"Adam-ondi-Ahman" (originally "This Earth Was Once a Garden Place") is an LDS hymn and was included in the first Latter Day Saint hymnal and quickly became one of the most popular songs of the early church. It was published in 1835 in Messenger and Advocate and is hymn number 49 in the current LDS Church hymnal.
The hymn was written by W. W. Phelps, an early church member and poet. The music comes from the 1835 Southern Appalachian folk hymn "Prospect of Heaven".
Lyrics and explanation
This earth was once a garden place,
With all her glories common;
And men did live a holy race,
And worship Jesus face to face,
We read that Enoch walk[e]d with God,
Above the pow[e]r of Mammon:
While Zion spread herself abroad,
And saints and angels sung aloud
"Enoch walked with God" is a quote from the Book of Genesis, "And Enoch walked with God: and he was [no more]; for God took him" (Gen 5:24). The Epistle to the Hebrews expands on this: "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God" (Heb 11:5).
In Latter Day Saint theology, Enoch founded the city of Zion on earth, which God eventually took up into heaven because of the righteousness of its inhabitants. "I am the same which have taken the Zion of Enoch into mine own bosom" (D&C Section 38:4 (LDS), 38:1b (RLDS/CofC)).
Her land was good and greatly blest,
Beyond old Israel's Canaan:
Her fame was known from east to west;
Her peace was great, and pure the rest
"Old Israel's Cannaan" changed to "All Israel's Canaan" in current Latter-day Saint hymnal.
Hosanna to such days to come—
The Savior's second comin[g]—
When all the earth in glorious bloom,
Affords the saints a holy home
- Hicks, Michael (2003). Mormonism and music: a history. University of Illinois Press. p. 33.
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