From the Children’s Songbook to the Hymn Book

If I understand correctly, several hymns in our hymn book appeared first as children’s songs. Isn’t this the case for Called to Serve, I Am a Child of God, and Families Can Be Together Forever?

So, since the precedent is set, I would like to see Beautiful Savior, which currently appears only in the Children’s Songbook, added to the hymn book. Every time I hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing it, I wish that we could sing it in sacrament meeting.

Are there any other current children’s songs that you would like to see moved to the hymn book?


  1. I second your vote for “Beautiful Savior”. I first encountered this song when I was in my high school’s choir. Instead of “Beautiful Savior”, it was “Fairest Lord, Jesus”, but the rest of the words were the same.

    I would also like to see “Stars Were Gleaming” added. I think the Christmas section of our hymnal is a little sparse.

  2. I really like “My Heavenly Father Loves Me”, but I don’t know how that would go over as a congregational hymn. It just sounds more appropriate sung by children, I think. ditto for “On a Golden Springtime”.

  3. “The Priesthood is Restored!” Such an awesome song. It would sound fantastic with a really powerful organ background. And it is short, so it could be used when Sacrament Meeting runs over time.

  4. I also really like “On a Golden Springtime” and I think it could work well if adapted a bit (maybe not so high). The message and symbolism are really cool. I also like that song about “When I am Baptized” (the “I like to look for rainbows” one), but I’m not sure it would work well for a congregation either.

  5. “Teach Me to Walk in the Light” would be wonderful in the congregational book (if it’s not already there; I don’t think so, since no ward I’ve been in has ever sung it except in Primary).

  6. Ardis, I’m pretty sure it’s already in there, although perhaps it’s a bit underused. My ward sang it yesterday as a rest hymn. I think it’s #304.

  7. Teach me to Walk in the Light is number 304 in the hymnbook.

    The whole section from 299-308 are from the primary book and are even listed as “Children’s Songs” in the table of contents. Called to Serve is also originally from primary as was noted. I prefer not to sing any of these in sacrament meetings because most all were conceived with piano accompaniments which sound a little ridiculous on the organ.

    Fairest Lord Jesus, incidentally was not originally a Primary song, but an adult hymn. It wasn’t in the previous Primary book, the arrangement dating from 1989.

    The better known text:

    Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature
    O thou of God and man the Son;
    Thee will I cherish, thee will I honor,
    Thou, my soul’s glory, joy, and crown.

    Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands,
    Robed in the blooming garb of spring:
    Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
    Who makes the woeful heart to sing.

    Fair is the sunshine, fairer still the moonlight,
    And all the twinkling, starry host:
    Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer,
    Than all the angels heaven can boast.

    The primary book shifts the order and alters the text:

    Fair is the sunshine, fairer the moonlight,
    And all the stars in heaven above:
    Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer,
    And brings to all the world his love.

    Fair are the meadows, fairer the woodlands,
    Robed in the flowers of blooming spring:
    Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
    Who makes the sorrowing spirit sing.

    Beautiful Savior! Lord of all the nations!
    Son of God and Son of Man!
    Thee will I honor, praise, and give glory
    Give praise and glory evermore!

  8. I was very happy when they added the children’s songs to the hymnbook. In the ward I attended after I first joined the church (in Utah), they regularly sang songs like I AM A CHILD OF GOD. I was so frustrated at not being able to find it in the book, and to be told, “Everybody knows it.”

  9. Oh, where to start. (full disclosure: I’ve never really gotten over the grief of being released from Primary Chorister 3 years ago)

    All the suggestions so far are awesome. Except, I have a slightly hard time imagining adults doing Scripture Power in Sac Mtg. Maybe only because I think the song loses some of the power without the arm pumping. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Songs that I love or at least like and would I think work well enough in Sac Mtg:
    Did Jesus Really Live Again?
    He Sent His Son
    I Thank Thee, Dear Father
    Someone already mentioned Stars Were Gleaming, I would add PIcture a Christmas

    Songs I love but might not work, at least with the musical taste norms as currently existing in the hymn book. These are basically all the ones that have overlapping parts.
    A Child’s Prayer
    I Pray in Faith
    Love is Spoken Here

    And one whose message a lot of catty adults could stand to here more often :-), I’ll Walk With You.

  10. One of the songs with arm motions, like “Book of Mormon Stories,” “Once There Was a Snowman,” or the always-popular “Popcorn Popping.” These would make great “rest hymns” (i.e., “wake-everyone-up-hymns”) in stake conferences.

  11. “Beautiful Savior” is actually already in the Choir Book. That’s the version the MoTab sings.

    What I want to see:

    I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus
    I Feel My Savior’s Love
    Follow the Prophet (we could sing ALL the verses and thereby shorten the talks –okay, sorry, I actually like the talks. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

    I like Steve’s idea (#13). That would definitely be fun!

  12. (tangent) Is it rude to start commenting without introducing myself? I’m…uh…papageno. Papageno is from Mozart’s The Magic Flute (fascinating gospel/temple parallels there, as I’m sure you know). Except I’m a woman, unlike Papageno. I suppose I should have chosen to be Papagena, but her character doesn’t really do much. And annoyance with things like that is why I’m a feminist. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. I’m LDS, live in California, and at this very instant (and WAY too many other instants) procrastinating writing my phd dissertation.

  14. Welcome, papageno. You’ve found the right place, as several of us are procrastinating our dissertations as well. In fact, I think that there was some discussion on T&S once about how procrastinating one’s dissertation was perhaps the primary motivator for much of the writing on the bloggernacle. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Bill, thanks for the original words, and for pointing out that that section of the hymn book is actually labeled “Children’s Songs.” How silly of me not to have noticed that. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Now to reveal my further ignorance, but what’s the choir book that MoTab sings from, Cheryl?

    I also third Steve’s suggestion about singing songs with arm motions (or full body motions–“Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” anyone?) as rest hymns. I’d like to see them in sacrament meeting as well as stake conference. Also, how about in General Conference?

  16. It is a book the church put out specifically for ward choirs to give them music and an idea of what to sing in Sacrament Meeting. I used it in my conducting classes at BYU as well as a ward choir director. Good book, that, although you can only re-use the songs before wanting new music. Here’s a link.

  17. I think the main problem with many of the best children’s songs (e.g. On a Golden Springtime) being sung by the full congregation isn’t a reverence issue or even the musical style differing too much from standard Methodist hymns, so much as adult congregations tend to suck the life out of songs. If it doesn’t have a really plodding beat, you can trust us to add one.

  18. Hooray for “Beautiful Savior”! Long ago when I was a branch pianist (and believe me that clause tells you all you need to know about just how small and desperate a branch it was), I often used to play it as prelude music because I liked it so much.

  19. papageno, I decided to take a leave of absence from my grad program because I was spending too much time procrastinating my dissertation. ๐Ÿ™‚ And welcome! (And you can jump in anytime without introducing yourself.)

  20. Seraphine, there’s an old Dilbert comic strip where Dilbert confronts Wally about an email he received from him which appeared to be auto-generated, and Wally admits that he’s been on “in-cubicle vacation” for a couple months now, but Dilbert was the first person to notice. So lets just say that I’m on an “in-office LOA” haha.

    I already took an entire year off (maternity leave) plus I was totally useless the 9 months before that and for some time after I officially returned from leave, so I can’t really afford to take any more time off. Plus my advisor will run out of grant money to pay for me at the end of this year (our dept actually doesn’t let you be in the dept unless you’re covered by research grant $). I’m really close. I just need to hunker down and get the durned thing done.

    I’ve heard of people for whom a little LOA worked *wonders*–they experienced a flood of new ideas and energy. May the same happen to you!

  21. Ok now I feel rude for doing *too much* introducing myself (off-topic) in this thread. Darned if you, darned if you dont…

  22. “Beautiful Savior” used to be in the hymnal, but was taken out of the 1985 version… hope that hasn’t been mentioned already. I thought I read the comments thoroughly. ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Thanks, papageno, though now that I’ve discovered I love teaching high school English, my dissertation might be postponed indefinitely. I’ll just have to wait and see what the next few years bring…

  24. Amen to Bill. Many of the children’s hymns *really* don’t work and many wonderful primary songs wouldn’t work on the organ w/ a congregation. Some would though.

    But, I love a few other MoTab songs which I think we should add to the hymnal.

    *’Still, Still, Still’ (Traditional Austrian Christmas Carol)

    *Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring

    *Come Thou Font of Every Blessing *returned* to the hymnal

    *I forget the name of the song, but it used to be in the blue (or red) hymnal and is currently the only Mozart tune in the German hymnal. ‘Wheat and Tares’ or something like that. It is set to music from the Magic Flute (I think) and is extremely beautiful. The words we’ve crammed into it fit horribly with the music . . . Mozart probably turns in his grave. It’s supposed to be about eternal (celestial/forever) love and heaven. Perhaps Papageno and I can start a grass-roots movement to bring it back sans hell-fire and brimstone words. (The message in the ‘Wheat and Tares’ song is fine- no qualms with it, but it just needs different music.)

    * I’m not a big fan of this song (catchy chorus, but some rough part-writing getting to it), but I’m suprised that no one has said ‘Faith in Every Footstep’

    * Back to Bach! He had several slower & shorter choral works that would be really nice and the words wouldn’t need to be changed.

    *at least 10-20 Hymns and Carols from Sir David Wilcocks

    * Evening Prayer (Englebert Humerdink’s Hansel & Gretel) from the old orange children’s hymnal. *Goes well with an organ.

    * As I remember there were some nice and very short ‘thankful’ songs in the old orange hymnal.

    *Simple Gifts (Shaker hymn- might have been in the really old hymnals, not sure) ’tis a gift to be simple, ’tis a gift to be free . . .

    *BTW Papageno, there used to be another Magic Flute LDS song . . . in the old orange hymnal

  25. I enjoy hearing everyone’s suggestions. I agree with Keri (#1) that we could use far more Christmas hymns than we have. And J.A.T., I don’t know enough music to even know what many of your suggestions are, but I like the ones I know–“Simple Gifts”, “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring”, “Still Still Still”, and “Come Thou Font of Every Blessing.” (Kiskilili, isn’t that last one also one of your favorites?)

    Millie, I am shocked to learn that “Beautiful Savior” used to be in the hymn book. ๐Ÿ™‚ Perhaps the next time it’s revised we could hope for a Church-wide vote to re-add (or add for the first time) a few favorites.

  26. Well, since we’re straying a bit from Primary songs…

    I’d love to have “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” with the tune we already have for “In Humility, Our Savior.”

    Also, we need some more minor and modal stuff, which is a good reason to like “The Priesthood is Restored.” And a good reason to steal some stuff from the Genevan Psalter.

    I think we could use some more muscular hymns (to counter the Because I Have Been Given Much-ification of the 1985 hymnal). I’d steal “Dare to Do Right” and “The Call of Love” from the Primary books. Maybe a few of the old marches from the 1920 songbooks. I’d like to have “The God of Abraham Praise,” too. We’ve never had it an LDS hymnal, but it fits with the Mormon recapitulation of all things children of Israel.

    Finally, we need a whole bunch of Sacred Harp and Southern Harmony tunes: “What Wondrous Love”, “My Shepherd Will Supply My Need,” “Lord, Thou Hast Searched Me,” etc. MoTab does these all the time and they’re great. They are also eminently singable and adaptable for ward choirs–they generally tune well, even with not-particularly-skilled singers. And they go fast, and might even resist the Mormon tendency towards the dirge.

    I could go on most of forever on this topic. Sorry!

  27. No problem at all, Kristine. I love to hear suggestions from people who actually know about music, and what alternatives there are. I know very little (okay, nothing ๐Ÿ™‚ ) about music, so my vision of what the hymn book could be is necessarily limited.

  28. Hey, someone mentioned “The Call of Love” which is one of our Primary teachers favorite songs. I’d never heard ot it. Where could I find it. It’s not in the current Primary Songbook! Thanks

  29. *I forget the name of the song, but it used to be in the blue (or red) hymnal and is currently the only Mozart tune in the German hymnal. โ€˜Wheat and Taresโ€™ or something like that. It is set to music from the Magic Flute (I think) and is extremely beautiful. The words weโ€™ve crammed into it fit horribly with the music . . . Mozart probably turns in his grave. Itโ€™s supposed to be about eternal (celestial/forever) love and heaven. Perhaps Papageno and I can start a grass-roots movement to bring it back sans hell-fire and brimstone words. (The message in the โ€˜Wheat and Taresโ€™ song is fine- no qualms with it, but it just needs different music.)

    You are referring to Though in the Outward Church Below, #102 in the old hymnbook. The music is from the Magic Flute (Bei Maennern, welche Liebe fuehlen).

    *BTW Papageno, there used to be another Magic Flute LDS song . . . in the old orange hymnal

    Yes, this one is Papageno’s aria, Ein Maedchen oder Weibchen, also famous for appearing in the film, Der blaue Engel. This appeared as I pledge myself to love the right in the old orange primary book and has been retained in the new book at #161.

    Incidentally, Beethoven wrote sets of 7 and 12 variations respectively on the two tunes, for cello accompanied by keyboard.

  30. Yowza–that Kristine above was not me, but we have eerily similar taste in music. Kristine, you’re not KLP, are you??

  31. Well, now’s as good a time as any to confess. Sometimes I like to kidnap Kristine, hypnotize her, and instruct her to comment on our blog (’cause she makes such fabulous comments, see). Then I repress her memory of the event.

  32. Kristine, thanks for bringing us one of the funniest Bloggernacle moments ever! (I’m just glad I’m not the only one whose memory has skips and errors in it.)

  33. I am trying to find a song from the old children’s songbook, which I think was called “More Songs for Children”. I used to have it, but it got lost during a move…I am specifically look for the music for the song “It’s a Long, Long Way to the Valley”. Ideas, anyone?

  34. By the way, Sonja said she was looking for “The Call of Love”. I have that song. I noticed it’s been a while since she was asking about it, but if you ever see this and want it…..I could send it to you.

  35. Karen, I would love a copy of “The Call of Love.” For some reason that old song from my growing up years has been on my mind, but I can’t remember all of the lyrics.


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