When people consider the history of Mormonism what is often thought of is the first vision, restoration of the priesthood, formation of the church, or the Book of Mormon, etc. But there is much more! In the English hymn book there are hundreds of hymns, each one with its own history. These can also be considered an important part of the history of Mormonism.
W. W. Phelps (William Wines Phelps) wrote the words to fourteen of the hymns in the current hymn book of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One of the earliest and most notorious of his hymns is The Spirit of God (Hymn #2).
The hymn The Spirit of God is a message of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the latter-days. Contained in its lyrics are many lines from scripture, such as the following from the Kirtland Temple dedicatory prayer, found now in the Doctrine and Covenants (one of Mormonism's standard works):
"And also this church, to put upon it thy name. And help us by the power of thy Spirit, that we may mingle our voices with those bright, shining seraphs around thy throne, with acclamations of praise, singing Hosanna to God and the Lamb! And let these, thine anointed ones, be clothed with salvation, and thy saints shout aloud for joy. Amen, and Amen." (D&C 109:79-80)
At the closing of the Kirtland, Ohio temple dedication this hymn was sung by the congregation, and it has been sung at temple dedications ever since that day.
Lyrics of the Hymn:
The Spirit of God like a fire is burning! The latter-day glory begins to come forth; the visions and blessings of old are returning. And angels are coming to visit the earth.
We'll sing and we'll shout with the armies of heaven, Hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb! Let glory to them in the highest be given, hence forth and forever, Amen and amen!The Lord is extending the Saints' understanding, restoring their judges and all as at first. The knowledge and power of God are expanding; the veil over the earth is beginning to burst.
We'll sing and we'll shout with the armies of heaven, Hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb! Let glory to them in the highest be given, hence forth and forever, Amen and amen!We'll call in our solemn assemblies in spirit, to spread forth the kingdom of heaven abraod, that we through our faith may begin to inherit the visions and blessings and glories of God.
We'll sing and we'll shout with the armies of heaven, Hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb! Let glory to them in the highest be given, hence forth and forever, Amen and amen!How blessed the day when the lamb and the lion shall lie down together without any ire, and Ephraim be crowned with his blessing in Zion, as Jesus descends with his chariot of fire!
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