Lloyd, Marjorie (Lewis) (1911–1985)

By Dan Shultz

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Dan Shultz, emeritus professor of music, Walla Walla University, has researched and written extensively about Seventh-day Adventist music history and musicians. His publications include A Great Tradition–a history of music at Walla Walla University, and the Adventist Musicians Biographical Resource–an encyclopedia with biographies of over 1100 Adventist musicians. He founded the International Adventist Musicians Association, serving as its president for ten years and editing its publications and website for over thirty years. Shultz and his wife, Carolyn (nee Stevens), live in College Place, Washington.   

First Published: September 22, 2020

Marjorie Lewis Lloyd was a musician, composer, and prolific author of poems, articles, and books on devotional and doctrinal themes.

Early Life

Born in Nebraska on September 8, 1911, Marjorie was one of four children and the youngest of three daughters of Myrtle Irene Burgess and Fred Orson Lewis.1 Marjorie started piano lessons at age nine in exchange for doing the 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.2

Marjorie married Gordon Baker Lloyd in 1932 and they would have a daughter, Mary Judith, in the following year. By 1940, though, the Lloyds’ marriage had ended in divorce and Marjorie, with her daughter, was living in Portland, Oregon, her occupation listed as music teacher.3

Evangelistic Musician and Author

Lloyd assisted in evangelism meetings 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. Lloyd then assisted evangelist George Vandeman in writing scripts and books for the It is Written television ministry for 28 years. She also prepared a Bible study series, The Truth for the End-Time, for television audiences.4

One of Lloyd’s first books was The Mountain Top, published in 1932, when she was twenty-one.5 Beginning in the 1930s, when Lloyd was in her early 20s, her poems began to be published in the Youth’s Instructor and then, in her late twenties, in the Review and Herald, the Adventist church’s primary periodical.6 Over the years she wrote numerous poems and articles for both of these magazines and other denomination-wide periodicals as well as for various regional Adventist publications. She also authored over twenty smaller books on aspects of Christian life and experience.7

Songs That Speak includes 28 songs she wrote8 and If I Had a Bigger Drum is a personal testimony about her spiritual journey. Several of her books were featured in series such as “Back to God,” “Sermonette Series,” and “Golden Treasury Series.” The latter was made up of short, illustrated paperbacks that were sold in gift boxes.9 Some of her articles were published in ongoing columns in the Review and Herald such as “Minute Meditations” and “For Adventist Youth.”10

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 (LP 1519), 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 1972.11

Convictions on Music and Worship

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” that appeared in the July 30, 1970 Review and Herald.12 Lloyd contended that classically trained musicians and the music they used in services often left many members of the congregation untouched whereas gospel music or choruses would be more inspiring in strengthening believers for the end-time crisis that lay ahead. 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.”

With folk and rock-influenced music beginning to be used in Adventist gatherings, Lloyd also, in the same article, spoke out against the use of those contemporary idioms. In her view 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 for whether it was being used to the glory of God or that of the musicians.

Contribution

Through her prolific output of compositions, publications, and recordings, Marjorie Lewis Lloyd exerted a vast and varied influence on Adventist life and mission in the twentieth century. And, for nearly three decades, she had a leading part in shaping the content presented by the denomination’s foremost evangelistic television ministry, It Is Written.

She was living in Napa, California, when she died on February 5, 1985, at age 83, survived by her daughter, two sisters, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. The headstone on her grave is inscribed with the title of her best-known song, “Jesus, Take My Hand.”13

Sources

Chapel Records Album Liners: Beyond the Sun (LP5-081); Moments with the Master (LP 1519); Songs in the Night (S 5186).

“Golden Treasury Series.” ARH, April 7, 1955.

Lloyd, Marjorie Lewis. “Music, Motives, and Medievalness.” ARH, July 30, 1970.

Marjorie Lewis Lloyd obituaries: ARH, April 4, 1985; Columbia Union Visitor, May 1, 1985; Lake Union Herald, April 9, 1985.

“Walla Walla College.” North Pacific Union Gleaner, November 6, 1928.

Wartzog, L. G. “Book News.” Lake Union Herald, July 31, 1951.

Notes

  1. 1920 U.S. Federal Census and Lange Family Tree, Ancestry.com.

  2. Album liner for Songs In The Night (Chapel Records #S 5186); “Walla Walla College,” North Pacific Union Gleaner, November 6, 1928, 12.

  3. Gordon B. Lloyd, Oregon, Marriage Indexes, 1906-2009; Mary Judith Lloyd, California Birth Index, 1905-1995; Mary Judith Mart, California Death Index, 1940-1997; Ancestry.com.

  4. “Marjorie Lewis Lloyd obituary,” Columbia Union Visitor, May 1, 1985, 14.

  5. “Some New Books of Interest,” ARH, January 26, 1933, 23.

  6. Marjorie Lewis Lloyd, “Love Divine,” Youth’s Instructor, July 19, 1932, 6; “A Call to Sacrifice,” ARH, November 10, 1938, 12; “Someday,” ARH, May 4, 1939, 18.

  7. “Marjorie Lewis Lloyd obituary,” ARH, April 4, 1985, 22.

  8. L. G. Wartzog, “Book News,” Lake Union Herald, July 31, 1951, 3.

  9. “Golden Treasury Series,” ARH, April 7, 1955, 26.

  10. An example of Minute Meditations: “One Floor Up,” ARH, September 6, 1951, 5. For Adventist Youth columns included “Cut Syllables,” ARH, February 24, 1955, 14 and “Lazy Ideals,” ARH, December 29, 1955, 14.

  11. Album liner for Moments with the Master; E. L. Van Sanford, Spotlight on Records,” review of Beyond the Sun, Lake Union Herald, March 2, 1965, 4; Album liner for Songs in the Night and advertisement in Lake Union Herald, May 9, 1972, 15.

  12. Marjorie Lewis Lloyd, “Music, Motives, and Medievalness,” ARH, July 30, 1970, 6.

  13. “Marjorie Lewis Lloyd obituary,” Lake Union Herald, April 9, 1985, 7; and ARH, April 4, 1985; “Marjorie Lewis Lloyd,” Find a Grave Memorial no. 48181551, February 15, 2010, accessed March 30, 2021, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/48181551/marjorie-lewis-lloyd. .

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Shultz, Dan. "Lloyd, Marjorie (Lewis) (1911–1985)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. September 22, 2020. Accessed February 20, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=99P6.

Shultz, Dan. "Lloyd, Marjorie (Lewis) (1911–1985)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. September 22, 2020. Date of access February 20, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=99P6.

Shultz, Dan (2020, September 22). Lloyd, Marjorie (Lewis) (1911–1985). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved February 20, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=99P6.