Lorenzo Snow

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Lorenzo Snow
Lorenzosnow.jpg
5th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
September 13, 1898 (1898-09-13) – October 10, 1901 (1901-10-10)
PredecessorWilford Woodruff
SuccessorJoseph F. Smith
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
April 7, 1889 (1889-04-07) – September 13, 1898 (1898-09-13)
End reasonBecame President of the Church
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
August 29, 1877 (1877-08-29) – September 13, 1898 (1898-09-13)
End reasonBecame President of the Church
Assistant Counselor in the First Presidency
May 9, 1874 (1874-05-09) – August 29, 1877 (1877-08-29)
Called byBrigham Young
End reasonDissolution of First Presidency upon death of Brigham Young
Counselor in the First Presidency
June 8, 1873 (1873-06-08) – May 9, 1874 (1874-05-09)
Called byBrigham Young
End reasonCalled as Assistant Counselor in the First Presidency
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
February 12, 1849 (1849-02-12) – June 8, 1873 (1873-06-08)
Called byBrigham Young
End reasonCalled as Counselor in the First Presidency
LDS Church Apostle
February 12, 1849 (1849-02-12) – October 10, 1901 (1901-10-10)
Called byBrigham Young
ReasonReorganization of [First Presidency; excommunication of Lyman Wight[1]
Reorganization
at end of term
Hyrum M. Smith ordained
Personal details
BornLorenzo Snow
(1814-04-03)April 3, 1814
Mantua, Ohio, United States
DiedOctober 10, 1901(1901-10-10) (aged 87)
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Resting placeBrigham City Cemetery
41°30′10″N 112°00′28″W / 41.5028°N 112.0078°W / 41.5028; -112.0078 (Brigham City Cemetery)
SpouseCharlotte Squires
Mary Adaline Goddard
Sarah Ann Prichard
Harriet Amelia Squires
Eleanor Houtz
Caroline Horton
Mary Elizabeth Houtz
Phoebe Amelia Woodruff
Sarah Minnie Ephramina Jensen
Children42
Signature 
Signature of Lorenzo Snow
 
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Lorenzo Snow
Lorenzosnow.jpg
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5th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
September 13, 1898 (1898-09-13) – October 10, 1901 (1901-10-10)
PredecessorWilford Woodruff
SuccessorJoseph F. Smith
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
April 7, 1889 (1889-04-07) – September 13, 1898 (1898-09-13)
End reasonBecame President of the Church
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
August 29, 1877 (1877-08-29) – September 13, 1898 (1898-09-13)
End reasonBecame President of the Church
Assistant Counselor in the First Presidency
May 9, 1874 (1874-05-09) – August 29, 1877 (1877-08-29)
Called byBrigham Young
End reasonDissolution of First Presidency upon death of Brigham Young
Counselor in the First Presidency
June 8, 1873 (1873-06-08) – May 9, 1874 (1874-05-09)
Called byBrigham Young
End reasonCalled as Assistant Counselor in the First Presidency
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
February 12, 1849 (1849-02-12) – June 8, 1873 (1873-06-08)
Called byBrigham Young
End reasonCalled as Counselor in the First Presidency
LDS Church Apostle
February 12, 1849 (1849-02-12) – October 10, 1901 (1901-10-10)
Called byBrigham Young
ReasonReorganization of [First Presidency; excommunication of Lyman Wight[1]
Reorganization
at end of term
Hyrum M. Smith ordained
Personal details
BornLorenzo Snow
(1814-04-03)April 3, 1814
Mantua, Ohio, United States
DiedOctober 10, 1901(1901-10-10) (aged 87)
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Resting placeBrigham City Cemetery
41°30′10″N 112°00′28″W / 41.5028°N 112.0078°W / 41.5028; -112.0078 (Brigham City Cemetery)
SpouseCharlotte Squires
Mary Adaline Goddard
Sarah Ann Prichard
Harriet Amelia Squires
Eleanor Houtz
Caroline Horton
Mary Elizabeth Houtz
Phoebe Amelia Woodruff
Sarah Minnie Ephramina Jensen
Children42
Signature 
Signature of Lorenzo Snow

Lorenzo Snow (April 3, 1814 – October 10, 1901) was the fifth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1898 to his death. Snow was the last president of the LDS Church in the nineteenth century.

Family[edit]

Snow was the fifth child and first son of Oliver Snow (18 September 1775 Massachusetts - 17 October 1845 Illinois) and Rosetta L. Pettibone (22 October 1778 Connecticut - 12 October 1846 Illinois), residents of Mantua Township, Ohio, who had left New England to settle on a new and fertile farm in the Connecticut Western Reserve. Lorenzo had siblings Leonora Abigail Snow (1801–1872), Eliza R. Snow (1804–1887), Percy Amanda Snow (1808–1848), Melissa Snow (1810–1835), Lucius Augustus Snow (born 1819) and Samuel Pearce Snow (born 1821).

Despite the labor required on the farm, the Snow family valued learning and saw that each child had educational opportunities. Lorenzo received his final year of education at Oberlin College, which was originally founded by two Presbyterian ministers. Snow later made his living as a school teacher when not engaged in church service.

Introduction to Mormonism[edit]

The Snow home in Mantua, Ohio.

In 1831, Joseph Smith, Jr., the Latter Day Saint prophet, took up residence in Hiram, Ohio, four miles from the Snow farm. The Snow family were Baptists, but soon took a strong interest in the new religious movement. Snow recorded that he heard the Book of Mormon being read in his home in Mantua and met Smith at Hiram in 1831. By 1835, Lorenzo's mother and his older sister Eliza Roxcy Snow, had joined the Latter Day Saint church. Eliza soon moved to the church headquarters in Kirtland, Ohio, and worked as a school teacher. She, in her biography of Lorenzo, claims to have fostered his interest in Mormonism while he was at Oberlin. She invited Lorenzo to visit her and attend a school of Hebrew newly established by the church. During his visit there, in June 1836, Lorenzo was baptized by John F. Boynton, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Early church service[edit]

While living in Kirtland in 1837, Snow was called to serve a short mission in Ohio, traveling "without purse or scrip." He recorded that relying on the kindness of others for his meals and lodging was difficult for him, as he had always had sufficient means to care for himself. When he returned to Kirtland in 1838, Snow found Smith's followers in turmoil over the failure of the Kirtland Safety Society. Snow and the members of his extended family chose to move to Missouri in the summer of 1838 and join the Latter Day Saints settling near Far West. Snow became seriously ill with a fever, and was nursed for several weeks by his sister Eliza.

On his recovery, Snow left for a second mission to Illinois and Kentucky in the fall of 1838. He served there through February 1839, when he learned that the Latter Day Saints had been expelled from their settlements in Missouri. He traveled home by way of his former mission area in Ohio. He was again taken ill and was cared for by members of the church. He remained in Ohio, preaching and working with church members until the fall of 1839. During the school year of 1839–40, Snow taught in Shalersville, Ohio. He sent money to his family, which had by then settled in Nauvoo, Illinois. He joined them in May 1840.

Shortly after he arrived in Nauvoo, Snow was again called to serve an active mission, this time to England. After an unpleasant sea voyage from New York City, Snow met with some of the members of the Twelve Apostles who had opened the British Mission in 1839, including Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Parley P. Pratt. He worked briefly in the Manchester area, and had success in Birmingham, where he baptized people in Greet's Green and organized a branch in Wolverhampton. Snow was then assigned to preside over church members in London. During his administration, church membership in the city increased from 100 to approximately 400 members. He was released from his mission by Pratt, who by then was president of an expanding European Mission. Snow arrived home on April 12, 1843, bringing with him a shipload of 250 British converts.

After visiting with his family, Snow again secured a teaching position for the winter, teaching at Lima, Illinois, thirty miles from Nauvoo. In late spring 1844, he returned to Ohio, preaching and baptizing new converts and distributing recent church publications to members. He was working in Cincinnati, Ohio when he learned of the assassination of Joseph Smith. Snow closed his Ohio mission and promptly returned to Nauvoo.

During the period of disorganization and schism that followed Smith's death, Snow chose to follow the Quorum of the Twelve under Brigham Young. In 1845, Snow was involved in work in the Nauvoo Temple.

Wives and children[edit]

Before leaving Nauvoo, Snow accepted the principle of plural marriage and took two wives. Later, he took 7 more.

Migration to Utah[edit]

Snow and his family, with wagons and livestock, joined a group of emigrants and moved across the Mississippi River into Iowa in February 1846. On the way west, Snow again became ill and the family stopped at Mt. Pisgah, Iowa. Three Snow children were born at the Mormon refugee settlement, but one child did not survive. Snow was called to preside over the church organization in Mt. Pisgah and actively raised money to assist the bands of emigrants in their move west. The Snow family moved on to the Salt Lake Valley in 1848.

Call to the Twelve and missions abroad[edit]

In 1849 Snow was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He was called the same day as Franklin D. Richards, Erastus Snow (a distant cousin), and Charles C. Rich. They were called to fill vacancies caused by the re-establishment of the First Presidency and Lyman Wight's apostasy.

Shortly after his call to the Twelve, Snow left on a mission to Italy and French-speaking Switzerland. He later sent missionaries under his direction to India (1849–1852). Snow was directly involved in missionary work in Italy and Switzerland, and also visited Malta. He had planned to visit India, but various circumstances prevented this journey.

Snow began his mission in Italy among the Waldensians, an ancient sect of Christians who inhabited three valleys in the Italian Alps known as the Piedmont Valleys. (Waldensianism predates the Reformation by several hundred years and is completely separate from Catholicism.) Snow and his companions Joseph Toronto, Thomas Stenhouse, and Jabez Woodard initially had very little success in converting the Waldensians to Mormonism. However, after healing a three-year-old boy named Joseph Gay, they began to find converts. In the end, more than 150 Waldensians converted to Mormonism, and 70 eventually emigrated to Utah.

Snow also discovered the hymn "The Mountain Christians" while serving the people of the Piedmont Valleys. This poem was later modified and re-titled as "For The Strength of The Hills." It has remained in the LDS Church's hymnal for more than 100 years.[5][6][7][8]

In 1851, Snow published a pamphlet entitled "The Italian Mission"[9] about his and his companions' efforts in Italy. It was published in London.

Snow wrote a pamphlet entitled "The Voice of Joseph" in 1850 to advance missionary work in the Italian mission. He was unable to find anyone in Italy to translate it so sent it to Orson Pratt, then the president of the British Mission, who eventually found someone in Paris to translate it.

In January 1851, Snow went to England and found a person there whom he hired to translate the Book of Mormon into Italian.[10]

The efforts of missionaries under Snow, especially the ones he sent to Turin, inspired an article attacking the Mormon missionaries for undermining the Roman Catholic Church in the Turinese paper, L'Armonia. Snow and his successors were unsuccessful in the cities also due to opposition to their activities by the government of Camillo Cavour.[citation needed]

Activities in Utah[edit]

On his return to Utah, Snow founded a society called the polysophical society to conduct study into the various aspects of human knowledge. He encouraged church members of all ages to join and some view this organization as a predecessor of the Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association.

In 1853, under the direction of church president Brigham Young, Snow brought additional settlers to Brigham City, Utah. Settlement had begun on a limited scale at this site under the name "Box Elder." Snow changed the name and moved the community towards living up to its name. He was also a key backer of the Brigham City Cooperative, which was the inspiration for ZCMI and other cooperatives.

In 1864, Snow was sent on a mission to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaiian Islands). He went on this mission with Ezra T. Benson and Joseph F. Smith. They were responding to messages from Jonatana Napela and other Hawaiian church members about the irregular administration of the church by Walter Gibson. While here, Snow was seriously injured but was healed through the ministration of holders of the priesthood.[11]

Some[who?] accused Snow of engineering the election of Thomas Kearns, his friend and a wealthy Catholic to the United States Senate in 1901. However it may have been a shrewd decision to help ensure statehood for Utah by electing a non-Mormon.[12]

Political offices[edit]

Snow was first elected to the Utah Territorial Council, the upper house of the territorial legislature, in 1855. He started out serving for Weber County along with Lorin Farr. At that point, Weber County encompassed all of Utah north of Davis County. By 1857, Box Elder County, Cache County and the short-lived Malad County were added to the area Snow and Farr represented. In 1863, Weber and Box Elder Counties were broken off from Cache County (Malad County was by then defunct) and made a single-representative district, with Lorenzo Snow remaining as their lone councilmember. (Ezra T. Benson had replaced Farr as the other councilor in 1861; he was a resident of Cache County and remained the other councilor after the district was split.) In 1872, Snow became the president of the council. He held this position for through the end of 1881. In 1882, Snow remained a member of the council but he was succeeded as president by Joseph F. Smith. In 1884, Snow was succeeded as a member of the council by Franklin S. Richards.[13]

Other activities[edit]

Activities in Idaho[edit]

As the church expanded into the surrounding states, members of the Quorum of the Twelve would be sent to other states of assignment.

In 1888, Snow went to Rexburg, Idaho. While here he told the leaders of the stake that Karl G. Maeser had been appointed Commissioner of Church Education and recommended that they form a stake academy. The local leaders followed Snow's instructions and the institution they formed eventually evolved into Brigham Young University–Idaho,[14] formerly known as Ricks College.

Snow in the U.S. Supreme Court[edit]

Snow was the subject of a United States Supreme Court case regarding polygamy prosecutions under the Edmunds Act. In late 1885, Snow was indicted by a federal grand jury for three counts of unlawful cohabitation. According to his indictments, Snow had lived with more than one woman for three years. The jury delivered one indictment for each of these years, and Snow was convicted on each count. After conviction he filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the federal district court which convicted him. The petition was denied, but federal law guaranteed him an appeal to the United States Supreme Court. In Ex Parte Snow[15] the Supreme Court invalidated Snow's second and third convictions for unlawful cohabitation. It found that unlawful cohabitation was a "continuing offense," and thus that Snow was at most guilty of one such offense for cohabiting continuously with more than one woman for three years.

Actions as church president[edit]

The first notable action of Lorenzo Snow as president of the church was that he organized the First Presidency almost immediately after Wilford Woodruff's death, instead of waiting years as his predecessors had.

As he began his tenure as president, Snow had to deal with the aftermath of legal battles with the United States over the practice of plural marriage. Men engaging in plural marriage were still being arrested and confined in Utah Territory. Some members of the LDS Church did not accept the 1890 Manifesto put forth by Wilford Woodruff, and there was a strong division of opinion on plural marriage even in the priesthood hierarchy of the church.

The LDS Church was also in severe financial difficulties, some of which were related to the legal problems over plural marriage. Snow approached this problem first by issuing short term bonds with a total value of one million dollars. This was followed by emphatic teaching on tithing. It was during this time that the LDS Church officially adopted the principle of tithing—being interpreted as the payment of 10 percent of one's income—as a hallmark of membership. In 1899, Snow gave an address at the St. George Tabernacle in St. George, imploring the Latter-day Saints to pay tithes of corn, money or whatever they had in order to have sufficient rain.[16] After much patience and faith, it rained in southern Utah.[16] For the remainder of his tenure, Snow emphasized tithing in his sermons and public appearances.[16] By April 1907, the members' practice of paying a tithe eliminated the church's debt.[16]

Snow died of pneumonia in Salt Lake City, Utah, and was succeeded in the church presidency by Joseph F. Smith.

LDS doctrine[edit]

Snow is credited with succinctly summarizing the LDS doctrines of exaltation and eternal progression, in his often repeated couplet: "As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be."[17][18]

Portrayal in film[edit]

The role of Lorenzo Snow was played by Francis L. Urry in the LDS Church made film The Windows of Heaven.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Snow, Charles C. Rich, Erastus Snow, and Franklin D. Richards were ordained on the same day to fill four vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
  2. ^ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=131218748
  3. ^ http://www.geni.com/documents/view/surname-2600?doc_id=6000000014726098065&mode=tagged
  4. ^ Dates verified via a photo of Sarah Jensen's gravestone. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=14075476&PIpi=6013988[better source needed]
  5. ^ Mormon Historic Sites Foundation
  6. ^ Maxwell Institute For Religious Scholarship BYU
  7. ^ Harold B. Lee Library Digital Collections
  8. ^ Christianity Today Library
  9. ^ http://www.bellasion.org/PDF/TheItalianMission.pdf
  10. ^ Il Libro di Mormon: Anticipating Growth Beyond Italy's Waldensian Valleys - Maxwell Institute JBMS
  11. ^ See Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow.
  12. ^ Malmquist, O.N.:The First 100 Years, pp..
  13. ^ Utah State Archives list of Utah Territorial Legislature members
  14. ^ Public Relations Office – BYU–Idaho
  15. ^ 120 U.S. 274 (1887)
  16. ^ a b c d "Chapter 12: Tithing, a Law for Our Protection and Advancement", Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow (Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS Church, 2011).
  17. ^ Lund, Gerald N. (February 1982), "Is President Lorenzo Snow’s oft-repeated statement—“As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be”—accepted as official doctrine by the Church?", I Have a Question, Ensign 
  18. ^ Millet, Robert L.; Reynolds, Noel B. (1998), "Do Latter-day Saints believe that men and women can become gods?", Latter-day Christianity: 10 Basic Issues, Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, ISBN 0934893322, OCLC 39732987, "President Snow often referred to this couplet as having been revealed to him by inspiration during the Nauvoo period of the church. See, for example, Deseret Weekly, 3 November 1894, 610; Deseret Weekly, 8 October 1898, 513; Deseret News, 15 June 1901, 177; and Journal History of the Church, Historical Department, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, 20 July 1901, 4." 

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Wikisource logo Works written by or about Lorenzo Snow at Wikisource

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles
Preceded by
Wilford Woodruff
President of the Church
September 13, 1898–October 10, 1901
Succeeded by
Joseph F. Smith
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
April 7, 1889–September 13, 1898
Succeeded by
Franklin D. Richards
Preceded by
Charles C. Rich
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
February 12, 1849–September 13, 1898
Succeeded by
Erastus Snow
Preceded by
Wilford Woodruff
Superintendent of the
Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association

1898–1901
Succeeded by
Joseph F. Smith