90 Hymn Stories of Loveby Christopher White
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While writing this book I was edified and definitely felt the spirit of the hymn writers and composers. It was a cathartic, growing experience. I would recommend to all that they read as much as they can about each hymn. In some churches, the songs have been canonized--meaning they are considered scripture. That is the case with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of which I am a member.
I encourage everyone to not only sing and contemplate the words of the hymns and their meaning, but to take time to learn the hymns so that each of us can have this abiding spirit with us throughout our days and nights. The spirit of the Holy Ghost is a real entity and needs to be nurtured and protected by reading only from the best books. In my case, that includes all latter-day scripture including the Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, Pearl of Great Price and talks by the general authorities. I also revere the Bible and each of these sacred hymns as the word of God and a real source of peace and God’s love.
Love permeates our lives. Nature testifies of God and we become more loving when we reverence and respect everything God has given us: the sun, this glorious earth, the clouds, the mountains, deserts, seas and rivers, the air we breath, and the heavens including the moon, the stars, and other planets. Think of all of the space in the middle of the earth and in the oceans, sky, mountains, plains, and beautiful valleys. As you read these hymns bring to mind your life and that of others who may not enjoy what you have. Imagine the wonderful gifts God has given us: lush vegetation including trees, grasses, and bushes, the crystal-clear blue lakes, streams and great rivers, the free country in which we live and its natural and man-made resources, the tundra of the north and south poles, and the isles of the sea, the moisture from the storms that provide water for existence, all kinds of life that inhabit the great seas and marvelous expanses of land.. It’s there to enjoy—all forms of life and posibility. It was all placed here by God for our use. If we have the spirit of the Lord in our lives--something that can be enhanced and acquired by reading scripture and hymns--then we will treat all of God's gifts to us with reverence and respect. We will not want to destroy property of others, but to be loving friends of all peoples.
The above may sound like a simple injunction, but it isn't. When we think of it, people are not at peace. They are rioting, killing, burning, bombing, and doing all manner of evil. Some of these riots are done in the name of liberty, but mostly when evil occurs nothing good comes of it. Let us think twice and pray before we enter into this chaotic, devilish scene that part of the world has become. But love, not war and bombs, conquers all.
Love is the overriding principle taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Savior exuded love in everything he said or did, and we should too, in a manner that better exemplifies our parental and member-missionary callings.
In the Summer of 2011 I began, with the help of several people including my wife, sons, daughter and a new friend, Tim Schroader, to create a website now known as www.LoveQuotes2.com. The longer I studied the master poets and placed their wisdom into this site, the more I became convinced of something. Writers of religious songs we call hymns are some of the world's greatest poets.
A poet must work with great ideas, just as a songwriter takes a thought and transforms it into verses in small spaces we call stanzas. There are only a certain number of stanzas on a line of a hymn. As the hymn writer works, he/she must confront the fact that broad strokes must be reduced to brief, pithy, action lines--sometimes rhyming. This process is very much like that of a poet. In fact songwriters are poets in every sense of the word.
As I studied each of the 341 hymns in the Latter-day Saint hymnbook, I could feel two things: one, the spirit of the Lord--we members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints call it inspiration by virtue of the Gift of the Holy Ghost; and two, some portion of the spirit of the author and composer--what they were thinking and experiencing as they wrote. I've tried to write about their struggles and achievements.
Great men and women have soaring thoughts. How special these writers and composers are! They surely have the spirit with them and it's palpable--it rubs off on the reader when he reads and sings their verses.
The LDS Church has canonized hymnbook songs, both words and melodies. That means when we sing or repeat these verses we are enmeshed in scripture. Yes, it's a slightly different kind of scripture, but nonetheless scripture. The prophets have advised us to read the scriptures daily so that we can always have the spirit with us. Singing, reading, and meditating.
Meet the Author
Don White is an author/writer. He wrote three novels called "The Rip Rhymer" chronicles. Only one of the trilogy is yet published, "The Exterminator," which was published as a NOOK book by Barnes and Noble and also as a Kindle book at Amazon.
As a journalist he also writes non-fiction. For example, he is author of "Patriot Call of Ron Paul" which was also made into NOOK and Kindle books. He, his wife and son also wrote a real estate book, "Selling Fast," published at Amazon. Don worked as an Associated Press newsman for several years in Salt Lake City and was an associate editor of three magazines. White is a graduate of the University of Utah, holding both journalism and juris doctor degrees. He is also a chartered property/casualty underwriter, having worked for many years in the insurance business. he was president/CEO of a regional mutual carrier with offices in both Minneapolis and Seattle.
He is married and he and his wife are parents of four children.
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