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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended August 06, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
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Sent on Mormon-News: 10Aug00

Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

Mormonism and 'Amazing Grace'

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- In the doctrinal divide between Mormons and other Christian churches, lies the hauntingly beautiful hymn "Amazing Grace." Somewhere between the between the bluesy version by Mahalia Jackson and the Celtic cadence of the bag pipe to the solemn chorus of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, "Amazing Grace" has unwittingly fallen into a crevice and has been wedged out of the Mormon music culture.

The LDS church has no official position on the hymn, except to say that the church always welcomes expressions of faith. The difference lies within the expression of the word faith and the notions surrounding "grace." Whatever the point of view, one belief is held in common and that is the miracle that comes from forgiveness and the gratitude that is felt by the sinner.

"Amazing Grace" has become a national anthem for the love of the Savior, Jesus Christ. John Newton is the author of the hymn and penned it in a frenzy. He was the captain of a slave ship and truly saw himself as a "wretch" like the song imparts. He was spiritually rescued and remarked that Christ blew into his heart like a hurricane.

Recently, Bill Moyers hosted a television special about the hymn. Many scholars offered opinions, some comparing it to a Southern slave song, others to a Scottish dirge. Moyers remarked that the hymn could be looked at from a hundred angles and embraced a million ways.

Carma Wadley of the Deseret News, a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has more than 50 recordings of the hymn. She even has a version by Roy Rogers, Elvis and Andy Griffith. Bill Moyers said, The amazing thing about "Amazing Grace" is it remains sweet, ever-fresh and forever personal." In the end, it is a gift of grace itself.

Beloved hymn is 'Amazing'
Deseret News 5Aug00 A2
By Jerry Johnston


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