To Nephi, Seer of Olden Time

Joseph L. Townsend*

To Nephi, seer of olden time,
A vision came from God,
Wherein the holy word sublime,
Was shown an iron rod.

While on our journey here below,
Beneath temptation's power,
Through mists of darkness we must go,
In peril every hour.

And when temptation's power is nigh,
Our pathway clouded o'er,
Upon the rod we can rely,
And heaven's aid implore.

And, hand o'er hand, the rod along,
Through each succeeding day,
With earnest prayer and hopeful song,
We'll still pursue our way.

Afar we see the golden rest
To which the rod will guide,
Where, with the angels bright and blest,
Forever we'll abide.


Hold to the rod, the iron rod;
'Tis strong, and bright, and true;
The iron rod is the word of God,
'Twill safely guide us through.

*Joseph L. Townsend (1849-1942), born in Pennsylvania, gained a good education at the University of Missouri and the Agricultural College of Missouri. In 1872, ill health sent him west to Salt Lake City. Six months later he joined the Church. He became principal of Payson High School. A business leader in Payson for a number of years, he also served as a teacher of penmanship at Brigham Young Academy at Provo and later as a manual training teacher in Salt Lake High School. He wrote a great number of hymns still sung by the Latter-day Saints. The iron rod, imaged here is one of Mormondom's important symbols. It is drawn from Lehi's vision in the Book of Mormon.

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