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Nice mega-post, Justin, appropriate as your "swan song" here at DMI. My personal favorite is the previous lyrics to the hymn "Have I Done Any Good in the World Today?" which went like this:

Only he who does something is worthy to live,
The world has no use for the drone.

Given that those words were excised (rewritten) for the current LDS hymnal, my happy conclusion is that, in fact, the world does have some use for the drone! As I recall from biology, drones really did serve an important purpose: competing for the right to fertilize the queen bee and her eggs, obviously a key role that no mere worker bee (all females) could possibly play.

Actually, I came *thisclose* to titling my post "My Swan Song." But I opted for the present title. Perhaps my huge post should have been titled "Droning on and on." That description would also fit my singing voice.

Oh well. I've done enough song and dance for now. Thanks, Dave, for the kind invitation to blog and otherwise take up space for the last month. I enjoyed myself quite a bit.

And thanks to all the thoughtful contributors here. I enjoyed the good conversation about all things Mormon.

I liked one from the old Spanish hymnal, called "Let's brush our teeth."

As I recall, it had a counterpart in an old English book (possibly a primary book) and its title was something like "The Mouth Bugs."

I've sung one of those: "In the Church here below" was, until about 10 years ago, in the French hymnbook: "Dans L'Eglise Ici-Bas" had a very catchy tune by Mozart.

Good old "From Greenland's Icy Mountains." I remember seeing it all during my childhood in the old 1947 (?) hymnal, but never singing it until I got to Japan as a missionary. Pres. Shimizu apparently liked the line about the "heathen in his blindness" because he thought it an apt description of the challenge we faced. That hymn was not, of course, a Mormon hymn. There is a great allusion to it in Eugene Field's "Jes Fore Christmas" where Bill says:

"Gran'ma says she hopes that when I git to be a man,
I'll be a missionarer like her oldest brother, Dan,
As was et up by the cannibuls that lives in Ceylon's Isle,
Where every prospeck pleases, an' only man is vile!"

It just doesn't get much better than that.

Except for "staining Illinois." My Dad used to joke about how he enjoyed doing that. That's what they all used to do in "Praise to the Man" when they got to the line that said

"Long shall his blood which was shed by assassins
Stain Illinois while the earth lauds his fame."

Another song that has been bowdlerized out of all enjoyment is Charles Penrose's "Up Awake Ye Defenders of Zion." Instead of the current milquetoast version, there were lines like

Remember the wrongs in Missouri;
Forget not the fate of Nauvoo.
When the God-hating foe is before you,
Stand firm and be faithful and true . . .

The new version just can't hold a candle to that!

Yeah, Steve, that tune for the old "Though in the Outward Church Below" is a duet from The Magic Flute. It was quite a surprise to hear that at the opera after only knowing it as a hymn tune.

There was an old Dialogue article from back in the mid-1970s assessing the old Spanish hymnal. The writer, Norberto Guinaldo, wrote: "As one peruses the pages of the Spanish hymnal, it is evident that its compilers aimed at functionality—a hymnal for all seasons to be used by all organizations of the Church. The first thirty-five selections are geared to primary-aged children. Many of these are didactic in nature and not all are faith-promoting or spiritual. One song is entitled 'Let's Brush Our Teeth.'"

Kristine Haglund Harris mentions some old Primary songs in her recent Dialogue article, including "Tooth Bugs" (the same song as "Mouth Bugs"?), "Little Brother Vegetable," "The Scrubbing Song," and "Washing Dishes."

I thought the Penrose hymn was building up to something more dramatic. I'm disappointed.

Remember the wrongs in Missouri;
Forget not the fate of Nauvoo.
When the God-hating foe is before you,
Beat him down 'til for mercy he sues.

A good 1856 Mormon Reformation hymn I blogged on once:


Tune: "Rosa May"

The reformation has commenced,
All hail! the glorious day,
May God his Holy Spirit send
To guide us in his way:
Now, brethren, the time has come
For wickedness to cease;
So live like honest Saints of God,
And righteousness increase.
Then, O, brethren, come,
And let us all agree,
And strive to gain the blessings
In store for you and me.
To gain these blessings we must try
And do what we are told;
I'll tell you what we ought to do,
If you won't think me bold:
We ought to put down wickedness,
We ought to watch and pray,
We ought to build the kingdom up--
Not loaf our time away.


We ought to have our houses neat,
Our Teachers to obey,
We ought to keep our bodies clean,
Our tithing always pay:
We ought our brother's character
Keep sacred as our own,
Attend to business all we can,
Let other folks alone.


We ought our Bishops to sustain,
Their counsels to abide,
And knock down every dwelling
Where wicked folks reside:
We ought our Teachers to respect,
Not give them looks nor snubs;
And keep our ditches free from pots,
Likewise from stinking tubs.


Now, sisters, list to what I say,--
With trials this world is rife,
You can't expect to miss them all,
Help husband get a wife!
Now, this advice I freely give,
If exalted you would be,
Remember that your husband must
Be blessed with more than thee.
Then, O, let us say,
God bless the wife that strives
And aids her husband all she can
T' obtain a dozen wives.

Now, brethren, let us study
To do the will of God;
If it's sowing, reaping, preaching,
We'll get a just reward:
Keep sacred all your covenants,
And do the best you can;
I pray that God will bless you all,
Worlds without end. Amen.


Though in the Outward Church Below was in the 1948 hymnbook and I was saddened when they took it out in 1985. When I was a missionary in Quebec in 91-92, they would sing that hymn in the french speaking areas just about every third week. Incidentally, a primary song, I Pledge Myself to Love the Right, is set to another tune from the Magic Flute.

Who can forget "Captain of Israel's Host" in the 1948 hymnal, with opera music from Rossini? If you have the old book check out the melody in measure 8 (hymn 236). The 1985 book still has an opera tune by Meyerbeer for Jesus, Once of Humble Birth.

I wonder why they left Greenland's Icy Mountains in the 1985 book. The Episcopal Church, for example, left it out of their 1982 update of the 1940 hymnbook. The 85 hymnal does try to disguise things by putting the first verse second, but the white man's burden imagery is still oozing out of the first two stanzas.

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