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Feasting on the Words of Christ
Music and the Spoken Word In a Stake Conference
Reported by W. Herbert Klopfer

Drawing Nearer to God Through the Book of Mormon was the theme of the Salt Lake Eagle Gate Stake Conference on April 25-26, 1992. Speakers in the two general sessions (Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m.) covered this theme in accordance with President Ezra Taft Benson’s message printed in the January 1992 Ensign magazine.

The spoken word was coupled very effectively with an abundance of good music. A specially called stake choir and the Congregation provided 20 musical selections in the two sessions. All but one were hymns. One anthem "Prepare to Meet God" consisted of the words of Amulek.

The music was selected to support the messages of the speakers. Generally the music was sung immediately ahead of the speakers, in order to set the stage for their messages. The combination of music and the spoken word on the theme of the Book of Mormon generated an enormous spiritual power among the attending Saints. Comments received stated that this feeling was unmatched by anything they had previously experienced in their lives. The congregation was personally involved in a magnificent worship experience! It seemed to some that angels joined them in the singing of the hymns. The Conference was described by many as the best and the most spiritual stake conference in memory, mainly because of the music.

The stake president was invited to report the proceedings of this conference to President Ezra Taft Benson and did so within the hour of the concluding session of Conference. President Benson was very pleased to learn of the emphasis placed by the stake presidency on the Book of Mormon and hymn singing - - two of his favorite involvements over a lifetime.

Indeed, the combination of music and the spoken word provided great spiritual power in a landmark stake conference of the Church.

The following comments were given in response to this conference: "Thank you and everyone else who made it so fulfilling and uplifting. The interplay of the music, spoken word and Book of Mormon theme was very powerful. We can’t recall when we have been so uplifted and touched by everything that went on!" "The whole Church should experience probably the finest stake conference ever." "The meetings were not boring because the whole congregations was involved -- and time went by very fast."

Another reported, "The Conference we had last Sunday was the most spiritual and inspiring one I have ever attended. The Spirit of the Savior was stronger than I have ever felt before -- it was like He was there. It will be a precious memory as long as I live."

Other responses were, "The organization of the sessions integrating the hymns with speakers was superb." "The interweaving of gospel doctrines with music was very effective." "The use of music added power." "I’ve never heard a conference congregation sing so well. The music sent chills up our spines."

The following husband with wife’s response beautifully expresses feelings that were communicated by others: "We write this on Sunday evening following our stake conference sessions, as we bask in the warm, peaceful, yet energized atmosphere which encompasses us as a result of the two excellent sessions. We enjoyed the tremendous spirit and powerful messages in both the Saturday evening and Sunday morning sessions. It was a great, great conference!"The sequence of the hymns and their combinations with the speakers:

Saturday Evening Session:
With Songs of Praise (#71)
-Everyone sings all verses from hymnbook
--InvocationThe Voice of God Again Is Heard (#18)
-Everyone sings all verses from hymnbookThe Morning Breaks (#1)
-Everyone sings all verses from hymnbook
-The Keystone of Our Religion (Speaker)

As I Search the Holy Scriptures (#277)
-Everyone sings verse 1 in unison
-Choir sings verse 2
-Congregation sings verse 3 in unison (choir descant)
-Choir sings verse 4God of our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hand (#78)
-Choir sings verses 1 and 2
-Everyone sings verse 3 in unison

-A Pattern for Preparing for the Second Coming (Speaker)
Battle Hymn of the Republic (#60)
-Everyone sings verse 1 in unison
-Men sing verse 2 in unison (everyone sings the chorus)
-Women sing verse 3 in unison (everyone sings the chorus)
-Everyone repeats chorus in unison
-Living In Times of War, Persecution, and Apostasy (Speaker)
Hark, All Ye Nations! (#265)
-Everyone sings all verses from hymnbook

-How To do Missionary Work (Speaker)
Be Thou Humble (#130)
(Everyone sings both verses in unison

-The Dangers of Pride, Materialism and Things of the World (Speaker)
Nearer, My God, to Thee (#100)
-Choir only
-Drawing Nearer to God (Speaker)
I Know That My Redeemer Lives (#136)
-Choir sings verse 1
-Everyone sings verse 2 in unison
-Choir sings verse 3
-Choir and Congregation sing verse 4 in unison, choir descant


Sunday Morning Session:

High on the Mountain Top (#5)
-Everyone sings all verses from hymnbook

An Angel From On High (#13)
-Everyone sings verses 1,2,3 from hymnbook
-Everyone sings verse 5 in unison Prepare to Meet God 
-Choir only
-Preparing to Meet God (Speaker)
Joseph Smith’s First Prayer (#26)
-Choir sings verses 1 and 2
-Everyone sings verses 3 and 4 from hymnbook
-The Plain and Precious Gospel Truths (Speakers)
The Iron Rod (#274)
-Everyone sings all verses from hymnbook
-Testifying with the Book of Mormon (Speaker)
Keep the Commandments (#303)
-Everyone sings form hymnbook
-Keeping the Commandments (Speaker)
Teach Me To Walk in the Light (#304)
-Soloist sings verse 1
-Everyone sings verses 2 and 3 in unison
-Learning to Walk in the Light (Speaker)
Lord, I would Follow Thee (#220)
-Choir only
-Choosing Liberty and Eternal Life (Speaker)
Press Forward Saints (#81)
-Everyone sings all verses from hymnbook
-Spiritual Power of the Book of Mormon (Speaker)
My Country, ‘Tis of Thee (#339)
-Choir sings verse 1
-Everyone sings verses 2,3, and 4 in unison