A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief
July 2008

“A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief,” New Era, July 2008

A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief

The words to this song (see Hymns, no. 29), written by James Montgomery, are based on Matthew 25:37–40. This hymn is special because of the role it played in the last few hours of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum’s lives. Not long before the brothers went with John Taylor and Willard Richards to Carthage in June 1844, the hymn had just been introduced in Nauvoo. As the men sat, knowing their lives were in danger, John Taylor sang it twice, as this was one of Joseph’s favorite songs, to cheer them up. Shortly after he sang it the second time, the mob attacked, murdering Joseph and Hyrum, and badly injuring John Taylor.

Painting by Del Parson