When First the Glorious Light of Truth

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Sheet Music

Version using the tune, 'Clayton' as seen in Latter-day Saint Hymns, 1927 (no. 90)

Version using the tune, 'Clayton' as seen in Relief Society Song Book, 1919 (no. 77)

Version using the tune, 'Clayton' as seen in Songs of Zion, 1908 (no. 162)

Quotes

  • 'Of this hymn, President Grant…says:

"As long as I live I shall never forget the wonderful impression and the spirit that accompanied the singing of this hymn at the funeral of Brother Clayton in the Fourteenth Ward when Brother John Lewis, a writer of music of some of our hymns, led the choir and the Saints. The congregation arose and sang this hymn and I felt that the inspiration of the Lord and of the man who wrote it (whose remains were lying before us), was there with us. I had never before, nor have I since, been so impressed with any other congregational hymn or with this one as at Brother Clayton's funeral."'[1]

  • [Caroline A. Joyce's] rendering of Wm. Clayton's hymn, 'The Resurrection Day,' will be remembered by all who ever heard it.[2]

Alternate Names

  • The Resurrection Day
  • Resurrection Day
  • 'Tis the Resurrection Day
  • Till the Resurrection Day

Tunes

Publications

Lyrics

  • Poet: William Clayton (1814–1879), 1853[3]
  • Copyright: Public Domain
  • Note: The lyrics differ somewhat between the various publications in 1889, 1909 and 1927.

Lyrics from Latter-day Saint Hymns, 1927 (no. 90)

1. When first the glorious light of truth
Burst forth in this last age,
How few there were enrolled their names
Upon its sacred page!
And of those few how many
Have passed from earth away,
And in their grave are sleeping
Till the resurrection day!
Till the resurrection day!
And in the grave are sleeping
Till the resurrection day!

2. How many on Missouri’s plain
Lie prone in death’s embrace,
Pure honest souls, too good to live
In such a wicked place!
And are they left forever
Beneath the silent clay?
Ah, no; they are but sleeping
Till the resurrection day!
Till the resurrection day!
Ah, no; they are but sleeping
Till the resurrection day!

3. And in Nauvoo, that city where
A Temple cheered the brave,
A multitude of sainted souls
Have found a restful grave.
And there they now are sleeping,
But shall not sleep alway;
For soon they’ll share the glories
Of a resurrection day!
Of a resurrection day!
For soon they’ll share the glories
Of a resurrection day!

4. Our Patriarch and Prophet, too,
Were massacred; they bled
To seal their testimony, and
Were numbered with the dead.
Ah, tell me, are they sleeping?
Methinks I hear them say:
“Death’s icy chains are bursting!
’Tis the resurrection day!
’Tis the resurrection day!”
“Death’s icy chains are bursting
’Tis the resurrection day!”

5. And here in these sweet peaceful vales,
The shafts of death are hurled,
And many faithful Saints are called
Unto a better world.
And friends are oft times weeping
For friends who’ve passed away,
And in their graves are sleeping,
Till the resurrection day!
Till the resurrection day!
And in their graves are sleeping,
Till the resurrection day!

6. Why should we mourn because we leave
These scenes of toil and pain?
Oh, happy change! the righteous go
Celestial crowns to gain;
And soon we all shall follow
To realms of endless day,
And taste the joys and glories
Of a resurrection day!
Of a resurrection day!
And taste the joys and glories
Of a resurrection day!

Lyrics from Relief Society Song Book, 1919 (no. 77)

1. When first the glorious light of truth
Burst forth in this last age,
How few there were with heart and soul
T’ obey it did engage;
Yet of those few how many
Have passed from earth away,
And in their graves are sleeping
Till the resurrection day!
Till the resurrection day!
And in their graves are sleeping
Till the resurrection day!

2. How many on Missouri’s plains
Were left in death’s embrace,—
Pure, honest hearts, too good to live
In such a wicked place;
And are they left in sorrow
And doubt to pine away?
Oh, no; in peace they’re sleeping
Till the resurrection day!
Till the resurrection day!
Oh, no; in peace they’re sleeping
Till the resurrection day!

3. And in Nauvoo, the city where
The Temple cheered the brave,
Hundreds of faithful Saints have found
A cold, yet peaceful grave;
And there they now are sleeping
Beneath the silent clay;
But soon they’ll share the glories
Of a resurrection day!
Of a resurrection day!
But soon they’ll share the glories
Of a resurrection day!

Lyrics from Songs of Zion, 1908 (no. 162)

1. When first the glorious light of truth
Burst forth in this last age,
How few there were with heart and soul
T'obey it did engage;
Yet of those few how many
Have passed from earth away,
And in their graves are sleeping
Till the resurrection day!

2. How many on Missouri's plains
Were left in death's embrace,—
Pure honest hearts, too good to live
In such a wicked place;
And are they left in sorrow
And doubt to pine away?
Oh, no; in peace they're sleeping
Till the resurrection day!

3. And in Nauvoo, the city where
The Temple cheered the brave,
Hundreds of faithful Saints have found
A cold, yet peaceful grave;
And there they now are sleeping
Beneath the silent clay;
But soon they'll share the glories
Of a resurrection day!

4. Our Patriarch and Prophet too
Were massacred; they bled
To seal their testimony,
They were numbered with the dead.
Ah, tell me, are they sleeping?
Methinks I hear them say,
“Death's icy chains are bursting!
'Tis the resurrection day!”

5. And here, in this sweet, peaceful vale,
The shafts of death are hurled,
And many faithful Saints are called
T'enjoy a better world.
And friends are often weeping
For their friends who pass away,
And in their graves are sleeping
Till the resurrection day.

6. Why should we mourn because we leave
These scenes of toil and pain?
O happy change! the faithful go
Celestial joys to gain;
And soon we all shall follow
To realms of endless day,
And taste the joyous glories
Of a resurrection day.

Lyrics from Latter-day Saints Psalmody, 1889 (no. 303; p. 390)

  • Note: This only had the first three verses
1. When first the glorious light of truth
In this last age burst forth,
How few there were with heart and soul
Could feel its real worth.
Yet of those few how many
Have passed from earth away,
And in their graves are sleeping
Till the Resurrection day.

2. How many on Missouri's plains
Were left in death's embrace.—
Pure, honest hearts, too good to live
In such a wicked place.
And are they left in sorrow
And doubt to pine away?
Oh no, in peace they're sleeping
Till the Resurrection day.

3. And in Nauvoo, the city where
The Temple cheered the brave,
Have hundreds of the faithful found
A cold yet peaceful grave;
And there they now are sleeping
Beneath the silent clay;
But soon they'll share the glories
Of a Resurrection day.

References

  1. Stories of Latter Day Saint Hymns Their Authors and Composers, by George D. Pyper, p. 27
  2. BIOGRAPHY: Augusta (Joyce) Crocheron; State of Utah
  3. Trials of Discipleship: The Story of William Clayton, a Mormon, 1987, By James B. Allen, p. 263