I loved almost all of the comments on last week’s post about my Fantasy Mormon Hymnal. You folks are very thoughtful and creative.
Several readers suggested, for example, that the offending line “There is no end to race” in “If You Could Hie to Kolob” could become theologically lovely if changed to “There is no end to grace.” Hear, hear.
A few of you commented that we should get rid of “In Our Lovely Deseret” (#307), with its trippy stanza about how righteous we all are for keeping the Word of Wisdom. Honestly, I couldn’t place this hymn at all, so I looked it up and found that . . . yeah, it’s an odd bird. (Though it does prove one thing at least: there was a time in Mormon history when people actually took WofW vegetarianism a tiny bit more seriously than we do today.)
A couple of readers let me know that other Mormon blogs and websites have already covered this territory. Wheat and Tares discussed it just last week with a top ten list of “Hated Hymns.” It’s a really good list, and I’m sorry I missed it before. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of scrapping “Who Is on the Lord’s Side,” as they suggest. They’re right; it’s pretty bad. (Maybe we could update it to the tune of “Who Let the Dogs Out? Who, Who, Who, Who, Who?” That would totally invite the Spirit.)
But the comment that broke my heart, possibly irrevocably, was from Jeff, who wrote:
No new hymnal … see the Sept. 2015 Ensign, “The Hymnbook Turns 30”. Per the article: “Because translation work is ongoing, and given the quality and continued usefulness of the current hymnbook, there are no plans at this time for a new edition.”
- “Amazing Grace” (this got the most votes of any hymn . . . and a reader noted that it was played on the bagpipes at President Hinckley’s funeral in 2008. Maybe that will help pave the way toward canonization?)
- “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” (This was in the LDS hymnal until 1985, so at least there’s a precedent for bringing this gorgeous song back . . . but can we please actually sing it at tempo?)
- “Beautiful Savior”
“Souviens-toi” (apparently this is in the French LDS hymnal, and “it references heavenly parents”; I’m intrigued)
“Take My Hand, Precious Lord” (MLK’s favorite hymn — love it!)
“I’ll Fly Away”
“His Eye Is on the Sparrow”
- “It Is Well with My Soul
- “God So Loved the World”
- And finally, one that no one else mentioned but that is one of my top five hymns of all time: “Be Thou My Vision.” I love this Celtic-influenced hymn so much that I had it sung at my LDS baptism.