Updated: Dec 22, 2019
I love to sing hymns and songs of praise. For me, singing is a powerful way to engage in praise. I feel a special connection to God when I sing. Hymns can teach and reinforce doctrine and truth, yet they can also be used to teach things that are not true.
How can I find joy in worship hymns when I disagree with some of the doctrinal teachings or historical narrative?
When I arrived for choir practice before church today they were singing “All Creatures of our God and King”, a beautiful song of praise we are practicing for Easter. Then I was informed that we would sing “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer” as a prelude hymn today. I immediately got up and left to go outside under the pretense of needing to get a drink. I stayed outside until I thought it was safe to go back into the chapel to avoid having to sing. Was that just silly?
Since there are some hymns that put forth doctrine or history that I no longer believe, I feel it is not right for me to sing them. Then, the opening song was “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet”. I just sat there and didn’t sing until the third verse. As the meeting was drawing to a close, the final hymn was announced. “Praise to the Man”. (Not praise to God or Christ). I got up and left before the hymn began so I wouldn’t have to even hear it. I don’t want to be rude, but I also want to retain my integrity.
I worry about the indoctrination happening through worship music and the messages being taught to my grandchildren that are not true.
Tonight, I will be practicing singing in a special church conference next week. Before I agreed to participate, I asked what the song was. To my joy it was “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”, a beautiful worship hymn that praises the grace of Jesus Christ, a doctrine not fully taught or believed in my church but one I embrace completely.
No one in the congregation knows of this dilemma that I face regarding worship music. For now, it is my Cross to bear in silence. Now you know.