The current LDS hymnbook, Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was first published in 1985. This hymnal is used in Sunday services and in most Church-related meetings. It has been published in 38 languages (as of May 2016) and is used by Church members around the world.
The 1985 hymnbook has a green cover with gold lettering and a black silhouette of the Salt Lake Tabernacle organ pipes. There is a gold rectangle forming a border around the edge. The endpaper inside the cover has a green marble/paisly design.
The book can be purchased from Store.LDS.org in “standard” size, pocket size, large-print, or spiral-bound (not all options are available in every language). The leather versions of the pocket-size book have been made available in a few different colors.
The original English edition of the 1985 hymnbook contains 341 hymns. Most editions in other languages only include around 200 songs. There is a standard “core” of songs that most hymnbook translations have, though the order of the hymns is not always the same between translations. Some languages’ hymnbooks include songs that don’t exist in English or aren’t in the current English hymnbook.
In the 1998 edition, copyright information was changed to reference IRI (Intellectual Reserve, Inc.) instead of LDS. The fonts are slightly wider in 1998 compared to 1985, and some of the music was reflowed (compare, for example, Hymn 2). Also, in each edition, music and text typos were correct, and dates were updated in the credits for any authors or composers who had passed away. In 1989 the music department began using Music Engraver, and in 2005 they began using Finale to prepare the sheet music. Changes in software may have contributed to font changes.
A few special editions of the hymnbook exist. For a short time a dark green leather hardcover version of the hymnbook was available. A white version is printed for temples, with silver lettering and the organ silhouette. Special editions were also printed for Church employees in 1985 (black hardcover with silver-embossed grid pattern), 1987 (pocket-sized, reddish-brown leather cover with snap), and 2008 (dark maroon leather cover).
Church-produced “Hymn 342” inserts were previously available for the English hymnbook (starting in 1987), with a national anthem for Canada, Australia, or New Zealand, but these are no longer being printed or distributed.
The Children's Songbook was introduced in 1989 and is the Church’s official songbook for children, used in the Church’s Primary program. The book contains songs that teach the basic doctrines of the gospel simply and clearly, as well as traditional and fun songs for children that aren’t necessarily related to the gospel. It is currently available in 32 languages (as of July 2016).
The Children’s Songbook has a drawing of a group of children sitting outside, gathered around a woman who is reading or singing from a songbook. Around the picture is a greenish-blue border with vertical stripes.
The book can be purchased from Store.LDS.org as a softcover, hardcover, or pocket-size book (not all options are available in every language).
The original English edition of the Children's Songbook contains 268 songs. Each translated version of the book includes 110 of these songs in a standard order (pages 2–138), plus additional songs at the end (pages 139–148) chosen by the translators.
Hymns and Children’s Songs is a booklet used mainly in countries where full translations of the 1985 hymnbook and the Children's Songbook are not available. The book has been translated into more than 60 languages. Older editions of the book vary as to which songs are included, but the books published recently contain 35 selected hymns and 10 selected children songs in a standard order. These same hymns were included in older editions of the Church’s Gospel Principles (pre-2009) and Gospel Fundamentals manuals.
Older editions of the book have a yellow or beige cover with a stamped floral design, bordered by a checkered pattern. Newer editions have a brown or gray cover with a silhouette image of a family singing or learning together, similar to the image on the pre-2009 Gospel Principles manual. The booklets come either spiral-bound or staple-bound.
Several of these books have been replaced by new full hymnbooks. Others have gone out of print in favor of languages where a full hymnbook already exists and members are bilingual. However, many of them are still being used in church meetings and homes around the world. The list below may not be complete.
Primary songs from Outline for Sharing Time, which have been sung in the annual Children’s Sacrament Meeting Presentations.
Music from the current Church magazines: Ensign, New Era, and Friend, which began publication in 1971, and the Liahona, the Church’s international magazine (first published in English in 1977 as the Tambuli). Several non-English magazines that started at various times have been consolidated into the unified Liahona. Additional historical information is available below.
Music relating to the annual Mutual Theme that has been published on LDS.org.
Hymns: Simplified Accompaniments contains simplified versions of 158 hymns from Hymns, arranged by Darwin Wolford. While not actually published by the Church, it is available through Church distribution services.
Selected Hymns is a booklet with 60 hymns from the 1985 hymnbook, geared towards those serving in the military or in other situations where having a full hymnbook would not be practical (the booklet Principles of the Gospel, specifically for servicemen, has 31 hymns, most of which are also in Selected Hymns).
Manual-Only Hymns for Organ has arrangements of 38 hymns for those learning to play the organ.
The Choirbook has 24 arrangements of hymns for choirs.
A Song of the Heart has 36 songs for girls in the Young Women program.
The Young Women Camp Manual has 24 songs for girls in the Young Women program.
Hymns Made Easy has simple arrangements of 60 hymns (the same 60 hymns that are in Selected Hymns) for learning pianists.
Previous books published and used by the Church.
These hymns are likely to be recognized by members all over the world.