Lessons on Freedom and Patriotism
Lesson No. Twenty-Five
Patriotic Hymns Teach the Doctrine of Freedom
“For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads” (D&C 25:12). Praying for our country is a wonderful act of patriotism. We can pray aloud for our country by singing the patriotic hymns found in the LDS Hymn Book as each one of them is essentially a prayer.
These patriotic hymns are listed under Patriotism in the Topics index of the Hymn Book. Almost all of the scriptural references shown for these hymns are to the Book of Mormon. I will comment on some hymns and invite you to follow along in the Hymn Book.
Battle Hymn of the Republic, p. 60 -The lyrics of this hymn were written during the Civil War, and is nationally renowned as the signature piece of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The first verse warns specifically against slavery and evil in general. The second verse is a reminder that everyone will be accountable before God. The third verse is my favorite. It teaches the doctrine of the atonement. Jesus has the power to transfigure or change our hearts and make men holy.
America the Beautiful, p. 338 - America is beautiful for many reasons. This is especially true for members of the Church who have additional insights.
- First verse - The beauty and productivity of the land is a gift from God. The crowning good is brotherhood and unity.
- Second verse - America is beautiful because of our heritage of freedom. True liberty is based on self control and adherence to divine law. There is a tendency to forget this truth especially in times of prosperity. We ask that God mend and forgive this national flaw.
- Third verse - America is beautiful because of the sacrifice freely given by generations of Americans on behalf of others who are less free. We have not sought for power but for the glory of our God, and for the freedom and welfare of ourselves and others. (See Alma 60: 36)
- Fourth verse - America is beautiful to those patriots who see and can understand the future of this nation. “We believe…that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent…” (Tenth Article of Faith). The Church is now laying the foundation for that Zion.
My Country, ‘Tis of Thee, p. 339 - The first three verses acknowledge our heritage of freedom, the love we have for our country, and the responsibility we have to pass “freedom’s song" to future generations. The fourth verse is my favorite. It recognizes that our fathers were blessed with freedom and protected by the Lord. The blessings of freedom and protection will continue in this land if we put our trust in the Lord, who is the "Author of liberty."
The Star-Spangled Banner, p. 340 - The third verse is the most powerful. We should sing it whenever possible."Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand Between their loved homes and war's desolation! Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation! And this be our motto: In God is our trust."
Patriotic hymns teach the importance of freedom and promotes unity and brotherhood – Righteous unity and brotherhood are virtues we should pray for individually and for our nation. As we sing our patriotic hymns aloud and with emotion we will be reminded of the importance of freedom, and the Lord will answer these prayers with blessings on our families and our nation.