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The Mormon Tabernacle ChoirA Biography$
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Michael Hicks

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039089

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039089.001.0001

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Books and Angels

Books and Angels

(p.1) Chapter 1 Books and Angels
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Michael Hicks

University of Illinois Press

This chapter looks at the Mormons' earliest choirs, first by considering passages in the Book of Mormon that mentioned heavenly “choirs”—all of which would have made sense to a young religious American in the 1820s named Joseph Smith. For almost a decade Smith had visits from spirits awash in heavenly light. One of those spirits, an angel named Moroni, had led him repeatedly to a local hillside where a stone box of gold plates lay buried. The result was the Book of Mormon; one of its passages makes reference to the prophet Mormon's promise of heavenly choir membership as a reward to the faithful. This chapter discusses the founding and organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the first choirs it assembled, including the one at Kirtland Temple in Ohio and another at Nauvoo Temple in Illinois. It also examines the anti-choir, anti-music-literacy strand of American Protestantism during the nineteenth century and how conflicting visions of musical literacy lived on in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Keywords:   musical literacy, Mormons, Book of Mormon, heavenly choirs, Joseph Smith, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Kirtland Temple, Nauvoo Temple, Protestantism

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