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Mormon Hymns Highlight: How Great Thou Art

By Mormon.org

God is an all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful God. He created our universe and directed the creation of everything in it, from the sun and the moon to the mountains, lakes, and animals. He also created your spirit.

 “How Great Thou Art,” a Christian hymn included in the Mormon hymn book, honors and thanks Heavenly Father and Jesus for all of the marvelous creations we enjoy.

Who Wrote "How Great Thou Art"?

Stuart K. Hine wrote the text for this hymn. He was born in Great Britain in 1899. He served in the armed forces and then was called into the evangelistic ministry. He served in Poland, Russia, and Czechoslovakia as a missionary.

In 1933, Hine and his wife were in Ukraine as Christian workers and singers. It was during this mission trip that Hine first heard the Russian translation of a poem that inspired him to write “How Great Thou Art.”

In addition to his work as an English missionary, Hine conducted gospel campaigns, published several songbooks, and wrote numerous gospel songs. “How Great Thou Art” is his most recognized Christian composition. Hine was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1994.

What's the History behind This Hymn?

Hine received inspiration for this hymn from another work, “O Store Gud,” a nine-stanza poem written by Swedish preacher Carl Boberg.

While visiting a gorgeous country estate on the southeast coast of Sweden, Boberg got caught up in a midafternoon thunderstorm. He saw fierce flashes of lightning and heard booming thunder. But soon after, the skies cleared, and he saw the sun and heard a church bell off in the distance.

After this experience, Boberg fell to his knees in humility and worshipped God—then soon after he penned “O Store Gud,” which means “O Great God.” He turned to Psalm 8 for additional inspiration, hoping the words of his poem could capture just how glorious God is.

Although the poem was originally written in Boberg’s native Swedish, Hine first heard “O Store Gud” translated in Russian. His own desire to write similar lyrics in English came when he was in the Carpathian Mountains in Russia.

The first verse came to him while he was stuck in a village schoolmaster’s home during a storm. The second verse came to him as he was walking the mountain frontier into Romania and Bukovina and he heard birds singing in the trees. He wrote the third verse after talking with some Carpathian mountain residents.

He didn’t write the fourth verse until after World War II. Hine heard many European refugees who had made their way to Britain for safety ask when they could go home. As a reverend, he thought about this question in terms of returning to our heavenly home, and that’s when the fourth verse for “How Great Thou Art” came about.

The lyrics for “How Great Thou Art” cannot be included in this article due to licensing restrictions, but this beloved hymn may be found as #86 in the LDS hymnal.