The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Broadcast is the traditional Sunday broadcast of
the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It originates in the Salt Lake tabernacle and is
open to the public. Begun in 1929, this weekly performance has become the longest
continuously presented nationwide network broadcast in American radio history.
During World War II, the choir broadcasts were aired extensively over Armed
Forces Radio Network in Europe and the Far East. Thereafter, local stations
extended the broadcast into the Pacific Islands, Australia, and South America.
The choir made its television debut in 1962, and the weekly broadcast was relayed
to over eight hundred radio and television stations worldwide.
With the sacred hymns and choral works, backed by the tabernacle organ, a brief
message, the "Spoken Word," is given each Sunday. For forty-one years the voice
and the message were those of Richard L. Evans, who during that period was called
to be a seventy, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. His messages
and delivery attempted to capsulize-usually in less than two minutes-universal
principles related to character, human relationships, and the conduct of life.
In the spirit of bridge-building, he aimed at both timely and timeless insights.
His undergirding message was that the differences that separate people are not
nearly as great as the factors that unite them. Selected Spoken Word messages
ran in a weekly syndicated newspaper column circulated nationally and were later
published in a series of books. Over two thousand such messages were given before
his death in 1971.
Through thousands of broadcasts the opening hymn has remained "Gently Raise
the Sacred Strain," and the closing one, "As the Dew from Heaven Distilling,"
and the signoff phrase is "may peace be with you, this day and always."
[See also Mormon Tabernacle Choir; Tabernacle Organ.]