The new Joseph Fielding Smith manual for the Relief Society/Priesthood lessons presents a minor logistical problem—it has 26 lessons, which may mean teachers will have to drop two of the lessons (since two lessons each month are taught from the manual). Because of this I will post poems for the next few weeks so that teachers can choose from at least 4 of the lessons each week.
The first lesson focuses on God, his attributes and nature, and our relationship with him. But while we have poems and hymns that discuss this, I though the following poem would be a different way of introducing and thinking about this subject.
I don’t know much about its author, William Chase Harrison. Born in 1852, his family immigrated to Utah in 1862 when he was 9. He married Mary Elizabeth Forsyth in 1876 and eventually settled in Payson, Utah, where they raised 10 children. He died in 1936. The following poem was published in 1892.
Companion Poem to Eliza R. Snow’s ‘Invocation.’
by William Chase Harrison
- O My Mother, thou that dwellest,
- In thy mansions up on high,
- Oft methinks I still remember
- When you bade your child good bye.
- How you clasped me to your bosom,
- Bade me a true son to be,
- Ere I left my Father’s mansion,
- To dwell in mortality.
- How you gave me words of counsel,
- To guide aright my straying feet;
- How you taught by true example
- All of Father’s laws to keep.
- While I strive in this probation,
- How to learn the gospel truth,
- May I merit your approval
- As I did in early youth.
- ‘Tis recorded in your journal
- How you stood by Father’s side,
- When by powers that are eternal
- Thou wast sealed his goddess bride;
- How by love and truth and virtue
- E’en in time thou did’st become
- Through your high, exalted station
- Mother of the souls of men.
- When of evil I’ve repented,
- And my work on earth is done,
- Kindest Father, loving mother,
- Pray forgive your erring son.
- When my pilgrimage is ended,
- And the victor’s wreath I’ve won,
- Dearest Mother, to your bosom,
- Will you welcome home your son?
Juvenile Instructor, 1 March 1892
Unfortunately, while Harrison has meant this as a companion to Eliza R. Snow’s poem (known popularly as O My Father), this one isn’t as good. Still, the poem was somewhat popular, although often mistakenly attributed to others.
However, I do think that it echoes many of the important concepts from this lesson. Here we learn that our Heavenly Parents love and care for us, that they have a purpose for our coming to this earth, and have attributes that we should emulate. What more can we say than that?