By Kent Larsen
'I am a Child of God' Author Naomi Randall Dies
LA MESA, CALIFORNIA -- Naomi Randall, longtime leader in the LDS Church's
primary organization and author of what is arguably the most beloved LDS
hymn, died Thursday, May 17th at her daughter's house in La Mesa,
California. Sister Randall said that the lyrics for 'I am a Child of God'
came to her in answer to prayer about writing a new song for Primary General
Conference. The song has since moved beyond the Primary to be used in all
LDS services, not just those for children. Sister Randall was 92.
Sister Randall received the assignment to write the song in 1957 from
Primary President Leonore Parmley as the Primary's General Board prepared
for the Primary General Conference that year. Sister Randall went home in
contemplation, and retired after praying about it. In the early hours of the
night, Sister Randall awoke, and the words of the song came to her mind. She
wrote them down, gave a prayer thanking God for them, and went back to
sleep. In the morning, she read them to Sister Arta Hale, counselor to
Sister Parmley, who approved them, saying, "My goodness girl, they give me
goose bumps. Send them off."
In the years since 1957, the words remain unchanged, except for a suggestion
by then-Apostle, Elder Spencer W. Kimball, who wanted the chorus to read
"teach me all that I must do" instead of "teach me all that I must know."
Years later, as LDS Church President, Kimball jokingly called 'I am a Child
of God,' "the song that Sister Randall and I wrote."
Naomi Ward Randall was born October 5, 1908, the third of six children born
to Lorenzo and Mary Barker Ward in rural North Ogden, Utah. She married Earl
A. Randall, a prominent businessman in banking and food processing. In the
1940s she was called to serve on the Primary General Board, where she served
for 27 years before she was called to serve as second counselor in the
Primary Presidency for six years.
That service included years of writing articles, poems bible stories and
activities for children published in the Church's magazines for children,
The Children's Friend, which later became simply "The Friend." Those stories
included a series about Barnabee Bumbleberry and his dog, Blinker, which
Sister Randall authored over a period of 13 years. Her son-in-law, Thomas
Oakes, says that her Primary works fill four large volumes. Sister Randall
was also the chair of the Primary committee that invented the CTR ring.
Even after she was released from Church service, Sister Randall continued to
write new song lyrics and poetry, including a song titled "Return with
Honor," which is scheduled to be sung at her funeral. In 1980, she served a
mission to the Washington DC Temple.
Within the last year, her family has established the website,
IAmAChildOfGod.org, which honors Sister Randall and her song. The family
asks that personal stories about the influence of the song be sent to them
through the address or the form available on the website. A scholarship
fund, the Naomi W. Randall Poetic Arts Scholarship Fund, has also been
established in her honor.
Mormon hymn writer dead at the age of 92
Ogden UT Standard-Examiner 21May01 P2
By JaNae Francis: Standard-Examiner staff
Naomi W. Randall
Salt Lake Tribune 21May01 P2
Naomi Randall, Author of Beloved LDS Hymn 'I Am a Child of God,' Dies at Age 92
Salt Lake Tribune 20May01 P2
Naomi Randall, hymn writer, dies
Deseret News 20May01 P2
I am a Child of God