Sunday, June 03, 2012

Come Thou Fount

Sooo . . .  Some people may cringe at this or think me sacrilegious, but I have to say it.  Come Thou Fount, a popular hymn that is, in fact, not in the current LDS hymnal, is the Mormon equivalent of a song that is played too much on the radio.  To be sure, it is a lovely song, but it is overplayed.  Way too overplayed.*  Particularly as special musical numbers in church.  I can hear it now: a soft and slow opening followed by even slower tempos for the remainder of the song.  But don't worry; the musician will speed it up now and then in a frantic sort of style before dramatically slowing it down again.  And by the time it's finished, you'll feel like you should feel something life-changing, even though you don't -- because everybody "loooves this song."

What I wonder is, why was it removed from the LDS hymnal?  Apparently, it was included in the original hymnbook (or so I hear), but it was removed and didn't get much exposure until Mormon Tabernacle Choir director Mack Wilberg arranged the hymn a few years ago.  Ever since then, Mormons have performed it in sacrament meetings a lot.  That's fine, I guess; I just don't understand why -- with so many choices (over 300!) -- people play "Come Thou Fount" so often.  Plus, if it's not in the current hymnal, why is it played so much?  That's an honest question, by the way . . .  I often wonder whether we should just stick to the hymnal for special musical numbers during regular Sunday church service.  (If you have an argument either way, please -- by all means -- make it known!)

I dunno . . .  I feel awful to even express these feelings, but I had to get it off my chest.  What do you guys think?

Thing I'm thankful for: sitting behind a blonde 3-year-old at church today.  She gave me a laugh, when it was all I could do not to fall asleep.  At one point, she said the following to her dad:  "I have to go poop!"  Hahaha.  :)


Anonymous Clint said...

Why would you feel awful at stating that you think a particular hymn is overplayed?

11:49 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

I dunno. Because so many people seem to be so moved by it?

11:51 PM  
Blogger Will said...

Interesting; I rarely hear it, and I think i go to most of the same sacrament meetings you do. I like the melody, but I can see where you're coming from.

11:59 PM  
Blogger David said...


I actually feel the same way, haha. It was really overplayed a lot while I was at WAY overplayed. At every stake conference, and for at least 50% of ward musical numbers. Probably the second most common musical number was "Faith in every footstep".

I've heard much less of it since I moved here to Texas, although it is still used on occasion. I do really like the song, and I've even sung it myself in church as well as recorded a version of it, but I definitely agree with you about it being overdone, and when I was at BYU I pretty much couldn't stand it when people used it as a musical number because of how often it was done.

6:32 AM  
Blogger bh said...

i feel the same way about "As Sisters in Zion" - every. single. Relief Society meeting. (yawn)

i think the song was removed from the hymnal bc it talks about grace and the Church seemed to go through this big anti-grace period as it set itself apart from Protestant churches. and now we're in a pro-grace period as we are trying to get everyone to think we're just like them. on my mission people were obsessed with using the words from Joseph Smith's First Prayer with the music from Come Thou Fount. trust me, it gets old even faster than the original.

as far as only hymns in sacrament meeting go, in general i favor the hymns. but there are some really great non-hymns and some really terrible hymns. so it is kinda limiting. and as long as MoTab is singing non-hymns in conference i think it is fine to have non-hymns at church. (within reason. one day a lady in my home ward brought up a boombox and sang an Amy Grant song over the pulpit. my father had some choice words to say about that later)

7:56 AM  
Blogger Dracoverde said...

I have never heard this song in meetings outside of the 4 times I have sung it with choirs in the past 12 years. I am of the opinion that you have to have a group large enough to handle the 8 part harmonies of some arrangements, and the various a capella portions of the Wilberg arrangement.

As I understand it. Any song previously published in any edition of the LDS hymnal is free to be used in sacrament meeting, and most of the songs published in in the various church magazines can be used when appropriate. Also, the songs used as special musical numbers in sacrament meeting are supposed to be approved by the music chair (or what ever the calling is called) and then further approved by the bishop.

8:30 AM  
Blogger Gretchen Alice said...

Along the lines of why it was removed, I also heard that it was a favorite protestant hymn and they were kind of miffed that it was in OUR hymnal, so we removed it out of respect for their faith.
Anyhow, I love the song when the MoTab or BYU Choir performs it. (That string section in the middle of the arrangement is incredible.) The words to the entire song are really quite remarkable and I think it's too bad that only the first few verses get sung.

8:41 AM  

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