9 And again I ask, were the bands of death broken, and the chains of hell which encircled them about, were they loosed? I say unto you, Yea, they were loosed, and their souls did expand, and they did sing redeeming love. And I say unto you that they are saved.
Many times in the Book of Mormon, the joy of conversion to the gospel is described as “singing.” In Alma’s sermon at Zarahemla, he reminded the people that his father and their fathers had experienced a change of heart “and their souls did expand, and they did sing redeeming love.” He later asked them if they had experienced a similar change of heart and if they still felt the desire to sing.
Interestingly, Alma’s father, together with the other wicked priests of King Noah, had used a passage from Isaiah with the same metaphor in an attempt to outwit the prophet Abinadi:
Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion;
Break forth into joy; sing together ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem (Mosiah 12:22-23)
In response, Abinadi preached a sermon based upon these verses which resulted in the elder Alma’s conversion.
Singing appears to represent an abundance of joy which overcomes self-consciousness. Consider, for example, the response of the Nephites under Lachoneus when they were delivered from a siege by the Gadianton robbers:
They did break forth, all as one, in singing, and praising their God for the great thing which he had done for them…. And their hearts were swollen with joy, unto the gushing out of many tears, because of the great goodness of God in delivering them out of the hands of their enemies (3 Nephi 4:31, 33).
In this passage, the singing seems to have been an outlet for their overwhelming joy and gratitude, and it also served as an expression of unity.
In Moroni’s description of church services, singing is included in the list of appropriate activities:
And their meetings were conducted by the church after the manner of the workings of the Spirit, and by the power of the Holy Ghost; for as the power of the Holy Ghost led them whether to preach, or to exhort, or to pray, or to supplicate, or to sing, even so it was done (Moroni 6:9).
Today, I will find an opportunity to sing, as an expression of my love for the Lord and my gratitude for His grace. During this season of the year, I will enjoy both singing and listening to Christmas carols, which help us to commemorate the life of our Savior and to renew our connection to His “redeeming love.”