Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

Why Was “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” Not Included in the Current Hymnbook?

"Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing," from the opening session of general conference, April 2, 2016

During the opening session of the April 2016 general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir closed with a fan favorite, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” (view video above). As soon as the session was over, requests came pouring in for the video. What make this even more interesting is that the hymn was actually left out of the newest edition of our hymnbook, published in in 1985.

The reason for the hymn's omission from the 1985 hymnbook isn’t completely clear, but a recent Salt Lake Tribune article gives some interesting information on the topic: “The most famous deletion was ‘Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,’ which committee members suspect would still be little-remembered among Mormons had not Mack Wilberg published his celebrated arrangement just a couple of months later.” It may have seemed like months, but Wilberg’s arrangement was actually published in 1993, several years after the 1985 hymnbook. This composition is one of his most celebrated works and has been sung by various choirs over the years. Watch a moving performance of the song by the Aeolians of Oakwood University at the Oakwood University Church in Huntsville, Alabama.

The arrangement published of "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" in older hymnbooks was simpler than Wilberg's arrangement we are used to hearing at general conference and it was among the rarely sung hymns in many LDS congregations at the time the 1985 edition was published. Something else to consider is the fact that over 6,000 hymns were submitted for consideration to be included in the hymnbook, and with room for just over 300 hymns, the LDS Church’s General Music Committee followed the Spirit in selecting hymns to include. Michael Moody, who was over the committee, said, "We had a very clear understanding of what our role was. The new book was to serve a worldwide community of Latter-day Saints. Foremost, it was to be a source of spiritual nourishment, not a museum piece for the artistically inclined."

Despite its omission from the current hymnbook, "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" is more popular today than ever. 

Here are the lyrics as sung in Wilberg’s arrangement, which can be found on the album Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing: American Folk Hymns & Spirituals.

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing (Lyrics)

Come, thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace.
Streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet sung by flaming tongues above;
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it, mount of thy redeeming love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by thy help I come,
And I hope by thy good pleasure safely to arrive at home.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.

Jesus sought me when a stranger wandering from the fold of God.
He, to rescue me from danger, interposed His precious blood.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.

O to grace, how great a debtor, daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy goodness like a fetter bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.
Seal it for thy courts above.


Watch a 2007 video of Mack Wilberg conducting "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing," with the BYU combined choirs and orchestra: