MORMON TRIVIA: "Praise to the Man"
This one came about while I was preparing a talk for last Sunday on the assigned theme of "Praise to the Man." Of course, the W.W. Phelps story about his temporary apostasy, and Joseph's frank forgiveness came to mind (Joseph's rather famous--and deeply touching--letter to Brother Phelps welcoming him back into the church is found in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 165).
So I looked up the text of the hymn online, and found it at this link on a website, called the Mormon Literature Database. http://mldb.byu.edu/phelps4.htm.
According to this source, the line "Long shall his blood which was shed by assassins/plead unto heaven while the earth lauds his fame" was originally sung "Long shall his blood which was shed by assassins/*stain Illinois* while the earth lauds his fame." Ouch, W.W.
There's always the tendency to ask, Am I the only jerk that didn't know that? Doesn't that change the way we see that song? As a sidebar, I converted a roommate, a brother and his fiance, and a guy sitting next to me on the stand to sing the original lyric last week. If I were a vandal (which I am not) maybe I'd bring a pencil to church with me and correct the 1985 hymnbook.
What do you have to say?