Joseph Smith Medley
Download Music Now (.mp3)
Download Sheet Music Now (.pdf)
This medley incorporates: "Joseph Smith's First Prayer", "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief", and "Praise to the Man".
"Joseph Smith's First Prayer" was written in 1878 by English LDS convert George Manwaring (1854-1889). Manwaring wrote this hymn after seeing a painting depicting the first vision that was deeply moving to him. The text of this hymn is set to the music "Divinity" by American composer Sylvanus Billings Pond (1792-1871), who died prior to the text's composition. The version of "Divinity" used in LDS hymnbooks is actually an adaptation by A.C. Smith (1840-1909), with some slight variation from the original music of "Divinity". (1) The full text and music in SATB format for this hymn can be found here.
"A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" was written in 1826 by James Montgomery (1771-1854). It was originally written as a poem titled "The Stranger" and was not intended to be set to music. Sometime after this, a devout English Methodist Preacher named George Coles (1792-1858) set Montgomery's words to music, creating the hymn "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief". (2) The full text and music in SATB format for this hymn can be found here.
"Praise to the Man" was written in 1844 by LDS convert W.W. Phelps (1792-1872). Phelps wrote this hymn in honor of Joseph Smith shortly after his martyrdom. Notably, for a time Phelps left the LDS church and declared himself an enemy to the Prophet Joseph Smith. In 1840, Phelps returned to the LDS Church. In asking Joseph Smith if he could forgive him, Joseph replied "Come on, dear brother, since the war is past. Friends at first, are again friends at last". (3) The music of this hymn is from a popular Scottish folk song. The full text and music in SATB format for this hymn can be found here.
In this arrangement, I chose these three hymns to depict three distinct and defining times of Joseph Smith's life. The first hymn ("Joseph Smith's First Prayer") describes Joseph's experience as a young man, seeing in vision both God the Father and Jesus Christ. This experience was the first of many that led to Joseph being called as a prophet of God, through whom Jesus Christ's gospel was restored. The second hymn ("A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief"), was a favorite hymn of Joseph Smith's and was sung to him by a friend just moments prior to his murder at the hands of a mob (see martyrdom for details). The third hymn ("Praise to the Man") transitions to the time beyond Joseph's death. In this part of the arrangement, I envision the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ (as restored by Joseph Smith) being spread throughout the world, where "millions shall know 'Brother Joseph' again".