The hymn book is full of famous writers and composers. But did you know that 25 of our hymns were written by general authorities?
Spanning from the beginning days of the Church, general authorities have often inspired us with their poetry, powerful writing, and yes, even their musical talents. Here are 12 general authorities who have written hymns found in our current hymnal.
Gordon B. Hinckley and G. Homer Durham
Gordon B. Hinckley wrote the hymn "My Redeemer Lives" (no. 135) in collaboration with Elder G. Homer Durham, a member of the presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy. President Hinckley wrote the lyrics while Elder Durham composed the music for this stirring hymn.
Marion D. Hanks
Elder Marion D. Hanks served for nearly 40 years as a General Authority, having been called in October 1953 at the age of 31. He served as an assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve from 1968 to 1976 and in the presidency of the Seventy from 1976 to 1980 and again from 1984 to 1992. He wrote the lyrics to “That Easter Morn,” number 198 in our hymnbook.
Bruce R. McConkie
Bruce R. McConkie, a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, wrote “I Believe in Christ” (number 134) and verse four of “Come, Listen to a Prophet’s Voice” (no. 21).
Edward Partridge, who served as the first Presiding Bishop of the Church in 1831, authored the lyrics to “Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise” (no. 41).
Charles W. Penrose
Charles W. Penrose served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from 1904 to 1911. He wrote the lyrics to four LDS hymns, “O Ye Mountains High” (no. 34), “God of Our Fathers, We Come unto Thee” (no. 76), "Up, Awake, Ye Defenders of Zion" (no. 248), and "School Thy Feelings" (no. 336).
Listen to missionaries of the Utah Salt Lake City Mission sing this powerful hymn.
Parley P. Pratt
As one of the first members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Parley P. Pratt's writing influenced much of early Church history. Among those writings were eight hymns: “The Morning Breaks” (no. 1), “An Angel from on High” (nos. 13 and 328), “Come, O Thou King of Kings” (nos. 59 and 332), “Father in Heaven, We Do Believe” (no. 180), “Jesus, Once of Humble Birth” (no. 196), "Truth Eternal" (no. 4), "As the Dew From Heaven Distilling" (no. 149), and "Behold Thy Sons and Daughters, Lord" (no. 238).
Joseph Fielding Smith
President Joseph Fielding Smith, the 10th prophet of the Church, wrote the lyrics to hymn number 127, “Does the Journey Seem Long?”
The third prophet in the latter days, President John Taylor, wrote the hymn “Go, Ye Messengers of Glory” (no. 262).
You can listen to this beautiful hymn here.
Orson F. Whitney
Orson F. Whitney, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from 1906 to 1931, wrote two hymns in our current hymnal, “The Wintry Day, Descending to Its Close” (no. 37) and “Savior, Redeemer of My Soul” (no. 112).
Watch this moving rendition of "Savior, Redeemer of My Soul," by Steve Elliot.
Loren C. Dunn
Elder Loren C. Dunn authored hymn number 137, "Testimony." Elder Dunn was sustained as a General Authority on April 6, 1968. He served in the First Quorum of the Seventy and as president of six of the Church's areas around the world.
Listen to this stylized version from Juli Beesley.
John A. Widtsoe
John A. Widtsoe, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from 1921 to 1952, wrote the lyrics to two hymns, “Lead Me into Life Eternal” (no. 45) and “How Long, O Lord Most Holy and True” (no. 126).
Listen to "How Long, O Lord Most Holy and True" set to beautiful images of inside LDS temples.
Original list from The Mormon Book of Lists.
Lead image from LDS.org.