Composer and songwriter shares importance of hymns

October 27, 2010

Writer: Writer: Jessica McIntyre

Latter-day Saint composer and songwriter K. Newell Dayley taught about the importance of hymns and how they can enrich people's lives, during Tuesday's devotional at Brigham Young University-Idaho.


"I can testify, from personal experience, that hymns are a gift of God. They help us internalize the principles and doctrines that will lead us back into His presence," Dayley said. "They enliven our souls and strengthen our faith."


Dayley continued by sharing the history of Philip Paul Bliss, the composer of one of his favorite LDS hymns, "More Holiness Give Me." After attending the Normal Academy of Music of New York in 1860, Bliss became an expert singer, teacher and writer of gospel music. Then, he was asked to be a traveling evangelist. In December 1876, Bliss and his wife, Lucy, passed away in a train accident, but texts of unfinished gospel songs were found in their home. They became the inspiration for multiple hymns now found in the LDS Hymnbook.


Throughout his address, Dayley emphasized the importance of hymns and how they reveal a sense of the Savior's care and suffering. He also taught that seeking virtue helps people become like the Savior. "We sense the Savior's care when his Spirit is with us," Dayley said. "By searching diligently in the light of Christ and holding to every good thing [we] are blessed to sense the Savior's care."


He also gave encouragement to listeners about suffering and trials: "Some seek divine correction, others endure it, while the unwise reject it. Divine correction or chastening is the Lord's way of leading us back into his presence."