- I believe in Church; Church is my King!
With all my heart to Church I’ll sing.
I’ll raise my voice in praise and joy,
In grand amens my tongue employ.
I believe in Church; It’s like God’s Son.
On earth to reign His Church did come.
Church heals the sick; Its men are raised.
The Church’s work and name be praised.
- I believe in Church; oh blessed name!
Like Mary’s Son, Church came to reign
‘Mid mortal men, all earthly kin,
To save them from the woes of sin.
I believe in Church, Its covenant path;
Church will gain all the Father hath.
Church says to men: Come, follow me,
With Oaks and Nelson, ye may be.
- I believe in Church—my Lord, my God!
My feet Church plants on gospel sod.
I’ll worship Church with all my might;
Church is the source of truth and light.
I believe in Church; Church ransoms me.
From Satan’s grasp Church sets me free,
And I shall live, serve those above,
And ne’er be called to courts of love.
- I believe in Church; Church stands supreme!
From Church I’ll gain my fondest dream;
And once I’ve cleaned through grief and pain,
A recommend I shall obtain.
I believe in Church; so come what may,
In Church I’ll stand on that great day
When our dear Savior comes again
To rule among His Church of men.
The above is an inspired translation of Bruce R. McConkie’s lyrics for hymn number 134 from the Church’s green hymnal. Persons disagreeing with my use of the term “inspired translation” are hereby reminded that it all depends on what you mean by the words “inspired translation.” Suffice it to say, for this agnostic it felt good to awaken early this morning and receive a very clear impression while still in bed.
If you would like to try singing along, you may do so by using the Church’s interactive media player.
Now for a quote from one of the Church’s especial witnesses:
“It’s simply not possible to completely follow the Savior without following his Church. You cannot come to Christ without coming to his Church, and you cannot come to his Church without accepting his prophets. When the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve speak in unity, they speak on behalf of the Lord Jesus Christ.”Elder Kevin S. Hamilton, General Authority Seventy of the Church, speaking at BYU, January 24, 2023
Publicly and sincerely, I thank Elder Hamilton for saying nothing new—nothing I did not hear many times over the years in Primary, Sunday School, family home evening, ward and stake firesides, the MTC, zone conference, and LDS Institute. I thank him for saying it much more clearly than it’s sometimes said in General Conference these days. But, I also marvel that he has managed to say it in a way which sounds so… Rameumptomesque?
Finally, the featured image is a screenshot from BYU Universe’s YouTube channel. I recommend watching the video as part of The Daily Universe’s coverage. Reactions to this post are welcome in the comment section below.
Preach it, Brother Jake!
Holy hell. Thanks for that quote. It was clear where it was pointed, but I had no idea they were actually saying it now! (And I’m glad you placed it at the end of the OP, just to check any eye-rolling that may have occurred the reading.) Well done.
Which church do you revere? Joseph’s, Brigham’s or Russell’s?
Thank you for illustrating how ridiculous this is in application. And yes I was singing along in my head as I read this.
aurelius11, based on my understanding of the word “revere” my answer would be none of them. Dividing the Church up that way is quite interesting. There are aspects of each leaders style and priorities which I would find appealing. I tend to think of Joseph as more charismatic and Brigham as more managerial. Russell, since we’re going with first names here, is an odd mix of corporate & scientifically trained by way of medicine, and yet old-fashioned literalist when it comes to Church truth claims. On the positive, I’d say I appreciate their speaking styles, but inasmuch as they are all three pretty orthodox in their one-true-church thinking, I wouldn’t care to place my spiritual or emotional health in any of their hands ever again. Now…
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Very well done. I often feel like I’m attending the Church of the Church of Latter-Day-Saints. It’s not my favorite. I prefer to follow God and Jesus, and I’m sure that I have access to them without the church- just like everyone else who follows God without being a member of the LDS church.
Kind of ironic that it’s during the Nelson regime that we have this focus on the “mechanics” of the church, as well as an increase in how much “the brethren” are routinely revered and perpetually quoted by each other.
Makes you wonder if the whole thing about re-emphasizing the “Christ” part of the name of of the church might not have been a case of RMN, maybe subconsciously, protesting a little too much.
as a side note, I never really liked this hymn (the original) even before I knew that McConkie wrote the lyrics for it. It’s this very repetitive dirge that just feels so tired and it’s exhausting going through multiple verses.
It really captures the vibe of ‘sad heaven’ and this translation couldn’t be a better fit for that vibe
It appears that “Emma’s church” didn’t make the list, for obvious reasons.
@Dua Lipa: I’ve also heard (can’t remember where, so it may not be true but it certainly would be in character) that the song initially had twice as many verses. However, Bruce R., knowing that the last several would be relegated to the bottom of the page and never sung, demanded that the music be rewritten so it takes up two pages but has half the verses. So yes, that repetitive dirge is being sung twice over for each verse. When I have more time I’ll see if I can find the source of my information!
George Orwell would be proud.
Thanks Brother Jake! And I agree Elder Hamilton deserves a big thanks for articulating so well what I was also taught. I’m still reeling that he, as a GA, said so many of the quiet parts out loud. From the idea you can’t accept Jesus if you reject the church or the leaders of the church (our church is the best, all others are just playing church, thanks again to Bro Wilcox), to the church and Jesus himself are not only inseparable, but are interchangeable.
I desire to add a few additional applications of the interchangeability principle:
THE CHURCH is our Mediator and Advocate with the Father
The Book of Mormon, another Testament of THE CHURCH
The prophets, seers, and revelators are witnesses of the name of THE CHURCH
And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of THE CHURCH, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of THE CHURCH, that THE CHURCH lives…
But these examples are not exactly along the same lines Elder Hamilton suggests, so here are a few other hypothetical options more aligned with his suggestions:
I am opposed to the way “the Savior” waited till 1978 to give members of African descent the priesthood.
I am opposed to the way “the Savior” has amassed over 100 Billion dollars in the stock market.
I am opposed to the way “the Savior” implemented the policy of exclusion for children of LGBTQ parents by revelation just to reverse it 3.5 years later, also by revelation.
I am opposed to the way “the Savior” held onto the racist ideas that ones skin is darkened through unrighteousness and can become white and delightsome through righteousness, which is still part of the Book of Mormon and The PoGP even though “the Savior” has disavowed all past racism.
It seems to me that Elder Hamilton’s quote is just a retooling of the classic “When the Prophet speaks the thinking has been done.” I have noticed a real doubling down on telling church members to “follow the prophet”. There was a very brief period a couple years ago when the leaders encouraged members to “Hear Him” (meaning the Lord). It feels like people started doing that and started to question policies, history, and hurtful teaching, and the leaders shut the “Hear Him” campaign down real quick and re-booted the old “Hear him” lower case h campaign. No longer are young men to “Hear Him” when making the decision whether to serve a mission, now lower case him is telling them they have no choice but to serve because they made that commitment when they were baptized at 8 years old.
Elder Hamilton is delivering the re-booted message.
When I hear Him, Elder Hamilton’s quote makes me sad and terribly uncomfortable.
Truly an inspired translation, Jake. In the spirit of your hymn and DTHamilton’s comment, here are some additional inspired translations of scripture:
John 14:6 KJV/Hamilton: Jesus saith unto him, the [Mormon] Church is the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by the [Mormon] Church.
2 Nephi 25:26-27 (Hamilton) And we talk of the Church, we rejoice in the Church, we preach of the Church, we prophesy of the Church, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.
27 Wherefore, we speak concerning the Grace of Christ that our children may know the deadness of that Grace; and they, by knowing the deadness of Grace, may look forward unto that life which is only in and through the Church.
John 3:16-17 KJV/Hamilton: For God so loved the world, that he gave the only true Church (even the Mormon church), that whosoever believeth in that Church and its holy infallible leaders should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent his Church leaders into the world to condemn the world, to reprove the world of its false teachings on Grace, so that the world through the Mormon Church, and its holy infallible leaders, might be saved. Worlds without End.
I’ve passed a Kingdom Hall at least 1000 times over the last five years and decided a couple weeks ago to attend a Sunday service.
1. The people were extremely nice and welcoming.
2. Their version of sacrament meeting (except no actual sacrament) had speakers from the congregation. The topic was the importance of doing all that Jehovah expects of us (“covenant path?”) to overcome the world and enjoy eternal life.
3. Sunday school was very basic, obviously correlated. They frequently reiterated that to be safe from satan, one must avoid materials and people who will make you question your beliefs.
4. While TCOJCOLDS continuously says eternal life lies in following Christ via the prophet and the Q15, they said at least 10 times in the two hours I was there, that eternal life lies in following Jehovah and His organization.
On my way out, one person in particular wanted to discuss in depth my beliefs. At one point I explained to her that I didn’t believe there was one true church, to which she replied “We, (Jehovah’s Witnesses) believe that all churches have a portion of the truth, but only one organization has all of it.
With a big smile on my face, I thanked her for the discussion and headed out the door.
Elder Hamilton’s quote infers that only Latter-day Saints can completely follow Christ. It’s this latter-day arrogance that is so off-putting to so many. Sadly, we instill this arrogance at a young age. Pre-schoolers stand up the first Sunday of the month and tell the congregation they “know this is the only true church.”
According to Christ, everything hangs on the first two great commandments. Everything hangs on love, and TCOJCOLDS does not have a monopoly on love. There are many wonderful, faithful, loving people in the world who are following Jesus Christ and truly loving their fellow travelers on earth. They are following Christ, having never heard of our church or its leaders.
As the “inspired translation” of the hymn points out, it often feels like we worship “the church” and its leaders.
German has a word that describes my feelings last general conference. Fremdschämen is the feeling of being embarrassed for someone else, or vicarious embarrassment. I wanted to bury my face in the sofa cushions last General Conference every time each speaker fawned over President Nelson. I didn’t get any of the pre-conference memos, but it seems pretty obvious to me that each potential speaker received a memo saying something like:
“Each speaker is expected to quote President Nelson at least once and you must quote him before quoting anyone else. Also, when referring to President Nelson in your talk, use words of adoration; preferred terms are: ‘our dear Prophet’, or ‘our dear sweet Prophet’, or most preferred, ‘our beloved Prophet’. After quoting President Nelson, it is sometimes appropriate to quote other leaders. Those leaders may include, in descending order of importance: Recently passed Prophets, Book of Mormon Prophets, New Testament Apostles (Paul is preferred), C.S. Lewis, and Jesus Christ. Quoting female church leaders is not forbidden, but is not generally done.”
DTHamilton, thanks for flipping the script and trying it the other way. Your “the Savior” examples really hit home with me.
Bryce Cook, so glad you brought the word “grace” into the discussion. Thinking about it, that’s really where this whole issue needs to end up for the sake of healing and progress. If one goes all in for grace or works, it’s quite easy to become cynical about the other I suppose. Yet grace is so essential to spiritual/emotional health, especially given how fallible all humans and institutions are. Generally, when I see people truly invested in grace, perhaps like James in the New Testament, they’re also invested in good works by way of gratitude and paying it forward. Just thinking aloud at this point, but I’m very glad you introduced the word “grace” into this thread. We pay a horrible and unnecessary price without it.
Mark, thanks for recounting your experience at another high-demand religion. I had a similar experience when I visited Jehovahs’ Witnesses.
Sincerely, thank you to everyone who has commented. I really appreciate the participation and willingness to share reactions and reflections.
Great bit of work @ Jake C.
@BryceCook, you beat me to it! [big grin] Here is what I was prepping, and I’ll share it anyway even though you beat me to the punchline.
“Thou shalt love the Church thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy Church as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matt. 22:37-40.)”
Elder Hamilton’s talk sends chills down my spine. I’m wondering if Elder Kevin Pearson coached him up before hand.
Brilliant points, but I can’t help but think of the first time I struggled to sing that song sitting in Church with a friend (we are both musicians and can carry a tune). After we finished, my friend said “There should be something in the Church Handbook that says hymns of General Authorities should not be sung until they are dead at least 75 years.” Word.
brilliant, flipping the script like that
they’re eager to say that everything the church/prophet/apostles say/do is what the Saviour says/does, but if you take that logic seriously you get a situation in which you have the Saviour having given a lot of bad takes, even by the church’s own standards
e.g. it was the Saviour that said: “We will never get a man into space […] The moon is a superior planet to the earth and it was never intended that man should go there. You can write it down in your books that this will never happen.”
I know President Hinckley is a dead prophet, so maybe he is irrelevant now (an attempt at humor), but I seem to recall that he TWICE taught that a church member’s priorities, in order, were God, family, work, and church — he separated God and church, and he put church last both times. When a prophet says something a second time, aren’t we supposed to really listen?
This calls to mind Elder Ronald Poelman’s infamous 1984 General Conference talk, which was censored and had to be changed and re-shot. What got him in trouble with his original talk is that in it he implied that the Church can sometimes be the thing that gets in the way of living a Christlike life, which I agree with, but is pretty much the opposite of what Elder Hamilton suggests today. The leaders of COJCOLDS have long made efforts to erase the lines of distinction between the Church and Christ/the Gospel, which is evident every time a member stands at a pulpit and declares “I know the Church is true…”.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, except for Priesthood Leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This is a great example of the idol worship discussed in hawkgrrrl’s recent post
Interesting how many on here are stating that the talk at BYU was stating to replace Jesus with the Church. He was actually showing the importance of the Church, but was still putting Jesus first. Of course you can choose to worship how and where you wish, but having resources and fellowship goes along way.
Hello Bryan. Here’s the specific sentence, word for word, taken from Elder Hamilton’s address and quoted above in the original post:
“You cannot come to Christ without coming to his Church, and you cannot come to his Church without accepting his prophets.”
Elder Hamilton is making the acceptance of the Church and its prophets essential steps in coming to Christ. If this is Elder Hamilton trying to explain the “covenant path,” he’s saying Christ is step 3. You cannot get to step 3 (Christ), without taking steps 1 and 2, which are accepting the Church and its prophets. Bryan, if you personally believe in putting Jesus first, that’s great, but it appears Elder Hamilton disagrees with you. He makes Jesus unreachable unless you go through the Church. The full quote in the original post makes this clear.