Text: NAOMI W. RANDALL
Music: MILDRED T. PETTIT
Tune Name: CHILD OF GOD
Arrangement: MATTHEW P. SELBY
© 1957 Intellectual Reserve, Inc
On writing her lyrics, Naomi Randall (1908-2001) explained: “....I got down on my knees and prayed aloud, pleading that our Heavenly Father would let me know the right words. Around 2:00 A.M. I awakened and began to think about the song. Words came to my mind….I immediately got up and began to write the words down as they had come to me. Three verses and a chorus were soon formed. I gratefully surveyed the work, drank of the message of the words, and returned to my bedroom where I knelt before my Father in Heaven to say ‘Thank you!’”
Today her lyrics joined with music by Mildred T. Pettit (1895-1977) maybe the most well-known, most often sung, and most revered hymn within the church.
Originally the end of the chorus read, “Teach me all that I must know / To live with him some day.” Spencer W. Kimball, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the time, approached Naomi Randall, expressed his love for the song, and asked if she would consider changing the line that says ‘Teach me all that I must know’ to ‘Teach me all that I must do.’ Naomi said, “Of course I gladly accepted his suggestion.”
“I wondered why I didn’t include that thought at the time the lyrics were first written. But as time went on I came to feel very sincerely that this was the way the Lord wanted the song to evolve, because it became a teaching moment for members all over the Church and impressed upon their minds that knowing the gospel is not all that is required; it is the day-by-day doing the Lord’s will and keeping the commandments that help us reach our eternal goal.”
Kayla (right) and Coral Hampton (left) in the studio as guest vocalists on "I Am a Child of God"