To Latter-day Saints hymns are a form of prayer.1 Unlike other faiths – in which God is only the recipient of hymn writing and singing – in Mormonism the compositions of the first hymn book were believed to have been commissioned by a revelation to Joseph Smith, and were compiled by his wife (with the help of William W. Phelps).
Christians sing hymns to praise and worship God, but hymns also tell stories and illustrate the beliefs of those that sing them. Within their pages different editions of hymn books trace the history of the faiths to which they belong. At different times and under different circumstances there may have been more hymns on persecution, or the passing of loved ones, or a longed for blessing.
A look at different Mormon hymn books since the time the first was published can also give us a record of changes that might have occurred in the beliefs in the LDS Church. It is hard to argue that the Saints didn’t believe in something they sung about in every congregation throughout the world, and which was printed in hymn books for that purpose by the church they were members of.