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
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
"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