God Keep Our Land Glorious and Free

Canadian members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are unabashedly patriotic. This is evident as they prepare for and celebrate the birth of their country each year on July 1.

On Canada Day many eagerly visit the nation’s capital to participate in the festivities, listen to the concerts or watch the fireworks. Some celebrate with their families and friends in their neighbourhood parks or at yearly picnics. Others enjoy the formal traditions such as the raising of the flag, the rallies, the official talks and the commemorations. Yet no matter how they commemorate the day, most Canadians reflect on the national anthem a little more than they would have on other occasions.

Eileen Bell, a member of the Church in Edmonton, Alberta, recalls her first memories of the national anthem. She grew up in Montreal, so she watched the Montreal Canadiens with her family every Saturday night during hockey season. “Each game began with the singing of ‘O Canada’ in both English and French, so I always associate the singing of the anthem with excitement. As I learned the rest of the verses, I have always been touched by the references to God. My favourite is the fourth verse, which begins:

Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer,

Hold our dominion in thy loving care.

“And the rousing chorus, which implores God to ‘keep our land glorious and free’ as ‘O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.’”

Bell is especially moved when she sings the national anthem in a gathering of people from across the nation. “It touches my heart as we sing our national anthem, knowing we share a love of God and country. It’s a reminder of the responsibility we have to protect this wonderful land He has blessed us with and to thank Him for the privilege of living in such a magnificent country.” She recalls that at a recent nationwide Church meeting in which the anthem was sung, her eyes teared up even before finishing the first verse.

Michèle Chardonnay, a member of the Church from Montreal, Quebec, shared similar feelings of singing the national anthem. She emigrated from France 16 years ago with her family, so Canada Day is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate her new homeland.

Chardonnay says that Canada Day is a good time for Canadians to reassert their desire to do good and to be a part of Canada’s multicultural society, one in which everyone can have a place and blossom. She notes, “It is an opportunity to reflect on the heritage of our forefathers and the sacrifices they have made to allow us the freedom to express our ideas and live our faith, whatever it may be.”

Mormons believe that honour and duty to one’s country is important. Speaking about patriotism, former apostle Elder L. Tom Perry (1922–2015) said, “Let us be bold enough and strong enough to build this great community for the generation that will come after us, for we will find that when we dedicate ourselves to making this a place that will bless those that follow, then we will find the greatest joy and happiness in our lives.”

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.