We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet

We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet

"We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet" is a popular hymn of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). It has been sung at every general conference of the LDS Church since it was published in 1863.

The text of the hymn was written sometime between 1860 and 1863 by William Fowler, an English convert to Mormonism. Joseph F. Smith reported that he was present at the first church worship service in England where Fowler brought the song to be sung. The song was first published in the LDS Church's 1863 hymnal, and has been included in every LDS hymnal published since. The music was written by Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton.

"We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet" has been described as "exclusively a Latter-day Saint hymn; a Mormon heartthrob; a song of the Restoration". [George D. Pyper, [http://search.ldslibrary.com/article/view/1857454 "The Story of Our Hymns: 'We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet'"] , "Improvement Era", 9:1 (Jan. 1937).] The name of the hymn is often used as the title of lessons in church curriculum [See, e.g., [http://lds.org/portal/site/LDSOrg/menuitem.b3bc55cbf541229058520974e44916a0/?vgnextoid=32c41b08f338c010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=3b009207f7c20110VgnVCM100000176f620a____&hideNav=1&contentLocale=0 "Lesson 37: 'We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet'"] , "Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual", 213; [http://lds.org/portal/site/LDSOrg/menuitem.b3bc55cbf541229058520974e44916a0/?vgnextoid=32c41b08f338c010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=3610767978c20110VgnVCM100000176f620a____&hideNav=1 “Lesson 17: We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet,”] "Preparing for Exaltation: Teacher’s Manual", 93.] or as the title of church sermons [See, e.g., Spencer W. Kimball, [http://lds.org/portal/site/LDSOrg/menuitem.b12f9d18fae655bb69095bd3e44916a0/?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=4ede438d9b76b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1 “‘We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet’”] , "Ensign", Jan. 1973, 33; Robert L. Simpson, [http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=6981 "We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet"] , 1986-06-24.] and inspirational messages. [See, e.g., Gordon B. Hinckley, [http://lds.org/portal/site/LDSOrg/menuitem.b12f9d18fae655bb69095bd3e44916a0/?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=c415b850e318b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1 “‘We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet’”] , "Ensign", Sep. 1991, 2; N. Eldon Tanner, [http://lds.org/portal/site/LDSOrg/menuitem.b12f9d18fae655bb69095bd3e44916a0/?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=986d61cb2b86b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1 “‘We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet to Guide Us in These Latter Days’”] , "Ensign", Mar. 1975, 2.]

The first verse of the song acknowledges the Latter-day Saints' gratitude to God for the President of the Church, who is revered as a modern prophet. Subsequent verses thank God for the care and protection he provides to the members of the church.

The song is one of the 45 hymns that the church publishes in its basic curriculum sources that are used in areas of the world where the church is new or underdeveloped. [See a list at LDS Church, [http://lds.org/portal/site/LDSOrg/menuitem.b3bc55cbf541229058520974e44916a0/?vgnextoid=e1fa5f74db46c010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=eaa3cb7a29c20110VgnVCM100000176f620a____&hideNav=1&contentLocale=0 “Index of First Lines and Titles,”] "Gospel Fundamentals", 276.] As a result, it is one of the first hymns new Latter-day Saints receive and learn.

"We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet" is hymn #19 in the current LDS Church hymnal. The copyright for this version is owned by Intellectual Reserve, Inc., a corporation established by the LDS Church to hold its intellectual property. However, Intellectual Reserve allows copying or downloading of the music and lyrics of the song for incidental, noncommercial church, or noncommercial home uses. A similar version of the hymn is published as Hymn 307 in the Revelation section of "Hymns of the Saints" by the Community of Christ's Herald House publishing arm.

Unusual usage

While preparing to speak at a CES fireside being held at Brigham Young University's Marriott Center on February 7, 1993, then President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Howard W. Hunter was confronted by Cody Judy, who rushed onto the rostrum and threatened Hunter and the audience of 15,000–17,000. Judy carried a briefcase that he claimed contained a bomb and held what appeared to be a detonator-like device. Judy demanded that Hunter read a three-page document that supposedly detailed God's plan for Judy to lead the church, which Hunter refused to do. The audience spontaneously sang "We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet", during which students from the audience and then security personnel overtook Judy. After Judy was taken away, Hunter delivered his prepared remarks, a talk entitled "An Anchor to the Souls of Men". [ [http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=7096 An Anchor to the Souls of Men - Howard W. Hunter ] ] ["California Man Threatens President Hunter, Fireside Audience With Fake Bomb" by Gail Sinnott and Carri P. Jenkins, "BYU Magazine", February 1993, pages 15-16] [ [http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/57824 Daily Universe covers fireside threat on Pres. Hunter] , by Alicia Barney, BYU "Daily Universe", 8 December 2005]

Notes

External links

* [http://www.lds.org/churchmusic/detailmusicPlayer/index.html?searchlanguage=1&searchcollection=1&searchseqstart=19&searchsubseqstart=%20&searchseqend=19&searchsubseqend=ZZZ "We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet"] : words and music
* [http://www.lds.org/cm/catalogalphamp3/1,18331,4768-1,00.html?reportStart=33&reportEnd=33&searchPhrase=W "We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet"] : free MP3 downloads


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