Best and Worst of Mormonism: Primary Songs!

June 4, 2010
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*Note: For my Best and Worst series, my intent is not to be negative for its own sake. Rather, I believe in balance, moderation, and critiquing personal sacred cows. Such is my love/cringe relationship with primary.

I first heard the words “Janice Krapp Perry” in the MTC.

Perry is the source of quite possibly the best and the worst of what the primary songbook has to offer. Having spent the majority of my post-mission years on the primary piano bench (and/or herding packs of sunbeams), I’m quite familiar with the songs. Here are some keepers… and some kick-to-the-curb-ers!

Best:

A Child’s Prayer
Manifestation of the Holy Ghost or not, this song makes me feel good. I really like the music, and the first line: “Heavenly Father, are you really there?” It seems to embrace wonder and validate doubt. What a great thing!

I Hope They Call Me on a Mission
I thought this was pretty cheesy growing up. Especially weird singing it as a 6’ eleven year-old (“when I have grown a foot or two” … which would make me 7 or 8 feet tall). However, at a zone conference in Japan during a rough patch in my mission, a zone leader played just the first few lines of this song and I totally got fired up to go ring another 500 Japanese kekko boxes. I LOVE playing this song as well.

We’ll Bring the World His Truth
Another song I loved on the mission. Really got me psyched up during long bike rides.

Popcorn Popping
Somehow I also missed the “it wasn’t really so” part and thought for a long time that popcorn really did come from apricot trees. Also, any primary song that ends up on Letterman has to be great (some guy in the audience sang it).

Follow the Prophet
I LOVE the minor key… and the march-like feel. Playing this one is really fun. It sounds great in Japanese too. That should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Worst:

Follow the Prophet
Thought I’d let this one off easy? This is quite possibly the creepiest song of the book. Can you say cult-ish? Something about the minor key and the words “Don’t go astray-ay!” that seem a little too horror-movie-ish. It’s one of the few things in the faith that when I’m called a cultist I actually think of this song and go, “well… kinda sometimes.”

I Am a Child of God
This song would not be on the worst list, if it wasn’t sung EVERY FLIPPIN’ WEEK. It got so bad in one ward, I actually complained to the primary president (we were tight like that, so don’t get too excited). Apparently, most of the kids were picking it for their “favorite song” for their spotlights because it was the only song they knew. Even my three year-old now randomly declares to inanimate objects around the house, “I am a child of God!” No, he doesn’t have Tourette’s. It just really sticks with you after 3x a week x 500+ weeks.

Book of Mormon Stories
I don’t know where to start with this one. Native-American/Lamanite connection issues aside, the “pretending to be Indians” hand action is at best ignorant. How can we continue to mock sacred symbols of other cultures? The Native American Powwow is a religious ceremony. The eagle feather is sacred. We should show more respect for these beliefs, just as we want our own sacred symbols to be respected.

If Jesus Were Watching
This is a song out of Friend a while back that we are singing this year for the program. I totally reject the premise of the song: If Jesus were watching me, would I still do ________ behaviors? How is this not false doctrine? Jesus IS watching, duh. Come on Sister Perry. You have done better.

What are your favorite/least favorite primary songs? Keep it balanced! I don’t want any posters with all negative or all positive opinions!

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51 Responses to Best and Worst of Mormonism: Primary Songs!

  1. Vort
    June 4, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Favorites:
    My Heavenly Father Loves Me — Best Primary Song EVAR!!!@@!!!!1!!!
    Give, Said the Little Stream — loved it since childhood, even if Elder Maxwell wasn’t impressed
    Mary’s Lullaby — beautiful Christmas hymn
    The Ten Commandments — a real hidden gem; why don’t we sing this more often?
    Beautiful Savior (Crusader’s Hymn) — do they still sing this?
    Lots of others I’m not remembering now

    Least:
    Follow the Prophet — I keep my distaste (for this and others) to myself; my kids love it
    A Child’s Prayer — nothing like having a hymn to teach our three-year-olds existential angst
    Probably others that I don’t remember because, well, I don’t much like them

  2. kew
    June 4, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    I’m also going to throw in a vote for “My Heavenly Father Loves Me” as one of my favorites.

    I dislike hearing “A Child’s Prayer” when sung in Sacrament meeting by all the fathers in the ward. They did it for Father’s Day this year and it was very awkward.

  3. June 4, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    I LOVE how ACP already gets two votes in the negative. :)

    I love GstLS as well. Another great one in Japanese…

  4. Thomas
    June 4, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    LOL re: “A Child’s Prayer” (which I confess to kinda liking) and “existential angst.”

    “Heavenly Father, are you really there? SOMEBODY PLEASE ANSWER!!! I FEEL SO UTTERLY TERRIFIED AND ALONE! HELLO? HELLO!!??!!

    “Bring the World His Truth” — +1.

    “Crusader’s Hymn,” if only to frost the people who think the Crusades were An Indelible Stain On Western Civilization. Plus it’s a really beautiful tune.

    “I Often Go Walking” — because my daughter singing it makes me tear up.

    “Baptism” (the “Jesus Came to John the Baptist” one.)

    “If With All Your Hearts You Truly Seek Me”. I mean, it’s Mendelssohn. ‘Nuff said.

    “Nephi’s Courage.” Favorite line: “But his older brothers/Said it would not float.” Dunno why that always makes me laugh.

  5. Thomas
    June 4, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Oh, and “Whenever I Think About Pioneers.”

  6. larryco_
    June 4, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Vort is right. “Give, Said The Little Stream” is possibly the greatest song on service that has ever been in a church children’s hymn book.

  7. Vort
    June 4, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Re: GStLS
    When I was little, the grass grew greener still. Today, it’s the fields that grow greener still. Anyone know why?

  8. June 4, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Worst:
    Pioneer children sang as they walked, and walked and walked and walked and walked and walked (isn’t that the only line in the whole song, just sang repeatedly?!)

    Best:
    Scripture Power (what kid doesn’t love jumping up out of his seat on “power”?)

  9. June 4, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    Best:
    “I Know You and You Know Me” – they never sing this one, but it’s all about diversity, and it’s a pretty little tune
    “I Love to See the Temple” – I like the tune and it’s a good explanation of what the temple is
    “Give Said the Little Stream” – Not sung nearly enough any more IMO
    “Rain is Falling All Around” – the kids love doing the rain motions, so it’s fun for the younger kids

    Worst:
    “Scripture Power” – sounds like the Dunkin Donuts jingle (“Dunkin Donuts / You can’t buy ‘em in a restaurant / Dunkin Donuts / You can’t buy ‘em in a bakery / Dunkin Donuts / It’s worth the trip!”) I actually think the Dunkin Donuts jingle writer could have a successful lawsuit against whoever wrote Scripture Power.
    “A Child’s Prayer” – I agree about the existential lyrics, but my main objection is just that it is overdone. Enough already! Get creative!
    “I’m So Glad When Daddy Comes Home” – presents such a Leave It to Beaver image of families that it just doesn’t ring true. All that’s missing is a pipe and slippers.
    “Here Comes the Ox-Cart” – another one with a creepy tune, and singing the words “creak-creak-creak-creak-is our song” is just too ridiculous
    “Follow the Prophet” – creepy, yes, and it is the 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall of the Children’s Song Book. The melody is weird and the song has FAR too many verses, which brings me to . . .
    Any children’s song set to a common tune that is a recitation of the names of prophets, books of scripture, or of an Article of Faith. The words are forced in to weird line breaks. It’s not musical.

  10. Thomas
    June 4, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    ““I’m So Glad When Daddy Comes Home” – presents such a Leave It to Beaver image of families that it just doesn’t ring true. All that’s missing is a pipe and slippers.”

    Less “Leave it to Beaver” when I come into my house than “linebacker blitz.”

  11. Vort
    June 4, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    I love “When Daddy Comes Home”. One of the few times that Daddy is revered. There really aren’t many hymns that express gratitude and affection for the Old Man, you know. I don’t remember if this was in the hymnbook when I was in Primary in the ’60s and ’70s, but I know I always liked it and thought of my dad. I also love to hear my kids sing it and give me hugs and kisses. Awesome song.

  12. June 4, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    I agree there’s a need for a “daddy” song revering fathers – a new one would be a great addition! Or we could rewrite the verses:
    “I’m so glad when daddy comes home / especially if he’s got take-out” Those pesky line breaks don’t work again. Oh well.

  13. Dr. Horrible
    June 4, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Love is spoken here…great primary song. I heard it song once at stake conference adult session, and it was powerful

  14. Steve
    June 4, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    “Follow the Prophet” deserves more attention.

    It is utterly awful.

    As mentioned above, it is cultish in feel. It is really creepy. I heard President Hinckley once talk about how he really didn’t like “We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet.” I can imagine what he thought of this one.

    But, the worst part to me is that it pushes the concept of prophetic infallibility — which in not doctrinal.

    I swear that this song was hatched as part of some kind of indoctrination program by someone who helped craft brainwashing programs for the North Koreans during the Korean War.

    It is time to tear this one out of the childen’s songbook . . .

  15. Rebecca J
    June 4, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    “A Child’s Prayer” is a beautiful song, one of my favorites from my years in Primary (as an adult–they didn’t have it when I was a kid). I also like that it says “Are You really there?” instead of “Art Thou really there?” J.K. Perry decided that it was more important to create a sense of intimacy between a child and God than to use the Appropriate Prayer Pronouns.

    Other favorites:

    “I Feel My Savior’s Love”
    “Beautiful Savior”
    “Once within a Lowly Stable” – best Christmas song in the book
    I like old-school songs like “The Priesthood Is Restored” and “The Still Small Voice,” which hardly ever get sung anymore.
    Also “Love One Another” and “Keep the Commandments” – simple, lovely songs

    Least liked:

    “I Lived in Heaven” – As far as didactic songs go, I guess it does a fine job of teaching the plan of salvation, but musically it is the dullest thing I have ever heard. I hated teaching this song in Primary, and as a pianist I hated playing it even more. Hated it. Still hate it.

    “I Like My Birthdays” – I don’t think anyone sings this one anymore, but it was on the list of songs for the annual program the year I served as a chorister. My main complaint about it is that it’s stupid.

    “When Jesus Christ Was Baptized” – Musically, it’s not offensive, but lyrically it seems like a contrived way of teaching children about the Godhead. To say all 3 members “were present there in love” doesn’t really make any sense, except as a desperate move to rhyme with “dove.”

    I have a beef with “We’ll Bring the World His Truth” because it invokes the image of the army of Helaman in reference to missionary work, when the story of Helaman’s army has nothing to do with missionary work. The 2,000 stripling warriors weren’t missionaries. They were soldiers, they killed people. Granted, they were killing bad guys–which, personally, I’m totally okay with–but that’s not missionary work. Generally, I’m okay with military imagery when you’re talking about going to war with Satan, fighting evil in general–and one could argue, I guess, that missionary work is fighting evil, but that doesn’t really fit with the tone of the song. I admit that I nitpick.

  16. cadams
    June 4, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Dude get off the PC peace pipe will ya? Book of Mormon Stories is one the greatest ever!

  17. Clark
    June 4, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Songs are my favorite part of primary

    Love:
    Jesus came to John the Baptist
    Whenever I hear the Song of a Bird
    Keep the Commandments
    Whenever I think about the pioneers
    Beautiful Savior (although I didn’t know it until out of primary)
    Favorite NEW song: I like to look for rainbows

    Dislike:
    I lived in heaven a long time ago
    Follow the prophet (Does this have a Jewish sound to anyone else but me?)

    Other thoughts:
    If “Scripture power” gets points for making kids jump out of their chair, what about the original chair jumper: “Jesus wants me for a sun… BEAM!” ?

    Regarding lyric changes, the little pioneer children are no longer “merry and happy and gay” and the reason the lyrics don’t match the meter in the prophets song is because they’ve had to rewrite it several times since the original ending “… is Spencer W. Kimball”

  18. SteveS
    June 4, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    Among my favorites: the Article of Faith songs. Why? They are surprisingly well crafted, considering the lyrics, which are neither rhymed nor metered. Some are better than others, but all are really effective for helping kids memorize the AoFs.

    Least favorite: That awful “God gave us families” song that debuted last year for the Primary program. Verses 2 and 3 are offensive.

  19. P.S.
    June 5, 2010 at 1:39 am

    RE #7:

    Give, Said, the Little Stream: is it grass growing greener still or fields?

    Actually, it is now – and always has been – fields. I have a collection of all the Primary songbooks back to the 1940s, and every single one of them says “the fields grow greener still.” What I’d really like to know is, why were we all taught it was grass, when it has always been fields?

  20. June 5, 2010 at 4:04 am

    A Child’s Prayer is really beautiful.

    When I am baptized (I like to look for rainbows). (www.johncanaan.com/heavenly_father.htm)

    P.S. — that is interesting about the song.

    Follow the prophet (Does this have a Jewish sound to anyone else but me?) — yes, it borrows the music. “Jonah was a prophet, swallowed by a whale, you know all about it from the Veggie Tale …”

    I Feel My Savior’s Love … a favorite of my wife’s.

  21. Matt
    June 5, 2010 at 8:40 am

    My time in primary for the last 15 years has been very limited, so I’m not very familiar with the current book. But once upon a time there was a song which had a very forgettable melody and went something like this: “Saturday is a special day, it’s the day we get ready for Sunday, we wash our clothes and do our chores and clean the house and . . . ”

    If it’s still in the hymn book, I’d put that one on my list of songs I’d like to see jettisoned

  22. June 5, 2010 at 11:27 am

    @Clark (#17)

    Its been a while since I’ve been in primary so I completely forgot “Sunbeam”…that’s another great one. :-)

  23. refugee
    June 5, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    It’s the ersatz Ashkenazy Eastern Euroopean (think Fiddler on the Rood) style that makes “Follow the Prophet” sound Jewish to our ears. For true authenticity, it would have to sound Sephardic, which would sound quite foreign to our western culturally attuned ears.

    But I have to say – LDS children’s music music is in my most humble opinion far better than what it typically used in other denominations – which tends to be pop schlock with difficult rhythms and melodic ranges way too extreme for most children’s voices.

    While I tend to cringe at a lot of Janice Kapp Perry’s “mainstream” stuff – she has a true gift for melody and the best of her children’s songs are unequaled anywhere.

  24. Thomas
    June 5, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    The Fetching Mrs. Thomas seconds the thoughts about “Follow the Prophet,” and thinks “Teach Me To Walk In The Light” is a much better expression of the relevant doctrine. We follow the Light; the Prophet may be a good source of the truth, but it’s Truth we’re following, not a man, however titled.

    She also approves “I’m So Glad When Daddy Comes Home, Especially When He’s Brought Take-Out.”

    Re: “Sunbeam,” the Nursery kids, including my youngest, sang that in the Primary program. Youngest just sat there with his arms folded, glowering at everyone. “Jesus Wants Me For A Storm-Cloud.”

  25. June 5, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    cadams – “Dude get off the PC peace pipe will ya? Book of Mormon Stories is one the greatest ever!”
    We’ll have to disagree on this. If you consider taking other people’s religious symbols lightly as something Jesus wouldn’t have a problem with, then I have no argument, of course. :) I personally think it has nothing to do with PC peace pipes and everything to do with respect and love. I don’t think Mormons would appreciate some other organization regularly singing a song that included pretending they were all wearing LDS garments (now that’s some imagery), and I don’t see how this is different. How is it respectful? Humble? Kind? Reverent? As you can tell, I am passionate about this. :)

    I had no idea about some of the background of the tunes (e.g. follow the prophet)… interesting. I also love the Baptism song (especially playing it…).

  26. SW Clark
    June 5, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    When my little sister was baptized she requested “I like to look for rainbows”, which I complained about at the time to my mother due to the fact that the earth isn’t actually clean after rain, but rather can be very muddy, not to mention dirtier due to stormwater runoff which spreads pollution, etc. (Underlying this was I believe the feeling that the melody was grating, although I’ve now come around to liking it decently well.)

    I really learned to hate “Follow the Prophet” on the mission when a companion pointed out that those words are repeated 52 times (if I remember correctly), and like any good missionary I realized that any visitor that heard it would immediately conclude that we were brainwashed lunatics. I loved the song as a kid, especially the last verse which seemed such a poignant social commentary. Now, I find that verse the worst of them all with it’s antagonistic portrayal of the state of world affairs and it’s implicit endorsement of “watching” the news on TV, which is perhaps the worst way to “inform” oneself. (Then again, I think the fact that so many people get their news from the TV is as much the problem as any of the “confusion” that might be witnessed due to shallow sensationalized reporting.)

    #8 D.H. – I’m glad I am not the only one who can’t recall any other lyrics to “Pioneer Children”.

    “BoM Stories” and “God Gave Us Families” should also be thrown out, but like the above won’t because either children or GA’s like them.

    The French version throws in a fun round, “Vent Frais” (same tune as “Hey, Ho, Nobody Home”) which I really like. “Families Can Be Together Forever” is also really beautiful, although now it’s harder for me to sing now after realizing that many kids didn’t have families that were good to them, and that while I do fully endorse temple marriage, I don’t want to insinuate that non-temple marriage is a bad thing.

    I’m also a fan of several Christmas ones such as “Stars Were Gleaming” and “When Joseph Went to Bethlehem.” The detail in the latter may be speculative (orderly woodshop, bread and goat cheese in a linen sack, treating Mary so gently), but it portrays the whole setting (and Joseph in particular) in very human terms, which is refreshing. And I also happen to have personal revelation that it’s all completely true.

  27. June 5, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    There really are a lot of good Primary songs, in my opinion. In a lot of cases, I wish we could sing them more than some of the other Hymns.

    Here are a few that I think were not listed previously that I love (they don’t get sung as often as they should):

    Best:
    “This is My Beloved Son”
    “On a Golden Springtime”
    “He Sent His Son”
    “Children All Over the World” (multiculturalism!!)
    “The Nativity Song”
    “Jesus Said Love Everyone”
    “Jesus Once was a Little Child”
    “Every Star is Different”
    “I’ll Walk with You”
    “I Often Go Walking”
    “All Things Bright and Beautiful”
    “Once there was a Snowman” and “Hello Song” (can’t leave those out)

    Re: I’m so Glad When Daddy Comes Home…. the song “Fathers” has a nice verse about dads that we kids could always sing to get dad all choked up!

    Re: I Hope They Call Me on a Mission…. every time my sister played the piano in FHE, she played this song. For some reason, I still love it.

    Worst:

    “Follow the Prophet” (robots)
    “The Sacred Grove” (scary)
    “Genealogy” – now “Family History”
    “To Think About Jesus” (depressing)
    “The Priesthood is Restored” (yes, we sang this one when I was a kid :()
    Just about any round that is in the book…

    Sorry for the long list. For the most part, I just love the Children’s Songs.

  28. June 5, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    I’m sorry to all the PC people out there, but I love Book of Mormon Stories. As an 11-year old boy, I loved it, and as a 47-year old man, I still love it. It’s the only primary song that rocks. I hated that I was force fed wimpy tunes like “Little Purple Pansies”.

    So, yes, take away the disrespectful hand motions, and let the song be sung!

    Mark

  29. June 5, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Mark, you were probably one of those 11-year-old boys who sat in the back row of Primary when I was the chorister and smirkingly sang “Little Purple PANTIES” as I tried to teach the song. I was a 19-year-old brand-new convert, who struggled hard each week to learn the unfamiliar songs, had nothing else prepared, and so had to soldier valiantly along, my face burning…argh.

  30. stu
    June 5, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    Jesus wants me for a sunbeam is the best

  31. June 5, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    I’m still stunned by the OP’s casual reference to having a separate piano for primary. You guys can actually afford more than one piano in your buildings? :D

  32. June 5, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    FireTag, the majority of our buildings here in the U.S. have a piano and an organ in the chapel, and additional pianos in the Primary and Relief Society rooms. Often there is a fourth one in the Young Women’s or all-purpose room.

  33. AdamF
    June 5, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    Mark, I’ll compromise on that! :)

    FireTag, if you don’t have some form of a piano in your living room (let alone the primary room), you’re not a True member. ;)

  34. June 5, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    Adam F. I have a piano STUDIO in my living room, as a matter of fact, but I haven’t had a home congregation that met in an actual church building since I left Michigan in 1973. If we ever have to move into the catacombs again, I’m good with that! :D

  35. Jeff Spector
    June 6, 2010 at 7:43 am

    I have always loved all the Primary songs. I have loved some more than others. Since my first calling in the Church was Primary, I got to learn most of the good ones and some of the not so good. But sometimes, they really struggle to put a decent melody to some of the words. I must admit that.

    And, as noted, some have fallen out of favor because of considerations for other faiths and practices.

    I wonder if there was ever a Primary song titled, ” Because God said, all other Churches are wrong….”

    How would that go over these days….? :D

  36. June 6, 2010 at 8:28 am

    Just checking in to make sure the heavy-handed indoctrination of “The Family is of God” made it onto the worst list. Whenever we sang it I felt bad for all the kids in the room who God didn’t give that sort of family to.

  37. McNitpick
    June 6, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Glad to hear your son doesn’t have turrets, AdamF.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turret

    I just hope he doesn’t have Tourette’s.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourette_syndrome

  38. Dave P.
    June 7, 2010 at 7:47 am

    #36

    That’s the reason why the lyrics in the 3rd verse of “Teach Me to Walk in the Light” say, “Father in Heaven we thank thee this day for loving guidance…” when it used to say “loving parents.”

  39. June 7, 2010 at 8:08 am

    #37 – LOL! Good catch. He DOES have some turrets on his castle.

    Turrets, I’z doin it rong.

    Thanks for the correction.

  40. June 7, 2010 at 9:14 am

    21 Matt – We used to like to change up the lyrics to “Saturday is a special day” when I was a kid: “Saturday is a special day / it’s the day we get ready for Sunday / we brush our teeth / and we go to the bathroom / so we don’t have to do it till Monday!”

    26 SW Clark – I too love “Stars Were Gleaming.” Forgot that one.

    Re: “Follow the Prophet,” when we were on a Mediterranean cruise with the kids, we intoned the following advice when exiting the ship: “Follow the Crowd / Follow the Crowd / Follow the Crowd / They know the way!” We always ended up at some interesting cathedral or castle if we did that.

  41. Vort
    June 7, 2010 at 10:37 am

    #21 I’d forgotten all about “Saturday Is a Special Day”! What a great song! I love it, but I admit to often putting silly lyrics in it, which in general is not a good idea for sacred music. But the “Saturday” song introduced me to the idea of keeping the Sabbath day holy. I grew up in a family where Sabbath observance tended to be somewhat casual; we went to Church, we generally avoided movies (until VCRs came about) and water sports, but took little effort to avoid regular everyday playing, eating out, and shopping. I didn’t really start being conscientious about my Sabbath day observance until my mission and afterward, and especially after I got married — my wife was much more observant of such things.

    Because of our attempts to keep the Sabbath day holy, Sunday is now my favorite day of the week, by far. And in part, at least, I owe it to singing “Saturday Is a Special Day” on Primary Tuesdays growing up. Awesome, awesome song.

  42. Rigel Hawthorne
    June 7, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    I got so that I can’t stand A Child’s Prayer. When I was a primary worker, the chorister used to call on a child to pick out a song to sing, and for whatever reason, it was always the first song the majority of children chose during that era. That screeching rise of “arrre you reeeeeally there” was like nails on a chalkboard. And because we had to sing it in separate parts, then together, it’s length was like singing 3 songs, where we could have sang 3 different one verse songs in its place.

    I also came to dislike another one, I can’t remember the name, but every verse ended with “Hosanna, Blessed Be the Name of the Most High God.”

    “On a Golden Springtime” also got to be quite annoying.

    I loved the musical setting to “We Believe in the Same Organization that existed in the Primative Church…” it was a blast singing it, and the kids always used to dwell as long as they could on “soooooooo forth”.

    While I sympathize with the concerns about Book of Mormon stories, and agree that it is perhaps better to drop that one, it would be nice to have some melodic influence from Native American culture SOMEWHERE within our church music.

    I wish Elder Maxwell had not chosen to use Give Said the Little Stream as an example of songs that are not “doctrinally drenched”. I love it the song, but feel like a little stigma lingers because of that talk.

  43. Current Primary Chorister Natalie
    June 12, 2010 at 9:55 am

    I find it interesting that you zero in on only one of the composers in this book. It would be fun to see if any of us could come up with even one good primary song. Also, “If the Savior stood beside me” Is not a song by Janice Kapp Perry. IT is by Sally DeFord and I think the message being conveyed is if he were actually standing there would I continue my current behavior. Of course Jesus is watching us always but sometimes we all need to be reminded of that fact and then we should temper our actions accordingly.

    For me there are too many great primary songs to list. I will agree that some of them are awkward but they all carry great messages.

    As to President Hinkley saying that he didn’t really like ‘We Thank the oh God for a Prophet’ I think it had more to do with the over singing of this song whenever he went somewhere. Too much repetition will kill any song!

  44. AdamF
    June 12, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Current Natalie, I wasn’t referring to “if the Savior Stood Beside Me” – take a look again, the song I was referring to is “If Jesus were watching” just FYI. Also, I focused on JKP because she’s pretty much a legend in the primary world. I challenge you to name even one other composer of primary songs who has done even half of what she has done. Fact is, you put out that much product, and you’re going to have some hits, and you’re going to have some Krapp. (pardon my verbage, I just couldn’t resist, haha). Happy chorister-ing! That is not an easy job!

  45. June 12, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    I cannot find a song called If Jesus were Watching in my copy of the Children’s songbook, nor could I find it online in the Friend. I don’t think it counts as a primary song if it’s not in one of those two spots.

    As for Book of Mormon stories and the tacky hand motions…when I was a Primary President over 15 years ago we were taught in a leadership training session that those hand motions were not to be used. If they’re using them in your ward speak up. Call the general board and ask them what the thought is on them today. Don’t just sit like a lump in sharing time and put up with that crap.

    There are actually quite a few songs about Father’s to sing instead of the overly treacly “Daddy’s Homecoming”. “Fathers” is my favorite and “My Dad” is nice and has that bouncy tune kids seem to love.

  46. AdamF
    June 12, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Good to know about the hand motions. Do you by chance have that in print anywhere? Otherwise I’m not sure it will have any weight… But thanks!

    The JKP song is pretty new I think…

  47. March 9, 2011 at 5:14 am

    It’s probably far too late to respond to this, but I’ll respond anyway. I’m not lDs, but much of my extended family is, so I’ve had plenty of exposure. The best: “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus” and “The Still Small Voice.” The worst: “Reverently, Quietly,” and all of the birthday songs. The worst LDS hymns ihas to be “Do What Is Right.”
    Alexis
    AlexisAR@blogspot.com

  48. thistlesmom
    April 4, 2011 at 7:22 am

    I’m at the piano bench every week too … Some of my favorites are The Golden Plates and Give Said the Little Stream, though they’re not in our current rotation. Some of my favorites now are favorites simply because the kids sing them with such gusto: Scipture Power, Follow the Prophet, and Easter Hosanna are some that our children will willingly belt out. On the “oh-I-wish” side … I miss some old favorites like singing “geneology” instead of “family history” although I understand some of the reasoning in changing words. The Chapel Doors is SO different that I wish they had just added verses rather than changing the whole thing. Is it really so bad to point out that running, playing, jumping, and sliding are things we don’t do in the chapel?

  49. Joey Rickabaugh
    October 15, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    You suck.  Book of Mormon stories is a classic.  It’s only mocking Native Americans in your mind.

  50. Sarah
    January 8, 2012 at 12:58 am

    SO agree with you on Book of Mormon Stories. The hand gestures are what ruins it for me. I am the Primary Chorister and I avoid this song when I can. Also agree with you on Follow the Prophet. Also not a fan of Do As I’m Doing (it shows up in my dreams! ah!). I’m a convert. Baptized when I was 19. I don’t have experiences with these songs from my own childhood that endear them to me….just my reactions when I first heard them. lol. Songs I do enjoy are most of the one’s you listed as your own likes…along with Latter-Day Prophets, A Happy Family and Daddy’s Homecoming are super cute on Father’s Day (or Mother’s Day for the first), Baptism, Called to Serve (minus any marching or hand gestures), Fun to Do (we did a fun one at Christmas where we went through steps to baking cookies),etc. 

  51. fijimama
    March 30, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    I realize this is an old post, however I cannot help but respond. Janice Kapp Perry has written many beautiful primary songs, two of which are on your “best” list. Also do you realize that none of the songs on your “worst” list were written by her? Unfortunately, it seems apparent that you do not from your last song on the worst list which is actually called, If the Savior Stood Beside Me, and was written by Sally DeFord not “Sister Perry”. There are many wonderful composers in the Children’s Songbook. Perhaps you should do some research prior to posts like this, and check to see that your own critique is balanced and correct.