Eliza R. Snow (1804-1887), writer of this hymn text, grew up in Mantua, Ohio, a town located only four miles from Hiram, Ohio, where Joseph Smith took up residence for a time. During that period, her family became very interested in the new Church he had organized. Her parents and sister joined first, then Eliza, and then her brother, Lorenzo, who later became the 5th President of the Church.
Eliza’s parents put great stock in education and Eliza was a star pupil. She was an accomplished poet even before she joined the Church. Later, as a member of the Church, she became known as “Zion’s Poetess.” She wrote hundreds of poems, some of which were set to music, becoming beloved hymns of our faith. Some of these include: “Great is the Lord;” “Again We Meet Around the Board;” “Awake, Ye Saints of God, Awake!” “How Great the Wisdom and the Love;” “The Time Is Far Spent;” “In Our Lovely Deseret;” “Though Deepening Trials;” “Behold the Great Redeemer Die;” “Truth Reflects Upon Our Senses” and “O My Father.”
Eliza was the first secretary of the Relief Society organization when it was formed in Nauvoo in 1847, with Emma Smith as President. Eliza served as secretary for the three years following and took copious notes of the organizational process, as directed by the prophet Joseph Smith. Later, she used these notes to re-establish the Relief Society in the Utah Territory. She was called as the second General Relief Society president in 1868 and spent many years travelling around Utah helping Bishops establish Relief Societies in their wards. She served as General President of the Relief Society until her death in 1887.
No one knew better than Eliza R. Snow the trials faced by the early members of the Church. She was there facing them too. She was one of the first women to leave Nauvoo in the bitter cold of February, 1846. Childless herself, she helped others with their families. She helped the sick and assisted new mothers. She wrote poems of consolation to those who had lost loved ones and kept a daily journal. One of her journal entries records: “I saw a funeral train following to its wilderness grave, a little child of Brother Gurley. It was a lonely sight—my feelings truly sympathize with those who are call’d to leave their dear relatives by the way.” (Ensign 1973)
“Though Deepening Trials” is a hymn of encouragement and faith. I was surprised at first to note that it is marked to be sung “Cheerfully,” but such was Eliza’s attitude. Some excerpts include:
“Though deepening trials throng your way, press on, press on, ye Saints of God!
“Though tribulations rage abroad, Christ says, ‘In me ye shall have peace.’
“This work is moving on apace… The ‘little stone,’ must fill the earth.”
Our trials are different than those she faced, but we can certainly look to the example of Eliza R. Snow in bearing them with faith, hope and good humor.
Congregation Choir Arrangements
Our Congregation Choir arrangements add a beautiful, alternate accompaniment to the original SATB found in the hymnbook. This alternate accompaniment could be used with the SATB for a piano/organ duet accompaniment for the entire congregation or for a large choir. It could also be used alone as a more embellished accompaniment for a solo singer or group, or just to enjoy as a piano solo.
Listen to our arrangements below. You will first hear just the organ doing the introduction. The piano joins in on the first verse and then the countermelody (vocal in one; violin in the other) joins in for the second demonstration verse.
“Though Deepening Trials” with vocal countermelody. PURCHASE HERE.
“Though Deepening Trials” with instrumental countermelody. PURCHASE HERE.