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We were singing Christmas Carols tonight and noticed that in the Mormon Hymn book, the following verse has been omitted from, "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing":

Christ, by highest heav'n adored:
Christ, the everlasting Lord;
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of the favored one.
Veil'd in flesh, the Godhead see;
Hail, th'incarnate Deity:
Pleased, as man, with men to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel!

Why don't Mormons sing this verse?

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  • 1
    Come Thou Fount, for some reason, is also not in the LDS hymnbook.
    – Matt
    Dec 23, 2014 at 15:57
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    @Matt: It was in the hymnbook before 1985. Apparently, it was then omitted because it was not well known. Then along came Mack Wilberg's arrangment sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and now everybody wonders why it's not in the hymnbook. See ldsliving.com/… Aug 7, 2017 at 13:59

3 Answers 3

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The complete text of the carol can be found here. It seems that of the five verses, only verse one and three are included in the (english) Hymnbook (linked by OP).

This specific verse seems of rather trinitarian thought, that may be a reason. Seeing that two other verses have also been omitted:

Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Now display Thy saving pow’r,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to Thine.

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
Oh, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.

I don't know where to look for an authoritative answer, but the people responsible for Hymn books probably just didn't feel comfortable with the omitted verses. "Mystic union" is not in the vocabulary of mormons, and "Veil'd in flesh, the Godhead see" sounds too trinitarian, although it could be reinterpreted with a little effort. It's not so much that we couldn't sing these verses and reinterpret them with our doctrine, but it would not very comfortably.

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They don’t sing the second verse because the second verse confesses that Jesus is God.

“Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; Hail the incarnate deity”

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    Dec 25, 2021 at 17:12
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Several hymns in the hymnal for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were included without all of the verses. Part of this is simply an issue of limited time to sing the hymns and limited space in the hymnal. This might not the case with this particular song, but it is one possibility.

There is nothing in the second verse that contradicts Latter-day Saint theology, unless one interprets “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, Hail the incarnate Deity,” as referring to Modalism. In that case, it would be against Latter-day Saint theology (and most of the rest of Christian theology).

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