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date: 13 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

Ideas of angelic singing—or of music’s overall heavenly origins—have permeated the history of religion generally and Christianity specifically. From tales of angelic choirs at Jesus’s birth to the theologies of Aquinas and Swedenborg, Christians have tried to parse the why, when, and how of heaven’s musical transmissions to earth. After reviewing the main Christian theories, this chapter explores which of them Mormonism—via Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, the Pratt brothers, and lay members—accepted and developed. The evidence comes from scriptures, sermons, tracts, and journal entries, and touches on everything from hearing heavenly choirs at temple dedications, to seeing dead Native Americans playing instruments, to taking dictation from deceased relatives.

Keywords: music, heaven, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, singing, choirs, angels

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