President Lorenzo Snow was born April 3, 1814 at
Mantua, Ohio, the eldest son of Oliver Snow and Rosetta L. Pettibone
Snow. He was a brother of the illustrious Eliza Roxey Snow, which would
later make him a brother-in-law to Joseph Smith and
later still to Brigham Young. Unlike many of the early Church leaders,
Lorenzo did not receive a testimony of the Gospel
immediately upon hearing it preached. He did not, in fact, even receive
an outpouring of the Holy Ghost after being confirmed a
member of the Church.
About two weeks after being baptized in 1835, he
retired to a grove of trees some distance from him home. He reported
that as he knelt in prayer, he heard a sound like the rustling of silk
gowns, and the Spirit descended immediately upon him. He
arose from that prayer with an unshakable testimony that would never
falter through the course of a long eventful life. The gentlereader is referred to The Greater Things Web Site for an account of this amazing experience in Lorenzo's own words.
During the winter between 1836 and 1837, Lorenzo
Snow was ordained an Elder. As soon as spring arrived and the snows
cleared enough to travel, he began his first Mission, traveling without
purse or scrip to Ohio.
He was ordained to the office of Seventy on July
17, 1840 by Joseph Young. Lorenzo Snow enjoyed perhaps the shortest
tenure in priesthood office in the history of the Church, for on the
very next day, July 18, 1840, Don Carlos Smith, younger
brother of the Prophet, ordained him a High Priest.
Elder Snow took as his first wife Mary Adaline Goddard
in 1845. She would bear him three children. Later he practiced plural marriage
taking eight additional wives.
He and his family started west with the Pioneer Company
in 1846, but illness forced them to remain on the trail in Mt.
Pisgah, (near Winter Quarters) Nebraska. It was 1848 before they were
able to travel on and join the Saints in the Great
Lorenzo Snow was ordained an Apostle February 12,
1849 by Heber C. Kimball. Lorenzo Snow served several Missions,
including England and Europe. By 1850 he was in Genoa, Italy where
he taught the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to citizens of
that area for the first time in almost two thousand years.
Lorenzo Snow proved an able and effective administrator.
Given the task of preparing a celebration in 1849 of the original
pioneer's arrival in the Great Basin, his production set the pattern
of Pioneer Day Parades and pageants that survive to this day.
He was instrumental in establishing cooperatives which proved an economic
boon the the Saints as they struggled in poverty
and isolation. The Lord was preparing his servant for his great work
as President of the Church.
Lorenzo Snow succeeded to the Presidency of the Quorum
of the Twelve Apostles in 1889 with the death of President John
Taylor and subsequent organization of the First Presidency with Wilford
Woodruff as President.
President Wilford Woodruff died on September 2, 1898.
When previous Presidents had died, it took a period of between
two to three and a half years to reorganize the new Presidency. The
Lord revealed that this was not to be and eleven days later,
Lorenzo Snow became the fifth President of the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints.
He inherited a Church which was drowning in debt,
and he pleaded mightily with the Lord for the solution. Further, the
Saints were suffering under a devastating drought. While on a trip
to Saint George to preside over a conference, it was revealed
to him that the solution to both problems lay in the Saints paying
an honest tithing on their income, Despite his age and infirmity,
he delivered a powerful and impassioned plea to the Saints. The Saint
George Saints covenanted to obey this commandment
and began to do so. President Snow visited other communities delivering
the same message. The drought was broken. The
Saints were saved from temporal disaster and slowly the Church began
to move into financial solvency.
President Lorenzo Snow died on October 10, 1901 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Saviors of the Living and the Dead
Note: This talk was delivered in 1857 in "The Tabernacle" in Salt Lake City. Since the Tabernacle with which we are familiar was not yet built, this surely refers to the Old Adobe Tabernacle. Inasmuch as Elder Snow repeatedly addresses "Brethren," we assume it was a Priesthood Meeting, and one not associated with General Conference. It is interesting that Elder Snow preaches on our responsibility to the dead at a time when the Church did not own an operating temple.
Old Adobe Tabernacle, 4 January 1857
Acting in the Name of The Lord
Note: This address was delivered by Elder Lorenzo Snow of the Council of the Twelve Apostles to the 40th Semi-annual General Conference of the Church. The Conference was held in the then newly completed Great Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City. The address is found in the Journal of Discourses, Vol.13. pp.253-59.
40th Semi-annual General Conference
Great Mormon Tabernacle
9 October 1869
The Spirit and Principles of the United Order
Ask yourself: Could you live in the spirit and principles of the United Order? We've all heard about it, but what was it really? Here is what an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ had to say on the subject. Elder Lorenzo Snow delivered this discourse to the Stake Conference of the Weber Stake on 19 October 1879 in the Weber Stake Tabernacle in Ogden, Utah Territory. The address is found in the Journal of Discourses, Volume 20, pp.361-372.
Weber Stake Conference
Weber Stake Tabernacle in Ogden
19 October 1879
A Serious Ordeal; A Godlike Resolve
Note: Herein are two talks delivered by President Lorenzo Snow to the The Sixty-ninth Semi-Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Tabernacle at Salt Lake City. President Wilford Woodruff had died a month before, and these were President Snow's first addresses as President of the Church. The first is rather short and consists only of a few opening remarks. The second is somewhat longer and deals with the burdens of being President. A worthwhile read.
69th Semiannual General Conference
Great Mormon Tabernacle
6, 8 October 1898
Prosperity due to Blessings
Note: This is the opening address of the 71st Annual General Conference of the Church delivered 1 April 1901. It turned out also to be the last time President Lorenzo Snow would speak to the Saints in a General Conference. Although he lived until the tenth of October of that year, he was too ill to attend the October Conference. The subjects included the blessings received by the Saints and an exhortation to faithfulness.
71st Annual General Conference
Great Mormon Tabernacle
1 April 1901