The spirit of God

(shared by Mindy Smith)

This history comes from the book "Our Latter-Day Hymns, the stories and the messages" by Karen Lynn Davidson
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"For the Saints in Kirtland, OH, the year 1836 opened with ope and anticipation.  Their brethren in Missouri were at peace, and least temporarily, with their Clay County nightbors.  Joseph Smith had pruchased ancient Egyptian artifacts and was preparing to translate the book of Abraham.  During the previous year, Emma Smithhad published a hymnbook for use throughout the church.  "The Spirit of God" already published in that hymnbook was printed again in January 1836 in the newspaper called THE MESSENGER AND ADVOCATE.

William W. Phelps's hymn text anticipated one of the most important milestones in Chruch history00the dedication of the Kirtland Temple on March 27, 1836.   The minutes of that ceremony indicate that this hymn and "Now Let Us Rejoice" were sung to the same tune--HOSANNA--during that meeting.  "The Spirit of God" was sung immediately following the dedicatory prayer, which is given in its entirety in section 109 of the Doctrine & Covenants.

The dedication of the Kirtland temple was accompanied with remarkable manifestations of the Spirit.  Joseph Smith reported: "A noise was heard like the sound of a rushing mighty wind, which filled the Temple, and all the congregation simultaneously arose, being moved upon by an invisible power; many began to speak in tongues and prophesy; others saw glorious vision; and I beheld the Temple was filled with angels......The people of the neighborhood came running together (hearing an unusual sound within, and seeing a bright light like a pillar of fire resting upon the temple), and were astonished at what was taking place. "

The Pentecost-like spirit is reflected in "The Spirit of God."  The words of the traditional Hosanna Shout, in which the entire congregation participated during temple dedications, are repeated in the chorus, "Hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb!"  The hymn is sung today at every temple dedication and is also frequently used in conferences and on other occations that call for a strong expression of rejoicing.

Two verses found in Emma Smith's 1835 hymnbook have been omitted in our recent hymnals:

We'll wash and be was'd and with oil be anointed
withal not omitting the washing of feet:
For he that receiveth his PENNY appointed,
must surely be clean at the harvest of wheat.

Old Israel that feld from the world for his freedom,
must come with the cloud and the pillar, amain:
And Moses, and Aaron, and Joshua lead him,
and feed him on manna from heaven again.