#76 God of Our Fathers, We Come unto Thee

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1. God of our fathers, we come unto thee,
Children of those whom thy truth has made free.
Grant us the joy of thy presence today;
Never from thee let us stray!

Never! Never!
Never from thee let us stray!
Ever! Ever!
Ever to thee will we pray!

2. Grateful for all that thy bounty imparts,
Praises we offer with voices and hearts.
Life of our being, and sun of our day,
Never from thee let us stray!

3. Blest with the gifts of the gospel of peace,
Dwelling in Zion, whose light shall increase,
Led by the priesthood along the bright way,
Never from thee will we stray!

4. Strengthened by thee for the conflict with sin,
Onward we’ll press till life’s battle we’ll win;
Then in thy glory forever we’ll stay;
Never from thee will we stray!

Text: Charles W. Penrose, 1832-1925
Music: Ebenezer Beesley, 1840-1906

-History: (Source: Wikipedia)

Written By: Charles William Penrose

Charles William Penrose (4 February 1832 – 16 May 1925) was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from July 7, 1904. Penrose was also a member of the First Presidency of the church under Church Presidents Joseph F. Smith and Heber J. Grant from 1911 until his death.

Penrose was born in London, England; the name “Penrose” is of Cornish origin.[2] It is said that he learned to read the scriptures by the age of four. He was introduced to the church and baptized at the age of eighteen on May 14, 1850 in London. He also met and married his wife Lucetta Stratford there. The couple had three children.

After joining the church, Penrose was called to a mission of seven years, preaching throughout England. In 1861, he emigrated to Utah. After arriving, he was called on yet another mission to England. Upon his return, he settled in Ogden, Utah. There he became involved in newspaper publishing, eventually becoming the editor of the Deseret News in Salt Lake City. Penrose was known for his writing, including missionary tracts and for penning lyrics for LDS hymns, including God of Our FathersO Ye Mountains High, and Up, Awake, Ye Defenders of Zion.

Some claim that Penrose, with the assistance of a few others, wrote the 1890 Manifesto. However, this claim has been refuted. George Reynolds testified in the Smoot Hearings before the U.S. Senate that he, Charles W. Penrose, and John R. Winder edited the manifesto that President Wilford Woodruff delivered, preparing it for publication.

Penrose was a professor of theology at Brigham Young Academy from 1897 to 1899 and again in 1901 and 1902.[3]

Penrose was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and ordained an apostle on July 7, 1904 after the passing of Elder Abraham O. Woodruff. After John Henry Smith (the Second Counselor to President Joseph F. Smith) died, he was called and set apart as Second Counselor in his stead on December 7, 1911. James E. Talmage filled the vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve caused by President John Henry Smith‘s death and Charles W. Penrose’s call as Second Counselor. He also served as Second Counselor for President Heber J. Grant when the First Presidency was reorganized on November 23, 1918 after the death of President Joseph F. Smith. On March 10, 1921, he was set apart as First Counselor in the same presidency to replace President Anthon H. Lund who had died eight days earlier. He served there until his death, four years later in Salt Lake City from chronic prostatitis.[4]

Some of Penrose poems were put to music and became LDS hymns. “Up, Awake, Ye Defenders of Zion”, originally a militant hymn containing references to trials of LDS members in the central United States and the threatening United States government (ironically set to the melody for “Columbia, Gem of the Ocean,” thus asserting the Saints’ true patriotism, despite their alleged “rebellion”), became an anthem for LDS members during the difficulties preceding and during the Utah War of 1857–58.[5]

Some of Penrose lyrics appear in the current LDS hymnal, including:

  • God of Our Fathers, We Come Unto Thee
  • O Ye Mountains High
  • School Thy Feelings
  • Up, Awake, Ye Defenders of Zion (with modified lyrics, 1985)

Music By: Ebenezer Beesley

Ebenezer Beesley (14 December 1840 – 21 March 1906) was a Latter-day Saint hymn writer and composer. The music for twelve of the hymns in the 1985 English-language hymnal ofThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints written by him.

Beesley was born in BicesterOxfordshireEngland.[1][2] His parents joined the LDS Church when he was quite young and he was baptized a member of the church on September 22, 1849.

In 1859, Beesley emigrated to Utah Territory in the George Rowley Handcart Company with his family, including first wife Sarah Hancock Beesley.[3] They first lived in Tooele, Utah, but later they moved to Salt Lake City. In the 19th Ward in Salt Lake City, Beesley served as both choir director and music director for Sunday School. He studied under George Careless.[1]In 1863, Beesley joined the Salt Lake Theatre Orchestra, where he played the violin.[4]

Beesley was a contributor to the Juvenile Instructor magazine. He also was one of the men appointed by John Taylor to oversee the publication of the Latter-day Saints’ Psalmody, which was the first LDS Church hymnbook to include music.[1]

In 1880, Beesley became the director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. In September of that year, Beesley led the choir’s first excursion outside of Salt Lake City on a trip to American Fork, Utah where they performed with the local choir for a large group of citizens.[5] Beesley served as the choir director until 1889.[1]

After serving with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Beesley taught in Tooele and then for a time in Lehi, Utah. He then moved back to Salt Lake City where he died.[1]

In the 1985 LDS Church hymnal the music for the following hymns was composed by Beesley:

  • hymn #5 “High on a Mountain Top”
  • hymn #16 “What Glorious Scenes Mine Eyes Behold”
  • hymn #32 “The Happy Day At Last Has Come”
  • hymn #76 “God of Our Fathers, We Come unto Thee”
  • hymn #77 “Great Is the Lord”
  • hymn #156 “Sing We Now at Parting”
  • hymn #177 “Tis Sweet to Sing the Matchless Love” Tune name=Hancock
  • hymn #185 “Reverently and Meekly Now”
  • hymn #232 “Let Us Oft Speak Kind Words”
  • hymn #280 “Welcome, Welcome, Sabbath Morning”
  • hymn #282 “We Meet Again in Sabbath School”