10 Pop Songs about Going on an LDS Mission

OK, the artist’s intent probably wasn’t to make a pop song about how it feels to be an LDS Missionary, but I know many people and missionaries have found relief, comfort, and personal revelation from a pop, rock or country song. So even though missionaries can’t have these songs on their ipods until MoTab does a cover, these tunes still seem like missionary songs to me.

I tried to only link to official sources that had the rights to be posting the video on YouTube. Hence, there are some songs and artists I would have liked to include, but couldn’t find an official video source.

1. So Long Farewell – Rodgers and Hammerstein

After the call is opened, and the suitcases packed, there come the goodbyes. There’s a lot of joy, because of the worthiness of the calling, but it can still be difficult to part with friends and family.

2. Carry On My Wayward Son – Kansas

Sometimes even missionaries feel like a wayward son (or daughter), and must struggle to ‘Carry On’.
Carry on my wayward son
There’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry no more

3. Everything I Do – Bryan Adams

There comes a time when the missionary discovers, more than he or she ever knew before, that everything they do on their missions is for the Lord, and that everything He didHe did it for them.
Look into my eyes, you will see
What you mean to me
Search your heart, search your soul
And when you find me there
You’ll search no more…

Look into your heart, you will find
There’s nothin’ there to hide
Take me as I am, take my life
I would give it all, I would sacrifice

Don’t tell me it’s not worth fightin’ for
I can’t help it, there’s nothin’ I want more
You know it’s true
Everything I do, I do it for you

4. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – Steven Curtis Chapman (Proclaimers cover)

This Christian cover of the song leaves out the verse about getting drunk, so it’s a great get-up-and-go missionary song! Missionaries enthusiastically wake up to the Lord, and literally willingly walk/bike 500 miles and more.
When I’m working yes I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who’s working hard for you…
But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles
To fall down at you door.

5. Roar – Alex Boye Ft. Mom Bloggers United (Katy Perry cover)

There comes a time when every missionary has to open his or her mouth, and roar with boldness!
You held me down, but I got up (HEY!)
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, you hear that sound
Like thunder gonna shake the ground

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar

6. Wichita Lineman – James Taylor (Glen Campbell cover)

Missionaries often have that Wichita Lineman feeling, patiently waiting, yearning for the chance to really get through to an investigator or less active member, and dealing with the disappointment of cancelled appointments. It’s a little bit sad and lonely, but they remain resolved to stay on the line for the people they serve.
I am a lineman for the county and I drive the main road
Searchin’ in the sun for another overload
I hear you singin’ in the wire, I can hear you through the whine
And the Wichita Lineman is still on the line

7. Shake It Off  – Alex Boye’ & Changing Lanes (Taylor Swift Cover)

Missionaries face a lot of rejection and sometimes even haters. They gotta be able to ‘shake it off’.
But I keep cruising
Can’t stop, won’t stop moving
It’s like I got this music In my mind,
saying it’s gonna be alright
Cause the players gonna play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate
Baby I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake
Shake it off

8. Bridge Over Troubled Waters – Simon & Garfunkel

Missionaries lay themselves down as a bridge over troubled waters for others, and they can feel the Savior doing it for them daily.
Oh, if you need a friend
I’m sailing right behind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind

9. Here Comes the Sun – George Harrison

After a period of stretching and trial, there inevitably follows a time when a missionary can smile and say, “Here comes the sun.”
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right
Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here.

10. The Final Countdown – Europe

All missions come to an end, and at some point an informal countdown begins as missionaries say their goodbyes, make some last teaching appointments, and strive to leave their current investigators in good hands. Sorry, I had to have a little fun with this one 🙂

Let me end by saying I have a deep testimony of missionary work, and great love for the missionaries who so bravely sacrifice so much so that others may discover the love and light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I dedicate this blog post to my awesome stepson, Max Allen. A year ago today he arrived home from a faithfully served 2-year mission in the Nevada Las Vegas Mission. He told us he would sometimes sing the song “I’m gonna be (500 Miles)” in his head while riding his bike up Greenway Drive in the hot Nevada sun, and he gave me the inspiration for this post.

If you would like to talk to Missionaries, go here: www.mormon.org/chat
You can have a private online chat, or call a toll free number, or ask for missionaries to come to your home.

My Church is frequently referred to as LDS or Mormons, but the full name is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

24 comments

      • Thanks! I love Glen Campbell. I looked for audio or video that I could legally embed with Glen Campbell singing this song, but couldn’t find one. But then I ran across this one by James Taylor, and I thought it was pretty good too.

        Like

    • Yes, he made it famous, and I love his version, but I could only find fan uploaded versions on YouTube, and I wanted to respect copyright. I do like this nice James Taylor version, performed at the White House. It appeared to me to be uploaded from an official source that had permission to use it.

      Like

    • “On Top of the World” by Imagine Dragons. Considering the author served a mission, I think it’s appropriate.

      If you love somebody
      Better tell them while they’re here ’cause
      They just may run away from you

      You’ll never know quite when, well
      Then again it just depends on
      How long of time is left for you

      I’ve had the highest mountains
      I’ve had the deepest rivers
      You can have it all but life keeps moving

      I take it in but don’t look down

      ‘Cause I’m on top of the world, ‘ay
      I’m on top of the world, ‘ay
      Waiting on this for a while now
      Paying my dues to the dirt
      I’ve been waiting to smile, ‘ay
      Been holding it in for a while, ‘ay
      Take you with me if I can
      Been dreaming of this since a child
      I’m on top of the world

      I’ve tried to cut these corners
      Try to take the easy way out
      I kept on falling short of something

      I coulda gave up then but
      Then again I couldn’t have ’cause
      I’ve traveled all this way for something

      I take it in but don’t look down

      ‘Cause I’m on top of the world, ‘ay
      I’m on top of the world, ‘ay
      Waiting on this for a while now
      Paying my dues to the dirt
      I’ve been waiting to smile, ‘ay
      Been holding it in for a while, ‘ay
      Take you with me if I can
      Been dreaming of this since a child
      I’m on top of the world

      Ooh

      ‘Cause I’m on top of the world, ‘ay
      I’m on top of the world, ‘ay
      Waiting on this for a while now
      Paying my dues to the dirt
      I’ve been waiting to smile, ‘ay
      Been holding it in for a while, ‘ay
      Take you with me if I can
      Been dreaming of this since a child

      And I know it’s hard when you’re falling down
      And it’s a long way up when you hit the ground
      Get up now, get up, get up now

      And I know it’s hard when you’re falling down
      And it’s a long way up when you hit the ground
      Get up now, get up, get up now.

      ‘Cause I’m on top of the world, ‘ay
      I’m on top of the world, ‘ay
      Waiting on this for a while now
      Paying my dues to the dirt
      I’ve been waiting to smile, ‘ay
      Been holding it in for a while, ‘ay
      Take you with me if I can
      Been dreaming of this since a child
      I’m on top of the world

      Like

  1. Not sure why the headline for Wichita Lineman said John Taylor…instead of James. Of course, this Jimmy Webb song was made famous by Glen Campbell.
    I thought all of these were appropriate for LDS Missionaries. Bridge Over Troubled Waters will always be one of my favorite Simon and Garfunkel songs. I am proud to say I helped make it a worldwide hit while DJing on Radio New York Worldwide/
    WRUL .

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    • That’s for catching my mistake! I’ve changed it to James. I love the Glen Campbell version! I searched and searched for a video to use that had been uploaded by an official source, and couldn’t find one.

      Like

  2. Hey cool list, speaking of Kansas, they had a song called Portrait that I listened to before my mission and it inspired me as the lyrics can be applied to the Savior or even Joseph Smith. Hope it inspires someone else

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  3. If you want to take this to the top 12 add “Candle on the Water” from Petes Dragon. And “You are not alone” by Michael Jackson.

    Like

  4. Rod Stewart – Forever Young, as a parent I like this one.
    Dolly Parton – Travelin’ Prayer, also as a parent I like this one.
    Summon and Garfunkel – Homeward Bound, as a returning missionary I think I would like this one.

    Like

  5. Eurythmics – Missionary Man is sort of tounge in cheek. :-). Great list though. My daughter leaves on her mission in a few months and I will be sharing this with her. Thanks.

    Like

  6. I agree with every song on here but one, but only because they’re supposed to be pop songs. In what world is So Long, Farewell a pop song?

    Like

  7. I like how you’ve captured the spirit and experience of missionary work with these songs. Since many Elder & Sisters have someone a significant other waiting for them, I’ve felt for a long time that “Wait” by the Beatles rings true in some ways for that aspect of many missionaries’ lives:

    It’s been a long time
    Now I’m coming back home
    I’ve been away now
    Oh how I’ve been alone
    Wait till I come back to your side
    We’ll forget the tears we’ve cried

    But if your heart breaks
    Don’t wait, turn me away
    And if your heart’s strong
    Hold on, I won’t delay
    Wait till I come back to your side
    We’ll forget the tears we’ve cried

    I feel as though
    You ought to know
    That I’ve been good
    As good as I can be
    And if you do
    I’ll trust in you
    And know that you
    Will wait for me

    Like

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