Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

I Know That My Redeemer Lives

Samuel Medley, the author of the lyrics to “I Know That My Redeemer Lives,” was born in England, just north of London, in 1738. Although he was raised by a family of faithful Christians, Medley chose not to practice religion during much of his youth. However, in 1759 he witnessed a miracle, and it changed the course of his life.

Medley, who at that time was a member of the British navy, was aboard a ship that was engaged in heavy battle with a French ship. The fierce battle left his leg severely wounded. The wound worsened as time went on, and one day the ship’s doctor declared that the leg must be amputated to save Medley’s life. The doctor explained that if there was no improvement by the next day, he would be forced to amputate.

Medley spent that night pondering his family’s Christian teachings and praying fervently that his life and leg would be spared. The next morning, the doctor examined the leg and found that it had miraculously improved so much that amputation was unnecessary.

The miraculous healing was the catalyst for Medley’s decision to live a Christ-centered life. He went on to preach many sermons and write several religious texts.

“I Know That My Redeemer Lives” was included in Emma Smith’s 1835 hymnal as seven short verses. Later, the short verses were combined to give us the current version, which you can see below as performed by the Choir at a session of general conference.

For more information on the history behind this hymn, listen to episode 13 of the History of Hymns series on The Mormon Channel.