David Golding completed an MA in the history of Christianity at Claremont Graduate University and is currently pursing a PhD in the same field. David was a fellow in this past summer’s Joseph Smith Summer Seminar at BYU during which he encountered the broadside reviewed below. We’re pleased to have him guest posting here today. For some previous discussion of this issue, see this summary of the BYU Studies issue with the Frederick G. Williams article and subsequent comments.
BYU professor Frederick G. Williams has argued that his ancestor and namesake, the Frederick G. Williams of 1830s First Presidency fame, authored five hymns grouped together as “Songs of Zion.” His argument rests on a claim of authorship for a curious entry in the Kirtland Revelation Book (Revelation Book 2 in the Joseph Smith Papers collection) in Williams’ hand titled “Sang by the gift of Tongues & Translated.” Because no author is mentioned for this passage and significant parallels exist between it and the “Songs of Zion” hymns, Dr. Williams makes a strong case for “Sang by the gift of Tongues & Translated” as the principal influence. In establishing his namesake as the author of “Sang by the gift of Tongues & Translated,” Dr. Williams missed an crucial source that identifies David W. Patten and Sidney Rigdon as authors of one of the “Songs of Zion” hymns and the most closely tied of the five to the Kirtland Revelation Book entry.
This undated broadside lists David Patten as the principal author of “Age after age has roll’d away,” which he sang in tongues and which Sidney Rigdon is credited with translating. The title mentions Patten’s death, meaning the earliest it could have been printed was sometime after October 25, 1838. “Age after age has roll’d away” first appeared in the Evening and Morning Star in May 1833 (“Songs of Zion,” 96) without attribution. Patten could have authored the version published in the Star, having returned to Kirtland after a four-month mission to Pennsylvania on February 25, 1833 and remaining there for a month before receiving a call to leave on another mission with Reynolds Cahoon. But this mission would take him to New York, far from the printing offices in Missouri where William W. Phelps was preparing editions of the Star. Between Patten’s early missions, the most likely way he could have contributed to the Star would have been in Kirtland, though most of the correspondence Phelps printed in the Star came from letters sent by missionaries scattered throughout the country. Given Rigdon’s purported role in translating Patten’s singing in tongues, it would likely be through Rigdon’s correspondence with Phelps that the song made its way into the Star.
Patten arrived in Kirtland precisely when the first sessions of the School of the Prophets had begun. Singing and speaking in tongues and the translation of tongues inaugurated the School, and members of the School described several manifestations of the gifts of the Spirit in subsequent meetings. Regular meetings took place between January 23 and March 25, 1833, making Patten’s participation a possibility though his name remains absent from the Kirtland Council Minute Book and Far West Record for this time period. If Patten is the author behind “Sang by the gift of Tongues & Translated,” then Rigdon would have been present on February 27, the date given in the Revelation Book entry. This much is confirmed by the fact that the Word of Wisdom revelation was also recorded on February 27 as part of the School which Rigdon is listed as having attended. Of note, Rigdon served in the School as the “chief scribe and counciler” and Frederick G. Williams as the “assistant scribe and counciler.” Patten and Rigdon were in Kirtland on February 27 when a meeting of the School of the Prophets was held in which speaking and singing in tongues was not unusual.
On at least one occasion in 1836, Patten was known to have sung in tongues. Stephen Post recorded in his journal how “Apostles Brigham Young & David Patten sang each a song of Zion in tongues & each spake in tongues & Elder Patten interpreted Brother Young’s tongue which he spake.” Post’s recollection may have inspired the reference in the History of the Church that describes Patten singing in tongues and interpreting Brigham Young’s own singing and speaking in tongues: “President Brigham Young gave a short address in tongues, and David W. Patten interpreted, and gave a short exhortation…” Little else directly mentions Patten’s use of tongues-singing, except for the Mysteries of God broadside. He demonstrated a command of the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham in an article printed in the July 1838 Elders’ Journal titled “To the Saints Scattered Abroad.” Mormon concepts of priesthood, lineage, and Zion exhibited in “Sang by the gift of Tongues & Translated” appear in this article, making the suggestion that Patten authored the song possible. Whatever the case of authorship, this small broadside demands a negotiation with Patten and Rigdon before ruling “Sang by the gift of Tongues & Translated” or “Age after age has roll’d away” the production of Frederick G. Williams.
 Frederick G. Williams, “Singing the Word of God: Five Hymns by President Frederick G. Williams,” BYU Studies 48, no. 1 (2009): 57–88.
 David W. Patten and Sidney Rigdon, Mysteries of God, As revealed to Enoch, on the Mount Mehujah, and sung in tongues by Elder D. W. Patton, of the “Church of Latter Day Saints,” (who fell a Martyr to the cause of Christ, in the Missouri persecution,) and interpreted by Elder S. Rigdon (N.p., n.d., Americana Collection, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah). This document appears in an appendix in Linda Shelley Whiting, David W. Patten: Apostle and Martyr (Springville, Utah: Cedar Fort, 2003).
 S. George Ellsworth, “A History of Mormon Missions in the United States and Canada, 1830–1860” (PhD diss., University of California—Berkeley, 1951), 122, esp. fn 2. See also “History of David W. Patten,” Millennial Star 26, 406.
 Kirtland Council Minute Book, January 22, 1833 in Fred C. Collier, William S. Harwell, Kirtland Council Minute Book, 5. Frederick G. Williams also noted in the Kirtland Revelation Book his office as assistant scribe and councillor in Revelation Book 2, 46 (JSP 504–05).
 Stephen Post in Opening the Heavens: Accounts of Divine Manifestations, 1820–1844 (Provo and Salt Lake City: Brigham Young University Press and Deseret Book, 2005), 351.
 History of the Church, 2:428 (March 27, 1836).