Every latter-day saint should have a favorite hymn- a heavenly tune that can appropriately calm or inspire them depending on their current challenge. For me, it was “Come, Come Ye Saints” that carried me through the occasional but necessarily struggles that accompany preparing for a mission, serving a mission, and surviving college and work and marriage and raising teenagers. Don’t get me wrong- I’ve generally been a happy man most of my days- as a missionary, student, husband, father, and breadwinner- but on the roller coaster of life, we all need help to avoid being thrown out of our seats and plunging to our spiritual death. “Come, Come, Ye Saints” has faithfully served as the safety belt/bar keeping me on the track.
My Mormon Third Eye often takes advantage of the quiet stillness of Sunday afternoons recovering from the spiritual feast of church meetings to ponder on life’s personal gospel mysteries. For decades I’ve wandered and pondered about the why behind “Come, Come Ye Saints.” I’m acquainted in very deep and personal ways with its awesome power to inspire me via messages of sanctified endurance leading to ultimate victory over hardship and evil. However, the hymnbook is packed with similar anthems that move the willing soul to seek higher spiritual plains via refining fires. What it is about THIS song? What makes it so special to me?
The answer came just a few weeks ago, not on Sunday afternoon but a Thursday evening in the Raleigh North Carolina Temple. It was my great-great-great-grandmother Elizabeth Xavier Tait. The one who married a church member stationed in Poona, India as a British officer; who was baptized there in 1852; who sent her husband before her to set up a homestead in Southern Utah, then barely survived crossing the plains on her own as a member of the ill-fated Willie and Martin Handcart Companies. That one (you can read more about her here.) She has been trying to speak to me from the spirit world via that song for decades, but I haven’t been ready to listen until now. She has been silently moving me along the vicissitudes of life, standing by me through the rough spots through the words of a song that so adequately summarize her own struggles. I know that “Come, Come Ye Saints” was a favorite pioneer trail song. I can’t confirm that she actually sang it, but I know that she lived it.
So what is her message to me? I’ve got your back. Hang in there. The work is worth it. And please, do the work for my friends here on the other side of the veil.
“Tis better far for us to strive our useless cares from us to drive; Do this, and joy your hearts will swell- All is well! All is well!