Racist, Sexist, Treasonous, Militant Hymns

By: hawkgrrrl
November 13, 2012

As  child, I always wondered what the bumpy image on the hymn book was.  I had never seen the tabernacle, and had no idea the image was organ pipes.  As I would make rubbings of the image with a crayon or press it with silly putty, I envisioned it being some sort of temple ruin from some obscure location, like Angkor Wat.  I was very surprised when I saw the tabernacle for the first time as a teenager and realized that it was the same image from the hymn books.  Myth busted.

A few months ago, at church in my parents’ ward, we sang The Battle Hymn of the Republic , an old chestnut of a hymn with a long tradition.  As I sat surrounded by Southerners belting out lines immortalized (for me) by the ignorant anti-evolution prosecutor in the film Inherit the Wind, somehow to my northern ears the congregation sounded racist.

As I thought about it, we have a few hymns that sound just a smidge lacking in political correctness or that I am aware have struck some people wrong in different contexts.  What follows should be read with tongue firmly in cheek.

American Patriotic Songs.  In college, I had a British roommate who was absolutely scandalized when the ward sang “My Country Tis of Thee,” since the tune is the same as “God Save the King,” a patriotic anthem well-known to all Brits.  She couldn’t believe the Americans had stolen their song and that the church was actually singing this treasonous song in church.  She refused to sing it because she considered it disloyal to her own country.  I note that subsequent hymnals have added “God Save the King.”

The presence of several American Patriotic songs (and one British one) begs the question – should we be including others?  Or are we singing American patriotic songs because it is a land choice above all others (a la the Book of Mormon)?  Do these hymns ever get sung outside of the U.S.?  If so, why?  I am pretty sure they were not in the Khmer hymnal I used last month in Cambodia, but I could be wrong since I don’t read Sanskrit.  But the hymnal, which was more of a booklet, was definitely light a few hymns.

Mountain Hymns.  Hymns that referred to Zion being in the mountains or having a mountain home were always puzzling to me as a child growing up because I was taught that Zion was wherever the church members were gathered, mostly rural Pennsylvania in my case, which was hilly and green, not mountainous.  (I also thought “deseret” was a way to add a syllable to “desert” as in “in our lovely deseret.”)  I had this idea that the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains was exaggerated for poetic effect until my first trip to Utah when I was a teenager.  I admit I was kind of blown away.  Up to then, the songs just sounded foreign and hyperbolic to me.

I still think it’s off-putting to diaspora Saints around the globe who view Zion as their local ward, but when I reinterpret the songs to be a metaphor for the temple, they sometimes work metaphorically.  The temple is often called “the mountain of the Lord,” and when there was no temple, mountains were a natural substitute in the Old Testament.

Pioneer Songs.  Since I have no pioneer ancestry, I tend to think of these as metaphors for all people who pioneered, boldly going where no one has gone before, or immigrated or ever churned butter or opened a small business.  But I still get choked up whenever the pianist slows down and painfully ekes out the line:  ”And should we die before our lot is through / Happy day!  All is well!”  Yes, even if your small business doesn’t succeed, at least you are free from toil and sorrow, too.

The Word “Race.” Two unique Mormon hymns use the word “race” in ways we no longer use it.  Given the priesthood ban folklore, the use of the word “race” in If You Could Hie to Kolob sounds as if the author is claiming that one’s race (skin color) is eternal, not that the human race (species) is eternal.  The use of “race” in Adam-ondi-Ahman seems to be about the human race (or at least the apparently superior alien progenitors of the human race).

Adam-ondi-Ahman (v. 1)

This earth was once a garden place,
With all her glories common,
And men did live a holy race,
And worship Jesus face to face,
In Adam-ondi-Ahman.

If You Could Hie to Kolob (v. 3)

The works of God continue, And worlds and lives abound;
Improvement and progression Have one eternal round.
There is no end to matter; There is no end to space;
There is no end to spirit; There is no end to race.

According to National Geographic, there’s not only an end to “race” (which technically doesn’t exist anyway), but also to red hair, a recessive gene, that will cease to exist by the year 2050 unless the Weasley clan starts intermarrying with cousins right now!   I suspect they are up for the challenge.

Militant Hymns. I remember as a kid loving the hymn “God of Our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hand” with its rousing repeated chords at the beginning of each line, like John Phillips Sousa bouncing on the balls of his feet in anticipation of the big parade.  Plus, that bouncing chord made it one of the few hymns I could credibly fudge my way through on the piano (well, the opening chord anyway, after which it sounded like someone opened Fibber McGee’s closet).  I have always felt that the militant hymns make the best rest hymns because you really can’t continue to sleep through them.  But some of the lyrics are a little more Old Testament than New Testament.

Hymns for or About Women. I remember when “As Sisters in Zion” first came out in the 1985 hymn book.  Women were excited because it was all about them.  Personally, I have a really hard time relating to the picture of women in this hymn, yet presumably, I am one of them.

As sisters in Zion, we’ll all work together;
The blessings of God on our labors we’ll seek.
We’ll build up his kingdom with earnest endeavor;
We’ll comfort the weary and strengthen the weak.

The errand of angels is given to women;
And this is a gift that, as sisters, we claim:
To do whatsoever is gentle and human,  Women are all meek and mild.  Never opinionated or assertive.
To cheer and to bless in humanity’s name.  Yeah, women are cheerleaders from the sidelines.  Got it.

How vast is our purpose, how broad is our mission,  So vast and broad that this is our best description of it.
If we but fulfill it in spirit and deed.  It being the vast and broad thing we can’t really describe.
Oh, naught but the Spirit’s divinest tuition  Divinest tuition” seems archaic.  Why not “divine intuition”?
Can give us the wisdom to truly succeed.  Because for women, wisdom comes from outside of them.

Protestant Hymns. Personally, I like these a lot, but it’s a bit disconcerting when you hear other churches singing them, as if they should be paying us royalties.  Of course, the reverse is probably more likely.

Primary Songs Retooled as Hymns. My objection to this just makes me sound old.  Back in my day, hymns were hymns and children’s songs were children’s songs and never the twain shall meet.  But now we’ve got children’s songs in the hymn book.  Where does the mixing of ages end? Making toddlers dress like endowed adults? Making adults follow super stringent teen behaviour codes?

Alternate Versions.  Because I moved from the east to Utah for college, I am not sure whether my home ward just preferred to sing different versions than Utah preferred, or if the church in general used to prefer other tunes that went out of vogue and were later replaced by their alternate versions.  Of those with two different tunes, I prefer the traditional 174 of “While of These Emblems We Partake,” to the more unpredictable 173.  I decidedly prefer the cheerier “let’s dance a Virginia reel” version of “Tis Sweet to Sing the Matchless Love” from page 177 to the plodding version that everyone else seems to prefer on 176.

Songs that Preach False Doctrine. Although we can certainly argue the accuracy of calling Golgatha a “green hill” faraway, I can only think a few other examples of potential false doctrine.

First from the hymn “I Stand All Amazed,” I’ve always wondered about this line: “I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine/to rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine.”  Before his redemptive act, was Jesus already on a throne divine (as most trinity-worshipping Christian churches would say) or did the act of being a saviour advance him in the godhood ranks to the point that after his sacrifice he would then merit a throne?  Since we are all sons & daughters of God, was it his act of atonement that moved him from a small “h” to a capital “H”? I think this is a question that actually goes to the heart of Mormon doctrine.

The second example is also just slightly off, IMO, from the hymn “Lord, I Would Follow Thee.” The hymn says: “I would be my brother’s keeper / I would learn the healer’s art . . . Lord, I would follow thee.” The questionable part is the concept of being our brother’s keeper. This was Cain’s argument back to God when he was being interrogated for fratricide. When asked where his brother was, Cain said: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” a pretty snotty answer under the circumstances, and God doesn’t justify it with a response. Nowhere is there a doctrine that we should be our brother’s keeper, implying that (like a zookeeper or parent) we take total responsibility for our brother, track his/her whereabouts, clean up his poop, and keep him/her ring-fenced in a safe little paddock. Being someone’s keeper goes beyond healing or serving others and to the realm of inhibiting others’ freedoms in order to protect them. Personally, I’m not surprised people have gotten the idea that we want to be our brother’s keeper. It’s just not sound doctrine. We can’t force anyone into the celestial kingdom; they have to get there on their own. I suspect this one is akin to members quoting Jesus as saying “I didn’t say it would be easy; I only said it would be worth it.” Find chapter and verse on that one!

A third example is in “Praise to the Man” when it says “earth must atone for the blood of that man.”  Really?  This line essentially calls for blood atonement for Joseph Smith’s murder, the opposite of Jesus’ example, since he forgave his murderers because they “know not what they do.”  I suppose it’s also a little off in claiming that he (Joseph Smith) has “ascended to heaven” and is currently “mingling with gods” but based on our doctrine, he would go to spirit paradise (or prison) after death.  I assume the god mingling and ascending to heaven (three degrees of glory) comes after one’s final judgment, which is after resurrection, right?  Of course, we didn’t have as much clarity on the state after death until Section 138.

Drinking Songs. We’ve all heard the aforementioned “Praise to the Man” refrain played on bagpipes, whenever a Scottish policeman is killed in the line of duty in a television program, for example. There are claims, both in our and other churches, that many of the tunes used in hymns were originally drinking songs. I’m sure they probably were, or at least folk songs (and folks were known for drinking), especially the American hymns – after all, it’s really easy to take a simple tune and just make up new words, as we have all seen on Whose Line Is It Anyway. I suppose it belies the sacredness of the hymns to some extent, but as I learned in English major school, that’s how songs and stories are handed down – through drunken oral tradition.

  • What hymn lyrics have struck you as off the mark when you were singing them in church?
  • Do you have any other hymn stories to share (some of you may remember this gem of a post from Mormon Matters days)?
  • What are your favourite and least favourite hymns?

Discuss.

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38 Responses to Racist, Sexist, Treasonous, Militant Hymns

  1. Paul on November 13, 2012 at 7:57 AM

    Well, while entertaining, you’ve been awfully literal in your interprestion of the hymn texts. And while some may argue whether the scriptures are to be taken literally, poetry probably isn’t.

    I remember as a kid hearing someone in sacrament meeting claim that all the hymns in the hymnbook were ours and ours alone, as if revealed from the tongue of God. Of course, I could instantly pick off several (even as a 10-year old) that I had sung in our old Presbyterian church before converting.

    FYI, many of the non-English hymnbooks have hymns unique to that language (and those may or may not include patriotic hymns). The original tune to O My Father, as I’ve heard, is the same tune as the German national anthem (and is now used in our hymnbook with “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken” — it still rattles me when I hear it).

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  2. Mike S on November 13, 2012 at 8:25 AM

    hawk: As I would make rubbings of the image with a crayon or press it with silly putty, I envisioned it being some sort of temple ruin from some obscure location, like Angkor Wat

    I love this. I did this same thing and have totally forgotten about it for decades until right now. Thanks for the memory!

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  3. Hedgehog on November 13, 2012 at 8:57 AM

    Oh wow. Hymnbook rubbings – harmless entertainment during sacrament meeting. I only remember using a grey pencil though.

    I’ll have lots to say on this but running out of time at the minute. Back later.

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  4. ji on November 13, 2012 at 9:11 AM

    Maybe a hymnbook is like a cookbook — any reader will like some offerings more than others. And like a food offering in the house of a friend, it is best not to inspect too closely but to accept the gift.

    You did raise a question about Mormon doctrine. In my mind, Jesus Christ has always been God from as far back as we can remember — yes, God himself, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Israel, left his throne above and can to live as man — he didn’t become God (or a god) after his suffering. I don’t offer this as a threadjack, but just an opportunity to be helpful to any reader who sees the original posting and wonders about that matter in our Mormon doctrine.

    I remember someone being very surprised to learn that the words and music for Called to Serve were written by non-LDS artists, and the hymn was adopted for our use as our missionary song. That’s fine with me.

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  5. GBSmith on November 13, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    There’s always the salad hymn, “Now let us rejoice…”

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  6. GBSmith on November 13, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    In a previous edition of the hymn book there was a line that I could never figure out. It went “Where the red untutored Indian taketh here his rude delights.” It might have been in “Utah We Love Thee” but I’m not sure.

    Then there was the change from “You who unto Jesus for refuge hath fled” to “Who unto the Savior for refuge hath fled”. I guess someone in the music department thought the “you who” sounded like “you hoo” and that the choir/congregation was trying to get somone’s attention.

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  7. Chris on November 13, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    Great post! It would be nice if more of the hymns focused on the Savior, since we covenant to always remember Him when we partake of the sacrament.

    One hymn lyrics that strike me as off the mark is “where roamed at will the fearless Indian band, the templed cities of the Saint now stand” from “The Wintry Day, Descending to Its Close.”

    I wish “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” was still in the hymn book and was thrilled when they added “How Great Thou Art.”

    I don’t understand how the line you quote from “I Stand All Amazed” can be wrong when we know that Jesus is Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament. For example, President Hinckley said, “He [Jesus] had been the Creator of this earth, under His Father’s direction, for as John records, ‘without him was not any thing made that was made’ (John 1:3). He was the great Jehovah who spoke with the prophets of old.”

    It seems that LDS theology is conflicted on this point.

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  8. Ziff on November 13, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    As a kid, I was a bit disturbed that “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” claimed that Jesus would be “ris’n with healing in his wings.” Wings? What wings? :)

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  9. hawkgrrrl on November 13, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    Ziff – yes, as a literalist child, I too remember wondering about those wings!

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  10. Juliathepoet on November 13, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    I think that this may end up being more of a literalist vs. poetic license thing. As someone who grew up writing poetry and reading poetry, literalism never occurred to me in the hymns. I guess it is just a difference in perspective.

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  11. Hedgehog on November 13, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    There are a number of interesting broadcasts on the Mormon Channel under ‘Legacy’ (episodes 10 & 60) and more obviously ‘History of Hymns’.

    I love Anglican hymns, and there are quite a few I wish we had in our hymn-book. Of course over here we get to sing them at school. Most of the LDS originals don’t do much for me. Tend to come across as very bland in comparison (more recent compositions like ‘Ring out wild Bells’ excepting).

    There is a long tradition of setting hymns to traditional folk tunes dating back to the time of the reformation when Wesley et al were writing hymns in the vernacular to be sung by congregations. I prefer the more formal melodies by the likes of Bach, Vaughan-Williams though. And I love having a ‘descant’ in the last or penultimate verse.

    It’s a big gripe that in Britain we don’t get to have our own hymn-book with some of our best-loved hymns. Sticking the national anthem in the back just doesn’t cut it, and we certainly don’t need your national hymns. Come on, if Canada can have their own version of the hymnbook (so I’m told) , why not Britain or Australia? For our own national hymns I could suggest quite a few in addition to the national anthem: ‘I vow to thee my country’, ‘Jerusalem’, ‘Land of Hope and Glory’… I’d be pleased to be shot of most of the content in the Mountain and Pioneer catergories.

    Over here we sing ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ to the tune the hymnbook assigns to ‘I saw a mighty Angel’, and the Christmas carols are missing quite a few verses (if we can keep the wings in ‘Hark the Herald’ what was so wrong with the rest?). At least we have the melody we all learn at school for ‘ Away in a Manger’ now. I prefer the Anglican music for ‘It came upon a midnight clear’. I’d make lots of changes and additions to the Christmas carols.

    I like the music for ‘If you could hie to Kolob’, but really have to wonder what on earth any investigator would make of it. Didn’t the MoTab recently change ‘race’ to ‘grace’ in that last verse? Has yet to reach the hymnbook though. (Just wanted to shout out that red hair is still making its mark in the youngest generation of my extended family without any cousin marriages so I think 2050 is a bit premature… I haven’t noticed a shortage of red hair in Britain, and when a couple of recessives marry it pops back up.)

    ‘Praise to the Man’ – if someone visits when we’re singing that, is it any wonder people get the impression we worship him? Good old Scottish tune though. On the other false doctrine points, they seem to be pretty assiduous in weeding it out from Anglican/Protestant hymns in hymn-book, but mostly it gets a pass in the LDS originals in my view (unless US Protestants have different words than Anglicans over here). ‘Guide me O thou Great Jehovah’ strikes me as one that’s been altered. Of course, where they’ve been translated it may just be a different translation.

    Totally with you on ‘As sisters in Zion’.

    I wanted to give a brief description as to what is included in the Japanese hymnbook but can’t find it at the minute. I’m sure we have a small one somewhere. In the loft? Ah well later. This is probably long enough.

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  12. Will on November 13, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Hawk,

    Wow. I do not read sexism, racism or any ‘ism” into any of those songs. What I do see is over sensitivity on your part, which feeds the negative stereo-type you are so desperately trying to avoid.

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  13. Leonard Reil on November 13, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    We don’t have our own hymnbook in Canada. We just glue “O Canada” into the back.

    I have a good friend at work (a convert from Catholicism to Judaism) for whom “if you could hie to Kolob” will be the thing he cherishes from Mormonism. He said it was his now.

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  14. Egee on November 13, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    The Spanish speaking world of the Church has had their own hymnbook for some time. It does not include the American patriotic hymns. I remember the members in Mexico often sang a hymn entitled “Oid El Toque Del Clarin” which roughly translated means “Hear the Sound of the Trumpet”. It was not in the English hymnbook and I don’t know its origins. But it was a cheerful vibrant tune that I enjoyed as much as they did.

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  15. Paul on November 13, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    Hey, Leonard Reil, greetings from an old Taiwan hand! And thanks for confirming my suspicion about hymnbooks in Canada.

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  16. el oso on November 13, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    One comment on the “green hill faraway” line. I was bugged about this (mildly) for years, but have since understood it to be:
    1) Referencing the time of year of the crucifixion (spring when the hill might have been green).
    2) Metaphorically pointing to the immortality and eternal life that comes from the atonement.

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  17. alice on November 13, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    Will- I take it you haven’t seen that map that geolocates the most racists Tweets made since the election. UT, — SLC, specifically –, is #3 on the frequence of Tweets expressed in such vile terms.

    http://www.floatingsheep.org/2012/11/mapping-racist-tweets-in-response-to.html

    Maybe things are less imagined than, perhaps, things you just don’t want to deal with.

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  18. Will on November 13, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    Alice,

    What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? Or more specifically, the hymns noted in this blog.

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  19. anita on November 13, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    far far away on judea’s plains–judea is hill country, folks.

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  20. ji on November 13, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    Wouldn’t our hymnbook be so very bland if we got rid of all the villainous hymns? I like the variety and the color!

    Some churches have re-written their hymnbooks to get rid of “offensive” hymns. Maybe we will one day, too. Onward Christian Soldiers has been banned from some churches.

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  21. Molly on November 13, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    I am deliberately subversive whenever there is a song mentioning “brother” or “men,” and instead sing “sister” or “women.” Granted, brother rhymes with lots of stuff like other and mother and another, and “sister” only rhymes with “blister,” which is not a good gospel word. “Work until you have blisters?” Not really inspirational. Regardless, I sing “I would be my sister’s keeper,” and “I will divide my gifts from thee with every sister that I see,” and so on. If you feel women should feel included when you sing “brother,” I think we should just change all the words to “sister” and see if you men feel included.

    My ex-husband, not a Mormon, objected to “O God the Eternal Father” trying to rhyme “almost” with “lost.” He would always sing “…and be like God, almost…and die or all was toast.” At least this rhymes, even if it isn’t reverent.

    Also, it’s funny you (hawkgrrl) felt the Southerners singing Battle Hymn sounded racist. When my ex-husband was choir director, that was the first song he had the Alabama choir sing. He got asked directly after Sacrament Meeting if the choir would sing Dixie next, to give them “equal time,” since Battle Hymn was written as an anti-slavery, pro-union song during the Civil War. Sigh.

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  22. hawkgrrrl on November 13, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    Will (and possibly Julia) – I think you missed the statement at the beginning of the post: “What follows should be read with tongue firmly in cheek.”

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  23. hawkgrrrl on November 13, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    I think it’s interesting that the hymns that have sounded “off” to me throughout my years usually have a cultural disconnect at the root. Take them out of their US- and Utah-centric context and they are just not quite right.

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  24. Gilroy on November 13, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    While we’re talking about hymns, I am saddened that no ward I’ve ever been in has sung the very Anglican #82 “For All the Saints” in sacrament meeting. That hymn is majesty put to music, yet many Mormons have never even heard it.

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  25. Hedgehog on November 13, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    Leonard,
    Apologies – It was fourth hand when it reached me, but originated with someone’s family in Canada. The wrong end of the stick must have been grasped somewhere in that short chain.

    Egee,
    Would that be ‘Hark! Listen to the trumpeters’. I love that when I’ve heard it, and not only because I play. Hymnwiki.org gives several versions of the words, and mentions several tunes, but the arrangement I like is this one ( http://www.lds.org/cm/pdf/CES_Songs_Hark%20Listen_Trumpeters.pdf ). I do wish the handbook felt differently about brass instruments.

    Gilroy,
    We sing that lots. It is one of the harder hymns to play though, so it may be subject to the skill of the pianist/organist.

    I’ve found our Japanese hymnbook. It looks equivalent to the green one and is dated 1989, but my husband thinks they have an updated version now. There are 200 hymns (fortunately with the titles given in English as well as Japanese). ‘High on a mountain top’, ‘Our mountain home so dear’, ‘O ye moutains high’ (still, Japan has plenty of mountains), ‘For the Strength of the Hills’, ‘Zion Stands with Hills’ and ‘Come, come ye Saints’ are included. Plus some not in the green book: ‘Kind and Heavenly Father’, ‘The Joy and the Song’, ‘Verdant Spring and Rosy Summer’, ‘Behold the lamb of God’, ‘Let us treat eachother kindly’, ‘My Jesus as thou wilt’, ‘Waiting for the Reapers’ (did you want a blog anthem?), ‘Oh I had such a pretty dream Mama’, ‘Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam’. Well over 100 they don’t have. No Japanese national anthem though. My husband suggests because it is Shinto as opposed to Christian…

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  26. Moss on November 13, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    “Lord dismiss us with thy Blessing”- every time I hear it it is all I can do not to sing “Go Tell Aunt Rhodie”.

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  27. Hedgehog on November 14, 2012 at 4:42 AM

    #23 Hawkgrrrl
    Mostly the very cultural ones tend not to be picked over here. It’s at Christmas that I get most frustrated with the hymnbook.

    None of the hymns I’d like at my funeral are actually in the hymnbook. Does this mean I’m going to have to have all planned out, signed and sealed to prevent any arguments with a perhaps over-prescriptive Bishop? We attended a ward funeral recently, and he’d planned it all out about 20 years ago, lots of music, and not all of it in the hymnbook.

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  28. Paul on November 14, 2012 at 4:56 AM

    #21 Molly, enjoyed your comments, particularly about substituting sister for brother in some of the hymns. I’ll have to think about that as I sing in the future.

    As for your husband’s concern about rhyming: it’s a common convention for a poet to use near-rhyme instead of a perfect match in order to call attention to one word or another, as in John Donne’s “Come with me and be my love / and we will some new pleasures prove” setting up the metaphysical conceit of the rest of the poem. I enjoy finding those gems in the hymns.

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  29. Will on November 14, 2012 at 8:59 AM

    Hawk,

    Missed that line. Sorry ;)

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  30. Ziff on November 14, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    Molly, I love that you do that! My sisters do that too, and I do at times, although I’m too much of a coward to sing very loudly when I do.

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  31. Llenrad on November 14, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    I think ‘Scatter Sunshine’ and ‘In Our Lovely Deseret’ are great Mormon drinking songs! I always get my arm swingin’ during the corus of both.

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  32. Leonard Reil on November 14, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    Paul – wonderful to “see” you again.

    Llenrad – while I’m all for hieing to Kolob with investigators, in our lovely Deseret kind of freaks me out – I mean, a hymn with the word tabacco in it? But as a drinking song… just maybe….

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  33. hawkgrrrl on November 14, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    Leonard Reil – I agree that verse of In Our Lovely Deseret sounds like some kind of Salvation Army temperance march.

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  34. Juliathepoet on November 17, 2012 at 5:00 AM

    Hawk- Sorry, was trying to be tongue in cheek back, but obviously didn’t pull it off. Life is pretty hit or miss on lots of levels. Sigh.

    I did appreciate the thread. (And poets are not immune from literalism, which I thought was more obvious than it apparently is. Chuckle)

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  35. Juliathepoet on November 17, 2012 at 5:07 AM

    Oh, and as confusing it can be for some, If You Could Hie to Kolob is one of my favorite hymns. Several friends and I wrote additional verses as teenagers. I emailed a couple of them to see if anyone has a copy. If they turn up I’ll let you know.

    Some are more serious than others, but we sang all the original verses, and our six additions in a ward talent show as teenagers. We left the two silliest for the end and the stake president was laughing so hard he had tears rolling down his face. On the other end of the spectrum, 5+ people walked out in indignation. We didn’t win, but we certainly got the most reaction. Applause and people honestly Booing us. We were pretty pleased.

    Of that group of five, only two of us are active members now. I am hoping my mom at least has the pictures from the talent show. If I get the verses I will share the story of how we wrote them and the words, on my blog.

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  36. A ward chorister on November 17, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Re #24 — My ward is singing Hymn #82 tomorrow. I don’t select the music, but I am pretty sure my ward will be familiar with it. I live in the SE US. Also, a past Bishop would not allow the singing of If You Could Hie To Kolob in Sacrament Meeting. He thought it was inappropriate, although I never heard what he objected to.

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  37. FireTag on November 17, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    Shouldn’t Mormon drinking songs work just as well with lemonade? :D

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  38. Toni on November 17, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    The “almost rhyme” is called a slant rhyme. It’s a bona fide part of poetry.

    I have changed a word or two in my hymn book. Brother’s keeper is one I have a beef with, also. It shows a total lack of understanding of what was really going on in that conversation. I’ve changed the word to “helper” since I can’t think of a better one.

    I’ve also rewritten a hymn or two, but it isn’t in my book; it’s elsewhere.

    Perhaps I’m a little subversive, but when I read “To cheer and to bless in humanity’s name,” I think of women giving healing blessings like they did in Joseph Smith’s time.

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