Michael F. Moody: Mormon Composer
Michael Finlinson Moody is a composer and former chairman of the General Church Music Committee of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; he was appointed in 1977. Previously he had served as the executive secretary of that committee. He served as chairman of the Hymnbook Executive Committee for the 1985 Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Moody composed “Testimony,” which is included in this hymnal, and “He Sent His Son,” “Have a Very Happy Birthday,” “There Was Starlight on the Hillside,” “Who Is the Child?,” “Sleep, Little Jesus,” “Have a Very Merry Christmas,” “Teacher, Do You Love Me?” and “Faith,” which are included in the Children’s Songbook. Under the pseudonym George Finlinson, he composed “Easter Day,” and under the pseudonym Edward Trimble, he composed “I Am My Heavenly Father’s Child.”
He composed and distributed a number of songs in place of Christmas cards, such as “The Babe of Bethlehem,” “Gentle Jesus,” “Lullaby for Jesus.” He has composed numerous other songs with lyricists Mabel Jones Gabbott and Penny Moody Allen. He composed the music for “This Is the Christ,” with words penned by James E. Faust.
Moody is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ and presided over the Haiti Port-au-Prince Mission from 2000 to 2003. He had served a full-time mission in the French East Mission as a young man.
Since his retirement in 2005, he and his wife, Maria Ann Toronto Moody served at the Brigham Young University's Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies (2005–2007). He served as president of the Papeete Tahiti Temple from 2009 to 2012, and served a full-time mission with his wife in Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa Mission, Gabon Mission region, from May 2013 to May 2014.
Moody was born in Payson, Utah, in 1941, and grew up in nearby Spanish Fork. He earned his master’s degree in music from Brigham Young University and his doctorate in church music from the University of Southern California. He was involved with the Hill Cumorah Pageant in 1987.