I sang Phelps version of Joy to the World all through my youth so when I first
sang it outside Utah, I thought the rest of the carolers were out of their mind.
I later learned that helps took a Christmas carol that for a couple of hundred
years celebrated the birth of Christ and turned into a millennial song
celebrating the second coming of Christ, but still sing it only at Christmas
time celebrating, well you know. My interpretation of who lost their minds
Actually, Isaac Watts intended Joy To the World to be a millennial hymn.
Phelps's changes just made it more apparent.Watts's words "Joy
to the world, the Lord is come" means the Lord is going to come again in
old English. Watts did not intend it to be a song about the birth of Christ.
Its a pretty thin argument to put a millennial intent on the archaic English
phrase is come When later in Phelps rendition he clarifies with the words unto
us a child is born. But, hey its Christmas, and really matters little how we
interpret or celebrate what Advent.
@IndependentLiberal"But, hey its Christmas, and really matters
little how we interpret or celebrate what Advent."I basically
agree. I just wanted to point out that the article even has it a bit wrong by
saying that W. W. Phelps made it a song about the Second Coming. It always has
been. My previous example is just one of many within the song. You can also
count Watts's original title for his words which was "The Messiah's Coming
The numbers for the hymns in the LDS Hymnbook are not page numbers; they're hymn
Would Oh Holy Night ever make it into a new production of the LDS Hymnbook or
does the owner of the rights of that hymn not want it there or is it more
beautiful and meant to be sung as a solo in the Christmas program of most every
ward in the church? It and Silent Night are always my favorites. I learned a lot
from this article and will learn more from the book. I had no idea that Far Far
Away on Judea's Plains was strictly LDS. Does that mean I have never heard it
sung besides by an LDS production?
"O Holy Night" ("Cantique de Noel") was composed by Adolphe
Adam (1803-1856) in 1847 to a text by Placide Cappeau (1808-1877). The text was
tranlated into English by John Sullivan Dwight (1813-1893) in 1855. It is
generally heard as a vocal solo, but it has been arranged for 3-part and 4-part
choral singing by a number of people. Some of these arrangements may be still
The first Christmas carol published by the LDS Church was "Mortals Awake!
with angels join", number 77 in the 1835 LDS Hymnal. It was written by
Samuel Medley. It is not certain which tune the Saints used in those days, but
CHRISTMAS by George Frederick Handel is a likely candidate. "Mortals
Awake" is also mentioned by Joseph Smith in the History of the Church v. 6
p. 134, when a group of Saints sang it outside the Mansion in Nauvoo early in
the morning of December 25, 1843.