Feb 13

Let’s Make the Hymnbook More of a His and Hers Book

This Sunday in sacrament meeting we sang the hymn O God, the Eternal Father. I noticed this time, more than previous times, the gender-exclusive language:

That sacred, holy off’ring,
By man least understood…

With no apparent beauty,
That man should him desire…

To walk upon his footstool
And be like man, almost…

I understand that when W.W. Phelps wrote these lyrics back in the 1830’s, gender-exclusive language was the norm, it was the way people talked, wrote, and thought. I also understand that in many instances such gender-exclusive language was typically understood to mean both men and women. I suspect that Brother Phelps had no overt desire to leave anyone out; by using “man” he may have been simply using the default term for the word “humans”. Continue reading

Dec 18

Approved Party Song #19

In a discussion about the hymnbook at FMH a few weeks ago, patti said that her husband thinks Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel is the Communist fight song. This reminded me that many years ago, when I was in a BYU ward and this hymn was announced, a friend wrote a note referring to it that said, “Working shoulders of the world, unite!” (Perhaps my friend is patti’s husband.) This comment inspired me to rewrite the hymn: Continue reading

Jan 14

From the Children’s Songbook to the Hymn Book

If I understand correctly, several hymns in our hymn book appeared first as children’s songs. Isn’t this the case for Called to Serve, I Am a Child of God, and Families Can Be Together Forever?

So, since the precedent is set, I would like to see Beautiful Savior, which currently appears only in the Children’s Songbook, added to the hymn book. Every time I hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing it, I wish that we could sing it in sacrament meeting.

Are there any other current children’s songs that you would like to see moved to the hymn book?

May 29

Hymns by Request in Sacrament Meeting

Three times since I’ve lived in my current ward, we’ve had a sacrament meeting that might be called “hymns by request.” Like a testimony meeting, there are no scheduled speakers; people get up as moved by the Spirit or by boredom. But unlike testimony meeting, what they’re asked to do is to name a hymn they particularly like and say something about why. Then the congregation sings a verse of the hymn that the person designates. Continue reading

Dec 13

Changing the Words to Hymns

When I put my boys to bed at night, I often sing them hymns. One of their favorites is “There Is a Green Hill Far Away,” probably because it’s one of the few that I know all the verses to and can sing in the dark. But part of this hymn has always struck me as odd. In the first verse, it says that the green hill is “where the dear Lord was crucified.” The dear Lord? That sounds so impersonal. So taking a page from “Upon the Cross of Calvary,” I always sing this line as “where our dear Lord was crucified.”

So are there any hymns that you sing nonstandard words to, or any for which you would like to see the wording changed?