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I'm a Christian, married to a wonderful man, Steven, and mother to a wonderful little son. I have many interests and a few noteworthy journeys in life and I enjoy sharing them.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hymn 284

I just wanted to share a quick look at a Mormon hymn with everyone. Its actually a very strange and very un-Christian hymn when looked at.

If You Could Hie to Kolob, 284 – William W. Phelps

1. If you could hie to Kolob In the twinkling of an eye, In the Book of Abraham, Kolob is said to the be star near where God lives.
And then continue onward With that same speed to fly,
Do you think that you could ever, Through all eternity,
Find out the generation Where Gods began to be?
This certainly addresses and interesting doctrine and an interesting question. There is an endless genealogy of gods in Mormon theology, but there cannot be an actually infinite number of things, so there had to be a first God. Why do we not worship the first God? Where did that God come from? Who is he? How did he begin the cycle of Gods? Is he eternal? If it can be conceived that the first God is eternal and endless, then why cannot it be conceived that our own God is eternal and endless? We also know from the Bible that there are not multiple gods--Isaiah 43:10.

2. Or see the grand beginning, Where space did not extend?
Or view the last creation, Where Gods and matter end? The answer of course is supposed to be done. Gods and matter don't end, so you cannot find the end. This is again is an impossibility, as there cannot be an actually infinite number of something. There has to be a first.
Me thinks the Spirit whispers, “No man has found ‘pure space,’
Nor seen the outside curtains, Where nothing has a place.”
First of all, the question is: what does this even mean? What is pure space? Why can't it be found? Why is it so impossible that there might be a place where matter does not exist? In Mormon theology, the gods don't create ex nihlo, or from nothing, they organize matter.

3. The works of God continue, And worlds and lives abound;
Improvement and progression Have one eternal round.
This reflects the LDS theology that we are eternally progressing--even God is still progressing in knowledge. Damnation in LDS theology is being stopped from progressing.
There is no end to matter; There is no end to space;
There is no end to spirit; There is no end to race.
The statement about race is probably the most interesting here. This reflects the Mormon idea, particularly in the early church, that race is a reflection of the status of faithfulness. Beginning with the ideas about dark skin being a curse in the Book of Mormon, this built up into the all-out racism against blacks that caused them to be unable to hold the priesthood until 1978.

4. There is no end to virtue; There is no end to might;
There is no end to wisdom; There is no end to light.
There is no end to union; There is no end to youth;
I'm guessing the union referred to is marriage, which is of course not biblical, as Jesus makes it clear in the gospels that people will not be married in heaven and that marriage isn't always for everyone.
There is no end to priesthood; There is no end to truth.  That there is no end to priesthood is true, but it is Christ that has an eternal priesthood. Anything else is earthly and transitory. Hebrews 7.

5. There is no end to glory; There is no end to love;
There is no end to being; There is no death above.
There is no end to glory; There is no end to love;
There is no end to being; There is no death above.
There can be an end to being for humans. We were created, and we can be uncreated by the same God. However, Mormon theology says that we are eternal intelligences. I wonder what will happen when the intelligence runs out...unless they believe that's actually infinite, too?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the great post! I was actually just thinking of this hymn. Did you know that there is a more common Protestant version, which is regarding Grace? It is in the United Methodist hymnal, and the text was written by Charles Wesley (and thus would have probably been known to Joseph Smith). It is interesting that Wesley's text of grace got replaced by this odd text.

    Also, I heard the text originally said, "There is no end to race." This was changed to "There is no end to grace" recently...one of the only mentions of grace in the LDS hymnal, and it was just snuck in to try to patch a big mistake.

    Here's a YouTube link for the Wesleyan hymn, "Come, Let Us Use the Grace Divine": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7iMfrU5LVc

    Also, if you look at the hymn "For All the Saints", you'll notice the verse on communion with Christ bringing us all up to equality is removed. Here is the exact text of the removed verse:

    "O blest communion, fellowship divine! We feebly struggle, they in glory shine; yet all are one in thee, for all are thine. Alleluia, Alleluia." (Source: United Methodist Hymnal. The author is quoted as the same as in the LDS hymnal).

    Also, look at the LDS version of A Mighty Fortress is Our God -- it is a hodge-podge of verses from Luther's original (but translated) text.