Great God of the sectarians

Ronald D. Dennis, trans. and ed., Defending the Faith: Early Welsh Missionary Publications (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2003).

P10 RICHARDS, John. Duw mawr y sectariaid. (Great God of the sectarians.) Merthyr Tydfil: J. Davis, Printer, Georgetown, [1851].

1 p. 17 cm. Welsh Mormon Writings 50.

This poem appears first in the 25 January 1851 Zion’s Trumpet (pp. 35–36) and again, six years later, in the 15 August 1857 issue (pp. 258–59). It is a portrayal of God as interpreted by the sectarians, or, in other words, by all those who belonged to religions besides The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Wales. The poet scoffs at the numerous misconceptions about God and ends with an appeal to Him to hasten in bringing all His children to a knowledge of the “covenant” (The Church of Jesus Christ), in order for them to have a clearer under­standing of His nature.

There are ten stanzas of four lines each. The fact that John Davis printed it in Zion’s Trumpet and included it in both collections of his publications would suggest that he viewed it as high-quality verse.

Great God of the Sectarians.

The Sectarians’ God, up in the third heaven,

And here on the earth, fills every spot and place;

He fills hell below, and the sun and the moon on high,

And does so every second, though ‘tis a great surprise to me!

There is no picture or image that can be made to this being,

He has no head nor eyes, nor hand, nor leg, nor foot;

He is a God of no substance, and Father of the substances of the world,

Author and Keeper of all the great chaos!

He is bigger in size than the earth, and all the great seas,

Sun, moon, stars, and the planets, were they all put together;

Neither has he boundaries—his center is in the heavens,

And his center is here also—a very strange being is he!

Good and bad are indifferent, making tremendous nonsense,

And worlds without number, all in his huge belly!

A variety of elements, and a myriad of beings without number,

Dwelling in their emptiness, which is a great surprise to me!!

Where does God dwell? Oh, in the third heaven,

We are there also, if we are in his belly;

If so it is to believe, hideous foolishness for a people,

To say that the family of death goes to him.

If the worlds are in him, we are there in them,

And thus in him as well, and what more do we need?

‘Tis foolishness to talk of heavens, on high far away,

Or any blessed places,—there is no need for anything better.

Everyone is in God already, according to their creed,

‘Tis great foolishness to preach of Christ and his fatal wound;

Despite this we need preachers, paying them a big wage,

And we need to bow our heads, and kneel down to them.

And also they pray, each one beneath his burden,

“Oh, Lord God of hosts, reveal thy arm;”

“And come here thyself to fully bless us;”

“We are poor, thou hast plenty.

‘Tis foolishness to say “reveal” that which has never existed,

And invite an object to them that more than fills the house;

And who can be poor, and dwell in him

When he is all wealthy, and in the third heaven!

Oh, Lord God of hosts, everyone, white and black,

Will soon come to recognize thee by way of the blessed atonement;

Lest they in the end they suffer his terrible wrath,

When the day comes to judge and prove us each one.