Joseph L. Townsend

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Joseph L. Townsend was a widely published poet and author of several hymns included in the 1985 Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He was born on August 9, 1849, in Pennsylvania and was educated in Missouri. He moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, to improve his health and there was taught the gospel of Jesus Christ. After he was baptized, he served a full-time mission to the Southern States. He operated a drugstore in Payson, Utah, for 15 years. He then taught at Brigham Young Academy for a few years before teaching at Salt Lake City High School.

His hymns include:

Let Us Oft Speak Kind Words (#232)
The Day Dawn Is Breaking (#52)
Choose the Right (#239)
The Iron Rod (#274)
Hope of Israel (#259)
Nearer, Dear Savior, to Thee (#99)
Reverently and Meekly Now (#185)
O Thou Rock of Our Salvation (#258)
Oh, Holy Words of Truth and Love (#271)
Oh, What Songs of the Heart (#286)

Townsend passed away on April 1, 1942, in Payson.