The day dawn is breaking on the new global hymnbook for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The church released the first 13 songs from “Hymns — For Home and Church” on Wednesday night on its Gospel Library app and in the Music Library on ChurchofJesusChrist.org. (See the full list of the hymns below.)

The release reflects the digital age. The first batch of new hymns are temporarily numbered beginning with 1001 — “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” — so this Sunday, church members may look up to the front of a chapel and see they are singing hymns 2, 1007 and 294. They will need a digital device to access No. 1007; a print version of the hymnbook won’t be published until 2030.

“These new hymns should be used immediately,” said President Susan H. Porter, general president of the Primary, the church’s children’s organization.

It’s entirely probable several already have been sung in many places around the world since their release Wednesday night, maybe in missionary conferences or presidency meetings or during opening exercises for Young Men and Young Women meetings.

Ed Krenicky, the product manager for the hymnbook, said he plugged the new hymns in his own congregation’s planning meeting last weekend, hoping that his ward will sing one of the hymns this weekend.

“I certainly hope so,” he said. “I talked this up with our ward council on Sunday. I said, ‘Hey, there’s there’s a release coming. There’s some really good stuff. Let’s sing it.’”

Lillian Wilkins, Andrew Wardle, David Ean and Jennifer Bate sing a hymn at the Salt Lake City Tabernacle in Salt Lake City on Thursday, May 30, 2024. The Church released the first batch of music as part of its ongoing hymnbook revision. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
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“Come, Thou Fount,” a Latter-day Saint favorite that had been in previous church hymnbooks but was not included in the 1985 edition currently in use, is a distinct possibility. So are the new sacrament hymns, “As Bread Is Broken” and “Bread of Life, Living Water.”

President Porter said her favorite of the new batch is “Gethsemane,” a selection that was written in 2007 by Melanie Hoffman and has a fresh 2023 arrangement by Roger Hoffman.

The song fits the hymnbooks priorities, set by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Hymns must teach core doctrine with clarity; increase faith in, and worship of, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ; comfort the weary; inspire church members to endure in faith; invite joyful sing and home and in church; and unify members around the world.

“We often think that children can only understand at a very simple level,” President Porters said, “but someone has written a hymn talking about the Atonement of Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross in a way that (children) can understand that what happened in Gethsemane, even though it involved great suffering, was done out of love. You can hear 4- and 5-year olds sing ... ‘Gethsemane, Jesus loves me.’ That’s the message ... The song is ‘Jesus loves me, and that’s what I get from Gethsemane.’”

The hymnbook project is far from over. The final version of the new hymnbook is expected to include 450 to 500 hymns and children’s songs, but the catch is that nobody yet knows what they will be. That’s a function of the enormous response to a call for submissions and the work needed to obtain some copyrights.

The hymnbook committee formed in 2017 and the church announced plans for the new hymnbook in 2018 by issuing an invitation for members to submit original songs. The hymnbook committee received over 17,000 submissions. Some 45,000 church members also suggested hymns they wanted to see included.

“There have been several 100 that have been approved by the First Presidency,” Krenicky said, “but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be in the full collection. What’s going to happen is that there are more hymns that will be approved by the First Presidency than can make it in. Then there will be a winnowing down, as it were, of that final collection to get to that final number.”

The printed hymnbook will be available both digitally and in print.

The release of a baker’s dozen songs this week also reflects the overwhelming size of the project. The hymnbook committee expected 6,000 to 7,000 submissions, President Porter said. Even with a team of 150 people around the globe evaluating them, the project has been a heavy lift.

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Once a hymn is approved, the next major task is translation.

“Translation is the real bottleneck,” said Elder Michael T. Ringwood, a General Authority Seventy who has been on the committee for all seven years.

One of the goals of the new hymnbook is to make it better reflect the global membership of the church. The batch of hymns released this week includes a French Christmas carol that until now appeared only in the church’s French-language hymnal, and “Star Bright,” which had appeared only in the Spanish-language hymnbook.

The church will not release new hymns until they have been translated into at least English, Spanish, Portuguese and French,” President Porter said. Krenicky said the next batch of hymns will be released in September, with additional digital batches every few months until the hymnbook is completed in those languages in 2026.

The translation wheels will continue to grind. The plan is to publish the hymnbook in 50 languages by 2030. The church then will have one consolidated and unified hymnbook, with hymns numbered the same across the languages most spoken in the church.

That alone will be unifying, said President Porter, who recalled attending a meeting in Galilee that included a board in the front of the room that included different numbers for the same hymn in English, Hebrew, Arabic, Russian and German.

President Porter said the final hymnbook will be two-thirds hymns and one-third children’s songs.

“New music will be selected from hymns composed by Latter-day Saints, hymns from other Christian traditions and songs in the church’s global sacred music library,” according to a note the church released with the songs. “These selections will include both hymns and children’s songs, all of which can be used at home, in sacrament meeting and in other church meetings.”

The first batch is a mixture of songs written in the past decade and some Christian and Latter-day Saint standbys, in addition to the French carol.

“Even in this first collection, you’re seeing things that are brought in from these cultures from around the world,” Krenicky said. “If the question is, when will we hear something that sounds a bit different than the hymnbook that we’re using now, well, ‘His Eye Is on the Sparrow’ is one of them. That’s very different than what we have now. In these next batches, you’ll you’ll see some others very soon.”

The first release illustrated the goals of the new hymnbook, said Elder Isaac H. Morrison, a General Authority Seventy.

“In the Church of Jesus Christ, our fundamental mission is to build faith in Jesus Christ and invite all of God’s children to come unto him,” he said.

Elder Michael T. Ringwood speaks at the Salt Lake City Tabernacle in Salt Lake City on Thursday, May 30, 2024. The Church released the first batch of music as part of its ongoing hymnbook revision. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The other 12 songs released this week are:

  • “When the Savior Comes Again,” an updated version of a 2019 song by Lane Johnson. The hymn’s chorus ends with, “It will be a joyful day, when our beloved Savior comes again.”
  • “It Is Well With My Soul,” an 1876 Christian hymn with a new arrangement.
  • “I Will Walk With Jesus,” a 2019 hymn by Stephen P. Schank. The chorus ends with, “Change my heart forever and help me clearly see, I will walk with Jesus, and he will walk with me.
  • “His Eye Is on the Sparrow,” a Christian favorite from 1905.
  • “Think a Sacred Song,” a 2013 song by Marlene Summers Merkling.
  • “As Bread Is Broken,” a 2018 hymn with text and music by Stephen A. Reynolds.
  • “Bread of Life, Living Water,” Annette W. Dickman’s 2011 song. President Porter asked reporters to pay special attention to the chorus during a performance of the hymn in the Tabernacle on Temple Square on Thursday: ”Bread of Life, Living Water, Feed my soul, fill my heart. Lord, give me new life in Thee and make me whole — complete and holy. Bound to Thee eternally.”
  • “Gethsemane.”
  • “Hail the Day that Sees Him Rise,” an standby Protestant favorite with lyrics written in 1739 by Charles Wesley. It was first set to music in 1817 and was included in “The English Hymnal” in 1906. It is considered a joyful hymn that points singers to Christ “in all His glory, yet bearing the signs of suffering that have bought our salvation,” according to Beckenhorst Press.
  • “He Is Born, the Divine Christ Child,” a French Christmas carol from 1812 with a brand-new arrangement.
  • “What Child Is This?” A long-beloved Christmas carol.
  • “Star Bright,” Lorin F. Wheelwright’s 1959 Christmas song that ends with “O, star bright in heaven shining, come, glow within me on Christmas Day.”

Sheet music and audio recordings can be found on the Gospel Library and Sacred Music apps and at music.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

Two selections were performed Thursday during a news conference at the Tabernacle on Temple Square.

Looking and sounding angelic in a white dress, a young Sophia Andrade sang “When the Savior Comes Again” in Portuguese while accompanied by two guitarists, Kristen Bromley and Brady Bills.

A quartet sang “Bread of Life, Living Water.” Jennifer Bate, Lillian Wilkins, Andrew Wardle and David Een were accompanied by pianist Alex Marshall.