Sunday, September 20, 2020

With a Voice of Singing*

In our local paper this week, a front-page headline read:
“Alberta loosens rules for singing ...”
The column text read in part:
“... top doctor says people can sing and play wind instruments indoors once again, provided COVID-19 precautions are in place. / ... says those activities were severely restricted because they were thought [1] to poise unique risks of spreading the virus. / But she says new evidence shows they can be done safely with certain safeguards. // ... Choirs can restart with maximum size limits and masks, but audience singing is still not allowed.” (Bold emphasis added.)
Not allowed?! Is such a continuing ban conceivable? YET it is mandated — in many places all over the world! Even in our world-wide, choir-famous church! And we acquiesce?!2

Do we not understand the everlasting role of singing in God's kingdom? that the song of the righteous is a prayer unto [God]?3 perhaps the most powerful prayer considering the hundreds of references in scripture and prophecy to singing?4 Have we ever witnessed the incredible power of hymns, spirituals, and other songs to change ambience; strengthen endurance; lift souls; even perhaps, precipitate an earthquake when it was needed?5

Is the ban on singing because of COVID or about something else? What if singing could change the world? What if the most powerful prayer is the song and we have gone silent? What if all the outrage, cursing, cries, and so forth at protests and marches were channeled, instead, into songs of faith, hope, charity, and rejoicing in the strength of unity? Could it change the mood of protesters, enforcers, and perhaps even counter-protesters?

What if gifted choirs and vocalists would gather as flash mobs6 all over the world at capitol buildings, parks, city squares, corporate / media offices, “elite” conferences, freedom / protest marches, and so forth, and sing songs of hope and joy, (including, where appropriate, songs of praise for the God of Heaven, the Creator of Heaven and Earth)? songs of rejoicing in life and freedomsnot dirges of piety or judgment, but upbeat songs, from whatever source or time, that lift the soul? Could such songs soften the hearts of “authorities,” leaders, planners, protesters? Could composers and lyricists rise to the challenge? grant rights to activists / marchers / flash mobs to perform already existing works that “cry freedom”? (Perhaps we could begin with Bobby Darin's “Simple Song of Freedom”  —  Della Reese style.)

And maybe, just maybe, song could inspire renewed courage to stand for rights and freedoms in leaders who have been compromised or fear-driven to the point they feel no choice but to “obey orders” from behind-the-scenes “superiors”? Instead of cursing at seeming or budding tyrants, could we sing rousing songs of freedom and encouragement for them to stand with integrity? Let them know we understand the over-arching tyranny that rules them, even as presidents, prime ministers, premiers, governors, et al., but that the tyranny that rules them does not justify their passing it down? Remind them that our commitment to honoring obeying, or sustaining law applies only to Constitutional law and to the service of honest, wise, and good men and women?7 Could we even ferret out the controlling insiders and “plague” them with song? Instead of chanting robotic phrases, let us sing great songs that stir the soul.

Perhaps singing would prove the greatest protest strategy of all time and result in calling God out of His hiding place to end the evils that the weaknesses and obsessions of mankind have brought to such a point as this escalating world-wide tyranny.

Let us remember:
Go ye forth of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans, with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter to the end of the earth; say ye: The Lord hath redeemed his servant Jacob.8

[and] he inviteth ... all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.9
* Old Testament | Isaiah 48:20 | Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 20:20 ~ Go ye forth of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans, with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter to the end of the earth; say ye: The Lord hath redeemed his servant Jacob. ([Bold emphasis added.]

1. Do you not see? Evidence had no role in this initial rule. It was merely thought and the prohibition descended against singing, which could be argued is, the most powerful form of worship and means to invite the Spirit of God. Under this contagion rule, when will it ever be safe to sing again in congregation or choir? Fear of contagion, natural or manufactured, has become the perfect control vehicle.
About singing: | |
2. (NOTICE the censorship).
3. Doctrine and Covenants | Section 25:12 ~ For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.
4. Word-search “singing” | “song” in scripture. A few examples follow:
New Testament | Romans 15:9-11 ~ And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.
New Testament | Revelation 15:3 ~ And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 21:13 ~ Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; for the feet of those who are in the east shall be established; and break forth into singing, O mountains; for they shall be smitten no more; for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted. 
Old Testament | Jeremiah 20:13 ~ Sing unto the LORD, praise ye the LORD: for he hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers. 
Old Testament | Psalms 100:1-5 ~ MAKE a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
Old Testament | Psalms 96:1-3 ~ O SING unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth. Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.
New Testament | Colossians 3:16 ~ 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. 
Old Testament | 2 Chronicles 5:12–13 ~ Also the Levites which were the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets:) It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD;
5. New Testament | Acts 16:25-26 ~ And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.
7. Doctrine and Covenants | Section 98:5-10 ~ And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me. Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land; And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil. I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free. Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn. Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil. 
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 134:5 ~ We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; [Entire section reproduced below at **] 
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 101:77-80 ~ According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles; That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment. Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another. And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.
**Doctrine and Covenants | Section 134:1-12 ~ WE believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society. We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life. We believe that all governments necessarily require civil officers and magistrates to enforce the laws of the same; and that such as will administer the law in equity and justice should be sought for and upheld by the voice of the people if a republic, or the will of the sovereign. We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul. We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest; at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience. We believe that every man should be honored in his station, rulers and magistrates as such, being placed for the protection of the innocent and the punishment of the guilty; and that to the laws all men show respect and deference, as without them peace and harmony would be supplanted by anarchy and terror; human laws being instituted for the express purpose of regulating our interests as individuals and nations, between man and man; and divine laws given of heaven, prescribing rules on spiritual concerns, for faith and worship, both to be answered by man to his Maker. We believe that rulers, states, and governments have a right, and are bound to enact laws for the protection of all citizens in the free exercise of their religious belief; but we do not believe that they have a right in justice to deprive citizens of this privilege, or proscribe them in their opinions, so long as a regard and reverence are shown to the laws and such religious opinions do not justify sedition nor conspiracy. We believe that the commission of crime should be punished according to the nature of the offense; that murder, treason, robbery, theft, and the breach of the general peace, in all respects, should be punished according to their criminality and their tendency to evil among men, by the laws of that government in which the offense is committed; and for the public peace and tranquility all men should step forward and use their ability in bringing offenders against good laws to punishment. We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied. We believe that all religious societies have a right to deal with their members for disorderly conduct, according to the rules and regulations of such societies; provided that such dealings be for fellowship and good standing; but we do not believe that any religious society has authority to try men on the right of property or life, to take from them this world's goods, or to put them in jeopardy of either life or limb, or to inflict any physical punishment upon them. They can only excommunicate them from their society, and withdraw from them their fellowship. We believe that men should appeal to the civil law for redress of all wrongs and grievances, where personal abuse is inflicted or the right of property or character infringed, where such laws exist as will protect the same; but we believe that all men are justified in defending themselves, their friends, and property, and the government, from the unlawful assaults and encroachments of all persons in times of exigency, where immediate appeal cannot be made to the laws, and relief afforded. We believe it just to preach the gospel to the nations of the earth, and warn the righteous to save themselves from the corruption of the world; but we do not believe it right to interfere with bond–servants, neither preach the gospel to, nor baptize them contrary to the will and wish of their masters, nor to meddle with or influence them in the least to cause them to be dissatisfied with their situations in this life, thereby jeopardizing the lives of men; such interference we believe to be unlawful and unjust, and dangerous to the peace of every government allowing human beings to be held in servitude. [But see D&C 98:5-10 above about the rejection of human bondage. Research Joseph Smith's  proposal to end slavery in America by the government purchasing their freedom in the hopes of ending the practice peacefully.] 
8. See * above
9. Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 26:32–33 ~ And again, the Lord God hath commanded that men should not murder; that they should not lie; that they should not steal; that they should not take the name of the Lord their God in vain; that they should not envy; that they should not have malice; that they should not contend one with another; that they should not commit whoredoms; and that they should do none of these things; for whoso doeth them shall perish. For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.
Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 30:1-3 ~ AND now behold, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you; for I, Nephi, would not suffer that ye should suppose that ye are more righteous than the Gentiles shall be. For behold, except ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall all likewise perish; and because of the words which have been spoken ye need not suppose that the Gentiles are utterly destroyed. For behold, I say unto you that as many of the Gentiles as will repent are the covenant people of the Lord; and as many of the Jews as will not repent shall be cast off; for the Lord covenanteth with none save it be with them that repent and believe in his Son, who is the Holy One of Israel. And now, I would prophesy somewhat more concerning the Jews and the Gentiles. For after the book of which I have spoken shall come forth, and be written unto the Gentiles, and sealed up again unto the Lord, there shall be many which shall believe the words which are written; and they shall carry them forth unto the remnant of our seed.