Mormon missionaries use song, ukuleles to share the gospel

Compiled by Sarah Petersen, Deseret News

Published: Fri, Aug. 15, 2014, 1:50 p.m. MDT

 LDS missionaries perform hymns in videos found on YouTube.

LDS missionaries perform hymns in videos found on YouTube.

(YouTube screenshot)

Whether during Sunday's church services or Monday's family home evening, performances of hymns and Primary songs are important to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The preface to the church's hymn book states, "Inspirational music is an essential part of our church meetings. The hymns invite the Spirit of the Lord, create a feeling of reverence, unify us as members, and provide a way for us to offer praises to the Lord.

“Some of the greatest sermons are preached by the singing of hymns. Hymns move us to repentance and good works, build testimony and faith, comfort the weary, console the mourning, and inspire us to endure to the end."

Often times, LDS missionaries use music to share their message. Recently, three LDS missionaries performed "When I am Baptized" (from the Children's Songbook) with a ukulele in a YouTube video posted by Laura Bohling on Aug. 10.

"These are great young men with a very simple message in song and ukulele. Enjoy," Bohling posted online.

Several years ago, two other missionaries found a way to encourage LDS members to share the gospel through their ukulele performance.

Elders Joseph Tanuvasa and John Berger were missionaries in the Illinois Peoria Mission in 2008 when they began performing the song "How Can I Be." A video was recorded and uploaded to YouTube and now has more than 175,000 views. The missionaries expressed their desire to use their talents to spread the gospel.

"I was told in the MTC from one of my cousins to use my tool of singing to the best of my abilities," Tanuvasa told the Deseret News.

"How Can I Be" was written by Elder Tanuvasa's relative, Nela Otuafi, who performed it before leaving on his own mission in 1996. Since then, the song has been performed by other LDS missionaries.

Email: spetersen@deseretnews.com | Twitter: @Sarah_DNews

When I Am Baptized - Ukelele Style

Mormon Elders Sing "How Can I Be"

How Can I Be

1. Wacoan
Waco, TX,
Aug. 16, 2014

@Red Corvette,
You would be surprised. One of my first companions could sing well and he used music to gain entrance into homes and once in, as a teaching tool. Appropriate music invites the Spirit.

2. Amazing
In Utah, UT,
Aug. 17, 2014

And yet even with all the naysayers and critics, the church continues to grow and spread throughout the world. It must be hard for those who are so set against the teachings of the gospel to see.

3. Weston Jurney
West Jordan, UT,
Aug. 17, 2014

No way my ward would ever allow ukeleles. And they'd better sing everything at 60 bpm.

4. Tahoemormon70
Bountiful, UT,
Aug. 17, 2014

@Red Corvette, I will bet you that the amount of walls torn down by church music far outnumber the amount of walls built up. Would you rather let someone in your home carrying a ukulele, guitar, banjo or a sitar OR would you let someone in your home with a M16?

5. Craig Clark
Boulder, CO,
Aug. 18, 2014

These troubadour missionaries may find a humorless mission president censoring their lyrics. At least that’s what happened to the singing nun of the 1960s when she became too much of a celebrity for the comfort of leaders of her religious order.