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Adversity
Brotherhood
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Joseph Smith
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More about Loren Erickson:
My first introduction to music was playing the trumpet in an elementary school band. How many of those do you see anymore? In Junior High I took up singing and performed in various choirs and musicals through high school and college. When I was called as ward music chairman and took on the additional responsibilities of ward choir director, I wanted to see of I could arrange music for the choir. Many of those early attempts were...well...awful. But I had a very forgiving Bishop and patient accompanists and choir and I continued to learn. I am now stake music chairman and have inflicted slightly less atrocious arrangements on otherwise unsuspecting congregations. I also currently sing with Millennial Choirs and Orchestras, a multi-denominational choral movement spanning five western states in the USA. My experience in MCO has had a profound influence on how I look at music, what it means, and why it is important to understand meaning behind notes and lyrics when performing it. I hope that what I leave here is not as awful as I have suggested that it might be with this introduction, but either way, know that there is a little piece of my soul in everything you will find from me here. Please provide feedback on my work. That is the only way I will learn.
Song background:

The Restoration, Movement 8, Majesty in Chains

Perhaps you expected something different coming here.  If so, I wouldn't blame you.  When pondering how I wanted to represent Joseph Smith's trials in Liberty Jail as part of The Restoration, I envisioned something something huge and powerful, with Joseph straining at the chains that bound him and shouting words like "fiend" and "eternal pit".  

But when it came time to put notes on staves, I couldn't do it.  That is not the story that needs to be told.  Through my experience in composing this I have been taught that a true mark of majesty is where your heart goes in the extremity of trial and tribulation.   Joseph, confined in terrible conditions in Liberty Jail, starving, sick, and cold, utters a prayer that has more to ask for the Saiints outside those walls than for those within.  The Lord's answer is found in Movement 9 of The Restoration, The Son of Man (also found on this site).

I believe there are important gospel principles evident in the way that the nature of Joseph's prayer changes as he offers it.  I also believe this represents Brother Joseph better than what my nature would have led me to write.  

The composition is voiced for a high tenor.  The accompaniment is meant to evoke the image of a royal processional, and is specifically designed to reflect the nature of the change in Joseph's prayer.  So the dissonance throughout the first half is very deliberate, but hopefully not too onerous.  

The text is based on the words of D&C 121 with some creative editing.  As always, if you stumble across this, please listen and take a moment to offer feedback.  Thanks for looking.

 

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Lyrics: O God, Where art thou?
And where is thy hiding place?

How long shall thy hand be stayed,
and thine eye behold the wrongs
of thy people, and thine ear
be penetrated with their cries?

O Lord, how long shall they suffer
before thine heart shall be softened
and thy bowels be moved
with compassion toward them?

O Lord God Almighty,
stretch forth thy hand;
in the fury of thine heart
avenge us of our wrongs.

Let thine ear be inclined;
Let thine heart be softened,
[let] thy bowels moved
with compassion toward us.

Remember thy
suffering saints,
O Lord, our God.

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