Hymns teaching false doctrine

In order to discover new quotes to insert into a revision of our book Mormonism 101, I have decided to read through a number of LDS manuals, including the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church series. Tonight I was paging through the volume featuring the talks and writings of Heber J. Grant and I came across this particular quote:

 “The more beautiful the music by which false doctrine is sung, the more dangerous it becomes. I appeal to all Latter-day Saints, and especially to our choirs, never to sing the words of a song, no matter how beautiful and inspiring the music may be, where the teachings are not in perfect accord with the truths of the gospel” (p. 167).

Grant is quoted on the same page as saying,

“No individual singer, or organization of singers, in the Church, should ever render a selection unless the words are in full harmony with the truths of the gospel. . . “

sheet-musicIf this is the case, I say “amen.” Using my copy of the 1985 Hymns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, allow me to suggest the Top 10 hymns, in descending order, that I recommend the LDS Church leaders take out immediately since they are in disagreement with the biblical gospel:

10. Hymn 19: “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet.” Words include:

“We thank thee, O God, for a prophet to guide us in these latter days. We thank thee for sending the gospel to lighten our minds with its rays. . . .Rejoice in his glorious gospel, and bask in its life-giving light. Thus on to eternal perfection, the honest and faithful will go, while they who reject this glad message shall never such happiness know.”

9. Hymn 300: “Families can be Together Forever.” The words of the two verses are:

“I have a family here on earth. They are so good to me. I want to share my life with them through all eternity. While I am in my early years, I’ll prepare most carefully, so I can marry in God’s temple for eternity.”

Refrain: “Families can be together forever through Heavenly Father’s plan. I always want to be with my own family; and the Lord has shown me how I can. The Lord has shown me how I can.”

8. Hymn 25: “Now We’ll Sing with One Accord.” Words include:

“And an angel surely then, for a blessing unto men, brought the priesthood back again, in its ancient purity. Even Joseph (Smith) he inspired. . . And the Book of Mormon true, with its covenant ever new, for the Gentile and the Jew, he (Smith) translated sacredly. God’s commandments to mankind, for believing Saints designed. And to bless the seeking mind, came to him from Jesus Christ.”

7. Hymn 303: “Keep the Commandments.” The words of this hymn are straightforward in four simple sentences:

“Keep the commandments; keep the commandments! In this there is safety; in this there is peace. He will send blessings; he will send blessings. Words of a prophet: Keep the commandments. In this there is safety and peace.”

6. Hymn 26: “Joseph Smith’s first Prayer.” Words include:

“Suddenly a light descended, brighter far than noonday sun, and a shining glorious pillar, over him fell around him shone, while appeared two heavenly beings, God the Father and the Son … . ‘Joseph, this is my Beloved; Hear him!’ Oh, how sweet the word! Joseph’s humble prayer was answered, and he listened to the Lord. Oh, what rapture filled his bosom, for he saw the living God.”

5. Hymn 287: “Rise, Ye Saints, and Temples Enter.” The three verses of this hymn read:

“Rise, ye Saints, and temples enter; seek the path that leads ahead. Seal in everlasting circles all our loved ones, quick and dead. Learn the plan of exaltation; with His sacred laws comply. Live to earn in binding covenant blessings of our God most high. Elohim, thou great designer, wilt thou heaven’s powers bestow, as thy faithful sons and daughters serve in temples here below.”

4. Hymn 225: “We are Marching on to Glory.” The first two verses are:

“We are marching on to glory; we are working for our crown. We will make our armor brighter, and never lay it down. Then day by day we are marching, to heaven we are bound. Each good act brings us nearer that home where we’ll be crowned.”

3. Hymn 284: “If you Could Hie to Kolob.”

Verse 1: “If you could hie to Kolob in the twinkling of an eye, 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?”

Verses 2 and 3 include: “Or see the grand beginning, where space did not extend? Or view the last creation, where Gods and matter end? . . . 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.”

Refrain: “We are marching, marching homeward to that bright land afar. We work for life eternal; it is our guiding star.”

2. Hymn 290: “Rejoice, Ye Saints of Latter Days.” The first three verses are:

1: “Rejoice, ye Saints of latter days, for temples now in many lands, where Saints endowed with power from God, may learn to keep the Lord’s commands.”

2. “Come, let us go up to his house; We’ll make our covenants and say: ‘All we are given we give to thee. Accept our love, we will obey.”

3. “O Saints, rejoice!” Our kindred dead may now receive eternally the fullness of the gospel’s joy. Arise, ye Saints, and set them free!”

1. Hymn 27: “Praise to the Man” (you knew this one had to be #1), composed by W.W. Phelps. All the words are as given:

1. “Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah! Jesus anointed that Prophet and Seer. Blessed to open the last dispensation, kings shall extol him and nations revere.”

Refrain: “Hail to the Prophet, ascended to heaven! Traitors and tyrants now fight in vain. Mingling with Gods, he can plan for his brethren; death cannot conquer the hero again.”

2. “Praise to his memory, he died as a martyr; Honored and blest be his ever great name! Long shall his blood, which was shed by assassins, plead unto heaven while the earth lauds his fame.”

3. “Great is his glory and endless his priesthood. Ever and ever the keys he will hold. Faithful and true, he will enter his kingdom, crowned in the midst of the prophets of old.”

4. “Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven; earth must atone for the blood of that man. Wake up the world for the conflict of justice. Millions shall know ‘Brother Joseph’ again.”

Now it’s your turn. Do you have nominations to add to this Top 10 list?

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14 Responses to Hymns teaching false doctrine

  1. Rick B says:

    It’s not just the hymns teaching false doctrine, but the lds prophet and president and leaders.

    Just look at the lack of lds replys from the last topic, or any topic for that matter. Really, what can they say when they willfully choose darkness over light.

  2. jardim says:

    When I was LDS, I knew a lot of the hymns by heart because it seemed there was a lot of repetition. The Mormons start indoctrination of their children with catchy Primary songs like, “Book of Mormon Stories”–“Book of Mormon stories that my teacher tells to me, Are about the Lamanites in ancient history, Long ago their fathers came from far across the sea, Giv’n the land if they lived righteously.” So there is the perpetuation of the Book of Mormon myth as if it were fact, along with the teaching that blessings come from worthiness.

  3. Kate says:

    I was also thinking about how they start this stuff young. Here’s a few songs taught to primary age kids, ages 3-11.

    A Young Man Prepared
    Though a boy I may appear,
    Yet a man I soon will be.
    If I prepare and live clean in ev’ry thought, word, and deed,
    I will be worthy to hold the sacred priesthood of God.
    So I now prepare myself; I will serve my fellowmen.
    Being armed with the truth, with the scriptures my guide,
    I’ll go forward, a young man prepared,
    I’ll go forward, a young man prepared.

    Family History
    1. Fam’ly history – I am doing it,
    My fam’ly history.
    And the love I feel when I’m doing it
    Is very sweet to me.
    I learn stories of my progenitors;
    I write their history.
    I keep records of my loved ones
    On my own fam’ly tree.
    2. Fam’ly living now and the ones who’ve died
    Can all be sealed to me,
    And someday I’ll meet ev’ry one of them,
    I’m sure as I can be.
    Oh what joy we’ll have when they say to me,
    “We’re all a family.
    I am yours and you are mine now,
    Through all eternity.”

    And the most popular children’s song of all:

    I Am A Child Of God
    1. I am a child of God,
    And he has sent me here,
    Has given me an earthly home
    With parents kind and dear.
    2. I am a child of God,
    And so my needs are great;
    Help me to understand his words
    Before it grows too late.
    3. I am a child of God.
    Rich blessings are in store;
    If I but learn to do his will,
    I’ll live with him once more.
    4. I am a child of God.
    His promises are sure;
    Celestial glory shall be mine
    If I can but endure.

    Children are taught about the pre existence and that they are literal spirit children of God.
    Boys are taught all about their missions and how they have to be worthy to hold the Mormon priesthood, we all know about those bishop interviews starting at 12 years old. We are taught from a young age that we need to do our genealogy so we can make sure all of their temple work is done.
    Yep, it starts early.

  4. Mike R says:

    Eric, it’s great to hear a Mormon leader realize that false doctrine can be inserted into
    hymns , and thus be a spiritual danger to church members . Mormon leaders have
    consistently assured their flocks that as watchmen on the wall their role as leaders
    is to protect their flock from being influenced by false teachings .
    A Hymnal published by Church leaders in England in 1856 contained a hymn ( p. 375)
    that reflected some new teaching from their prophet Brigham Young about God
    (Adam- God ) . Many LDS became convinced to embrace this new doctrine . But like
    other important teachings of the ” restored gospel ” by Mormon leaders, this hymn
    also did’nt have a very long shelf life .

    The Title was : ” We Believe in our God ” , and it was another venue utilized by church
    leaders to introduce Young’s Adam – God doctrine to the flock .

    [ Hymn cited in ” The Position of Adam in LDS Scripture and Theology ” , BYU thesis
    by Rodney Turner ]

  5. cattyjane says:

    Makes me want to puke! I dont remember the kolob song but some of the others are familiar. Like I said I walked away from the church for 5 years after I got married. Im just glad that when I was deciding to return to the church, that I actually took the time to sort through all the doctrine and beliefs before I made a full on commitment. Now that I see the church for what it is I cant imagine raising my child in that pagan nonsense and singing to a pagan god!

  6. grindael says:

    Here are a few about Adam God… the DOCTRINE that no one understood – yet they could write Hymns about it! I found these with a quick search…

    We believe in our God,
    the great Prince of His race,
    The Archangel Michael,
    the Ancient of Days,
    Our own Father Adam,

    earth’s Lord, as is plain,
    Who’ll counsel,
    and fight for his children again.
    We believe in His Son,
    Jesus Christ who, in love
    to his brethren and sisters,
    came down from above.

    (Sacred Hymns for the Church of Jesus Christ of L.D.S., 11th 1856 English Ed.)

    And another,

    Sons of Michael, he approaches!
    Rise th’ Eternal Father greet;
    Bow, ye thousands, low before him;
    Minister before his feet.

    (Sacred Hymns for the Church of Jesus Christ of L.D.S., 20th ed. 1891 English Ed.)

    -The hymn books teach the doctrines

    This hymn book was published by Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, and John Taylor. Check out the Aug. 2005 Ensign. The Manchester Hymnal as it is commonly referred to was published from 1840-1912. This hymnal was produced while Joseph Smith was alive, the firat hymn was written by one of his plural wives.”Every hymn, whether already a part of Latter-day Saint tradition or a proposed new hymn, was carefully considered. The doctrine expressed in each hymn was of prime consideration.” Karen Lynn Davidson, Our Latter-day Hymns: The Stories and the Messages, p.3

  7. johnsepistle says:

    I’m very surprised that Hymn #292 (“O My Father”) did not make this list. (Any particular reason, Eric?) With this top ten, I’d slip this one in at the #2 slot, bump hymn 290 back to #4, slide hymns 225, 284, and 26 each back a slot, and then omit hymn 303.

  8. erusselljohnson says:

    John, Good point on #292 penned by a former wife of Joseph Smith, Eliza Roxy Snow, especially since the third and fourth versees mentions Heavenly Mother and seeing her again. Interesting, the end of the last verse says ” that we will “come and dwell with you.” I made the list by going through the hymnal one time through and just missed this one! (That’s why I asked for your suggestions.)

  9. Tom says:

    Shawn McCraney covered this a couple of years ago. Good episode.


  10. Tom says:

    It starts about 20 minutes in, by the way.

  11. rvales says:

    It saddens and enrages me to read through these hymn verses. Our singing is worship and we are NOT to worship anything or ANYONE but God alone. Worship of anything other than God is idolatry, and idolatry is the heart of all sin, putting something above God.

    I was thinking tonight in my church service as I listened to the sermon and as I sang worship songs about Grace alone, the glory of the cross, and forgiveness not because of anything I’ve done but because of everything HE is and has done and thought about how hope in something other than or in conjunction with Christ is a weak hope that can deliver nothing. The longer I am in fellowship with God the more I see my sin and HIS grace and mercy. I never grow so much as a Christan that I see the gap between me and God get smaller….it only gets bigger. I see my sin more and HIS holiness more.

    Sorry this has become more of a testimony than a reflection on the blog post but what I have witnessed and testify to is that I am wholly sinful, filled with a dead black heart and I’m in awe of the love that would willing take on flesh and suffer in my place to give me life eternal with the one who is and was and is to come!

    So I will sing in worship of Father, Son and Holy Ghost; the great I Am that “my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ love and righteousness!” “oh praise the one who paid my debt and raises life up from the dead!!!”

  12. Silkworm says:

    I thought of a hymn off the top of my head that could qualify for why the EV’s and other Christian sects/religions sing them, for the hymn has a verse/line/words that clearly go against what EV’s believe or go against what the EV’s think the Bible teaches. So this topic can go both ways.
    This topic is just plain petty bickering.

  13. Mike R says:

    Silkworm, as usual you don’t have anything of substance to say that would rescue your prophets
    from being exposed as the false prophets they are .
    You’ve resorted to misquoting sources you use in trying to refute doctrines we believe , and now
    you’re calling this topic ” petty bickering” . What’s next ? Why don’t you cease your drive by’s
    and stop fighting against the truth . You can do it , Jesus will help.
    I’m praying that you make that liberating decision soon .

  14. sweetsanpete says:

    I stumbled upon your site doing a google search. I’ve been here before – long ago – because I remember your banner pic (which, as photographer, is quite good). I read through the post and I guess I’m missing something, because I don’t see any false doctrines in the lines quoted. Maybe I’m dense and specific words or lines need to be highlighted in yellow for me. Or maybe we just have different beliefs.

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