Eliza R. Snow
Leader of Pioneer Women
January 21, 1804 - December 5, 1887
O My FatherThe immortal poem - hymn, "O My Father" was written by the inspired poetess, Eliza R. Snow, sometime in the Spring of 1845 in the City of Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, in the home of Stephen Markham, where she had been given temporary shelter.
The tiny room occupied by the author, at that time, was a small unfinished attic chamber, with unfinished sloping inside ceiling, with no heating facilities in the winter and no ventilation system to moderate the heat of the summer. At best it was but a shelter for its inmate, from snow and sun, and yet it proved a quiet retreat for occasional contemplation and composition.
The room was severely plain in its furnishings with but one small window to light its dim gloom and a small but very neat bed upon which to rest.
A miniature truck in one corner encompassed all the earthly belongings of this High Priestess of the new dispensation.
A small braided rug mat covered a part of the bare board floor and near the bed stood a tiny round light stand on which was kept a shining brass candlestick, the Holy Bible and her beloved Book of Mormon.
It was this in this primeval environment that Eliza P. Snow, then a middle-aged woman, with a small gold pencil given her by Joseph Smith, The Prophet, wrote the divine words of those four immortal stanzas - - a composition which solves, in simple language, yet crystal clear, man's eternal inquiry: "From whence do we come, why are we here, and what is our destiny?"
O My Father
Words written by Eliza P. Snow for the most beloved of Mormon HymnsO my Father, thou that dwellest in the high and glorious place!
When shall I regain thy presence, and again behold thy place?
In thy Holy habitation, did my spirit once reside;
In my first primeval childhood, was I nurtured near thy side.
For a wise and glorious purpose thou hast placed me here on earth,
and withheld the recollection of my former friends and birth.
yet ofttimes a secret something whispered "you're a stranger here."
and I felt that I had wandered from a more exalted sphere.
I had learned to call Thee father through thy spirit from on high;
but with the key of knowledge was restored, I knew not why.
In the Heavens are parents single? No; the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason, truth eternal tells me I've a mother there.
When I leave this frail existence, when I lay this mortal by,
father, mother, may I meet you in your royal courts on high?
Then, at length, when I've completed all you sent me forth to do,
with your mutual approbation let me come and dwell with you.