All Is Well…: The Story of “the Hymn That Went around the World”

The hymn “All Is Well,” or “Come, Come, Ye Saints” as it is commonly referred to, composed on Locust Creek in April 1846, has an interesting history. Although the song was popular with the Mormon pioneers, obscurities in its history need clarification. There have been some misconceptions about the motivation for composing the hymn. Also relevant to its composition is the apparent influence of an old English song, “All Is Well.” Finally, the exact location of the Mormon camp on Locust Creek has never been identified, creating a question as to whether the song was composed in Iowa or Missouri. This paper will examine these problems in an effort to increase the reader’s understanding of the history of this great hymn that was a marching song for the Mormon pioneers and is a hymn sung today by Mormons around the world as well as by members of other faiths. William Clayton, the composer of “Come, Come, Ye Saints,” was one of thousands of exiles forced from their homes in Nauvoo, Illinois. In early spring of 1846 this group moved westward across Iowa en route to a new, more tolerant home. William, an early convert to Mormonism in Great Britain, was baptized by Heber C. Kimball in the River Ribble on 21 October 1837 and served as a counselor in the British mission presidency. On 8 September 1840 he and his family left their beloved England to make a new home in Nauvoo.

Published in BYU Studies Quarterly 21:4
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