What youngsters, after singing “I Am a Child of God” in Primary class, haven’t wondered why Jesus gave them “parents kind of weird”?
Or, after hearing the hymn “Love One Another,” wondered what the heck is a “shallmenno?”
These, of course, are not the real words sung to tunes in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But they are some of the most common — and funniest — misheard lyrics of the faith.
Several months ago we asked readers to share their favorite lyrics gone wrong. While many offered mondegreens — as they are called — for popular rock and country songs, others shared misquoted hymns sometimes voiced by young Latter-day Saints.
Here are some of the best responses to enjoy during this spring’s General Conference. They are listed by hymn and have been edited for space and clarity. (Of course, a new hymnbook soon will be coming out, so Latter-day Saints will have a new slate of tunes to learn and lyrics to hear — and mishear.)
‘I Am a Child of God’
• As a young child. I sang “lead me, guide me, walk inside me.” The actual lyric is: “walk beside me.”
— Cindi Braby, Peterborough, N.H.
• As a Primary child: “Lead me, guide me, walkie-talkie”
— Dave Buhler, Salt Lake City.
• “When I was in Primary, I thought the lyric went ‘teach me all that I’m a stew.” Actual lyric: “Teach me all that I must do.”
— Matthew Turner, Emporia, Kan.
• “And so my knees are gray” is what I heard. Actual lyrics: “And so my needs are great.”
— Jim Bennett, Sandy.
• As a kid, I sang “and so he needs my grapes.” I was so confused about why God needed my grapes.
— Sarah Welker, Salt Lake City.
• “Has given me an earthly home, with parents kind of weird.” I knew those weren't the right lyrics, but they're the ones my mom always sang, which certainly reinforced the sentiment. Actual lyrics: “With parents kind and dear.”
— Christyna Gardner, Logan.
‘Love One Another’
• “By this shallmenno, ye are my disciples.” Until I was about 7 years old, I always wondered what a shalmenno was? Actual lyrics; “By this shall men know.”
— Louisa Sieber, Green Bay, Wisc.
‘Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel’
• “We all have work, don’t be a jerk. Put your shoulder to the wheel.” Actual lyric: “We all have work; let no one shirk…”
— Stephanie Asalone, North Salt Lake.
‘We’ll Sing All Hail to Jesus’ Name’
• As a small child, I thought it was kind of funny — and weird — that in the sacrament hymn, we sang the words “We sing aww hell to Jesus’ name...” I loved it and sang those forbidden words with gusto.
— Lee Bennion, Spring City
‘Have I Done Any Good?’
“Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond leisure.” I was truly shocked when I learned it was actually “joy beyond measure.”
— Melissa Ellsworth, Salt Lake City.
‘Give, Said the Little Stream’
• My dad's name was Gibb. There were dozens of us in my extended family and hometown who thought the Primary song “Give, Said the Little Stream" was about him. In fact, I had a friend who sang it, "Gibb saved the little string" for years.
— Laurie Stradling, San Antonio.
‘High on the Mountain Top’
• “A badger chased a squirrel.” I always ended that stanza with “and now there is no squirrel.” The actual lyric is: “A banner is unfurled.”
— Alain Breillatt, Chicago.
• “Her light shall there attract the gays, of all the world in latter days.” Actual lyric: “Her light should there attract the gaze…”
— Brian Harris, Layton.
‘We Are All Enlisted’
• To this day, my mother sings “there’s a crown in the store.” Actual lyric: “There’s a bright crown in store.”
— Taylor Kerby, Phoenix.
‘Come, Come, Ye Saints’
• “No toilet paper here.” Actual lyric: “no toil nor labor fear.”
— Scott Cannon Pugsley, Salt Lake City.
• “No toilet labor fear.” I thought it was about potty training when I was little.
— Nancy Dredge, Arlington, Mass.
‘Dearest Children, God Is Near You’
• “And they keep a faithful record, of the good and bad you say. Cherries hurt you! Cherries hurt you!” Actual lyric: “Cherish virtue!”
— Bob Davis, Los Angeles.
‘The Still Small Voice’
• “The spirit speaks to me, to guide me, to save me, from the evil ivory sea.” I could never figure out why elephant tusks were dangerous enough to need spiritual reconnaissance in Primary. Actual lyric: “To guide me, to save me from the evil I may see.”
— Laura Compton, Cupertino, Calif.
‘The Golden Plates’
My son sang “The golden flakes lay hidden deep in the mountain’s eyes.” Actual lyric: “The golden plates lay hidden, deep in the mountainside.”
— Janet Evans Packham, Salt Lake City.
I've always known the correct words, but I can’t help but think of the lyrics as "Carrion, carrion, carrion!” Actual lyrics: “And we hear the desert singing: Carry on, carry on, carry on!”
— Austin Smith, Arlington, Va.