Side, Who?,” “Reverently and Meekly Now,” “I Saw a Mighty Angel Fly,” and “Now We’ll Sing with One Accord.”

Their apostolic advisors asked for a list of the hymns the committee wanted to delete. [18] Bradshaw agreed to provide it but insisted that it come with detailed explanations of the committee’s decisions. He also gave fourteen broad reasons for cutting hymns from the old book:

  1. Their texts were “unsuitable.”
  2. The hymns had a “Protestant flavor” or “revivalist style.”
  3. They were “dated.”
  4. They were national anthems, state songs, etc.
  5. They were too difficult or awkward to sing.
  6. They were militaristic.
  7. They were little used.
  8. They had “excessive sentimentality.”
  9. They were “musically inappropriate,”“incompetent,” or in a “frivolous style.”
  10. The music or text had “uncomfortable associations” (e.g., with love songs).
  11. Another setting of the same text was better (e.g., “O My Father”).
  12. The hymn was guilty of “preachiness” or a “moralizing flavor.”
  13. A better hymn with the same message was available.
  14. Words and text were poorly matched. [19]

Many of these reasons seemed fair, even obvious. Others, though, must have seemed harsh and elitist, with a tone that would not sit well with some Church leaders. [20] In its report to the Twelve, the committee often used words far gentler than what it used in its internal reports, which included “gloomy,” “pompous,” “choppy,” “racis[t],” “chauvinistic,” and even “pantheistic.” [21] But the committee members were still sometimes blunt in the reasons they gave to the Twelve. More than one hymn they called “musically embarrassing to the church.” They deemed “Who’s on the Lord’s Side, Who?” to be “amateurish, jingoist [and] self congratulatory” with music that “sounds like a cheap London dance hall tune.” [22] Nevertheless, since some deleted hymns might still have “historical value,” the committee proposed they be published in a separate book that would “tell things about our past.” [23]

With so many hymns out, the committee hoped to put as many as 175 new ones in without making the new book any longer than the old one. [24] By mid-1975 they had gathered more than three thousand potential new hymns and two thousand more new texts that could be set to music. These included Protestant favorites (especially Christmas and Thanksgiving songs); “hymns from around the world” and overtly ethnic hymns (like the Boy Scout favorite “Omaha Tribal Prayer”); [25] and newly written texts and tunes, especially sacrament hymns and others that treated Latter-day Saint emphases (priesthood, prophets, fast day, tithing, genealogy, and so on). For months the committee discussed and voted on all of the hymns they had gathered. During this time, requests came from General Authorities such as Elder Thomas S. Monson, who urged them to add the hymn “How Great Thou Art.” [26]

Another year passed; it was now summer of 1976 and the committee still had not completed a first draft. [27] They again revised their timetable, declaring that the book would be done by fall 1977. But for over two years unforeseen questions had kept cropping up: What would be the budget for mock-ups of the book? [28] Who was going to supervise the difficult process of translating hymn texts? [29] Could core hymns have the same numbers in all international printings? [30] What about a “simplified” hymnbook (a special edition with pared-down accompaniments)? [31] Honorariums for new hymns? [32] Thickness of the paper? [33] Who would handle the editing? [34] If they were going to lower some keys, how low and on which hymns? [35] What about other musical revisions? [36] If they were going to revise some texts, which lines would they change and how? [37] Should hymns be sung in first person singular or plural? [38] If the hymns were to be divided into topical sections, what would the topics be? [39] Should the committee field-test new hymns to see if members liked and would sing them? If so, how? [40] When a draft seemed ready to present to the Brethren, how would they do that—cassettes? [41] And how would they introduce this new hymnbook to the Church at large? [42]

But the slow pace also stemmed from knots in the administrative process. These led the committee in September 1976 to make yet another list, this one a list of six groups of questions about authority and protocol:

  1. What kind of direct communication should exist between this committee and Elder Stone, managing director of the Church Music Department? Does Elder Stone understand our rationale and all of our activities?
  2. On a specialized project such as the hymnbook, should the “expert,” who has been selected because of his expertise with hymns and music, be allowed to sit and communicate with those higher up in the administration?
  3. Exactly what authority does this committee have in relation to decisions made on the new hymnbook? What responsibility?
  4. What is the role of this committee in the new hymnbook project? Will the committee be able to defend their work and rationale to those in decision-making positions?
  5. What is the role of this committee in relation to Correlation and the new hymnbook? The role of the Deseret Press? The role of the Editing Section?
  6. Concerning our role with Correlation, how will they react to our suggested Protestant hymns being included in the new hymnbook? [43]

Perhaps predictably, some General Authorities as well as the Correlation Committee wanted to overturn the hymnbook committee’s decisions. (Elders Ezra Taft Benson and Mark E. Petersen, for example, lobbied to get patriotic songs back in.) [44] In October 1976, the committee learned that twelve hymns they had voted to delete were being put back in and three they voted to keep were being thrown out. The committee came up with three ways to respond to such overturnings: “acquiesce” (let the overturnings stand without argument), “fuss” (let the Brethren know why the committee disagreed but eventually acquiesce if compromises could be made), or “fight” (“strongly disagree with their decision, and be prepared to back up the disagreement with specific reasons and rationale”). Regarding the fifteen hymns on which they’d been overturned, the committee voted “acquiesce” on four, “fuss” on four, and “fight” on seven. [45]

As 1977 opened, the project faced a new obstacle. In February, the First Presidency divided the general Melchizedek Priesthood Executive Committee into two smaller committees, one of which, now called the Priesthood Executive Committee, was headed by Elder Gordon B. Hinckley. This committee had three subcommittees, one of which, headed by Elder Dean L. Larsen, would oversee Church publications, including music. [46] Elder Hinckley directed Elder Larsen to find out the rationale for and current status of the hymnbook project begun more than three years earlier. [47] Michael Moody, executive secretary of the Church Music Division (as it was then called) and ex-officio member of the hymnbook committee, quickly prepared a ten-point explanatory memo called “Why a New Hymnbook.” [48] He and the rest of the committee also made new, detailed charts showing all the old hymns they wanted to keep, discard, or revise, and which new hymns they wanted to include. [49] On April 26, 1977, Elder Larsen told Moody that the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve seemed ready to scrap the major revision the committee had prepared and “take an entirely different direction,” probably consisting of “minor modifications” to the 1950 hymnbook. [50]

The hymnbook committee stopped meeting, and the project lay fallow for another year and a half, when the Twelve suddenly reauthorized the project and called the committee back together. [51] For a few weeks they began meeting again as the “Reactivated Hymnbook Task Committee,” reviewing their earlier drafts and answering a list of thirty-one questions posed to them by the Twelve. [52] For example: Number of verses for each hymn? No more than four, the committee said. Chord symbols with the hymns? No. “It encourages people to get by with less than adequate musical training in preparing themselves to serve the Kingdom musically.” The color of the book? Several colors would be best, to allow wards and stakes to adapt to color schemes in their buildings. There were larger questions too, especially about what values should rule in the hymn choices the committee made. The reply was emphatic: “Every compromise with excellence will return to haunt us a thousand times.” [53] Within weeks the committee submitted essentially the same plans as they had before. They received no written reply and were all released. [54]

For the next five years nothing happened with the new hymnbook. The Church’s publication committee focused on new editions of Latter-day Saint scriptures: the Bible, published in 1979, and the new triple combination, published in 1982. In 1983, with the scriptures now done, the First Presidency authorized Moody to revive the hymnbook project as essentially a modest revision of the 1950 edition. Moody was not to work with any of the previous committee members, but only the current advisory committee to the Church Music Division. [55] He and they reviewed the earlier committee’s work and agreed with many of their principles and decisions. Nevertheless, field-testing hymns became the dominant decider. [56] Singability and popularity trumped artistic or academic standards. Many of the hymns the earlier committee had cut now came back. The patriotic songs also returned. And the international breadth of the new hymnbook fell far short of the earlier committee’s ideals.

After a comparatively swift compilation process, the hymnbook came off the presses in 1985—the sesquicentennial of the Church’s first hymnbook. A period of both fanfare and adjustment began as Church members lamented the loss of a few favorites and found fresh gems among the newly added hymns. The Ensign heralded the book with a cover article that outlined its making, interviewed its 1980s compilers, and doted on its physical appearance. [57] Perhaps the most telling statement in the article came from the hymnbook’s General Authority adviser, Elder Hugh Pinnock, who bespoke the populism of the times. The men and women that produced this book, Elder Pinnock said, had “only one disability: they knew too much about music.” However, he noted, “the committee has been sensitive to select hymns of worship that people will enjoy singing.” [58]

Behind the scenes, Michael Moody wrote a letter of thanks and consolation to Merrill Bradshaw. Moody said that he had never been told why the earlier version had been scrapped but that the timing of this version was right: “There were too many factors that fell into place to have it otherwise.” In his reply, Bradshaw praised Moody’s successful midwifing of the new hymnbook and wrote: “Knowing a little . . . of the pressures, politics, and emotions that are involved in getting such a project finished, approved, and published, I consider the final product to be little short of a miracle.” [59]

“Pressures, politics, and emotions”—not sufficient for the making of a new hymnbook, to be sure, but necessary. To dismantle a greatly loved hymnbook and construct a new one in its place requires the wrenching of a whole culture of worship. And to attempt that is to confront fundamental questions of human experience: what to salvage and what to throw away. Those questions can cut especially deep where the demands of religion and the pleasures of music are concerned. The chairman of the Church Music Committee in the 1940s, explaining the choices that shaped the 1948 hymnbook, wrote that to be criticized for those choices “goes without saying.” “It is a long way, I fear, from the dignity of [the great English hymns] to the triviality of some of the music we sing, . . . and it may be that our people will never, as a whole, find the same appeal in them that we musicians do.” So their task in unmaking the 1927 hymnbook and making a new one was to “step forward, without being altogether too drastic.” Because “we cannot make transitions to a higher plane of expression very fast in a democratic body of people.” [60] But even a slow transition to a higher plane of expression is a miracle worth its share of acquiescing, fussing, and sometimes even a little fighting.


[1] A more detailed history of these various editions may be found scattered throughout the narrative of my Mormonism and Music: A History (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1989).

[2] See Specialized Areas Meeting Minutes, May 1, 1973. The specialized areas were:

1. Text Committee

2. Children’s Music Committee

3. Organ Committee

4. Library Committee

5. Choral Music Committee

7. Instrumental Music Committee

8. Composition Committee

9. Youth Music Committee

10. Congregational Music Committee

The call to Bradshaw is in O. Leslie Stone to Merrill Bradshaw, January 25, 1973. These two sources and most other materials cited in this essay were given to me by Merrill Bradshaw in 1986 (and a few by Janet Bradshaw in 2009); I have placed those with many related documents in the Merrill Bradshaw Papers housed in the music area of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. All documents cited herein, except as noted, are housed in these (as yet unprocessed) Bradshaw Papers.

[3] The authorization to make guidelines for the new hymnal is in Church Music Committee Minutes, December 11, 1973. All of the information in the paragraph that follows, as well as the flowchart replicated in figure 1 are from the December 18, 1973 Minutes of the Hymn Book Committee, whose name was soon changed to the Hymnbook Committee and then, for most of their existence, the Hymnbook Task Committee. Hereafter, the minutes of this committee will be cited as HTCM.

[4] O. Leslie Stone to the First Presidency, January 4, 1974, Church Music Department Correspondence, Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City.

[5] Although the sentiment appears in the December 18, 1973, HTCM, the Goodman statement and the six criteria are from undated early holograph notes by Bradshaw. Several later lists of criteria also were drafted, with criteria varying in number and generally adding something about a hymn helping a person “feel the Spirit.” The HTMC, May 15, 1974, distill the criteria for inclusion to “spirit, function, doctrine, and tradition.”

[6] The Ensign published its call for hymns in the March 1974 issue. A related flier entitled “Suggestions to Composers” appears in Church Music Department Ephemera, 1938–74, Church History Library. Bradshaw suggests letters to composers in HTCM, May 28, 1974, and calls to composers in Specialized Areas Committee Meeting Minutes, July 30, 1974. See also the undated circular letter (deadline for response is December 15, 1974) soliciting hymns for the new hymnbook: “Although the traditional concept of a hymn imposes certain limitations, we hope that you will use your creativity in producing fresh, original hymns.” Compare the letter addressed “Dear Friend” (August 1, 1945), soliciting new hymns for what became the 1948 hymnbook (both letters are in Music Department Circular Letters, Church History Library).

[7] This matter was discussed from time to time. See especially the HTCM for June 4, 1974, and October 19, 1976; also the holograph.

This decision ran counter to the feelings of many, of course. Elder Theodore M. Burton, for example, wrote to Elder Stone on December 13, 1973, that greater music literacy in the Church was needed and one way to get it was to place greater emphasis on singing in parts. This memo is in the Music Department Office Files, Church History Library.

[8] These executive advisers to the committee approved the fourth draft, pending deletion of the committee’s six-part definition of “worship” in the document. (Both the fourth and fifth drafts are in the Bradshaw Papers.) See mentions of drafts and submissions in Specialized Areas Committee Meeting Minutes, March 26, April 9 and 30, 1974.

[9] The bureaucracy grows a little tangled here: the reviewing of earlier Latter-day Saint songbooks was done by the subcommittee for congregational music (chaired by Jerold Ottley), formerly one of the specialized areas of the larger Church Music Department but now under the direction of the hymnbook committee. See the Subcommittee for Congregational Music Minutes, February 21 and March 7, 1974.

[10] HTCM, March 11, 1974; also, Specialized Area Committees Minutes, April 30, 1974. That core of hymns would also form the content of the simplified hymnbook.

[11] HTCM, August 28, September 10, and November 12, 1974; August 21, 1976.

[12] HTCM, May 15 and 28, 1974.

[13] Church Music Committee Minutes, January [22?], 1974; HTCM, June 4, 1974.

[14] On the pace of reviews, see especially HTCM, September 10, 1974. Blank copies of the review sheet may be found in the Bradshaw Papers. Their new completion date is discussed in HTCM, February 25, 1975.

[15] HTCM, November 12, 1974.

[16] HTCM, November 12, 1974.

[17] These statistics come from the Hymnbook Committee, in their “Report to the Executive Committee, Church Music Department: ‘Current’ Hymns Recommended to Be Omitted from the New Hymnbook,” undated holograph draft, whose internal and contextual evidence supports a date of about November 1975.

[18] HTCM, October 26, 1975.

[19] “‘Current’ Hymns Recommended to Be Omitted.”

[20] On the back of the folder containing the draft of the committee’s report to the Twelve, Bradshaw made a list of President Kimball’s six favorite hymns—none of which they proposed to delete.

[21] These all come from “Proposed Disposition of the Materials in the Present Hymnbook.”

[22] From “‘Current’ Hymns Recommended to Be Omitted.”

[23] “‘Current’ Hymns Recommended to Be Omitted.”

[24] “‘Current’ Hymns Recommended to Be Omitted.”

[25] This one in particular was discussed in HTC Minutes, August 21, 1976. The “hymns from around the world” rubric for a section in the hymnbook is used in HTCM, February 25, 1975.

[26] See Merrill Bradshaw, interviewed by Michael Hicks, August 11, 1986, typescript in author’s possession. The committee carefully endeavored to include General Authorities’ favorite hymns—see the discussion in HTCM, February 25 and October 25, 1975.

[27] Project Report, Committees of the Music Department, July 1, 1976: “First draft of hymnbook is approaching completion. Initial responses from Brethren and Correlation have been received. Projected completion Fall 1977.”

[28] Budget issues were raised as early as February 26, 1974. See Church Music Committee Meeting Minutes for that date.

[29] Translation was a recurring issue. See HTCM March 11, August 28, September 10, 1974;

[30] This issue was apparently raised first by Elder A. Theodore Tuttle. See the memo to Tuttle from Michael Moody, March 8, 1974.

[31] Specialized Area Committees Minutes, April 30, 1974.

[32] HTCM, March 11, 1974.

[33] This had come up at the first meeting, December 18, 1973, when the issue of size arose.

[34] HTCM, August 21, 1976.

[35] HTCM, October 19, 1976.

[36] HTCM, May 15, 1974, for example, suggests (1) eliminating the rests at the end of many hymn lines, and (2) having all verses appear within the staffs, rather than some with the music and others at the page’s bottom.

[37] HTCM, September 10, 1974.

[38] HTCM, October 19, 1976, notes that “much discussion” about this was had, then suggests these criteria: “If the congregation is singing about a general principle of the gospel, ‘we’ is fine—‘I’ for testimony-type ideas. ‘I can make the pathway bright’ indicates smugness.”

[39] Topics (or “subject areas”) are discussed in HTCM, May 28, 1974, and September 12, 1976. The criteria for sacrament hymns are discussed in HTCM, October 26, 1975.

[40] HTCM, August 21 and September 12, 1976.

[41] HTCM, August 21 and September 12, 1976.

[42] HTCM, August 21 and September 12, 1976; see also HTCM, September 10, 1974.

[43] HTCM, September 12, 1976.

[44] Regarding Elder Benson’s request, see HTCM, October 19, 1976. Bradshaw recalls that Elder Petersen wanted “The Star-Spangled Banner” restored to the book; Bradshaw proposed possibly printing it on the inside cover of the American edition. Bradshaw interview.

[45] HTCM, October 19, 1976.

[46] See “Church Policies and Announcements,” Ensign, April 1977, 93–95.

[47] This is based on a comment by Bradshaw that “when they put Elder Hinckley in charge of the Priesthood Committee the first question he asked about the Hymnbook Committee was ‘Who authorized this?’ So we were apparently operating with the knowledge of the President of the Church but without the knowledge of a good share of the Council of the Twelve.” Bradshaw interview.

[48] The pace at which these events unfolded is suggested in the dates: the Priesthood Committee reorganization (according to “Church Policies and Announcements”) was announced on February 2, 1977, and “Why a New Hymnbook” is dated February 9, 1977.

[49] Michael Moody to Dean L. Larsen, March 24, 1977, and the accompanying thirteen-page document, “Hymn Recommendations.”

[50] Michael Moody to Merrill Bradshaw, April 26, 1977.

[51] Michael Moody to Merrill Bradshaw, September 18, 1978; also, Michael Moody “To Past and Present Members of the Music Committee” [e.g., the larger committee of which the Hymnbook Task Committee had been a subset], September 27, 1978.

[52] Reactivated Hymnbook Task Committee Minutes, September 21, 1978. The quotations that follow in this paragraph are from “Answers to Questions about the New Hymnbook.”

[53] The question apparently arose partly because of one General Authority’s recommendation that chord symbols accompany Primary songs in Sing with Me, which the Music Department’s Executive Committee favored. See Michael Moody to Editors of Church Magazines and Vanja Watkins, November 30, 1974, Music Department Office Files.

[54] Bradshaw interview.

[55] See Michael Moody to Merrill Bradshaw, September 19, 1983.

[56] See Kathleen Lubeck, “The New Hymnbook,” Ensign, September 1985, 7–13; Michael Moody, interviewed by Michael Hicks, May 27, 1987, typescript in author’s possession. For an analysis of the textual changes in this hymnbook, see Douglas Campbell, “Changes in LDS Hymns: Implications and Opportunities,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 28 (Fall 1995): 65–91.

[57] Lubeck, “The New Hymnbook,” 7–13.

[58] Lubeck, “The New Hymnbook,” 11.

[59] Michael Moody to Merrill Bradshaw, December 31, 1985; Merrill Bradshaw to Michael Moody, January 8, 1986.

[60] Tracy Y. Cannon to G. W. Richards, October 19, 1945, in Church Music General Files, Church History Library.