If You Could Hie To Kolob – Lyrics

One of the recurring internet searches (on search engines such as Google) that brings people to this site is “If You Could Hie to Kolob Lyrics.” We get hits from variations of that search at least three or four times per week. So, in an effort to respond to this need and serve our readers, who apparently want to find these lyrics, here they are:

If You Could Hie to Kolob, 284 – William W. Phelps

1. If you could hie to Kolob In the twinkling of an eye,
And then continue onward With that same speed to fly,
Do you think that you could ever, Through all eternity,
Find out the generation Where Gods began to be?

2. Or see the grand beginning, Where space did not extend?
Or view the last creation, Where Gods and matter end?
Me thinks the Spirit whispers, “No man has found ‘pure space,’
Nor seen the outside curtains, Where nothing has a place.”

3. The works of God continue, And worlds and lives abound;
Improvement and progression Have one eternal round.
There is no end to matter; There is no end to space;
There is no end to spirit; There is no end to race.

4. There is no end to virtue; There is no end to might;
There is no end to wisdom; There is no end to light.
There is no end to union; There is no end to youth;
There is no end to priesthood; There is no end to truth.

5. There is no end to glory; There is no end to love;
There is no end to being; There is no death above.
There is no end to glory; There is no end to love;
There is no end to being; There is no death above.

I like this hymn. It has a great tune — much better than the prior tune, I think — and the music matches the lyrics well. In particular, I like the way the line “The works of God continue” resonates.

The theme is interesting. We don’t talk much about Kolob in my ward. I have the general impression that the church has de-emphasized the very idea of Kolob. But this hymn is of course only peripherially about Kolob. What it is really about is the endlessness of creation, and that is an endlessly fascinating theme.

By the way, I copied these lyrics from a web site that has many (all?) hymn lyrics posted, it is available here.

60 comments for “If You Could Hie To Kolob – Lyrics

  1. greenfrog
    March 15, 2004 at 11:52 am

    I find it curious that some elements of what I understand to be core LDS doctrines are articulated nowhere outside of hymn lyrics.

  2. March 15, 2004 at 12:11 pm

    I second greenfrog’s comment, but don’t have the answer.

    This is akin to “O, My Father” making reference to Heavenly Mother. We’re just fine singing about it, but heaven forbid we ever talk about it!

  3. Kaimi
    March 15, 2004 at 1:20 pm

    A very interesting paper by our own Kristine Haglund Harris discusses (in passing) the place of hymns in Mormon theology. The relevant text is:

    Within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, hymnals and songbooks
    occupy a unique place as sources of doctrine and theology. The Church has a relatively
    small body of truly official doctrine, augmented by a large body of authorative
    pronouncements accorded varying doctrinal weight. Precariously balanced between these
    two poles is an enormous body of folk doctrine and unofficial exegesis. Mark Leone and
    others have argued that the Church’s emphasis on continuing revelation renders it
    essentially “atheological,” so that every member, besides being a missionary, is under
    some obligation to be a theologian. Hymns and Primary songs provide a useful
    common basis for this amateur theologizing, and are accorded quasi-doctrinal status.
    Elder Dallin H. Oaks made this connection explicit in a 1994 General Conference
    address: “The singing of hymns is one of the best ways to learn the doctrine of the
    restored gospel.” Thus hymns and children’s songs published with the imprimatur of
    the Church bridge the gap between official Mormondom and lived Mormonism.

    See http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~buskirk/KHarris.pdf

  4. March 15, 2004 at 2:18 pm

    This has long been one of my favorite hymns, especially for the kind of minimalist way it circles in on itself in the last few verses, with the hypnotic repitition of “There is no end to…”

    Aside from a performance by the MoTab at conference a year or two ago, I couldn’t ever recall hearing it actually sung in a meeting. Yesterday in my ward we did it for the first time since in the five years I’ve lived here.

  5. Kristine
    March 15, 2004 at 2:50 pm

    It’s one of my favorites, too. I put it on the program as often as I can get away with it–usually a couple of times a year for the congregation and once or twice as a choir number or special musical number. I have a great 3-part men’s arrangement and also a cool descant that I do with the choir. And yes, I always make the congregation sing all the verses!

    If you like the tune, check out Ralph Vaughan Williams ‘Five Variants on Dives and Lazarus.’ It’s scrumptious! (The recording by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields is the best, plus it has Iona Brown doing “The Lark Ascending,” which everyone should hear before he/she dies.)

  6. Karen
    March 15, 2004 at 6:03 pm

    I’m sorry to bring down the generally high tenor of this post, but I just have to say it. Doesn’t this song kind of freak anyone else out? Let’s start for a minute with putting a hymn in a minor key, not that there is anything wrong with that, but combining it with thoughts on eternity seems really depressing. (Not to mention the fact that while I’m a very upbeat person, contemplating eternity unnerves me…perhaps a personal foible, but one I can at least admit.) Also, I can’t help but thinking “there is no end to this song” somewhere around the middle of the second verse…and then it just keeps going. Add to that the fact that this is so popular that dubious arrangements are often sung by those more ambitious than talented, and I just generally get the shivers whenever I see it on the program.

    Having said that, I realize that this particular hymn is one of the most “Mormon” hymns around. It very particularly expresses our unique beliefs, and so I want to like it, and feel somewhat guilty that I don’t.

    Finally, amen to Kristine’s “The Lark Ascending” comment. (Although you probably find my musical taste somewhat suspect at this point!)

  7. Randy
    March 15, 2004 at 6:10 pm

    Hillarious! Karen, you have put my thoughts into words better than I ever could.

  8. Aaron Brown
    March 15, 2004 at 6:24 pm

    For aficionados of this hymn, I highly recommend the Mormon B-movie “Plan 10 from Outer Space,” if you haven’t seen it already. It contains a scene filmed at the Vortex, a danceclub in SLC, with cage dancers rocking out to an industrial remix of “If You Could Hie to Kolob” while adorned in full pioneer-woman garb. A truly great moment in Mormon cinema.

    Aaron B

  9. Steve Evans
    March 15, 2004 at 6:47 pm


    Bah! on you is all I can say, this is one of the best hymns going. My wife doesn’t like it much either, for reasons similar to those you’ve described, but I can’t get enough of it (well, that is, until I actually sing it in church, then I certainly CAN get enough of it….).

  10. Karen
    March 15, 2004 at 7:38 pm

    Steve, I’ll see your “Bah!” and raise you a “Pbbbthht.” And you apparently know of whence I speak considering your reaction to it in church, which brings up an interesting point. When do you like it? Do you have some fabulous mormon muzak version that we should all know about?

    Aaron, please please please write your memoirs and philosophies some day. Not until I started seeing your posts on here did I remember how much I miss having bizarre conversations with you about truly bizarre things. (Mostly in the hall when we both should have been in Sunday School!)

  11. Steve Evans
    March 15, 2004 at 7:45 pm

    Now that I think about it, I don’t have a particular version of it. Lex de Azevedo’s doesn’t really do it for me, but it’s not bad.

    I certainly like to read it…

    So Karen/Aaron, you all apparently know each other? How does Mat Parke figure into all this too? Thanks, Karen, btw for not replying to my persistent emails!

  12. Aaron Brown
    March 15, 2004 at 7:59 pm


    Karen and I (and Matt Evans too) were friends/classmates at HLS. Matt Parke (and Nate Oman) came along later, after I had graduated, so I never knew the non-online versions of them. But after a few years hanging out on LDS-Law, it almost seems like I did.

    By the way, Brent and I discovered last week that we were in the same mission, and were acquainted at BYU. And who can help but look back with great fondness on the LDS-Law battles between me and Lile?

    Aren’t you jealous of how well-connected I am? Someday, I hope my network of T&S contacts will pay off in some obscenely lucrative way…

    Aaron B

    P.S. Hey Karen, don’t you think Elizabeth Pipkin would spice things up nicely around here?

  13. Karen
    March 15, 2004 at 8:02 pm

    Okay, maybe in the spirit of reconciliation–I can understand your enjoyment *reading* the hymn, because that really solves most of my problems with it. I’ll try it–as part of my ongoing attempt to belatedly become more mature.

    Oh, the tangled web of acquaintance. I hope I’m not outing anyone as a lawyer who doesn’t want to be outed, but here goes: Aaron, HLS class 2000. Singles ward together in Cambridge. Karen, HLS class 2001. Mat and Karen, BYU Russian majors, Russian club officers, and worked in a Russian play together. (Mat was my t.a. at one point, and knows that I”m a slacker…). Then, Mat shows up to join the party at HLS in class 2003. I don’t know if Aaron and Mat know each other, although I think Aaron was a Russian speaker too…In other news, Matt Evans was in my class at HLS, Nate 2003, and Greg Call and I went to High School together. (Go Oly….) So there you have it. No need to play the Kevin Bacon game in this bunch. And sorry, I haven’t checked my email at all today–I’ll get right on it! Steve, do we know each other? Too many Evanses among the Mormons…

  14. Karen
    March 15, 2004 at 8:04 pm

    I think Pip’s middle name is Spicy…actually, I think it’s Marie, but you get the picture. I’ll try to dig up her email.

  15. Steve Evans
    March 15, 2004 at 8:12 pm

    Wow, I am jealous of the connectedness here. A real gaia-earth spirit thing going on.

    All I have to compare is Columbia alumni-hood with Kaimi & Greg, then NYC-hood with the other slackers on the _other_ blog (well, OK, just Mat Parke).

    Aaron, these connections of yours will never be lucrative. You can forget that pipe dream. You need connections with the rich, successful mormons (think G.O.P.).

    Karen, as for you & me, we undoubtedly have met at some point. I’m CLS class of 2000, so we were at BYU at the same time (though I tried to avoid you Russian freaks. I was English/French).

  16. lyle
    March 15, 2004 at 8:25 pm

    while we are talking T&S connections:
    1. i knew Nate as an undergrad at byu (he was sitting at the CR table and said he hated Thomas Jefferson…oh Nate…)
    2. Same student ward as adam at byu + national guard service. i didn’t hook him up with Sarah; but I did make sure he and Nate met (in person) at the Federalist conference at Notre Dame.
    3. Interned with matt evans at the utah state legislature; cept he an intern for the rich & powerful senate (get to know him Aaron! lol…); while I worked for the lowly house side
    4. Never met aaron; yet…i’m glad that he patiently puts up with my freakishnish…which interestingly enuff…is diametrically opposed to steve evans. go figure.

  17. Aaron Brown
    March 15, 2004 at 8:49 pm


    I already know Matt Evans. And if you’ve read most of Matt’s posts at T&S, you know that fraternizing with Matt is the absolute LAST thing you should do if you want to stay rich and powerful… Matt will guilt you into giving all your money away! :)

    Aaron B

  18. Kristine
    March 15, 2004 at 9:14 pm

    I don’t know anyone–I’m too old!–but I do know why Steve might not like IYCHTK in church. Because we sing it way too slowly (as we do almost all of the hymns.) It shouldn’t take 10 minutes!!

  19. lyle
    March 15, 2004 at 9:32 pm

    aaron: exactly! can’t you see my evil plan already? actually, don’t you find it interesting that it is the arch-conservative that is so ‘liberal’ with his means? btw: it’s too late…i’ve already decided to actively live the law of consecration and hold all my possessions in common…want to borrow my bmw motorcycle or toyota prius? :)

  20. Karen
    March 15, 2004 at 9:37 pm

    Kristine–yes, Mormon’s often play the hymns too slowly. (Do we somehow equate reverance with being slow? Should we walk more slowly in the halls at church? Should we talk more slowly during our comments in Sunday School? More slow to judge our neighbors? More slow to volunteer to feed the missionaries….nope, I think I killed that theory….) Just to make you happy, Kristine, here’s a little story of Sunday fun. My roommate, the organist extraordinaire, decided she didn’t want to play “Secret Prayer” too slowly, so she really started rolicking in the chorus, but subconsciously as she played faster and faster she started syncopating the base, and wound up with this *doop-dee doop-dee doop-dee* circus like base line. Oh the joy of moments like that to really wake you up before Sunday School! She’s my favorite organist ever!

  21. Kristine
    March 15, 2004 at 9:48 pm

    Thanks, Karen. “We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet” works really well with a boogie woogie bass. And there’s always “May my heart (cha-cha-cha) be turned to pray (cha-cha-cha)…” Also, it’s easy and fun to do “There is Sunshine in My Soul” and “You Can Make the Pathway Bright” and all of those Norman Vincent Peale monstrosities in minor mode (especially in Boston when it’s freezing and drizzly in March). We used to have lots of fun with that 10 minutes of Sunday School music time!

  22. cooper
    March 15, 2004 at 9:52 pm

    I don’t know any of you either. I do know someone who likes that song though! Funny though here in So Cal in this little bitty (well, used to be at least) town of 9 wards – I have never in all my years of membership (30+) sang that song. Weird.

    But I did go to the Y the year of the National Championship!

  23. Karen
    March 15, 2004 at 10:25 pm

    Hey now, once we’ve all discussed our opinions of IYCHTK, we know each other. There are no strangers on T&S, although there may be some strange opinions…..hmmmm.

    Norman Vincent Peale monstrosities? That’s wonderfully vivid. :o) Thanks! In minor in Boston? Amen. I’ve never ruined so many shoes as I did in the puddles of Cambridge in the winter. That deserves a minor hymn if ever anything did.

  24. March 16, 2004 at 1:29 pm

    A couple of quick thoughts:

    1. Ever hear the RLDS verions of some of “our” hymns? They play “The Spirit of God” really fast, which is actually how it was originally sung.

    2. If you could Hie to Kolob is great, but it (along with O! My Father) is hardly the unique sources of the doctrines presented therein. It is all a matter of reading the right books. _The Words of Joseph Smith_ published by the BYU Religious Studies Center is a nice place to start. (If you can get a copy.)

    3. Pipkin is now married so I don’t know if she is still Pipkin or Pipkin-SOMETHING or SOMETHING or SOMETHING-Pipkin. Perhaps she just goes by “Jones” now.

    4. On my mission we had an AP who was also an accomplished pianist. He used to play the Beattles, Led Zepplin, etc. as prelude music at Zone conferences and baptisms. Put it in a minor key and do it slowly and it works just fine…

  25. Karen
    March 16, 2004 at 3:02 pm


    Ahhh, you’ve hit on the real question here. What is a legitimate source of doctrine? Do the hymns have semi-canonical status? Are all of Joseph Smith’s words semi-canonical (but not all of the words of later prophets?) Is that book you are referring to merely quotations of Joseph Smith or commentary by BYU religion professors…

    She’s still Pipkin…come on…give her some feminist cred… ;o)

  26. March 16, 2004 at 3:37 pm

    Karen: As it happens, this is a something that we have discussed before at T&S check out:




  27. March 16, 2004 at 4:26 pm

    “If you could Hie to Kolob is great, but it (along with O! My Father) is hardly the unique sources of the doctrines presented therein.”

    But the fact of the matter is that most Mormons don’t read the books Nate has pointed out. In fact, how can something be “doctrine” if the Church does not feel that it is necessary to translate it so all members can understand?

    I’ve had experiences in Bulgaria where members of the Church get blown away by “doctrine” if (or when) they actually read [and ponder] the hymns they sing.

    Hymns, for whatever reason, can be much more influencial than some book with words written by some guy named Joseph Smith. :-) But it’s true!

    For most members, if it’s in a hymn, it just feels like doctrine. Whereas if it’s in an obscurely published book [again, I’m saying for MOST members] then no one cares.

  28. Steve Evans
    March 16, 2004 at 4:56 pm

    Bob, I like that you’ve pointed out how ideas need to be widely-held before they can acheive the level of doctrine.

    I’m not sure that idea is true, though. Think of the temple, which is doctrine, but its teachings are certainly not wide-spread (at least in their plenary form). Other examples are out there, I’m sure, but that’s the first that sprang to mind.

    Perhaps it is an inevitable offshoot of giving milk before meat, that not all doctrines of the church are put out in plain view. One must question then, I think, the necessity of hidden doctrine in the plan of salvation. Does doctrine really ‘count’ if the only publicly available version of it is in a hymnal?

  29. March 16, 2004 at 5:33 pm

    “Think of the temple, which is doctrine, but its teachings are certainly not wide-spread.”

    Steve, this is true. It is also true, however, that any member of the Church can go through the temple in their native tongue.

    The same can not be said for all the writings of previous apostles and prophets, etc.

    To me, it’s not as much “widely-held” as it is the Church itself admitting to the more significant importance of “doctrine” by making it available to all worthy members.

  30. March 17, 2004 at 3:22 am

    Karen (several posts back),

    I think this song only freaks people out who simply aren’t ready to face the harsh reality of their eternal reward. Those who are prepared for the hereafter find it deeply comforting. Bwaaaa ha ha ha ha…

    Seriously, though, IYCHTK is one of the best in the book, textually and musically. Not only are the words filled with mind-blowing images (the “outer curtain where nothing has a place”?! “No man has found ‘pure space'”?! How can you not dig that?), the music, borrowed from a Ralph Vaughan Williams hymn (with a different text, of course) in the English Hymnal, is among the best to be found between the green covers — especially if it is sung in four part harmony. (Not to get too technical, but just listen to how the four lines move in relation to each other, the motion moving from one to the other, the dissonances spilling over into each others’ resolutions…)

    Incidentally, while you seem put off by the minor mode, I should point out that in the old blue hymn books, it was in a major key, and had a peppy little melody, and it was AWFUL. That stuff’s fine for “Sunshine in My Soul,” but if you’re gonna get cosmic, you’ve got to have something pensive and weighty to sing it to.

  31. March 17, 2004 at 3:31 am

    I wanted to add one more annoying point:

    I think it HAS to be in minor mode. In fact, in the middle of it, it sounds like it’s going to modulate and conclude in major, but at the last minute it veers back into the minor mode. Why? Because a big old “Ta-da!” resolution in major is the musical equivalent of the “The End” sign at the end of the movie. By returning to the minor, right where it started, it marks out that “eternal round”; it simply can’t end in the major, because, as the words tell us no less than 18 times, “There is no end…”

  32. Sam
    April 20, 2004 at 4:15 am

    Try reading the hymn as a poem.
    To me it’s quite beautiful as a poem,
    though I never enjoyed singing it much.

    I liked it anyway cuz it was my brother’s favorite hymn.

  33. Sam
    April 20, 2004 at 4:15 am

    Try reading the hymn as a poem.
    To me it’s quite beautiful as a poem,
    though I never enjoyed singing it much.

    I liked it anyway cuz it was my brother’s favorite hymn.

  34. Sam
    April 20, 2004 at 4:19 am

    Bob Caswell made a comment about the hymn that mentions Mother in Heaven – he commented that it’s ok to sing it, but heaven forbid we talk about it.

    Are we sure it’s “heaven” rather than tradition that’s ‘forbidding’ discussion?

  35. Joel
    May 26, 2004 at 11:55 pm

    “Variants of Dives and Lazarus” is now available on a just released Vangard Classics CD by the Utah Symphony called “Ralph Vaughn Williams” I love the hymn and the melody is, in my opinion, very moving.

  36. lee
    June 17, 2004 at 12:03 am

    Re. minor hymns. Since I was a child I have been singing “shaped note” music (specifically out of a book called Christian Harmony written just after the civil war – but other books are out there too; Sacred Harp, New Harp of Columbia, etc.) Probably half of the hymns of the 1700s and 1800s, and further back, are in minor keys. Since this is the same time as the organization/early growth of the church, the sound of Hie to Kolob always made sense to me. The minor key gives the hymn somber /serious /important feel – like you’re staring off into eternity, that our modern hymns are sadly lacking (Instead, I always feel like looking around for the peanut/hotdog vendor when we sing that circus song, Called to Serve.) Life was hard back then, with plenty of early death and suffering to make you painfully aware of the shortness and wonder of life, of the need for a God who was on your side, and of the hope for a better place after this one.

  37. June 17, 2004 at 1:45 am


    I agree with your thoughts about how the mode of Kolob fits with the content–that’s why I was so surprised to discover that, in fact, the hymn was originally in a rather peppy (circus-y, in fact) major. If you can find a copy of the old hymn book (1957, I think?), it’s in there.

  38. Tom
    June 29, 2004 at 2:23 pm

    I always enjoyed the music of the hymn. Lately, though, I am a little troubled by the beliefs that are quite natural to infer from its text.

    Are we to infer that as a matter of faith this universe has no edge? Are we to infer that the world of God and Heaven are simply a space voyage away (a hying to Kolob?) Are we to infer that eternity is simply a whole lot of time? That Gods without number reign throughout this space? These aren’t the only way to interpret the text, but they seem kind of the natural, simple way. But the whole body of scripture and testimony seems to indicate that God the Father through Jesus Christ created the whole ball of wax for a wise purpose in Him, that time is measured only unto man, that God, Heaven, eternity, and a whole other existence are right here behind a sort of veil.

    It is uncomfortable for me to sing a song that seems to imply that if I travel far enough in a space ship I will end up in the jurisdictional territory of a new Sovereign. Yikes! No wonder the Antis have a heyday with us. What was Brother Phelps thinking?

    It is just me? Can anybody explain?


  39. Kingsley
    June 29, 2004 at 2:41 pm

    “What was Brother Phelps thinking?”

    Probably he was caught up in the wonder of the new movement, joyfully stretching his arms after long years of being shackled to the Creeds.

  40. June 29, 2004 at 2:48 pm


    I love the text. After all, if we believe in an embodied god, his body is located somewhere. That’s at the very heart of what sets us apart from the rest of Christianity. Reread Abraham 3, and see if it still freaks you out.

  41. Tom
    June 30, 2004 at 7:20 pm

    I ran this question by a few folks here at home:

    True or false: “Everybody knows you can’t get to heaven in a spaceship.”

    The answer I generally got was False. Everybody doesn’t know that. In fact, some of my friends weren’t sure you can’t get to heaven in a spaceship.

    I remember when my mother told me as a wee boy the story of the Tower of Babel. It seemed self-evident to me at the time that “you can’t get to heaven on a tower.” I think that is what the Antis latch onto in accusing us of ludicrous beliefs.

    I have come to picture time and eternity like reality and cyberspace. Just like cyberspace is a creation of man, I lately picture the universe as a creation of God, for His wise purposes. I have no more trouble imagining God intact in His eternity, but not in this Universe, than I do picturing any of you intact at your homes, but not in cyberspace (or perhaps omnipresent in cyberspace).

    I could search cyberspace til the end of time, but I would never find any of you. And yet there you are, as real as can be. And no amount of searching cyberspace would ever bring me to our real world, just as it seems to me no amount of searching this universe will ever bring me to that eternal world.

    But I am getting the feeling that is not the general Mormon view. I don’t know if I have gone afield now that I am getting older, or if I have merely begun to see more clearly. But one thing I do know, my faith in God is stronger and more real than ever, my appreciation for the scriptures and LDS tradition is deeper than ever, my questions are calmed, and it is a delight to get insight from my beloved brothers and sisters.

  42. Kingsley
    June 30, 2004 at 7:36 pm

    Same to you, Brother Tom.

  43. Ryan Whitakr
    July 18, 2004 at 11:32 pm

    Once I heard this tune sung with an entirely different set of words, not by Phelps. I fell completely in love with this arrangement, but did not get a copy of the words or find out who their author was. The only part of the variant words I remember is “I love thee, my dear Jesus….”

    Does anyone know of another set of words to this song? I really want to find them! Thank you.


  44. Mac Sigler
    August 3, 2004 at 2:05 am

    About the whole plural Gods thing, you have to remember that it’s likely that God had a God too…after all, if we are to be gods (i.e. becoming even as He is), then why couldn’t he have been like us a long time ago? I mean, it just makes sense to me…

  45. Mike
    August 22, 2004 at 1:18 pm

    i have to give a talk on kolob today. reading all the different commits has really helped me out.


  46. Elizabeth
    October 4, 2004 at 12:00 am

    I actually really like this song, but i fell in love with the version on the RM soundtrack. I was looking up to find out more about it and came across this website and it is very enlightening.

    http://www.newrevelations.com/ if_you_could_hie_to_kolob.htm

    my husband told me one reason this song is not sung much anymore is b/c it deals with deep doctrine, and people get hung up on deep doctrine, letting it overtake their lives and then fall away from the church. that is too bad. this really is a beautiful song, reminding us how small we really are and how great our Heavenly Father is.

  47. Amy
    February 26, 2005 at 4:45 pm

    I do not think that you guys should be criticizing doctrine like you are. I mean I understand that everyone has different views and opinions but most of these elements in the song are doctrinly sound and thus should not be looked down upon

  48. Cyndi
    March 26, 2005 at 7:58 pm

    I really like the version on the RM soundtrack. It is very uplifting. Truthfully, I hadn’t even heard of it until it was on the CD. It is a really beautiful song.

  49. Jay Gelter
    April 22, 2005 at 12:19 pm

    This is a beautiful hymn. As a composer, I have actually made a number of different arrangements of it. The version in our hymn book was written by Ralph Vaughn Williams in the early 1900’s. He used the theme in a number of other pieces. his most famous are ‘Five Variants on Dives and Lazarus.’ (already mentioned here) and my favorite, in his English Folk Suite, movement one for band and/or strings. He also arranged our hymn book’s All Creatures of Our God and King.

  50. Rick Chappell
    June 10, 2005 at 12:02 am

    Boy, it’s not often you see a set of posts lasting for over a year. Noticing the last post was not too long ago, I’ll add a comment. The most interesting thing I find is how so many hymns are based on old folk tunes (in many cases folk tunes that were commonly sung while drinking in the local ale house). This was actually very common as the preachers years ago didn’t have hymnals to pass around (nor the common folk the capability to read them) so they would put gospel hymns to common folk and pub tunes that everyone knew.
    This is one of those. Ralph Vaughn Williams by no means composed this one, but put the old Irish tune (“Star of the County Down”) into one of his nationalist compositions, much in the same way Aaron Copland did with Appalachian Spring.
    In that vein, I like to improvise the hymn in a 6/8 sea chanty form. You also ought to hear it as done by Enoch Train – in 5/4. You may change your mind about the hymn.

  51. Dave
    July 27, 2005 at 1:51 am

    I like the phrase “there is no end to youth” part…

  52. Greg
    August 8, 2005 at 11:29 pm

    I like this hymn very much, in fact it’s one of my favorites. It has more to it than most people think, in fact. If you study the fascimile in Abraham, you learn that Kolob is also a reference to Christ. The song in a sense is telling you that if you can come unto Christ and continue in those ways, then you can inherit all that God hath……and then there is no end to all goodness. It becomes eternal.

  53. October 7, 2005 at 1:34 pm

    Hey! I liked your site very much! quilt Your fabric yoyo: http://interactive.usc.edu/members/students/2005/09/carcassonne.php , small ship set out

  54. Jessica
    November 10, 2005 at 5:55 pm

    I think the tune to IYCHTK is minor because it sets a mysterious tone to the song. IT’s not necessarily trying to freak you out, but instead is trying to make you think with the essence of the mysterious minor tune.

  55. JWL
    November 10, 2005 at 7:08 pm

    When D Fletcher arranged this he changed it to “If You Could Fly to Heaven …”. A bit more quotidien but also more understandable to a general audience.

    Does anyone know when W. W. Phelps wrote this poem? It always struck me as resonating with the kind of doctrines taught in the King Follett Discourse. Phelps was a close friend and associate of Joseph’s in the late Nauvoo period and would have been exposed to these doctrines as early as anyone.

  56. January 9, 2006 at 4:29 am

    … I just… randomly found this song on my hard drive. I think a Mormon friend sent it to me. O.o For the record, I’m pagan, but this song is really pretty and fits a lot of my own beliefs as an eclectic pagan well. It’s amazing what similarities can be found between such different religions. Blessed be and merry meet!

  57. January 11, 2006 at 11:29 pm

    I love this song, it is my favourite church hymn, and I’ve talked about the ideas in it many times in sunday school. All kinds of speculating, as I’m a huge fan of sci-fi, and yet here’s something as cool as sci-fi, that my church believes to be true!!!! I love the tune, I love the lyrics (second verse especially) and I remember learning about where matter ends in physics, and it was like, hey, who wrote this hymn? What did he know about the universe constantly expanding, and anti-matter, and such!

  58. Hans Hansen
    January 14, 2006 at 5:03 am

    Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was one of the musical editors of “The English Hymnal”, first published in 1906, with a new edition that was first published in 1933. One of the hymn tunes used was “Kingsfold”, which was a traditional English melody that Vaugham Williams first discovered in “English Country Songs”, published in 1893, under the title “Dives and Lazarus”, the same tune with RVW’s harmonization used in our LDS Hymns (1985) as #284 IYCHTK. In the English Hymnal the tune is paired with the text “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say”, #574,

    A few years later Vaughan Williams was again one of the musical editors for the original edition of “The Oxford Book of Carols”, first published in 1928. Here again he used “Kingsfold” for the carol #60 (second setting) “Job”. The following note is included:

    “Tune noted by the late A.J. Hipkens in Westminster and printed in “English Country Songs” to the words of ‘Dives and Lazarus’, but it probably belongs to ‘Job’. (C.F. the hymn tune “Kingsfold”, E.H. 574).

    Over the years RVW found different versions of the same tune, sometimes under different names, such as “The Star of the County Down” as it was known in Ulster, Northern Ireland. And so the “Five Variants on Dives and Lazarus”, written for the New York World’s Fair in 1939, are not a set of variations in the conventional sense, but “reminiscences of various versionsâ€? as Vaughan Williams describes them..

  59. Mike McMaken
    February 5, 2006 at 7:00 am

    This is my all time favorite hymm. It speaks so clearly to the heart and gives such a powerful message of hope and the eternal nature of God’s children. I have a hard time not tearing up whenever I hear it. There really is a lot of deep doctrine included in it. One of the comments above wondered if the Church has downplayed Kolob in doctrine, but I don’t think so. The truth is, all the doctrine is there for those who are ready to hear it.

    W.W. Phelps was party to many powerful experiences, and his songs reflect that in their topics and lyrics. This song reflects the fact that, as the saying goes, we are not so much mortal beings having spiritual experiences, as we are spiritual beings have a mortal experience.

  60. February 16, 2006 at 5:15 am

    Regarding the first comment by one “greenfrog”

    “I find it curious that some elements of what I understand to be core LDS doctrines are articulated nowhere outside of hymn lyrics.”

    The fact that such is the case is telling to the degree of sanctity to which they are held. I’ve found a great many people that are well versed in the letter and verse of our faith that, simply because they are not privy to key aspects in manners which would capacitate their vision, they do not see what is plainly before them, they are impotent to derive what some of us have been able to simply because they have not entered in at the gate, they have not done more that to nibble at the edges of ‘Mormonism’.

    Such renders them as capable of gaining meaning from what passes before their eyes as one is capable of gaining nutrients from swallowing food still in secure packaging. It passes right by all would be receptors of anything substantive, the which are ‘protected’ by the thin, yet effective, wall of the packaging. Some prefer such, not wanting to risk ‘contamination’.

    Not meaning to sound like an elitist or some esoteric reveler. I realize intention doesn’t always translate into perception.

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