New Hymns from the Sutherland Institute

In the spirit of Edward Snowden, though I do not particularly admire him, I recently hacked into the servers at the Sutherland Institute. There I found drafts of what appears to be a new hymnal. I can’t tell from the files I found whether publication is imminent; nor can I discern the intended distribution. The new hymnal could be just for in-house pep rallies — devotionals, they probably call them. Or perhaps it’s for public sale, aimed at the limited but well-financed subset of Mormons who think actual Mormonism is too concerned with things like freedom and kindness, and not nearly righteous enough.

To make a long story short, I discovered that they have rewritten all or part of some familiar Mormon and other Christian hymns to suit their higher principles. I grabbed some samples to share with you. You’ll see some evidence of their preoccupation with quivers full of children, and also their odd idea of religious freedom, which includes incorporating their religious principles into civil law, and being spared the presence in the workplace or neighborhood of anyone who makes moral choices of which they disapprove.

In the Sutherland Institute’s defense, I hasten to note that tweaking existing hymns to fit your own doctrine is a common practice among churches; it’s not some new, outlandish abuse. So I hope we can set aside that possible distraction and agree to focus on the message of their newly-revised hymns.

(By the way, I thought about leaking the following samples a few weeks ago, but the Utah Legislature was still in session, and I wanted to avoid the risk of having these sung on the floor, and it being my fault.)

“How Gentle God’s Commands”
to the tune of “How Gentle God’s Commands”

How gentle God’s commands!
How kind his precepts are!
Now we will do what God forgot:
We’ll make them all state law!

Beneath his vengeful eye,
True saints securely dwell.
That hand which bears right nature up
Will send the left to hell.

Why should that anxious load
Of freedom vex your minds?
Haste to our wholly righteous views
Or sweet compulsion find!

Our goodness stands approved,
Right-thinkers all agree.
Religious freedom’s not for you.
God meant it just for me.

“Onward, Utah Mormons!”
to the tune of “Onward, Christian Soldiers!”

Onward, Utah Mormons! Join our righteous war.
We will make illegal all that we abhor.
Jesus loves the Sutherland, looks on us with pride.
All the true believers join us. Be one! Take our side!

chorus:
Onward, Utah Mormons! Join our righteous war.
We will make illegal all that we abhor.

At the sign of triumph, jacks and gentiles flee.
On, then, Utah Mormons! On to victory!
See, our future beckons! Fight for Zion’s sake!
Brother, exercise your priesthood! Sister, bake a cake!

chorus:
Onward, Utah Mormons! Join our righteous war.
We will make illegal all that we abhor.

Fill up every nursery – bundles of great joy.
Full shall be your quiver, stuffed with girls and boys.
Heaven grants our donors grand posterity.
Nothing proves our worthiness quite like fertility!

chorus:
Onward, Utah Mormons! Join our righteous war.
We will make illegal all that we abhor.

Onward, then, ye Mormons! Join our righteous throng!
Let us do the thinking; you might get it wrong.
We are heaven’s think tank. We’ll say what is just.
Cato, Brookings, Heritage – all will eat our dust.

chorus:
Onward, Utah Mormons! Join our righteous war.
We will make illegal all that we abhor.

They appear to have left the first verse of one of my favorite hymns, “In Humility, Our Savior,” unchanged, but they have altered the second verse somewhat, after leaving the first two lines intact:

“In Humility, Our Savior” (second verse)
(same melody as “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling”)

Fill our hearts with sweet forgiving.
Teach us tolerance and love.
Drive the wicked gays far from us;
They will find no grace above.
Smokers, drinkers, different thinkers,
T-shirt sellers at the mall —
When our perfect freedom dawns here,
We’ll have none of them at all.

That’s it for now, folks. Please don’t be horrified. Every belief system has the potential to offend someone, tends to encourage self-congratulation in some adherents, and looks a little odd from the outside.

If you’ll pardon my own self-congratulation for just a moment, I would like to point out that it’s only the first day of April, and I’ve already blogged once this month!

This article was originally posted at LocalCommentary.com and is backdated here to its post date there.

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