Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will have to wait a few more years for the highly anticipated new hymnbook, but at least they now know its title.
A news release Friday revealed that “Hymns—for Home and Church” will become available in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French by the end of 2026, with additional languages to follow.
To avoid leaving its members empty-handed, however, the global faith will be releasing “some” new songs digitally in “small batches” starting in the first half of 2024, the release added. These songs will include “well-loved music of the church” composed after the 1985 publication of the current hymnbook, including the song “Faith in Every Footstep.”
This new release will also include music from other faiths and a few of the thousands of melodies submitted by members. “Many, if not all” of these new additions will appear in the final version of the new hymnbook, which they anticipate will include between 450 and 500 tunes in all.
In a departure from past songbooks, “Hymns—for Home and Church” will include songs not just for adults, but children, too.
“Children will feel that they belong in sacrament meeting when we sing from the inspiring collection of children’s songs that will be included in the new hymnbook,” said Primary General President Susan Porter, who serves as an adviser to the hymnbook undertaking.
Besides adding new songs to the mix, the hymnal will feature revisions of old ones designed to “make them more globally relevant,” according to the news release, as well as “clarify doctrine, replace outdated language where meanings have changed over time and ensure that lyrics and musical styles are more universally inclusive.”
Latter-day Saint filmmaker and music promoter Mauli Junior Bonner hopes the forthcoming hymnbook supports new styles of worship in the international church by adding a wider variety of melody and lyrical structures to the mix.
“Culturally, members of our faith typically pray similarly, give talks similarly and dress similarly,” he said. The new songbook — and sacred music generally — represent an opportunity to “step outside of our typical prayers and better celebrate Christ’s life, and gain a deeper understanding of the gospel.”
He added: “I hope it adds a more diverse interpretation of song — one that expands beyond the chapel and into other music that we listen to during the week.”
The church recently began recruiting soloists and quartets to record audio renditions from the new hymnbook.
More than 150 reviewers worldwide have contributed to the project — first announced in 2018 — whittling the list of 17,000 new song submissions to “several hundred.” The hymnbook committee is now in the process of finalizing its recommendations to church leaders. Only after the selection process is complete will the music staff contact those who submitted a song regarding its status.
“We want to thank those who submitted music for their patience,” said Steve Schank of the hymnbook committee, “as we treat every submission with great care and appreciation.”
Further delays have also come from the simultaneous translation of the music collection into other languages in such a way as to “promote unity across the church” by “ensuring doctrinal clarity and poetic beauty” of each song.
The church aims to have the hymnbook published in 50 languages by 2030 while a smaller version of approximately 60 hymns and children’s songs will be translated into “many additional languages” as “soon as reasonably possible.”
“‘Hymns—for Home and Church’ will help deepen conversion to the Lord and his work,” said apostle Dale Renlund. “We pray that it will bless, edify, comfort and cheer you in the coming years.”