“If You Could Hie to Kolob” is one of the more difficult hymns in the LDS hymnal — at least in my opinion. Singing the notes isn’t too bad, the hymn covers a lot of deep doctrine.
Having spent most of my life in the southern region of the United States, I am especially sensitive to the closing line of verse 3: “There is no end to race.”
Race is a charged issue where I live. So, when I have to sing that line, I cringe in my heart. I wonder how much it hurts someone who feels their race is a handicap to sing or hear those words sung. Our church has a bad reputation in the race relations department in this area of the United States. I wonder why those words are left in the hymnal.
I am so grateful that I had a Sunday School teacher point out the idea of truth being “counter-intuitive.” In reality, I think the truth is the truth, but Satan has muddied it so much in the mortal realm that it looks counter-intuitive!
In this case, I think that maybe those words aren’t a “slam,” and they are actually a clue to the truth — race has no direct bearing on our salvation. Our race is a gift to us, because we have been placed in exactly the place in life where we have the most opportunities to become like our Savior and inherit the eternal life that God wants to give us. Race is part of our eternal heritage — it is beautiful!
This is not to negate the reality that we have race, ethnic, and cultural wars raging throughout our world, nor am I trying to belittle the idea that race is still a factor in how people are treated and how many opportunities are open to them in the world. Race is a political and cultural factor.
I am trying to say that, no matter where you are right now in life, you have a Savior who knows you, loves you just as you are, and wants to lead you to a better life. He wants to give you peace, joy, knowledge, and so much more! The experiences you have because of race are part of the guiding experiences planned for you. The Savior knows how to turn everything to your benefit. He knows how to turn weaknesses into strength, and he knows how to turn anger into peace and love.
Maybe there really is a reason that this hymn, with those words, are still in the LDS hymnal.