Padre Nuestro en el Cielo: Mexican Mission Hymns, Part 2

“Doing good often means getting one’s hands dirty, engaging in unpleasant things, and coming out of the battle worn and scarred.  The battle for the public good is neither about holding onto or giving up everything, it is about knowing when to do much, when to hold back, a little, and when to do nothing at all.”[1]

~Ignacio M. García

 

Note: This is a part of an ongoing series.  To start at the introduction, follow the link here.

Hymn Text:

Padre Nuestro en el Cielo by Manrique González was one of the earliest-published Spanish hymns in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It was published in the 1907 Mexican Mission Himnario Mormón (p. 57, see Figure 1) and in the 1912 editions of the Himnos de Sion (p.44).  It was cut from subsequent editions of the hymnbook (1927 onwards).  Textual changes between the two editions it was included in are minor, consisting solely of punctuation alterations (see Table 1).  According to the 1912 edition, the hymn was to be sung to the tune of hymn 37 in the English-language Songs of Zion, which was “We are Sowing” by H. A. Tucket (8.7.8.7 D).  Oddly, the hymn tune fits two verses of the hymn at a time, but there are 5 verses of the hymn, which doesn’t work out math-wise.  In addition, the syllables do not completely align with the music as written.  As a result, I wonder if there was a typo in the 1912 edition where it indicated which tune to sing the song to.

 

Figure 1. The text of “Padre Nuestro en el Cielo” in the 1907 Himnario Mormón.

The author, Manrique González (1880 – 1976), was initially from Nadores, Coahuila, Mexico.  He left home when he was 14 years old, living first with an uncle in Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico and later in San Pedro.  While working for railroad contractors from the United States, he became acquainted with Latter-day Saints and was impressed with them.  After completing his work on the railroad, he moved to the Latter-day Saint settlement of Colonia Juarez, where he would live through most of the remainder of his life.  He was baptized on September 2, 1899 by John C. Harper and confirmed the following day by Anthony W. Ivins.  He later noted that it was “the happiest day of my life.  I was no longer alone, I had brothers and sisters who cared for me and were interested in my welfare.  I felt bound to the community in every way.”  He attended school, graduating from the Sarah Clayson’s Primary Department in 1903, and was offered a position as a Spanish teacher at the Juarez Academy that same year.  He continued his education at Juarez Academy while teaching there, becoming the first Mexican citizen to graduate from the Academy in 1910.  Due to the Mexican Revolution, he fled the colony in 1912, settling in Logan, Utah.  There, he studied at the Agricultural College (now Utah State University) and earned the credentials to head an experimental agricultural station.  He worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in New Mexico for a few years (where he developed the New Mexico Pinto Bean) before returning to Colonia Juarez, where he applied his skills in raising the standards in farming.[7]  It is likely that he wrote “Padre Nuestro en el Cielo” during his time in Colonia Juarez sometime before 1907.

 

Figure 2. Manrique González in his later years.

 

Table 1. Textual variations for “Padre nuestro en el cielo” across hymnal editions

 

1907 1912
Padre Nuestro en el cielo

Con amor, con gratitud,

Te pedimos que en el suelo

Nos concedes la salud.

Padre Nuestro en el cielo,

Con amor, con gratitud,

Te pedimos que en el suelo,

Nos concedes la salud.

Ya tenemos los tesoros

Que inspiran la juventud,

Y que andemos, Te pedimos

Por las vías de rectitud.

Ya tenemos los tesoros

Que inspiran la juventud,

Y que andemos, Te pedimos,

Por las vías de rectitud.

Tu Evangelio tan glorioso,

Y Tu Espíritu de amor;

Nuestras almas llenan de gozo.

Oh Dios nuestro Señor.

Tu Evangelio tan glorioso,

Y tu Espíritu de amor,

Nuestras almas llenan de gozo;

¡Oh Dios nuestro Señor!

A José nuestro Profeta,

El Señor lo reveló

Y que fuera por el mundo

Moroni se lo exhortó.

A José nuestro Profeta,

El Señor lo reveló;

Y que fuera por el mundo,

Moroni se lo exhortó.

Tu Evangelio que por siglos

En el mundo no existía,

Ya lo envías con Tus siervos,

Los profetas de este día.

Tu Evangelio que por siglos,

En el mundo no existía,

Ya lo envías con tus siervos,

Los profetas de este día.

 

I based my translation on the 1912 edition (see Table 2)

Table 2. Translation of the text of “Padre nuestro en el cielo”

 

Spanish Text English Prose Translation English Poetic Translation
Padre Nuestro en el cielo,

Con amor, con gratitud,

Te pedimos que en el suelo,

Nos concedes la salud.

Our Father in heaven,

With love, with gratitude,

We ask that on this earth,

You grant us health.

Oh our Father in the Heavens,

With our love and gratitude

We do ask that on this earth, here,

You give us good health renewed.

 

Ya tenemos los tesoros

Que inspiran la juventud,

Y que andemos, Te pedimos,

Por las vías de rectitud.

We already have the treasures

that inspire youth,

And we ask you that we walk,

Along the paths of righteousness.

We already have the treasures

That inspire the worldly youth,

And we ask for help to travel

In the ways of right and truth.

 

Tu Evangelio tan glorioso,

Y tu Espíritu de amor,

Nuestras almas llenan de gozo;

¡Oh Dios nuestro Señor!

Your Gospel that is so glorious,

And your Spirit of love,

Fill our souls with joy;

O God our Lord!

Your sublime and wondrous Gospel

And your Spirit of great love

Fill our souls with joy and gladness;

Oh thou God, our Lord above!

 

A José nuestro Profeta,

El Señor lo reveló;

Y que fuera por el mundo,

Moroni se lo exhortó.

To Joseph our Prophet,

The Lord revealed it;

And that it was for the world,

Moroni exhorted him.

God revealed the Gospel fulness

To our Prophet Joseph Smith,

And the angel named Moroni

Told him: Share with all forthwith.

 

Tu Evangelio que por siglos,

En el mundo no existía,

Ya lo envías con tus siervos,

Los profetas de este día.

Your Gospel that for centuries,

Did not exist in the world,

You already send it with your servants,

The prophets of this day.

Your great Gospel that for ages

In the world did not exist,

Is now sent out by Your servants,

E’en the prophets in our midst.

 

 

Music:

As indicated above, I’m not entirely convinced that “We are Sowing” was the actual tune that this hymn was sung to because it doesn’t fit the music very well.  Regardless, I’ve attempted to make it fit the music and reused the second verse at the end to take the full space.  As such, this is the best I can figure as to what the hymn might have looked like if published with music in 1912:

My English translation of the hymn is as follows:

New Music:

I wrote the music to match the length of the verses (so half the length of the “We are Sowing” tune).  The Spanish text still has some inconsistencies in meter, but it works well enough.

And here is the music with the English translation:

History:

The first attempt to proselyte to Spanish-speaking peoples was not directed at Mexico, but was aimed at Chile instead.  In March 1849, Elder Parley P. Pratt discussed going “to the Islands or to Chili with a view to establish the Gospel in South America, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, [and] the various groups of the Pacific Islands”, with President Brigham Young.[2] In 1851, President Young called Elder Pratt to preside over the Pacific mission and personally visit Chile.  He had studied some Spanish to prepare for this calling and made his way to Southern California, spending some time preaching to Chilean immigrants in San Francisco and coordinating efforts to preach across the Pacific Ocean.  He departed for Chile on September 5, 1851, arriving in Valparaíso on November 8.

Terryl Givens and Matthew Grow explained why Chile was probably chosen rather than Mexico or Central America:

Pratt probably chose Chile because of political problems in Mexico and Central America, as well as his belief that the Book of Mormon prophet Lehi had landed in Chile. … The recent Mexican-American War, including the well-known participation by the Moron Battalion, made Mexico an unlikely target. … In South America, three nations–Colombia, Peru, and Chile–bordered the Pacific coast and thus were part of Pratt’s jurisdiction.[3]

Mexico’s political instability and hostility to Americans due to the Intervención estadounidense en México caused attention to be turned elsewhere for the first Hispanophone mission.

Parley’s experience in Chile was far from ideal.  While he and his companions studied Spanish, they did not speak it well enough to really preach or to gain employment to support their efforts.  As he noted in a letter shortly after landing: “We are beginning to understand and speak it a very little.  We also read and partly comprehend the Spanish prints and Bible.”  At the time, the Book of Mormon was not translated into Spanish, but Pratt expressed his hope that that within a “year or two” that he could translate “the Book of Mormon ino their own liquid ‘Lengua’ if the Lord will,” but that it might take as long as two years to master the language.[4]  Political instability, limitations on religious liberty, and tensions with the United States of America (over mistreatment of immigrants and ships being stuck in California related to the gold rush as well as other economic and religious issues) also hindered his efforts.  By March 2, 1852, he boarded a ship and headed back to California, frustrated with the failure to achieve success.

One particular point was that Elder Pratt’s message focused mostly on the Book of Mormon as the centerpiece of the Restoration.  As he summarized his message in his homecoming speech on October 31, 1852:

An angel of God appeared in these last days in [the] United States, and several [have] seen him and conversed with him and heard his voice and bore witness to it, and he has revealed an ancient book that was first written by . . . the old Nephites . . . wherein they had the light and knowledge from heaven. . . . This book [the] angel revealed, [and] showed [them] where [to] find it, showed them how to translate it and it has been published to the world in English and several other languages, and will soon be in Spanish. . . . [It] contains [the] true doctrine of Jesus Christ, a model of his holy priesthood and church as it was revealed in this country, and . . . through [the] angel’s ministry, a young man, [a] chosen vessel was ordained to [the] holy priesthood [and] restored the fullness of [the] gospel to men, [to] correct [the] biases in Christendom . . . [that] all nations may know how . . . to worship, [and] repent of [their] errors, [and] learn more fully, and be one.[5]

The difficulty with giving a message focused on the Book of Mormon was that the Book of Mormon wasn’t available in Spanish at that time, so while he could talk about it, the people he was preaching to couldn’t read it.  As he would explain in 1852:

“Didn’t you go out officially [to] open out [the] keys of [the] kingdom to that nation?” . . . No, because I was not fully prepared to do it, neither [did the] spirit of [the] Lord lead me to do it. I had not the language to do [it]. I left [with] sufficient [language skill] to . . . understand . . . freely and defend freely and answer freely, whatever might come. Some of them talked [so] plainly to me that I [could] understand them, but others talked swift and their words sure. [S]ome of them understand [what I] have said, others not at all. Of course [they would] say, “I don’t understand you.”

[When asked], “What . . . now is [your] view [of your] mission? Have you fulfilled it?” I just say I have not commenced it. All [I have] done [is] review the field and [I now] know how to commence it. Hereafter, when I sit down to study that language until I am prepared to translate the Book of Mormon . . . and then unlock the door of [the] gospel by the ordinances officially conferred [upon] them and administered among them, and place elders in their own tongue with [the] fullness of [the] gospel in hand. . . . When this preparation is commenced, with [the] book in their hands, in their own hands, I consider the key turned as Joseph turned it in our English.[6]

That key was not turned in Parley P. Pratt’s lifetime – he was killed in 1857, while selections of the Book of Mormon were first published in Spanish in 1875.  While his missionary efforts to Chile were unsuccessful, they did make it clear what needed to happen before proselytizing could happen in Hispanic countries.  In addition, both Elder Pratt’s writings and his descendants would play important roles in establishing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mexico.

 

Footnotes:

[1] Ignacio M. García, Chicano While Mormon: Activism, War, and Keeping the Faith (Lanham, Maryland: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2015), 197.

[2] Parley P. Pratt, “An Epistle of the Twelve to President Orson Pratt,” 9 March 1849.

[3] Terryl L. Givens and Matthew J. Grow, Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 303.

[4] Amasa Lyman to Brigham Young, 14 February 1832, Young Collection (Brigham Young Papers, CR 1234, Church History Library).

[5] Parley P. Pratt, October 31, 1852, “Lost Sermons: Report of His Mission to Chile”, transcribed by LaJean Purcell Carruth, history.churchofjesuschrist.org, https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/content/museum/lost-sermons-parley-p-pratt-october-1852?lang=eng

[6] Parley P. Pratt, October 31, 1852, “Lost Sermons: Report of His Mission to Chile”, transcribed by LaJean Purcell Carruth, history.churchofjesuschrist.org, https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/content/museum/lost-sermons-parley-p-pratt-october-1852?lang=eng

[7] Nelle Spilsbury Hatch, “Manrique Gonzalez,” Los Colonias – the Mormon Colonies in Mexico13 May 2014, http://www.lascolonias.org/2014/05/13/manrique-gonzalez/. Originally from Nelle Spilsbury Hatch and B. Carmon Hardy, Stalwarts South of the Boarder (1985), 212.

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