My wife and I grew up in active LDS families. I am now atheist and my wife is agnostic, yet we are still interested in experiencing transcendence and awe on a regular basis and raising our son to enjoy the same. We are now active in a Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, which supports us in our personal spiritual quests. But, we have also been trying to create new family traditions. Perhaps, I’ll post on some of those efforts later, but today I’d like relate what we have been doing with music.
We would like to have some hymns to sing during family nights that convey our new values and beliefs. Singing of course creates unity, accelerates the learning process, and encourages emotional elevation. The problem is we don’t know any of the Humanist or UU hymns, yet. But, we do know an awful lot of LDS adult and children’s hymns. Unfortunately, the messages in many of those hymns are no longer consistent with our beliefs. So, we decided to do two things. First, go through the LDS hymnbooks and identify hymns that we know and can still use unchanged, such as #92 “For the Beauty of the Earth,” although we did replace the words “Lord of all” with “Mother Earth.” Second, modify existing hymns to teach principles we agree with.
Below are two examples that are slightly modified:
“Families Extend Through All Generations”
To the music of “Families Can Be Together Forever”
1. I have a family here on earth. They are so good to me.
I want to share my life with them through all mortality.
Fam’lies extend through all generations through parents and children.
I often like to think of those who went before,
And imagine those who’ll follow me.
Imagine those who’ll follow me.
2. While I am in my early years, I’ll prepare most carefully,
So I can lead my family to live in harmony.
“Love One Another” – modified
As I have loved you, Love one another.
Practice compassion. Love one another.
Be understanding. Show empathic list’ning.
Strive to have love One to another.