Latter-day Saint Life

3 interesting facts about ‘Come, Thou Fount’ (including the author’s touching backstory)

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For how well-loved this famous hymn is, many people don’t know these inspiring, interesting facts about its past.
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The Christian hymn “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” is beloved among Latter-day Saints today, and many people connect its popularity to Mack Wilberg’s famous arrangement for the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.

But did you know this isn’t the first time “Come, Thou Fount” has been included in a Church hymnbook? Read on to learn about three interesting aspects of the hymn’s origin and history.

1. The Author’s Touching Backstory

“Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” was penned by Robert Robinson in 1758. Robert converted to Christianity only three years before he wrote the lyrics.

His youth was marked by poverty and struggle. Robert’s father died when he was young, and Robert became an indentured servant to a barber and hairdresser in London for several years, starting at age 15.

In 1752, “after a period of much disquietude,” he was startled when a fortune-teller told him that he would one day live to meet his children and grandchildren. Reflecting on his current life path, he decided to seriously consider religion.

Robert attended a sermon by the Calvinist George Whitefield, and soon after began to study, preach, and minister for various denominations. Many considered Robert’s changing religious affiliations and views unorthodox, and some have suggested that the hymn’s line “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it” is autobiographical.

2. The Song’s Hymnal History

The first known inclusion of “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” in a Christian hymnal was in A Collection of Hymns used by the Church of Christ in Angel-Alley, Bishopsgate, which was printed in 1759.

The song’s earliest publication in a Latter-day Saint hymnal was in 1841, when Emma Smith revised the 1835 Kirtland hymnal to create the Nauvoo hymnal. Since then, “Come, Thou Fount” has been featured on and off in the Church’s different hymnbook editions throughout the years.

Most recently, the song appeared in the 1950 hymnbook. Interestingly, “Come, Thou Fount” was not included in the 1985 hymnal because committee members felt that Latter-day Saints were less familiar with the song at the time.

In 1994, the song rose to prominence in Church culture when Mack Wilberg’s arrangement premiered at a televised Thanksgiving concert performed by the Brigham Young University Combined Choirs and Orchestra.

3. The Many Different Tunes

The lyrics to “Come, Thou Fount” have been set to different tunes throughout its history. The most common tune, which appears in the Church’s new hymnbook batch, is called “Nettleton.”

“Nettleton” was first published in 1813 as a two-part tune named “Hallelujah” in John Wyeth's Repository of Sacred Music, Part Second. While some mistakenly attribute the melody to the publisher and evangelist Asahel Nettleton, the tune’s actual composer is unclear. It may connected to a family of songs based on the American folk tune “Go Tell Aunt Rhody.”

For classical music fans, Charles Ives quoted the tune in many pieces, including his Violin Sonata No. 2 and String Quartet No. 1.

There are several other tunes associated with this hymn, including “Normandy,” “Warrenton,” and “Jewin Street.”

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Check out the Nashville Tribute Band’s unique arrangement of “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” from the album Praise: A Nashville Tribute to the Hymns.


A Collection of Sacred Hymns for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Selected by Emma Smith. Nauvoo, Illinois: Printed by E. Robinson. 1841.

Carrell, James P. “Jewin Street.” Transcribed from Songs of Zion, 1821. Public domain.

“Charles Ives - Violin Sonata No. 2 [3/3].” Thomas Ligre. January 10, 2012. Video, 00:01:15,

“Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”

"Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing (Tune: Normandy) - Arr. for Piano by Peter Duckworth." Peter Duckworth. December 24, 2020. Video,

"Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing (WARRENTON)." Rix Tillman. May 16, 2020. Video,

"Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing- World Premiere Recording." BYU School of Music. June 18, 2007. Video,

Hinckley, Jaren. “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing: I’m Listening to Everything Composed by Charles Ives.” Jaren Hinckley: Composer/Clarinetist. Last modified September 22, 2013.

"Ives: String Quartet No. 1 "From The Salvation Army" - 3. Adagio Cantabile - Allegretto -..." Emerson String Quartet - Topic. July 30, 2018. Video,

“Mack Wilberg’s Arrangement of ‘Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.’” The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.


Newton, Catherine Reese. “Sing, Sing, Ye Saints—Mormon Hymnbook Marks 30 Years of Praising God in Song.” Salt Lake Tribune. Last modified October 2, 2015.

Nielsen, Chad. “‘Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing’ Throughout the Restoration.” Times and Seasons. Last modified March 21, 2019.


“Robert Robinson.”


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