“With the Voice Together Shall They Sing”

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) believe that in their temples, as they make covenants with God and participate in worship, they are restoring ancient practices that were lost over the centuries.

Mormons have participated with people of other religions in the scholarly study of the meaning and effect of temples in history and in modern worship. This article by Laurence Hemming was first presented at Brigham Young University in September 2009 as part of the Vulgate seminar.

Laurence Hemming, a British Catholic scholar and theologian, looks back to the ancient Temple of Jerusalem to find the origin of the liturgy and, specifically, liturgical music. He agrees with Margaret Barker that very early Christianity saw itself as a restoration of the Temple, and today’s Catholic and Orthodox liturgy reflects that foundation, although many participants may be unaware of that. Hemming describes the theology of singing in worship: the sanctuary of a Catholic or Orthodox church building is meant to represent the holy of holies of the Temple, and sacred singing is the audible manifestation of that representation. Participation in sacred song renews us and restores creation to its place in God, bringing about the restoration of the Christian spirit. Hemming invites Mormons to join with him in searching the texts of the first two centuries of Christianity to find meaning in our common Temple roots.

Published in BYU Studies Quarterly 50:1
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