An historical and spiritual event occurred in Edinburgh on Saturday 12 April, 2014. That historic moment was an Easter Concert by the Mormon Missionary Choir of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in St Giles Cathedral, one of Scotland’s oldest cathedrals.
St Giles is known worldwide. Royalty and the public have walked its aisles and marvelled at its interiors.
In 1637 King Charles l introduced a new service book to the Scottish church. It was to replace the old Book of Common Order known as Knox’s Liturgy. Ministers were commanded to follow the new Book of Common Prayer and read sections from it.
On Sunday, 23 July 1637, at a service in St. Giles, the Dean read from the new book.
The congregation was in an uproar. Tradition has it that Jenny Geddes stood up and threw her stool at the Dean, shouting, “Dost thou dare say mass at my lug?”
No stool was thrown at the Mormon Missionary Choir. Members of the Church probably never expected to hear a Mormon choir perform in St. Giles in their lifetime.
The programme was impressive and was designed by choir members with suggestions from President Brown, president of the Scotland/Ireland Mission.
Choir members were identified on the back of the programme along with a short description of their group, “The Mormon Missionary Choir is an ad-hoc group drawn from a complement of over 200 young missionaries between the ages of 18 and 25 who volunteer in all areas of Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Changes in assigned areas need to be made to accommodate these arrivals and departures so the choir, taken from those presently in Scotland, have had a short window of less than a month to receive their music, practice and perform.”
The choir had previously performed in LDS churches in Glasgow and Dundee and also at St Paul’s Cathedral in Dundee.
A reverence descended on all present in St Giles. As each missionary sang, their testimony was heard in every note. Their young faces glowed with the sure knowledge that “He lives.”
The acoustics in the Cathedral added to their performance. The sounds of the harp, violin, cello, flute, trumpet and of course, the bagpipes were magical in the sense that they invited the spirit and touched the hearts of their audience. On that special day in Edinburgh the Mormon Missionary Choir was our conduit to the hearts and souls of those present in St. Giles.
Of that day, people in Scotland and from overseas will say, I heard the Mormon missionaries sing and I will never forget how it made me feel. Perhaps lives will be changed; an individual may become converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because of an Easter Concert. Their final performance was at the stake centre in Edinburgh where a large audience were held spell bound by their music and the spoken word.