This song was really interesting to research. I really like the song which gave me the motivation to get started, but the idea that this song has disputed authors was fascinating. I haven't run into that phenomenon yet until this particular hymn. So anyway, here it goes... : )
The words to this song were possibly written by Mary Brown. (And most sources that I found listed her as the sole author or the author of just the first stanza). She was born in 1856 in Canada and died in 1918 due to the influenza epidemic. It is believed that she wrote this song in 1899. The second and third stanzas are attributed to Charles Edwin Prior (1856-1927). The other possible author is Charles Hutchinson Gabriel. He was born in August 1856 in Iowa on a farm. He showed a talent for music early on and while he didn't have any formal training in music, he began to travel and lead his own singing schools in various areas. He eventually served as a music director at an episcopal church in California. Mr Gabriel was married twice in his lifetime and had two children. He died in September 1932 in Hollywood, California.
Carrie E. Rounsefell wrote the music for this particular hymn. She was born in 1861 in Merrimack, New Hampshire. She grew up in Manchester, NH and it was here that she met and married her husband William Rounsefell. She was known by many to be a singing evangelist and she would travel throughout New England and parts of New York with her small auto-harp to sing and preach. She died on September 18, 1930, in Durham, Maine.
This particular hymn was originally titled “Go Stand and Speak” and listed under its current name and is #270 in the current LDS hymnbook. It has been performed by many different groups which include the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Arizona Drones. It has also been performed and published in several different arrangements- one LDS favorite is an album called “Let Us Go Forth” produced by Greg Hansen.
This hymn really focuses on a really important theme in the LDS and most Christian religions. The idea that sometimes (and probably more often than we actually do) we should put aside our wants and desires and use our energy and strength to do as Heavenly Father wishes us to do instead. Many scriptures discuss this idea – a few are John 20:21, 1 Nephi 3:7, and Isaiah 6:8. To go and do what the Father asks us to do has been the motivation for so many prophets; it is the reason that Noah built the ark, the reason that Lehi took his family and left Jerusalem, the motivation for Ruth to follow her mother in law to a foreign place. It should be our motivation and true desire to do the same. May we take the time to pay attention to what we are spending our time on and try and listen so that we know what the Lord would have us do. It might help us to reach the desires that we had in the first place, but if not... it might open doors we never dreamed were even available.