“Far, far away on Judea’s plains”

“Far, far away on Judea’s plains” December 7, 2017


Utah's oldest temple
The St. George Utah Temple, the oldest continuously functioning temple in the Church, was dedicated in 1877.     (LDS Media Library)


I’m having a difficult time getting ahead of this campaign.  But here, somewhat late, is the video for Day Six of the “Light the World” initiative that’s being sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:






From Douglas Hernandez
Feliz Navidad!
For when you can’t afford an expensive Nativity set.


I expect that this will probably offend a few people out there.  (Virtually everything that I do offends certain people out there, redundantly proving yet again that I’m a hateful bigot, and so forth.)


If so, I’m sorry.  I’ve had Spanish-speaking friends literally all of my life, I have a Cuban daughter-in-law and two half-Hispanic granddaughters, and I like Hispanic cultures and cuisines very, very much.  No offense was intended.


(There.  I hope I’ve minimized the virtually inevitable cries of bigotry and victimhood.)


I found it really funny, and I thank Douglas A. Hernandez for sending it to me a couple of years ago.  I would also like to thank/credit whoever originated the photo.  (It may, for all I know, be Brother Hernandez himself.)  So, in any case, thanks!




When John Menzies Macfarlane, a Scottish convert to Mormonism, needed a special song for Christmas 1869 for the choir that he conducted in St. George, Utah, he wrote one himself.  (St. George had only been founded in 1861, and it was still a very small and very rough little settlement struggling to survive in an arid desert climate; its tabernacle and temple were still several years in the future.)


Here is the song that he wrote, in a performance by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square:



“Far, Far Away on Judea’s Plains” was first published in Salt Lake City’s Juvenile Instructor twenty years later, in 1889.  Since then, it has become a popular Christmas carol well beyond the confines of the Latter-day Saint community — one of the relatively few Mormon hymns to travel across denominational lines.


Brother Macfarlane got “Judea’s Plains” wrong, though.  There are none.  Judea is hill country.


Judea's Plains
An unusually lush scene in the Judean hill country (Wikimedia Commons public domain)




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