Marjorie Lewis Lloyd
1911 - 1985
Marjorie Lewis Lloyd, pianist, organist, composer, and prolific writer of poems and books, was involved with the It is Written television ministry for nearly thirty years. She composed the words and music for numerous gospel songs, authored over twenty books, wrote many poems, and released three records through Chapel Records.
Marjory was born in Minatare, Nebraska, on September 8, 1911, one of four children and the youngest of three daughters of Fred Orson and Myrtle Irene Burgess Lewis. She started piano lessons at age nine in exchange for doing dishes for her teacher Lynne Lancefield and continued study on the instrument through her academy years. She enrolled at Walla Walla College, now University, in 1928 but left after six weeks because of illness.
She married Gordon Baker Lloyd in 1932 and they would have a daughter, Mary Judith, the following year. By the time of the 1940 U.S. Census they had divorced, and she and Mary were living in Portland with Marjorie listing her occupation as a music teacher.
She assisted in evangelism meetings for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Northwest and became the organist for The Quiet Hour, a popular radio program that started in 1937 in Portland, Oregon, and then was relocated to Oakland, California, where it became a nationwide broadcast. She then assisted George Vandeman in It is Written telecasts, writing scripts and books for the program for 28 years. She also prepared a Bible study series, The Truth for the End-Time, for television audiences.
Beginning in the 1930s, when Lloyd was in her late 20s, her poems began to be published in the Review and Herald, the Adventist church's primary publication. Over the years she wrote numerous poems and articles for this magazine and various regional Adventist publications. She also authored over twenty smaller books on aspects of Christian life and experience.
If I had a Bigger Drum is a personal testimony about her spiritual journey, and Songs That Speak includes 28 songs she wrote. Several of her books were featured in what was called the "Golden Treasury Series," and some of her articles were published in ongoing columns in the Review and Herald titled "Minute Meditations" and "For Adventist Youth."
Lloyd released three recordings under the Chapel Records label, playing many of the numerous gospel songs she had composed. Her first record, a 10" long-playing record, Moments with the Master (LP1519), was an early release by Chapel in the late 1950s. Two 12" recordings, Beyond the Sun (LP5-081) and Songs in the Night (S 5186), were released in 1965 and 1972.
Lloyd held strong convictions about gospel songs and their effectiveness in inspiring and enhancing the Christian experience. She set forth her views in the article, "Music, Motives, and Medievalness [sic]" that appeared in the July 30, 1970, Review and Herald.
She felt that classically trained musicians and the music they used in services often left many members of the congregation untouched and that gospel music or choruses would be more inspiring in a time of extreme crisis. She observed, "I cannot conceive of Bach and medieval chants and numberless responses and cold formality when the day comes that we gather in the rocks and mountains for Sabbath worship."
In the article, written at a time when folk and rock-influenced music was beginning to be used in worship services, she also spoke out against the use of those contemporary idioms, feeling they were not conducive to Christ-centered worship. She believed the use of any music in church services, be it gospel songs, classical music, or contemporary music, needed to be evaluated on the basis of motive, why it was being used and to whose glory, that of God or the musicians.
Lloyd died in Napa, California, on February 5, 1985, at age 83. The headstone on her grave is inscribed with the title of her best-known song, "Jesus, Take My Hand."
Sources: Obituaries, Adventist Review, 4 April 1985 and Lake Union Herald, 9 April 1985; MLL, Music, Motives, and Medievalness, Review and Herald, 30 July 1970, 6; Book review (Songs That Speak) Lake Union Herald, 31 July 1951, 3; Chapel Record Liners and advertisements in different SDA publications; Poems and articles in numerous issues of the Review and Herald, North Pacific Union Gleaner, and the Lake Union Herald; Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, Volume 10, Second Revised Edition, 1996, (Review and Herald Publishing Association) 935.