Evolution and My Favorite Hymn

My favorite hymn is If You Could Hie To Kolob by W. W. Phelps. I love it more than any other hymn partly because it is so uniquely Mormon. Unlike many of our other hymns which could be sung and welcomed on Sunday morning in any Christian denomination, only those who actually believe the teachings of Joseph Smith could love this hymn. Properly understood, it makes mention of the most profound doctrines separating us from the traditional Christian world, a world I gladly apostatized from many years ago. And the hymn symbolizes for me “the rest of the story” that I found when I was a lone man in the wilderness, spiritually speaking, looking for a religious belief that I could find plausible.

But it also sums up concisely my problems with the idea that man upon this earth was created physically by a process of evolution originating in some primordial, Precambrian sea. Here is the first verse which I fervently believe with every fibre of my most religious body:

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?

Which generation of Gods was the first? Who can imagine such a thing? There have always been Gods. If God, our Heavenly Father, had a Heavenly Father, then did he not also have a Heavenly Grandfather? And so on going back forever? There was no first generation. It is one eternal round. The opposing mirrors in our temple sealing rooms acknowledge this eternal truth. Some things never had a beginning, and there have always been exalted men such as our Heavenly Father is. Joseph Smith revealed this grand and glorious truth to us, and for that we may praise him forever.

Which reminds me of another wonderful hymn written by W. W. Phelps, Praise To The Man. That Phelps was some hymn writer.

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4 Responses to Evolution and My Favorite Hymn

  1. The ethereal and mystical quality of “If You Could Hie..” I think is produced very much by the music that the words are set to.
    Ralph Von Williams wrote the music to that hymn, and if you look in the back of the hynmnal, you’ll see that there are some other hymn melodies that he wrote that are included.

    If you like the mystical quality, I highly recommend that you look into Ralph Von Williams’ music; he was very prolific. He did a lot to preserve the English folk songs before they entirely disappeared.

  2. A-Dawg says:

    it’s my favorite too.

  3. ujlapana says:

    That haunting minor key is great. I’ve always enjoyed the “main” verses too, although the repetitive last two are so-so. As for the doctrine, well, too bad we don’t really teach that anymore. It was more of a couplet anyway, right?

  4. truth seeker says:

    “If You Could Hie to Kolob,” is oen of my favorite hymns. It is beautiful and I absolutely love it. Sadly I don’t think we sing it in my ward enough. I would love to hear it more. Oh well, I guess it just makes it all the more special when they do sing it.

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