What Hymns Early Mormons Sang and How They Sang Them

Hymns reveal a denomination’s minds and hearts, but not every published hymn is sung frequently—or at all. Hicks claims that to understand early Mormon thought and belief, one must not only study published Mormon hymnals but also consider which hymns were favored by congregations. He examines the few meeting notes that exist as well as over two hundred Saints’ diaries to get a small sample of what hymns Mormons sang. Among the favorites were “The Spirit of God” and “Adam-ondi-Ahman.” Hicks also discusses the kinds of hymns sung in home devotionals and other informal meetings and the way Mormon congregations sang, including the role of choirs and the practice of “lining out,” or the music leader chanting a few lines and the congregation singing them back.

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