Jesus revealed to Joseph Smith that “my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.” (D&C 25:12) This is obviously something that He cares about. The hymns should convey righteous principles and something that the righteous can sing with joy from their heart. This is more important than being fun to sing or having a good melody. We are singing to the Prince of Peace.
While most hymns bring the spirit, others drive it away. It can be hard to hear that, because you are a woman, you have extra expectations that men don’t have. It can be difficult to listen to songs about the chosen race, that other races will receive blessings that you won’t, or God prepared the land of your ancestors to be taken away by the pioneers. Songs that have unrealistic expectations can leave you depressed. Songs that use violent themes or attack enemies can drive away the spirit. Even if these themes don’t negatively impact you, the fact that these hymns cause other people to have a hard time feeling the spirit should bring us pause.
Many of these hymns were written a long time ago and contain doctrine that has since been disavowed by our leadership. In 2013, the Church put out an essay that disavowed that “people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else.” This will be the first time we have updated our hymnbook since then. The hymns are not scripture. Many were not even written by members of the Church. That is why the leadership is asking for our feedback.
There are certain hymns that are particularly problematic. There are pages dedicated specifically to these hymns. Take a look and see what issues these hymns raise. Decide what you thinking should be done about these hymns, it anything at all. Share your point of view in the comments section, and then fill out the church’s survey. Together we can help keep the hymns to a high standard that everyone can enjoy.