My Mom’s Song

Keep the Commandments original (Published in The Friend magazine, 1975)

My mom wrote a religious piece of music when I was young, a song called “Keep the Commandments.” She needed a song for the children’s church organization (“Primary”) in her local geographic area (“stake”). I sang the song in my Primary and then, maybe 5 years later, traveled with her and my sister to Switzerland where we heard it sung (in German) in a Primary meeting there. (We just showed up on that Sunday to attend church and heard them sing it.) That enlarged my perspective at how one little song can affect a much broader audience than we might imagine.

This morning, as I sat in my home watching a church meeting being broadcast live to almost 200 nations worldwide, I heard the most beautiful arrangement of her song sung by a 360-member choir. Their performance was soothing, peaceful, comforting.

Listening to the song caused me to marvel at how a single mother with 5 children just wanted to help the children in her neighborhood. Instead, her song has ended up influencing many. I know she wasn’t thinking, some 38 years ago, “Oh, I’ll write a song that will be sung around the world.” But she did.

My mother is one of my greatest inspirations in teaching music. She has written a number of songs–some simple, some more complex, but has always just wanted to help others with music. Other people have done the same, and I believe that our children–our incredible rising generation will surely create even more beautiful music than we have yet heard in the history of our world. I believe they have that capacity.

(Note: ASL videos for a number of religious songs are available here. These videos were made over many years, so the fashions of interpreters varies according to when they were made. Also, if you are not familiar with ASL videos, it is helpful to understand facial expressions in signing interpretation. Adult interpreters may be more animated in their facial expressions than children.)