Louis F. Mönch (1847-1916) was born in Germany, the eleventh of sixteen children. He emigrated to America at the age of 10 with his father and some of his other siblings. Initially, he worked as a tanner in Chicago but had a very strong desire to gain more education. After completing night classes, he took a job as a teacher in California, but only got as far as Utah. The kindness of the Latter-day Saints there so impressed him that he stayed and joined the church, becoming superintendent of Weber County Schools. Brother Mönch left this fine job to embark on a mission to the German-speaking saints of Europe. While in Switzerland, he translated many hymns and wrote some original ones. “Hark, All Ye Nations!” was the favourite. Even today, it is perhaps the most beloved hymn of German-speaking members of the Church in Switzerland, Austria and Germany. He used the foot-stomping music of a hymn by American George F. Root called “Come to the Savior” and adapted the lyrics. Upon his return to Utah, Brother Mönch became the founder and principal of Weber Stake Academy, now Weber State University.
Brother Mönch is something of a poster child for the message of this hymn. He had first-hand knowledge of living in a land where the gospel light did not shine brightly. “Searching in darkness, nations have wept.” He had known that darkness and knew how gloriously shines “the gospel light of truth and love… that lights every land today.”
D&C 133:37 “And this gospel shall be preached unto every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.”
Listen to our arrangement with vocal countermelody:
Listen to our arrangement with flute/violin countermelody: