Literary DCGD #8: Hymn by John Hardy

February 17, 2013 | no comments
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The restoration of the priesthood, outlined in the D&C Gospel Doctrine lesson #8, is central to the Church’s claim to authority and to our understanding of the course of the plan of salvation. Following the atonement of Christ, the authority to administer the ordinances required for eternal life must be a very important element of the plan and central to the preparation for the millennium, at least in the view of the author of this poem, John Hardy.

Hardy joined Mormonism in Boston in 1841 and was ordained an Elder in September 1842. Five months later he had been called to preside over the Boston branch. During this time he his poetry appeared frequently in the New York Mormon publication The Prophet. But when he was dragged into the controversy surrounding the licentiousness of both one of the most prominent missionaries in the Eastern States Mission, George J. Adams, and the prophet’s brother, William Smith, especially knowing about the polygamous practices of members of the Twelve, Hardy became disaffected and produced an account of his struggle, History of the Trials of Elder John Hardy (Boston, 1844). Despite his disaffection, one of his poems, The God That Others Worship, appeared in LDS hymnals until the 1890s.

In this poem, Hardy connects the restoration of the priesthood to the millennium.

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Hymn

By John Hardy

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of Heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth.” Rev. xiv. 6.

Go forth on thy mission; go forth in thy might,
Thou angel of mercy; thou herald of light,
Bear tidings of gladness: once more bring to birth,
The priesthood of Heaven, so long from the earth.
The plan of salvation, which cost the best blood
Of Jesus, our Saviour, our Lord, and our God,
Restore in its fulness, restore in its power,
That saints may give glory, and angels adore.
The heavens have been sealed as brass o’er our heads,
The covenants broken, the prophets all dead,
The gifts of the gospel, the blessings of faith,
Have all given place to a long night of death.
But list, O ye nations, ye peoples and tongues!
A message of warning, from Heaven it comes,
“Come out, O my people,” escape from her snares,
My wheat shall be gathered, but woe to the tares.
The rock revelation again rears its head,
With blest Inspiration the honest are fed,
Apostles and prophets again are restored,
The church has arisen, give glory to God.
Then, hearken, ye gentiles, give ear to the sound,
An ensign of gladness is waving around.
O, rally around it, to Zion repair,
“The hour of God’s judgment” is hastening—beware.

The Prophet, 21 September 1844, p. 3.

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I like that Hardy puts the restoration in terms of a mission, as if the angelic visitors restoring the priesthood were missionaries in the Mormon tradition. These missionaries then, in Hardy’s words, “Restore in its fulness, restore in its power” the priesthood, “That saints may give glory, and angels adore.”

Hardy also sees this connected to the role of revelation:

The rock revelation again rears its head,
With blest Inspiration the honest are fed,
Apostles and prophets again are restored,
The church has arisen, give glory to God.

But he doesn’t simply glory in the restoration, instead seeing a warning to the world ahead of the millennium, ‘”The hour of God’s judgment” is hastening—beware.’ I’m not sure we today see the restoration of the priesthood as such as harbinger of the millennium.

 

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