Little Known Songs

Some beautiful hymns that I dearly love and listen to often, yet rarely hear mention of.

Every since I was a child, I have adored singing hymns at church. I have distinct memories of me sitting in my seat on Sunday, hunched over the hymnbook as I mouthed line after line of my favorite hymns to myself. Music has the power to reach into your heart and soul and fill you with emotion. Rare are the things that can open your heart to the spirit faster than music can. Yet, too often do I run across songs and hymns that have been forgotten throughout time or have gone unnoticed by those around me. This post is for those songs- so that a light can be shone on them and they can be appreciated for how beautiful they are, regardless if they are in the canonized hymnbook or not.

The first one I thought of for this post is entitled, ‘My Kindness Shall Not Depart From Thee’. I only recently found out about this hymn in the past year, but I often find myself returning to it again and again from just how powerful it is. Every time I hear it, the words of the hymn pierce my heart and cause it to ache to the point of goosebumps. Too often I have had to blink back tears from this tune. This is due to the beautiful lyrics and tune of the song as well as the story behind it. This hymn is based on Joseph Smith’s time in Liberty Jail when he felt so lost and alone, wondering where God was and if he had abandoned him. This hymn reads as if it is God himself speaking to Joseph Smith, following the words of Doctrine and Covenants 121 and 122. The way the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square sings this song, ebbing and flowing from soft to powerful adds so much power and emotion to the song that oftentimes when I listen to it, I can scarcely breathe.

This next hymn is one that I came across in my first year or so of High School called ‘I Love the Lord’ and it has since become one of my favorite hymns. The tune is a familiar one to many as it is the same one for the dearly loved hymn ‘Be Still, My Soul’. The lyrics are what stand out to my the most, though, as they are taken from 2 Nephi Chapter 4 which is often referred to as Nephi’s Psalm. It is a powerful, thought-provoking, and emotional testimony of the Prophet Nephi as he bares his soul to the world, sharing his life trials and weaknesses and speaks of his faith and reliance on God. This section of scripture has always been a favorite of mine and it is further strengthened through this song and the power of the men that sing it here.

This next hymn is one I have spoken about on this page before, but I couldn’t bear to leave it out of this post. The hymn ‘It Is Well With My Soul’ is so powerful and hopeful that it pulls at my heart and fills me with confidence and strength every time I listen to it. The story behind the hymn is a striking one; of a man who experienced so much tragedy and death in his life, yet was still able to find peace through relying on God and Jesus Christ. This is an especially long video as it was part of a Christmas Special of the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square and tells the entire story behind the hymn as it is sung along with a reenactment of the tale. Every time I watch this, I am filled with emotion to the point of tears.

This next one is a hymn that is dear to my heart: ‘If You Could Hie to Kolob’. The tune of this song is transcendentally beautiful and truly perfect. It is a song filled with wonder and imagination, almost a wild expression of free thought about Creation and the Universe. It holds such power and excitement to it, yet is so hauntingly beautiful to listen to and enjoy. It truly feels like a timeless and angelic hymn, peaceful and sure in its delivery.

This next hymn is one that is ferocious and powerful, striking hard at your soul as almost a call to attention and action. ‘Master, the Tempest Is Raging’ is a song that testifies of the power of Jesus Christ and how He is truly our Savior, the safe harbor we can cling to in order to brave the storms of life. It connects us to the story of Christ and His disciples in the Sea of Galilee as the storm began and Christ and Peter walked on water. It speaks of how if we rely on Him, that nothing can drag up down and destroy us as long as He is by our side.

The beauty of this next hymn cannot be overstated. ‘Where Can I Turn For Peace?’ has a quiet power about it, an open prayer offered to God by a sincere and wondering heart. It speaks of how the Gospel can lift us up and help us heal and recover, to grow and become more like Christ in this life. So many questions and pleas are written in the hymn’s lyrics, yet at the core it answers that Christ is the solution to all of this pain, uncertainty, and sorrow. Truly, it is through Christ that our burdens are made light, an expression of gratitude for all the love and support that He provides for us. The soft way the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square sings this hymn only adds to the prayer that this song truly is.

This next hymn is truly beautiful. ‘Consider the Lilies’ is a song about reflection, peace, and patience. It holds a reference for the beauty of this world and the hand that God had in its creation. It invites us to slow down, to enjoy the simplicity of the world around us, urges us to feel grateful for the gifts and treasures that surround us. It testifies of how involved God is in the World and in our lives, speaking of how he tenderly cares for us as he does the for the plants and flowers that make up this world. It is truly a hymn filled with poetry, bringing with it feelings of peace and hope.

This last hymn is a forgotten carol written centuries ago that was sung as a special musical number on Christmas Sunday years ago. ‘Joseph (I Was Not His Father, He Was Mine)’ is a hymn that gives us a rare look into the mindset of Joseph, Mary’s husband and Jesus’ mortal father. It takes place after Christ’s death and is a beautiful show of the faith and regard that Joseph had for Jesus Christ. The singer’s deep voice in this hymn only adds to the storytelling style that the hymn carries. It invites us into the personal world of Jesus Christ, into the lives and thoughts of one who loved and raised Him and the affect He had on their understanding of the world.