"Psalmic utterances of praise and thanksgiving had always been in the highest tradition of the Israelite people," wrote Elder Bruce R. McConkie in The Mortal Messiah 1:325.
"The Psalms of David and Solomon and Moses and others, preserved in the Old Testament, are still read and sung in the churches of Christendom. Great psalmic utterances of Nephi are found in the Book of Mormon. Miriam, . . . the sister of Aaron, led the women of Israel in a psalm of rejoicing after they had passed through the Red Sea. Deborah, . . . who judged Israel in her day, sang a great hymn of praise when the Lord, through her instrumentality, slew Sisera and saved Israel from the king of Canaan. Hannah, the mother of Samuel, burst forth in a great accolade of praise when she delivered her son to Eli."In Hebrew, the psalms are called Tehillim, or songs of praise. Music was important to the ancient children of Israel, and was used as part of the highest form of expression. In another book, The Promised Messiah, Elder McConkie wrote: "It
musicT has been given to man so he can sing praises to the Lord. It is a means of expressing, with poetic words and in melodious tunes, the deep feelings of rejoicing and thanksgiving found in the hearts of those who have testimonies of the divine Sonship and who know of the wonders and glories wrought for them by the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
"Music is both in the voice and in the heart. Every true saint finds his heart full of songs of praise to his Maker. Those whose voices can sing forth the praises found in their hearts are twice blest.
Be filled with the Spirit, Paul counseled,Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.' (Eph. 5:18-19.) Also: `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.' (Col. 3:16.)
Elder McConkie pointed out that not all music is lofty, edifying and good. "Lucifer uses much that goes by the name of music to lead people to that which does not edify and is not of God. Just as language can be used to bless or curse, so music is a means of singing praises to the Lord or of planting evil thoughts and desires in the minds of men. Of that music which meets the divine standard and has the Lord's approval, He says: `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.' (D&C 25:2.)
"In view of all that the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us, ought we not to sing praises to His Holy name forever?"