Text: SUSAN EVANS MCCLOUD
Music: K. NEWELL DAYLEY
Tune Name: I WOULD FOLLOW THEE
Arrangement: CEDRIC DENT
© 1985 Intellectual Reserve, Inc
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
I John 4:21
And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
Susan Evans McCloud (b. 1945) expressed the need for “a song on brotherly love and compassion, on the need to be Christ-like in our treatment of others.”
“I tried to think back to the occasions most precious to me when I obtained my own testimony of the Savior’s sacrifice for us and of my Heavenly Father’s personal love. I wanted the song to have both tenderness and conviction.”
She remembered her younger sister’s fifth child who had been born with Down Syndrome.: “Sarah was delicate and beautiful, with dark black hair and deep, deep eyes. Her condition was critical because she had a heart defect which would require surgery if she was to live, but she had to become old enough and strong enough to survive the operation. She did not make it, but died gently, almost imperceptibly, in her mother's arms. The day following Sarah's death I went with my sister to shop for some things she needed, including a little locket for the baby to be buried with. As we walked through the mall, my heart ached. I longed to run ahead and say to each sales clerk we were approaching, ‘I know we just look like two young women out shopping, but her baby died yesterday. Please be kind to her.’ Some were kind, and some weren't. But the experience had a lasting impact upon me. For years afterward I would watch people — look into the face of a man or woman who was being rude or impatient on the highway, at a store counter or waiting in a line. I would think: How do I know what they are going through? Maybe they found out they have cancer, or lost their job. Or perhaps someone they love very much has just died. What is happening inside, what burdens they are struggling to bear, do not show in their faces — any more than it had shown in my sister's and mine.”
This is the spirit of the hymn; being Christ-like with all people at all times; acting as he would act, following His example and showing love to our neighbor.
Composer K. Newell Dayley (b. 1939) points out that, musically, measures one and two are the reverse of measures nine and ten. Its tune is simple and easy to remember and leads up to the refrain, the decision: “Lord, I would follow thee.”