After nearly two years, revisions of the General Handbook for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been completed. In the latest update released this week, the final changes were announced. One of the most notable changes encourages more culturally diverse music during church meetings. The new sections, found in Chapter 19, read:
Sacred music that is written or sung in culturally diverse musical styles may help unify congregations. Music coordinators and priesthood leaders may include a variety of appropriate musical styles that appeal to members of various backgrounds.
Where they are available and where members can play them, organs and pianos are the standard instruments. Bishoprics may approve the use of other instruments to accompany congregational singing, for prelude and postlude music, and in other musical selections.
Musical instruments should convey a feeling of worship and be played in keeping with the spirit of the meeting.
In prior iterations of the handbook, emphasis was given to simple, quiet music, stating “much sacred music that is suitable for concerts and recitals is not appropriate for a Latter-day Saint worship service.”
You can learn more about the most recent changes to the handbook and future translations into other languages here.