Sam Orme Sam Orme grew up in a musical family and figured he'd better love music too if he wanted to keep up. He lives in Nashville with his wife and daughter and makes a living selling steel to Nissan. If you'd like some, stop on by when you're in the area.

All posts by Sam Orme:

  • Hymn #213: The First Noel

    It’s simple, it’s short, and it’s impossibly beautiful. For a long, long time, this was my very favorite of the fourteen Christmas hymns in the LDS hymnal. (It was replaced a couple of years ago by “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” because, seriously, come on.) The soaring soprano part intertwines with the equally […]

  • Hymn #208: O Little Town of Bethlehem

    Now that it’s getting to be the Christmas season, we turn our attention to the Christmas hymns in our hymnal. There are fourteen of them, and my decision to write short essays about each of them on my personal blog last year ended up inspiring this project. This is far from the only hymn to […]

  • Hymn #61: Raise Your Voices to the Lord

    Raise your voices to the Lord, Ye who here have heard his word. As we part, his praise proclaim, Shout thanksgiving to his name. Shout thanksgiving! Let our song Still our joy and praise prolong, Until here we meet again To renew the glad refrain. It’s a short hymn with just eight short lines, and […]

  • Hymn #94: Come, Ye Thankful People

    This is one of the Thanksgiving hymns in the hymnal (three of them in all), but after the first line, there’s not a mention of gratitude in the entire hymn. And yet in the subsequent fifteen lines, the theme of harvest is mentioned six times. It’s not a hymn of thankfulness; it’s a hymn of […]

  • Hymn #216: We Are Sowing

    Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth […]

  • Hymn #97: Lead, Kindly Light

    Like many other Latter-day Saint men, I served as a missionary from the ages of nineteen to twenty-one. I packed my bags, put on a suit, and did my best to teach the gospel to everyone I saw in northern Japan for two years. It was a fantastic experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for […]

  • Hymn #262: Go, Ye Messengers of Glory

    Go, ye messengers of glory; Run, ye legates of the skies. Go and tell the pleasing story That a glorious angel flies, Great and mighty, great and mighty, With a message from the skies. This is another hymn of the restoration and the gospel coming forth, but it’s interesting to note that the lyrics were […]

  • Hymn #36: They, the Builders of the Nation

    They, the builders of the nation, Blazing trails along the way; Stepping-stones for generations Were their deeds of ev’ry day. This hymn is, on the surface of it, an ode to the Mormon Pioneers, a group with a hallowed place in Latter-day Saint lore. This first (or second, depending on how you want to look […]

  • Hymn #290: Rejoice, Ye Saints of Latter Days

    Rejoice, ye Saints of latter days, For temples now in many lands, Where Saints, endowed with pow’r from God, May learn to keep the Lord’s commands, May learn to keep the Lord’s commands. There are a lot of temples in the world today (143 of them, with another 27 in various stages of construction), and […]

  • Hymn #18: The Voice of God Again is Heard

    Those who have lived their lives in the Church have heard the story over and over, and those who aren’t may have heard it from someone who is a time or two. Joseph Smith, wondering which church he should join, went to the woods to pray and saw the Father and the Son, who told […]

  • Hymn #265: Arise, O God, and Shine

    Arise, O God, and shine In all thy saving might, And prosper each design To spread thy glorious light; Let healing streams of mercy flow, That all the earth thy truth may know. We ask the Lord in this hymn, and in fact, through much of our lives, to arise and spread His saving grace […]

  • Hymn #84: Faith of our Fathers

      Faith of our fathers, holy faith, We will be true to thee till death! The word “fathers” is mentioned three times in this hymn (and once in each chorus), while “God,” “Jesus,” “Lord,” the presumptive objects of our faith, and so on appear a grand total of once (“thru the truth that comes from […]

  • Hymn #146: Gently Raise the Sacred Strain

    Gently raise the sacred strain, For the Sabbath’s come again That man may rest, And return his thanks to God For his blessings to the blest. Why do we worship? Why do we take a day off each week and spend it in church, singing hymns, listening to sermons, engaging in prayer, and doing any […]

  • Hymn #8: Awake and Arise

    Awake and arise, O ye slumbering nations! The heavens have opened their portals again. The last and the greatest of all dispensations Has burst like a dawn o’er the children of men! This is it. The end of days, the Second Coming, the final judgment, all of it is upon us. We’re in the very […]

  • Hymn #142: Sweet Hour of Prayer

    The simple double long meter and the pounding rhythm of bum BUM, bum BUM, bum BUM, bum BUM make this an instantly recognizable hymn, as well as an easy one to learn to play. It’s not uncommon to enter a Latter-day Saint home and hear a child plunking this tune out on the piano. There’s nothing […]

  • Hymn #114: Come unto Him

    I wander through the still of night, When solitude is ev’rywhere– Alone, beneath the starry light, And yet I know that God is there. This hymn starts off (to me at least) with imagery that reminds us of the story of Enos, the Book of Mormon prophet who went into the woods to hunt, recognized […]

  • Hymn #59: Come, O Thou King of Kings

    Come, O thou King of Kings! We’ve waited long for thee, With healing in thy wings, To set thy people free. Come, thou desire of nations, come; Let Israel now be gathered home. We touched briefly on the subject of enduring to the end yesterday. It’s a substantial part of our doctrine. It’s not enough […]

  • Hymn #152: God Be with You Till We Meet Again

    This is a hymn we most commonly associate with closing and goodbyes. We may sing it at the end of a meeting, at the end of a relationship with a friend, or any other time something in our lives comes to a close. When my family was about to move to a new state when […]

  • Hymn #6: Redeemer of Israel

    Redeemer of Israel, Our only delight, On whom for a blessing we call, Our shadow by day And our pillar by night, Our King, our Deliv’rer, our all! The Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is ever before us, showing us the way back to His presence and into eternal life. We […]

  • Hymn #307: In Our Lovely Deseret

    In our lovely Deseret, Where the Saints of God have met, There’s a multitude of children all around. They are generous and brave; They have precious souls to save; They must listen and obey the gospel’s sound. For a long time, I had a sharply negative association with this hymn. I thought of it as […]

  • Hymn #287: Rise, Ye Saints, and Temples Enter

    Rise, ye Saints, and temples enter; Seek the path that leads ahead. Seal in everlasting circles All our loved ones, quick and dead. Maybe you’re a faithful, diligent Latter-day Saint who attends the temple regularly and who needs no introduction to the institution, but if you’re not, suffice it to say that temples are sacred […]

  • Hymn #241: Count Your Blessings

    Count your many blessings; name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done. “Count your blessings” is a bit of advice we often hear when we’re struggling with gratitude. Whether we feel entitled or abandoned, we sometimes end up with a warped understanding of the Lord’s role in our […]

  • Hymn #138: Bless Our Fast, We Pray

    We fast every first Sunday of each month as a church, and more often as the occasion calls for it. We go without food for two meals, and we offer the money we would spend on that food to the church, which is spent on those who are less fortunate. We all do this, and […]

  • Hymn #278: Thanks for the Sabbath School

    Perhaps your experience is different than mine, but Sunday School is often the least engaging and inspiring hour of my church experience. That’s no disrespect to my current Sunday School teacher, who is fantastic, wonderful, and well-prepared, mind you. It’s more that due to the interactive and participatory nature of the class, we often end […]

  • Hymn #293: Each Life That Touches Ours for Good

    “The Lord answers our prayers,” said Spencer W. Kimball, “but it is usually through another person that he meets our needs.” It’s rare that He Himself will descend to do the things we ask of Him. Instead, He sends a kind family member, a trusted co-worker, or even a gentle stranger to help us along […]

  • Hymn #129: Where Can I Turn for Peace?

    This is a favorite hymn of many, probably because we all have this feeling from time to time. Things are hard, things are difficult, and despite our best efforts, things don’t go our way. And we wonder, when nothing seems to be going right, where we can turn for a little comfort. Where can we […]

  • Hymn #246: Onward, Christian Soldiers

    This is just about the most militaristic, jingoistic hymn we have available. There are soldiers right there in the title, and we sing about “marching as to war” and going “forward into battle.” It has a sharp, crisp cadence to it, making you feel like you want to stand up and march. You want to […]

  • Hymn #131: More Holiness Give Me

    Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am. (3 Nephi 27:27) This is the commandment, and the goal each of us is striving for. We are to become perfect, even as our Savior is perfect. It’s impossible, of course, which is why the Savior sacrificed […]

  • Hymn #338: America the Beautiful

      Katherine Lee Bates, this hymn’s author, began writing the lyrics to “America the Beautiful” from the top of Pikes Peak, near Colorado Springs, CO.  She was on a train trip across the country, and incorporated many of the sights she’d seen into her poem. She saw “amber waves of grain” as she crossed the […]

  • Hymn #341: God Save the King

    With American Independence Day coming up, we’re considering the hymns on patriotism here at the Beesley Project. And we’re starting off with the one hymn of the bunch that isn’t expressly American-themed: “God Save the King.” I’ve always thought it was interesting that a church as globally-minded as the LDS Church doesn’t include any other […]

  • Hymn #83: Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah

    No matter what your personal views on morality are, it’s clear that there are a lot of different voices competing for attention. We hear some people telling us that something is good and right and others telling us that it’s evil. These voices seem to surround us and shout so loudly that it’s difficult to […]

  • Hymn #127: Does the Journey Seem Long?

    Chances are that if you’ve been alive for virtually any length of time, you’ve found that life is hard. Things go wrong, and they do so often. Personally speaking, I’m sitting here with a mild headache caused by corn stuck in my teeth, my daughter is screaming and won’t go to sleep, I’m hot and […]

  • Hymn #75: In Hymns of Praise

    We sing praise to the Lord for a lot of different things in the hymnal. We sing about His mercy, His grace and goodness, and His love. We sing about His power and might, and we sing about His righteousness. There’s a lot to praise, certainly. Here, we sing about his strength, as we hear […]

  • Hymn #37: The Wintry Day, Descending to Its Close

    Yes, this is a winter hymn, and yes, its summer as we’re posting this. We sing about the snow falling over the night and the accompanying stillness. Snow has a way of muffling sound, creating a solemn silence that “invites all wearied nature to repose.” The whiteness of freshly-fallen snow is lovely, too; it covers […]

  • Hymn #242: Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow

    It’s literally four phrases long, so let’s just go ahead and listen to all of the words right now: Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; Praise him, all creatures here below; Praise him above, ye heav’nly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. There’s only one verse, and even if you sing it at […]

  • Hymn #239: Choose the Right

    This is an instantly recognizable hymn for most members of the LDS Church. It has a simple, catchy melody and simple, easily-remembered theme (the BUM BUM BUM progression really solidifies the words “choose the right”), and, along with “Sweet Hour of Prayer,” might be one of the most-played hymns in the book by beginners. The […]

  • Hymn #112: Savior, Redeemer of My Soul

    Like we do in many hymns, we sing about our Savior in this hymn, and as we often do when we sing about the Lord, we sing particularly about His atoning sacrifice. His “mighty hand hath made [us] whole, [His] wondrous pow’r hath raised [us] up and filled with sweet [our] bitter cup.” He, and […]

  • Hymn #288: How Beautiful Thy Temples, Lord

    LDS temples dot the earth, with nearly 150 of them across the globe in 46 countries and six continents. Each has its own unique architecture, drawing from local culture, but no matter what they look like, each is beautiful. They are the houses of the Lord, and they are built to be worthy offerings to […]

  • Hymn #73: Praise the Lord with Heart and Voice

    On its surface, this seems to be a pretty typical hymn of praise. God is good, and we’re here to sing about it. We sing about the gifts that He has given us (“life and light,” “truth revealed, “grace,” and “wondrous love,” to name a few), and we sing about our adoration for Him for […]

  • Hymn #157: Thy Spirit, Lord, Has Stirred Our Souls

    Thy Spirit, Lord, has stirred our souls And by its inward shining glow We see anew our sacred goals And feel thy nearness here below. No burning bush near Sinai Could show thy presence, Lord, more nigh. The first topic listed for this hymn is “closing,” and it’s not difficult to see why. We sing […]

  • Hymn #184: Upon the Cross of Calvary

    With three verses that begin with “upon the cross,” it’s not surprising that this hymn is mostly about the crucifixion and Jesus’ death. And, like most sacramental hymns, it’s not surprising that we sing not only about death, but also about the Savior’s (and our) eventual triumph over death. We sing in the second verse […]

  • Hymn #194: There Is a Green Hill Far Away

    It’s a short hymn with only eight lines, but despite its brevity and simplicity, it packs a punch. The lyrics “we may not know, we cannot tell what pains he had to bear” speak volumes, as do the lyrics that complete that thought: But we believe it was for us He hung and suffered there. […]

  • Hymn #135: My Redeemer Lives

    This hymn is probably best known for two reasons; first, it’s frequently mistaken for much better-known “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” (it’s the next hymn in the book, and they even share the same first line), and its lyrics were written by Gordon B. Hinckley. Like “I Know That My Redeemer Lives,” we declare […]

  • Hymn #133: Father in Heaven

    I didn’t immediately recognize this hymn from its title. You may not either. If you don’t, you might consider taking a minute to click on the link at the top of the page and listen to the first verse. In fact, it won’t even take you a minute. Go on, give it a listen. Did […]

  • Hymn #219: Because I Have Been Given Much

    Because I have been given much, I too must give; Because of thy great bounty, Lord, each day I live I shall divide my gifts from thee With every brother that I see Who has the need of help from me. This is a beloved hymn in the LDS Church. If you’ve spent much time […]

  • Hymn #225: We Are Marching On to Glory

      When we talk about enduring to the end, we often talk about staying in the strait and narrow path. The idea is that we have a clear path to follow that the gospel has laid out for us, and that we have little room for variation from that path. If our goal is eternal […]

  • Hymn #11: What Was Witnessed in the Heavens?

    If you remember this hymn for anything, it’s probably for the opening bars. We have plenty of hymns in which the men drop out, leaving the women to carry the melody for a moment, but here, the opposite happens. The men are left alone for the first eight beats of each of the first two […]

  • Hymn #291: Turn Your Hearts

    After the completion of the Kirtland Temple, Joseph and Oliver Cowdery took a moment to pray together in private. In response, they saw a series of heavenly messengers, each entrusted with restoring the keys for various aspects of the gospel. Moses, the prophet who led Israel out of Egypt, restored the keys for the gathering […]

  • Hymn #17: Awake, Ye Saints of God, Awake!

    Awake, we’re told over and over in this hymn. We’re told twice in the title alone, and the tune, as with most hymns about Zion, is upbeat and powerful. We sing vigorously, an attitude about as far from sleep as possible. And yet it’s clear all of us (those of us singing, anyway), are quite […]

  • Hymn #243: Let Us All Press On

    Ages ago, the king of Syria was troubled. He was at war with Israel, and despite his best efforts to kill the king of Israel, he was consistently able to sneak away from his assassination attempts. Convinced someone was leaking secrets to the enemy, the king of Syria asked his servants which of them was […]

  • Hymn #238: Behold Thy Sons and Daughters, Lord

    We see two topics attached to this hymn in the Holy Ghost and obedience. I was more than a little surprised not to find a third. Listen to the first verse and see if you can tell what the missing topic is: Behold thy sons and daughters, Lord On whom we lay our hands. They […]

  • Hymn #19: We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet

    This is the hymn that we, more than any other, associate with the leader of our church. We sing it at General Conference after he speaks to us. We sing it when he visits our local congregation (if we’re lucky enough to have him visit). I had a missionary companion who would listen to the […]

  • Hymn #235: Should You Feel Inclined to Censure

    If you listen to this hymn and find that it feels familiar, it’s because the tune is “Lower Lights,” which, but for two changed notes, is identical to the tune from the much-beloved “Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy.” (We’re not writing about that one until August. Hopefully you can last that long.) This hymn is […]

  • Hymn #165: Abide with me, ‘Tis Eventide

    This hymn, like its cousin “Abide with Me!”, recalls the story of the road to Emmaus. Two men are walking toward Emmaus, when they are joined by a stranger, who is, unbeknownst to them, the Savior. They walk with Him and describe the events of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion. They also talk of His empty […]

  • Hymn #14: Sweet Is the Peace the Gospel Brings

    Fun fact, albeit one that adds little to our understanding of the hymn: The lyrics were written by Mary Ann Morton Durham, and the tune was written by Alfred M. Durham, her nephew. As BJ pointed out on Monday, many LDS hymns additional verses that aren’t traditionally sung, and in order to get a full […]

  • Hymn #159: Now the Day Is Over

      I’ve never heard this hymn sung in church before. The topics indicate that it’s a hymn of closing, but the topic “evening” seems a better fit to me. It’s less a hymn to sing at the close of a meeting and more one to sing before heading to bed. Since I’m rarely at church […]

  • Hymn #294: Love at Home

    This, along with “Sweet Hour of Prayer,” might be the most-played hymn in the entire book. We often hear beginning piano students plunking out the familiar “bum ba bum ba bum bum bum, bum ba bum bum bum.” The melody and chords are simple, and it’s fitting, because the message is just as simple. The […]

  • Hymn #89: The Lord Is My Light

      I used to think this was a song of joy. The tune is happy and lilting, we sing about light, and the chorus explicitly refers to the Lord as “[our] joy and [our] song.” So why, then, when we review the topics listed for this hymn, do we not find “joy”? A quick look […]

  • Hymn #40: Arise, O Glorious Zion

    Like most of the hymns about Zion, this one is bright, strong, and uptempo. We sing brightly, and we sing with conviction. We sing with power, and it’s because when we sing about Zion, we sing about the kingdom of God. Other hymns focus on the God’s attributes, like His kindness and mercy, but this […]

  • Hymn #25: Now We’ll Sing with One Accord

    This is a hymn we don’t often hear in church. I don’t think I’ve ever sung it in sacrament meeting, although it turns out that I have at least heard it once. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang this hymn during the April 2009 General Conference. WordPress doesn’t allow us to embed the video here, sadly, […]

  • Hymn #55: Lo, the Mighty God Appearing!

    Even if you didn’t see the direction to sing energetically, or even if you didn’t see the exclamation points littered throughout the song (a whopping twenty of them in four verses), this is a hymn that you almost can’t help but sing with vigor. The melody almost begs to be played as a fanfare with […]

  • Hymn #257: Rejoice! A Glorious Sound Is Heard

    I could probably count on one hand the number of times that I’ve sung this song in church. It’s not one that I’m very familiar with. Maybe you are. Whether you are or not, though, it’s a hymn that has a familiar feel to it. We’ve sung similar hymns with similar feelings. Some have a […]

  • Hymn #173/174: While of These Emblems We Partake

    This is one of two hymns (along with “Tis Sweet to Sing the Matchless Love” in the hymnbook with two different tunes. Samuel McBurney wrote “Saul” (hymn #173) and Alexander Schreiner wrote “Aeolian” (hymn #174), but in either case, the lyrics are the same. So why include two versions of the same song? When was […]

  • Hymn #185: Reverently and Meekly Now

    The lyrics were written by Joseph Townsend, but this is the first of the hymns we’ll cover this year whose tune was written by our site’s namesake, Ebenezer Beesley. The tune, fittingly named “Meekness,” adds an extra layer to the hymn that isn’t present in the lyrics. The lyrics, as are common with sacramental hymns, […]

  • Hymn #31: O God, Our Help in Ages Past

    We hear a lot about the goodness, grace, and mercy of the Lord from the hymns. We sing about His kindness, and we rejoice in His endless love. The hymns are, after all, hymns of praise, or else what are we doing singing them? But for whatever reason, I don’t feel as much that the […]

  • Hymn #47: We Will Sing of Zion

    The title says it all, really. We spend three verses singing of Zion. It’s a simple sentiment, and its simplicity speaks volumes. Each line only has from five to seven syllables (6 5 7 7 6, to be precise), and not a syllable is wasted in telling us what Zion is, who makes it up, […]

  • Hymn #215, Ring Out, Wild Bells

    Yes, it was written by that Alfred Tennyson, who wrote the lyrics as a poem mourning the death of his sister’s young fiance. When sung, it’s readily apparent that the song is one of grieving. It’s one of the few non-sacramental hymns written in a minor key, although it resolves to a major key on the […]