Music Invigorates the Soul
Music can noble hints impart, engender fury, kindle love, with unsuspected eloquence can move and manage all the man with secret art.
Music is the only sensual gratification in which mankind may indulge to excess without injury to their moral or religious feelings.
Music wakes the soul, and lifts it high, and wings it with sublime desires, and fits it to bespeak the Deity.
Scripture Lessons and Terms Used in This Discussion
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father by Him” (Colossians 3:16.17).
“Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works” (1 Chronicles 16:9).
“Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms” (Psalm 95:2).
“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;” (Ephesians 5:19).
- Psalm – a portion of Scripture that is put to music
- Hymns – Christian songs that praise God
- Spiritual Songs – songs of personal testimony, relating to spiritual truth
- Grace – may also indicate the need for Christians to sing with thanksgiving and gratefulness
Music has been a part of human existence since man’s earliest days on earth.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said,”Music is the universal language of mankind.” What a very profound statement that is. Where spoken words may not be able to convey a message, the sounds of music often times can.
- Exodus 15 – musical festivals of Israel after the people miraculously crossed the Red Sea.
- Music accompanied men into battle and celebrated victories in war.
- Songs and dance honored kings at their coronation.
- Music soothed troubled minds.
- Music accompanied prophesying.
- Music expressed personal sorrow.
- David described personal emotions as well as praise to God in the Psalms.
All of us have various tastes in music. Music has a very powerful influence upon our lives. When we are feeling down and depressed, certain types of music have a way of lifting us up and making us feel joyous once again. Music can also have negative influences on our lives. Certain songs can actually bring us down and make us feel depressed, lonely, unwanted, unloved. Therefore, we must learn to be discerning about the types of music that we listen to.
In December 1970, the First Presidency stated:
Through music, man’s ability to express himself extends beyond the limits of the spoken language in both subtlety and power. Music can be used to exalt and inspire or to carry messages of degradation and destruction. It is therefore important that as Latter-day Saints we at all times apply the principles of the gospel and seek the guidance of the Spirit in selecting the music with which we surround ourselves (Priesthood Bulletin, December 1970, p.10).
Music can invite the Spirit into our homes, or it can drive it away.
In an article in the November 1990 Ensign magazine, Ardeth G. Kapp made this statement concerning music,
Music has a very powerful and wonderful influence in establishing feelings and moods that can lift and elevate your thoughts and your actions. But because it is so powerful, it is clearly used by the adversary to stimulate your thoughts, feelings, and moods, to pollute and poison your mind and cause you to do things you would not otherwise consider doing.
In a January 1974 Ensign magazine article, Elder Boyd K. Packer stated “music is one of the most forceful instruments for governing the mind and the spirit of man.”
Ask yourself these questions concerning music:
- How much time do I spend listening to music?
- Why do I listen to music?
- What type of music do I enjoy listening to?
- Does the type of music that I listen to invite the Spirit into my home?
- Have I felt a change in spirit while listening to this music?
- Are the lyrics words that I would comfortably speak to my family and friends?
- Does the performing group promote standards that are similar to my own?
- Does the music cause you to think, act, or feel contrary to the teachings of Christ?
The Scriptures clearly warn us of guarding our hearts and minds from evil influences:
1. Deuteronomy 4:9 – “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thou soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;”
2. Proverbs 4:23 – “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
3. 2 Corinthians 10:5 – “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”
President Spencer W. Kimball said, “It is obvious to remain clean and worthy, one must stay positively and conclusively away from the devil’s territory” (Miracle of Forgiveness, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969, page 232). As Christians, we represent Christ at all times – wherever we go, whatever we say. The music that we listen to, like every other area of our lives, should honor God. We should focus on what our Heavenly Father has done for us and express praise to Him out of gratefulness.
A few standards to follow when choosing what type of music to listen to:
- Does this music honor God and His ways? (1 Corinthians 10:31)
- Does this music help me think on what is right and true? (Philippians 4:8)
- Does this music reinforce my faith? (Romans 14:22,23)
- Does this music approve what God condemns? (Proverbs 19:27)
- Do the words of the songs displease God? (Ephesians 4:29)
- Can I listen to this music in the name of the Lord Jesus? (Colossians 3:17)
- Do my parents approve of this type of music? (Colossians 3:20)
- Will listening to this type of music offend the Holy Spirit Who lives within me? (1 Corinthians 6:19,20)
President Gordon B. Hinckley has given us this wise counsel concerning music:
Let there be music in the home. If you have teenagers who have their own recordings, you will be prone to describe the sound as something other than music. Let them occasionally hear something better. Expose them to it. It will speak for itself. More of appreciation will come than you may think. It may not be spoken, but it will be felt, and its influence will become increasingly manifest as the years pass” (Be Thou An Example [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1981] , p.56).
May we be challenged to listen to music that will be pleasing to our Heavenly Father. This is my humble prayer. In the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.