Are you planning a funeral or memorial service for someone who was a passionate member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? If so, you may want to plan a service that honors their religious convictions.
There are many ways to do so. For example, if you’re planning on reading a poem during the service, you may want to limit your options specifically to Mormon funeral poems.
Don’t worry if you’re not sure where to start. This list of LDS funeral poems will help you find one ideal for your goals.
Some of these poems overtly focus on the teachings of the Mormon church. Others are merely touching works from LDS poets. Regardless, all are options worth keeping in mind.
1. "On Life, Loss, and Angels" by Susan Noyes Anderson
While poetry can absolutely capture our feelings in gorgeous ways, some people feel poems can be too cryptic at times. Maybe you don’t want to worry that someone in attendance may misinterpret the message of the poem you recite.
Consider reading “On Life, Loss, and Angels” by Susan Noyes Anderson if so. In plain but effective language, it encourages the reader to appreciate the way their LDS beliefs give them strength when coping with a loss or similar difficulty. There’s very little chance the poem’s meaning will be lost on anybody.
2. “Lord, We Ask Thee Ere We Part” by George Manwaring
Although you could recite “Lord, We Ask Thee Ere We Part” as a poem, it’s technically a hymn. Keep it in mind if you’re also looking for LDS funeral songs.
The lyrics are fairly simple and don’t directly address the topic of death. Instead, they invoke God to guide His LDS followers throughout their lives. However, because it does involve making such a request in the context of a parting of ways, it could serve as a message of hope to those mourning a loved one’s passing. Its emphasis on the power of faith can remind funeral attendees that their religious convictions can help them overcome sorrow.
3. “My Father in Heaven” by Eliza R. Snow
“My Father in Heaven” may be the most popular work from noted LDS poet Eliza R. Snow. Like many of the poems on this list, Snow didn’t write it specifically to serve as an LDS funeral poem, but it certainly qualifies.
The poem’s speaker is asking a higher power to confirm their belief that they resided with other loved ones in Heaven before they were born, and will return to them after their passing. Such a belief can bring tremendous comfort to mourners attending a funeral.
4. “Want Song” by Lance Larsen
“Want Song” is not a traditional LDS funeral poem, but its author, Lance Larsen is a prominent LDS poet and professor at Brigham Young University.
However, because this poem doesn’t include much religious language, it’s an option you may choose if you want to honor the deceased’s memory by reading a poem from an LDS poet, but you’re not comfortable reading one that’s overtly religious in nature. Given the poem’s themes, it’s a particularly worthy option to keep in mind if you’re planning a memorial service after the death of your wife.
5. “A Widening View” by Carol Lynn Pearson
LDS poet Carol Lynn Pearson offers this simultaneously simple and mysterious poem that explores, among other themes, how some of life’s lessons involve loss. As we continue to grow and learn, our view (as the title implies) widens, and we learn to more clearly understand and accept the nature of existence.
We also learn to appreciate that there will always be wisdom yet to cultivate. Some find that’s an important message to think about when struggling with grief.
Join Cake's monthly newsletter.
Learn all you need to know about end-of-life.
6. “Where Can I Turn for Peace?” by Emma Lou Thayne
“Where Can I Turn for Peace?” is another hymn that you can recite as a poem or sing, depending on your comfort level.
This poem very honestly addresses the feelings of pain that all human beings may face in life. Such feelings are naturally common among those attending a funeral. However, the hymn ends on an optimistic note, describing how the Lord will never stop offering peace to followers who genuinely seek it out.
7. “The Coming of Winter” by Clinton F. Larson
This poem is an option to consider if you don’t want to recite one that’s particularly long for fear of becoming too upset to finish. Its few lines employ gorgeous descriptive language to evoke the sorrowful feelings some associate with both the arrival of winter and a loved one’s death.
Like “Want Song,” although its author was an LDS poet, the poem itself doesn’t address religion, which again, may be a quality that’s important to you for various reasons.
8. “Elect of Elohim” by Orson F. Whitney
“Elect of Elohim” is an epic traditional LDS poem that may be far too long to recite in its entirety at a funeral. However, you could recite an excerpt.
The poem employs metaphors to describe how the crucifixion of Jesus “dissolved the bands of death,” granting “the ransomed soul” access to “those heights beyond the stars.” As with many of the best LDS funeral poems, it offers a spiritual message of hope.
9. “Your Luck is About to Change” by Susan Elizabeth Howe
In this poem, contemporary LDS poet Susan Elizabeth Howe meditates on the worries many of us have when life is going reasonably well. We fear that any range of unexpected occurrences or tragedies could rob us of our happiness.
That’s a worry anyone mourning a deceased loved one knows all too well. Luckily, the poem is ultimately optimistic. Its speaker decides that, while she can allow worry to preoccupy her, she’d prefer to focus her attention on life’s joys and her hopes for a happier future.
10. "Approaching Infinity" by Neil Aitken
If you’re looking for an LDS funeral poem to recite after the death of a father, consider this option. Although the poem focuses on a father who is aging, it touches on the fact that the aging process brings a father closer to death, and thus, further away from his children.
The poem strikes a unique balance. It’s not necessarily the most hopeful or optimistic LDS funeral poem, but it doesn’t wallow in grief. You might recite it to acknowledge your feelings of sorrow in an honest but delicate manner.
11. “A poem for my brothers and sisters” by Joanna Brooks
Joanna Brooks helped outsiders regularly learn more about LDS culture and beliefs with her column Ask Mormon Girl. She also celebrated the religion in her poetry.
Consider this poem. It may be an ideal LDS funeral poem if most of the mourners in attendance are active members of the church. It describes the pride they feel in their shared heritage, while also touching on more intimate themes, telling the reader “You are worthy of being loved” and “You are worthy of being grieved.” It’s easy to understand why someone might choose to recite such a poem at a funeral.
12. “Love Is” by Susan Noyes Anderson
The last poem on this list is another simple but touching offering from Susan Noyes Anderson. It describes how love “lives on in heart and mind” and “extends beyond the clouds.”
At a funeral, such a poem could express the idea that, while the deceased may no longer be with you, your love for them will never die. Therefore, they never truly will either.
LDS Funeral Poems: Expressing What We Can’t
Funeral poems can help us express emotions we otherwise struggle to put into words ourselves when we’re grieving. If the person you’re grieving was a devout Mormon, consider reciting one of these poems during their service.