Artwork of the Week: November 15, 2021
YOU’RE A STRANGER HERE JOHN HAFEN, 1908 Gouache 50.8 x 32.4 cm (20 x 12 3/4″) (Image) Overall (Sheet): 57.2 x 36.2 cm (22 1/2 x 14 1/4″) 71.1 x 55.9 cm (28 x 22″) (Mat) Country: North America, Utah, USA Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of German E. Ellsworth.
Mormon pioneer Eliza R. Snow wrote the poem “O My Father,” in 1845 to represent the deep sense of harmony and wholeness she felt. It is a declaration of her relationship to God through primeval past, earthly present, and eternal future. The poem later became the text for the well- loved Latter-day Saint hymn by the same title. The portion of the hymn represented here is:
“Yet oft-times a secret something whispered,’ You’re a stranger here’; and I felt that I had wandered from a more exalted sphere.”
The gospel precepts described in Eliza’s poem become the personal affirmation of each one who sings the hymn. For the past 150 years, prophets and Saints have prized the simple eloquence with which ‘O My Father’ captures some of the most profound truths of the eternal gospel.
The “O My Father” booklet, first published in 1909, was illustrated by early Utah artist John Hafen.