Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

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The Story Behind “I Know My Father Lives” by Reid Nibley

In 1969, former Tabernacle organist Robert Cundick and members of the Sunday School and Primary general boards began preparing a new children’s book for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. According to the book’s preface, members of the Church were encouraged to submit new music for consideration for the new songbook, which came to be titled Sing with Me.

One of the songs that was included in Sing with Me is the simple testimony-building song “I Know My Father Lives,” which is also included in the current Children’s Songbook and the 1985 hymnbook. According to the book Our Latter-day Hymns: The Stories and the Messages, Cundick sent composer Reid Nibley a letter requesting a song for the new children’s songbook and gave Nibley several categories to choose from. “I was immediately drawn to ‘Testimony,’” described Nibley. The music and lyrics flowed quickly, but Nibley thought the song was too simple, so he started adding additional notes and complicating it. “After two weeks of struggling with it, I began to erase all the excess notes, and soon it emerged in its original form.”

When Sing with Me was near completion, Cundick followed up with Nibley to see if he had anything for the book, noting that if he didn’t have anything at that time, it wouldn’t be included in the book. “He [Nibley] came forward with ‘I Know My Father Lives,’ which was a wonderful song,” recalled Cundick. 

Nibley confirmed, “I have been deeply touched when I have heard children sing this little song. I have the feeling that it no longer belongs to me, but it is the most worthwhile thing I have ever done.”

I Know My Father Lives (Lyrics)

I know my Father lives and loves me too.
The Spirit whispers this to me and tells me it is true,
And tells me it is true.

He sent me here to earth, by faith to live his plan.
The Spirit whispers this to me and tells me that I can,
And tells me that I can.