I love the original version of “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer”. In fact, on my first tour with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, I had the opportunity to sing it at the Sacred Grove in New York. But I also think this version, set to the old lullaby “Suo Gan” helps me see the words in a whole a new light. I hope you enjoy it.
The song, Carry On, is near and dear to me, as the words were written by my wife’s direct ancestor, Ruth May Fox. This arrangement is simple, but exciting, with the men mostly singing a ostinato.
Rise and Stand has the tune of one of my favorite German traditional songs called “Grün, Grün, Grün”, which means “Green, Green, Green”. The words are my own, and are especially appropriate for youth and the parts are straightforward.
The tune to this hymn came to me as I was drifting off to sleep. It played over and over in my head so that I remembered it in the morning, and started to work on the words:
The pure in heart shall see God’s face
And surely know He is
What greater gift can he bestow
Than knowing we are His?
The meek shall all the earth receive
The peaceable, the kind
When God’s pure kingdom stands alone
And all men peace will find.
The merciful, the penitent
Shall all receive the same
God will recall their sins no more
When they call on his name.
How blessed are all those who mourn
For they shall comfort find
God himself will dry their tears
And soothe the wearied mind.
How blessed the obedient
Who keep all God’s commands
They are prospered in all things
They truly understand.
Those who endure this mortal day
And fight the valiant fight
Shall reclaim their heaven’ly home
A land of endless light.
This week I collaborated with a fellow Mormon Tabernacle Choir member to create a new sacrament hymn. He wrote the music and I wrote the lyrics, and I’m really pleased with the result. He has started a new site to post his compositions, and you can check out our combined effort there:
Here are the words:
Great is thy mercy, O Lord, most holy.
We bring our souls as an off’ring to thee.
Great is thy love, more than I comprehend
Infinite, eternal, thy Son, whom thou didst send.
Great is thy power, O Lord, most mighty.
Breaking the chains of death and of sin.
Great is thy grace, in saving those who roam.
Blotting even scarlet sins, through Christ who did atone.
Great is thy glory, O Lord, most holy.
We leave our burdens at thy feet.
Great is thy plan that gives up hope anew.
Making clear our path as we our covenants renew.
“When I Survey the Wond’rous Cross” is one of my grandmother’s favorite songs. I have always loved it as well and have had a chance to sing the traditional version with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It seemed to me that there really was only one version that I heard everyone do, and a friend of mine mentioned to me that it might be nice to do a men’s arrangement.
So, friend, here you have it.
Though this tune is also based on “Scotland the Brave” just like “Praise to the Man”, there are certainly differences. The words are completely different as well as the message. Enjoy this forgotten gem.