Sunday, November 16, 2008

Be Fruitful

Each March, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints invites the submission of original music and poetry "to encourage musical talent and bring new musical works to light." Among other categories, the church invites the submission of potential hymn texts. Now, one of the things that hymns do is teach doctrine, and since the last edition of the hymnbook was released, a substantial new statement of doctrine has been issued by the First Presidency--The Family: A Proclamation to the World. This unique document teaches at least eight principles not taught by any hymn currently available in our hymnbook:

1) Marriage is ordained of God.
2) The family is central to God's plan.
3) Gender is an eternal and purposeful characteristic.
4) God's command to multiply and replenish the earth is still effective.
5) Parents are accountable to God for raising their children.
6) The family is ordained of God.
7) Families are encouraged to work and play together.
8) Husbands and wives are to act in concert, as equal partners.

In addition, Elder Bednar's talk from the February 2006 Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting (available here) provides a ninth principle related to the family that had never been explicitly stated prior to the most recent edition of our hymnbook:

9) Each gender complements and perfects the other.

It seems to me that a new hymn which teaches some of this doctrine would be an appropriate addition to our hymnbooks (as would the Proclamation be an appropriate addition to our scriptures). In that spirit, I have composed the following poem/hymn text:

Be Fruitful

All newborn spirits gain at birth
The bodies they will need
To sit upon their Parents’ thrones
And act as gods in deed.
It matters not our gender here;
We owned it long before
We came to earth in our attempt
To live with God once more.

What matters is our real desire
To find and wed a mate
Without whom we cannot progress
To God’s celestial state.
For men and women cannot be
Exalted while apart;
Our better halves must complement
And help perfect each heart.

That marriage was ordained in heav’n,
The scriptures make it plain—
Where Adam, Eve and God all join
To make one flesh of twain.
As equal partners, we too must
Learn to obey God’s will,
And His command to multiply
Remains effective still.

Not surprisingly, I think that the process of writing this poem/hymn has been far more beneficial to me than it will to anyone else--especially since an earlier version of this hymn/poem was already (very nicely) rejected by General Music Committee, which reviews church music submissions. Still--it's been a worthwhile endeavor and learning experience for me. Do some learning yourself--submit your music or text by following the instructions found here.


Schenewarks said...

Great post! You're such a good doobie. Loved it all, a little unsure of the fifth line, first stanza. Taken by itself it's wrong, needs to be tweeked, but I know what you're saying. Good luck this year.

Becky said...

You have talent that I wish I had. I would love to be a writer. Just not confident enough. I love it - keep us updated on how you do.