The Tabernacle Choir and the power of music

Published 6:00 am Friday, September 18, 2020

Each Sunday from 9:15 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on WFLO, listeners are treated to the sounds of The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, which President Ronald Reagan called “America’s Choir.”

Recently a caller on the CallFLO radio show asked a great question, “Why has the choir stopped using the word ‘Mormon’ in its name?”

In October 2018, Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the choir’s sponsoring organization, strongly encouraged all to utilize the full and complete name of the church rather than nicknames. Nicknames such as “LDS” or “Mormon” may lead people to conclude that church members are not Christians, or that Jesus Christ is not at the center of all that we do.

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“Mormon” is a nickname that arose from church members’ use of The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ as a companion scripture to the Holy Bible.

Referring to the correct name of the church, including the Savior’s name, reminds us to rely on Jesus Christ. President Nelson taught, “If we as a people and as individuals are to have access to the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ–to cleanse and heal us, to strengthen and magnify us, and ultimately to exalt us–we must clearly acknowledge Him as the source of that power.”

The Tabernacle Choir has been at the center of that worship for more than a century, beginning in the 1800s performing in the Tabernacle, a pioneer-era building erected for worship services in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The long-running weekly broadcast, “Music and the Spoken Word,” started in July 1929 and includes musical selections by the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square, along with a brief devotional message.

The choir’s online home is: http:// You can also find the choir on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, where “Music and the Spoken Word” and other great performances are livestreamed and archived.

Music has always been a part of worship. The Psalms call on us to “Sing unto the Lord” (30:4).

The Apostle Paul exhorted the Colossians: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (3:16).

Our Savior Himself, prior to His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross of Calvary, sang a hymn with his disciples (Matthew 26:30).

Music is a form of prayer and draws us closer to heaven, as the Lord testified: “My soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me.”

The words of a favorite hymn are appropriate:

“With songs of praise and gratitude

We worship God above.

In words and music give our thanks

For his redeeming love.”

To learn more about Jesus Christ or the Tabernacle Choir, visit or

DR. BRENT ROBERTS is the Elders Quorum President in the Sandy River Branch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and also Dean of Greenwood Library at Longwood University. He can be reached at