Question: Is it unchristian to have hymns honoring Joseph Smith?

Table of Contents

Question: Is it unchristian to have hymns honoring Joseph Smith?

Hymns and other methods of commemoration have given to the memory of righteous Christians and believers both in early Christian times, and in the Bible

It is claimed that it is unchristian to have hymns honoring Joseph Smith. [1]

Hymns and other methods of commemoration have given to the memory of righteous Christians and believers both in early Christian times, and in the Bible. To compose hymns and other memorials to fallen leaders or faithful Christians was not unheard of in the early Christian church. In fact it was relatively common.

  • The Apostolic Constitutions reads: “Sing for the martyrs that have fallen asleep, and for all the saints from the beginning of the world–as well as for your brothers who are asleep in the Lord.”[2]
  • “Let [the slaves] rest on the day of the first martyr Stephen and of the other holy martyrs who preferred Christ to their own life.”[3]
  • Cyprian, the Bishop of Carthage wrote: “Take note of their days on which [the martyrs] depart, so that we may celebrate their commemoration among the memorials of the martyrs...There are celebrated here by us oblations and sacrifices for their commemorations.”[4]


Also, the term "praise" had a more acceptable definition in Joseph Smiths day in relation to our hymn. The 1828 Webster Dictionary gives the definition in part, as "Commendation bestowed on a person for his personal virtues or worthy actions, on meritorious actions themselves, or on any thing valuable; approbation expressed in words or song."[5]

The Bible also says that praise may be given to others and to God's word

The Bible also says that praise may be given to others and to God's word (as long as it is not more than that offered to the LORD). Here are some examples:

  • Genesis 49:8 Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee.
  • Deuteronomy 26:19 And to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the LORD thy God, as he hath spoken.
  • Psalms 49:18 Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.
  • Psalms 56:4 In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.
  • Psalms 56:10 In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word.
  • Proverbs 27:2 Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.
  • Proverbs 31:28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
  • Proverbs 31:30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain| but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
  • Proverbs 31:31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
  • Ecclesiastes 4:2 Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.
  • Song 6:9 My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her.
  • Isaiah 62:7 And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
  • Jeremiah 13:11 For as the girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, saith the LORD; that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory| but they would not hear.
  • Jeremiah 33:9 And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.
  • Zephaniah 3:19 Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee| and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame.
  • Zephaniah 3:20 At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you| for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the LORD.
  • 1 Corinthians 11:2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you
  • Romans 13:3 Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same
  • Romans 13:6-7 For for this cause pay ye tribute also| for they are Gods ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour
  • Hebrews 2:10-11 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren
  • 1 Peter 2:13-14 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well
  • 1 Peter 2:17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king
  • 1 Peter 2:19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully


Notes

  1. Bill McKeever, "Praise to the Man" - Elevating Joseph Smith, Mormonism Research Ministry'."
  2. "Apostolic Constitutions," in AD 390, E Ante-Nicene Fathers, edited by Philip Schaff (Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886)7:464. ANF ToC off-site This volume
  3. "Apostolic Constitutions," in AD 390, E Ante-Nicene Fathers, edited by Philip Schaff (Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886)7:495. ANF ToC off-site This volume
  4. Cyprian, AD 250, W Ante-Nicene Fathers, edited by Philip Schaff (Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886)5:315. ANF ToC off-site This volume
  5. www.1828.sorabji.com/1828/words/p/praise.html