Mormonism is not only one of the world’s most derivative religions. It may just be one of the world’s most derivative organizations.
I understand that it may be hard for some to create brand new King James Bible material. I can see why Joseph Smith cut-and-paste so much Biblical scripture (i.e. Isaiah) and took such a long time to release his Book of Mormon.
But did early Mormons really lack so much creative talent that they had to steal other people’s music as well?
You may recall hearing some of the following pieces from Sunday Sacrament meetings, had you ever attended them:
1. “Praise to the Man”
“Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah!
Jesus anointed that Prophet and Seer.
Blessed to open the last dispensation,
Kings shall extol him, and nations revere.”
2. “If you Could Hie to Kolob”
“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?”
It is fitting that a man who obtained much of his fame from plagiarism was awarded a cover song. But did Kolob too have to be honored in this capacity?
Humorously enough, both these pieces originated in Europe.
Scotland and Ireland. Not America and definitely not Israel.
Neither of these works had anything to do with Gods or Mormonism.
Here are samples of the original pieces:
1. “Scotland The Brave”
Not “Praise to the Man”
Country of Origin: (you can use context clues to figure this one out)
High in the Misty highlands,
out by the purple islands
brave are the hearts that beat beneath Scottish skies
wild are the winds to meet you
staunch are the friends that greet you
kind as the love that shines from fair maidens eyes.
Youtube link to the full version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GowMI4wvmU4
2. “Star of the County Down”
Not “If you Could Hie to Kolob”
Country of origin: Ireland
Near Banbridge town, in the County Down
One morning in July
Down a bóithrín green came a sweet cailín
And she smiled as she passed me by.
Oh she looked so sweet from her two bare feet
To the sheen of her nut brown hair
Such a coaxing elf, sure I shook myself
To be sure I was really there.
Youtube link to many versions of this song: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=star%20of%20the%20county%20down&sm=3
These are only two examples of the Church using other people’s music to promote their own “spirituality”. (This does not stop the Church from sometimes failing to give the original musicians credit or not posting sheet music for “copyright” reasons. http://www.lds.org/music/library/hymns/if-you-could-hie-to-kolob?lang=eng)
The songs “O Savior, Thou Who Wearest a Crown” and “My Heart Ever Faithful” were based on Johann Sebastian Bach’s music. The children’s song “When We’re Helping” was based on a German folk song. The cheesy text, however, came from a Mormon. There are also several songs in the LDS hymn book that I do not need explain came from non-LDS places. Such works include “The Star-Spangled Banner”, “America the Beautiful”, and “Battle Hymn of the Republic”.
Most of the original authors seemed to be white European folk, which, I guess, is a perfect way to create musical spirituality for an ancient Middle Eastern Church.