Journal of Book of Mormon Studies


Michael Hicks


As specified by revelation, one of the responsibilities given to Emma Smith was to select hymns for the church. However, almost immediately after the revelation was given, tension arose as to who should compile the hymnbook and what its nature should be. This eventually led to more than one “official” hymn book for the church—the 1840 hymnbook created by the Quorum of the Twelve during their mission in England and Emma’s 1841 hymnbook. Whereas the apostles’ hymnbook focused mainly on restoration, millennial, and missionary topics, Emma’s felt more Protestant, focusing in many instances on the cross, the blood of Jesus, and grace. With the departure of the Saints from Nauvoo and Emma’s choice to remain behind, however, it was ultimately the apostles’ hymn book that was in a position to shape the hymnody for the present-day church.