Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

How Does Lloyd Newell Come Up with His Spoken Word Messages?

Last year, there were 52 episodes of Music and the Spoken Word—there will be 52 this year—and there will be 52 next year. This is the way it’s been since July 1929, when the beautiful sounds of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir coming from the historic Tabernacle on Temple Square began to be a familiar Sunday morning soundtrack to people around the world.

Less than a year after the initial 1929 broadcast, Richard L. Evans was named as the first regular program narrator, a position he held until 1971. He was followed by J. Spencer Kinard, who served from 1972 to 1990. Since 1990, Lloyd Newell each week has delivered messages of inspiration, hope, joy, comfort, and love. These faithful messages are nondenominational and demonstrate universal principles, and they are filled with simple eloquence and uncommon wisdom.

Newell writes almost every single spoken word message and commented, “Because my responsibility is to come up with a spoken word every Sunday, I’m always pondering, reading, looking, and listening—always on the lookout for a story, thought, insight, anecdote, principle that I can share on the broadcast. I look for angles, themes, and approaches that are fresh, new, insightful, and have universal appeal.”

When Newell received his calling to become the announcer of Music and the Spoken Word, LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley told him, “This call will change your life.” In fact it has, and he is most grateful for the opportunity. “What a great blessing, honor, and privilege it has been for me over these 28 years to give the spoken word every Sunday morning! I’m humbled and grateful to be a part of this beloved broadcast,” declared Newell.

When asked what his favorite spoken word messages throughout the many years are, Newell could not choose one over the other, comparing it to choosing a favorite child, saying, “It’s very difficult to pin down ‘favorite spoken words’ since they all come from the heart, from a specific and different place and time. In a sense, they’re all favorites. And in another sense, my ‘favorite’ is the last one I wrote and delivered on Sunday morning.”

Here are some recent spoken word messages that give a sense of Newell’s themes and thoughtful approach to his narratives.