Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s Remarks on the Choir Singing “O Divine Redeemer”
In October 2009 at a general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stepped up to the pulpit before he was about to deliver his talk and said, “To this Choir: may they accept the thanks of everyone in this audience and all who heard them sing this choral prayer, which is surely the ultimate sermon of this or any conference of this Church and the cry of every human heart.” He then turned to the Choir and said, “Thank you. Now if I can speak I’ll try to do so.”
The Choir had just sung the hymn “O Divine Redeemer” before Elder Holland’s remarks. Following his heartfelt thanks to the Choir, he then delivered a powerfully memorable sermon on the Book of Mormon, titled "Safety for the Soul."
Charles Gounod composed the hymn in April 1893 with the original French title “Repentir,” which means to repent. It was one of his last pieces, as he died six months later. Gounod was best known for his version of “Ave Maria,” based on Johann Sebastian Bach’s Prelude in C Major
In another October general conference address in 1981, Elder Neal A. Maxwell titled his talk "O, Divine Redeemer," and even closed by quoting the following lyrics from the hymn:
Ah! turn me not away,
Receive me, tho’ unworthy, . . .
Hear Thou my cry, . . .
Behold, Lord, my distress! . . .
Thy pity show in my deep anguish! . . .
Shield me in danger,
O regard me! . . .
O, divine Redeemer! . . .
Grant me pardon, and remember not, remember not, O Lord, my sins! . . .
Help me, my Savior!