Today’s Journal and Courier from Lafayette, Indiana reports on that city’s Music of the Faiths hymn sing which took place Sunday afternoon. “The [participating] churches ran the gamut of Christian traditions,” the article states, “including some Catholic, Protestant and Mormon groups.”
Maybe I’m being too picky here, but this statement bothers me. If there’s one thing Mormonism is not, it’s a “Christian tradition.” The basic message of Mormonism is that the tradition of Christianity—which has been in place for nearly 2000 years—is wrong/abominable/corrupt. I object to calling Mormonism a Christian tradition. I imagine the journalist intended only to convey that the choirs participating in the hymn sing did not include Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, etc., yet I am nevertheless unhappy over the validating label she gave to Mormonism, which is wholly undeserving of it.
The LDS choir sang I Need Thee Every Hour which, of course, is a Christian hymn, not a Mormon hymn. It was written in 1872 by Annie Sherwood Hawks. Annie was a Baptist, a member of one of those “wrong, abominable and corrupt” churches that, according to Mormonism, was the reason for the Restoration. Robert Lowry set Annie’s words to music and added the beautiful refrain “I need Thee, O I need Thee; Ev’ry hour I need Thee! O bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee”. Dr. Lowry was Annie’s pastor.
Two years before this Christian hymn was written, John Taylor, later to become the third Prophet of the LDS Church, said this:
“What does the Christian world know about God? Nothing …Why so far as the things of God are concerned, they are the veriest of fools; they know neither God nor the things of God” (Journal of Discourses 13:225, May 6, 1870).
I’m puzzled by the LDS Church choosing to sing (and include in its hymnal) spiritual songs written by those they believe knew absolutely nothing about God and who they believe belonged to the church of the devil (see the Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 14:10).
Peggy Bryan, the Indiana state music chairman for the LDS Church, may have shed some light on this question. Remarking on the Music of the Faiths hymn sing she said, “They’re all singing together and it doesn’t matter what we believe because we’re all singing to God.”
I guess Peggy never read what the late LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie wrote:
“The gods of Christendom…are gods who were created by men in the creeds of an apostate people. There is little profit or peace in serving them, and certainly there is no salvation available through them” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, page 545).
“And virtually all the millions of apostate Christendom have abased themselves before the mythical throne of a mythical Christ…” (Mormon Doctrine, page 269).
My question for Peggy: To which God were you all singing?
For more on LDS vs. Christian hymns, check out Hymns of the Apostasy