Sister Donvito’s lesson on Lorenzo Snow

Timeline for Lorenzo Snow

Lorenzo Snow was small and slender in appearance. He stood five feet, six inches tall, weighed 140 pounds, and had tranquil gray eyes and a full beard. He was a scholar, schoolmaster, missionary, legislator, cooperative leader, financier, temple worker, and prophet. He had a profound effect upon Latter-day Saints and non-Mormons alike, with his heavenly countenance and sweet, gentle dignity. Meeting him for the first time, a Protestant minister said, “I was startled to see the holiest face I had ever been privileged to look upon…. The strangest feeling stole over me, that I stood on holy ground.” Another minister said, “The tenor of his spirit is as gentle as a child. You are introduced to him. You are pleased with him. You converse with him, you like him. You visit with him long…, you love him”

So this is the Prophet we are going to be learning about this year.  What do we know about him?  Want to know? (the experiences he had that shaped him into the man he was, different revelations he had for the church/members).

  •  Born in Mantua, Ohio on April 3, 1914.  He was raised on a farm that he took over running at the age of 14.  Through this he learned the “importance of hard work and the disgrace of wasted time”.  He was raised in a house rooted in scripture study and prayer.  He was known for his orderliness and precision and longed to have a career in the military.


  • Went to college in Ohio.  He was invited by his sister, Eliza, to come to Kirtland to attend a newly organized school and study Hebrew.   Eliza had joined the church and was living in the Prophet Joseph Smiths home as a tutor for his children.  Lorenzo joined her, and after meeting the Prophet Joseph Smith and other church members, became baptized (1836)

(story 1) About two weeks after he was baptized, Lorenzo Snow went to a grove of trees to pray for a greater testimony. He wrote: “I had no sooner opened my lips in an effort to pray, than I heard a sound, just above my head, like the rustling of silken robes, and immediately the Spirit of God descended upon me, completely enveloping my whole person, filling me, from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet, and O, the joy and happiness I felt! … I then received a perfect knowledge that God lives, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and of the restoration of the holy Priesthood, and the fullness of the Gospel”


  • Giving up his plans for further formal education, Lorenzo set out on a series of missions for the Church in early spring 1837, first to the Mantua area, where he baptized some of his friends and relatives, and then to other Ohio counties before returning to Kirtland. In 1838 the Snows joined the Saints in Missouri, and Lorenzo left for another mission, this time to Illinois and Kentucky. While the Saints settled Nauvoo, Lorenzo went as a missionary to England.

(story 2) While serving in Ohio, Lorenzo had a dream one night in which he saw an angry mob attacking him in a schoolhouse.  The next day, two well-dressed men came to him and asked him to come to a schoolhouse where a crowd was waiting to hear his message.  Remembering the dream, Lorenzo refused to come.  They tried harder to get him to come, but Lorenzo would not.  They finally left, shouting angry words at him.  Lorenzo later learned that a mob had been waiting for him at the school.  They weren’t waiting to hear him preach, however.  They were waiting to attack him.  One of the men who were waiting to attack him got contact with his pockets and felt what he thought was a pistol, informed the other members of the mob and they left him alone. The man had felt a pocket Bible given to him by Joseph Smith as a “weapon of protection”.

  • 1844-  Helped run the Prophet Joseph Smiths Presidential campaign.  This assignment was short lived due to the marterdom of Joseph Smith.  He returned to Nauvoo with a saddened heart.
  • Although he initially did not wish to marry, as he felt it would slow down his abilities in building the kingdom, Lorenzo did indeed marry, 4 times.  In accordance with the revelation on plural marriage, Snow married Charlotte Squires, Mary Adaline Goddard, Sarah Ann Prichard, and Harriet Amelia Squires 1945- Age 31


  • The Saints left Nauvoo due to persecution, and headed West to Utah.  The Snows traveled for a year to get there.


  • On February 12, 1849, Lorenzo Snow was ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the age of 34.

(story 3) On February 12, 1849, Lorenzo Snow received a message that he was to attend a meeting of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He immediately stopped what he was doing and went to the meeting, which was already in session. On the way, he wondered why he had been called before the Quorum of the Twelve. He was puzzled—had he been accused of wrongdoing? Knowing that he had been faithful in doing his duty, he dismissed that worry. But he could not imagine what was in store for him. When he arrived, he was surprised to learn that he had been called to serve as a member of the quorum.


  • At the October 1849 conference, Elder Snow was assigned to open the Italian mission, but also ended up serving in England, Switzerland, and France.  His mission lasted 3 years.

He had a difficult time in Italy because of religious persecution, and the inability to preach in public.  They had a break through when: The elders boarded with the Grey family. On the morning of September 6, 1850, they learned that little three-year-old Joseph Grey was critically ill. Elder Snow related:

( Story 4) I went to see him in the afternoon, death was making havock of his body his former healthy frame was now reduced to a skeleton, and it was only by close observation we could discern he was alive. As I reflected on our situation…my mind was fully awakened to a sense of our position. For some hours before I retired to rest, I called upon the Lord to assist us at this time”.

On the following morning, Elders Snow and Stenhouse fasted and went to the mountains to pray. As they left the house, they saw Mrs Grey sobbing and Mr Grey saying, “He dies, he dies.” In the mountains the two elders called upon the Lord in solemn prayer, requesting Him to spare the life of the child.

The elders returned that afternoon, annointed the child with consecrated oil, and blessed him to be restored to health. The child was healed and with in 2 weeks a branch of the church as organized in Italy.

  • President Young gave Lourenzo a challenging new assignment:  to become the  leader of a new community in Box Elder County, Utah, 60 miles north of Salt Lake  City.  The settlement would later be known as Brigham City.  He worked  hard to improve life in Brigham City.  He started a public school system, a  theater company, and businesses of all kinds, and Brigham City soon became a  busy, happy community.  He worked in this capacity for 9 years.


  •  Called to serve a mission in Hawaii.  There, an apostate church member was reorganizing the church according to his own ideas.  He was charging the native Hawaiians money to make their advancements in the Priesthood.  Lorenzo was sent for a short 3 months to help fix this problem.  (Story 5)On the boat ride to Maui, their boat capsized.  The other passengers were fine, but were unable to find the submerged Lorenzo for 15 minutes.  After an hour of the other trying to resesitate him, one man felt impressed to use mouth to mouth resesitation, which at the time was an unknown rescue skill.  Lorenzo  miraculously recovered from this terrifying experience.



  • After all these missions abroad, still more were to come. Eight years later, Elder Snow accompanied George A. Smith, a member of the First Presidency, and others to Palestine, where, on the Mount of Olives, they blessed the land to be fruitful and dedicated the country for the return of the jews. In 1885 he served a short-term mission among the Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest.


  • Shortly after his return to Utah, Snow was tried and imprisoned for violation of the 1882 Edmunds Act, which prohibited the practice of polygamy. The territorial governor, Caleb W. West, promised amnesty if he would renounce plural marriage, but Elder Snow replied, “I thank you, Governor, but having adopted sacred and holy principles for which we have already sacrificed property, home and life on several occasions,…we do not propose, at this late hour, to abandon them because of threatened danger” (Romney, p. 381). He remained in prison for eleven months before being released under mandate of the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • In his patriarchal blessing he received through Joseph Smith at the age of 22, Lorenzo was told “If expedient the dead shall rise and come forth at thy bidding”.  This was fulfilled in 1891 when he restored life to a young woman, Ella Jensen, after she had been dead for two hours.


(story 6) in March 1891, when he was serving as President of the Quorum of the Twelve, he was speaking at a conference in Brigham City. In the middle of his discourse, a note was placed on the pulpit. An eyewitness said that he “stopped his talking, read the note and then explained to the Saints that it was a call to visit some people who were in deep sorrow.” He asked to be excused and stepped away from the pulpit.

The note was from a Brigham City resident named Jacob Jensen. It said that Jacob’s daughter Ella had died that day after a weeks-long bout with scarlet fever. Brother Jensen had written the note simply to inform President Snow of the death and to ask him to arrange for the funeral. But President Snow wanted to visit the family immediately, even though that required him to cut his talk short and leave a meeting where he presided. Before President Snow left the meeting, he called for Rudger Clawson, who was then president of the Box Elder Stake, to accompany him.

Jacob Jensen recounted what happened when President Snow and President Clawson arrived at his home:

“After standing at Ella’s bedside for a minute or two, President Snow asked if we had any consecrated oil in the house. I was greatly surprised, but told him yes and got it for him. He handed the bottle of oil to Brother Clawson and asked him to anoint Ella. [President Snow] was then mouth in confirming the anointing.

“During the administration I was particularly impressed with some of the words which he used and can well remember them now. He said: ‘Dear Ella, I command you, in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, to come back and live, your mission is not ended. You shall yet live to perform a great mission.’

“He said she should yet live to rear a large family and be a comfort to her parents and friends. I well remember these words. …

“… After President Snow had finished the blessing, he turned to my wife and me and said: ‘Now do not mourn or grieve any more. It will be all right. Brother Clawson and I are busy and must go, we cannot stay, but you just be patient and wait, and do not mourn, because it will be all right.’ …

“Ella remained in this condition for more than an hour after President Snow administered to her, or more than three hours in all after she died. We were sitting there watching by the bedside, her mother and myself, when all at once she opened her eyes. She looked about the room, saw us sitting there, but still looked for someone else, and the first thing she said was: ‘Where is he? Where is he?’ We asked, ‘Who? Where is who?’ ‘Why, Brother Snow,’ she replied. ‘He called me back.’”69

When Ella had been in the spirit world, she had felt such peace and happiness that she had not wanted to return. But she obeyed the voice of President Snow. From that very day, she comforted family members and friends, helping them understand that they did not need to mourn for their loved ones who had died.70 Later she married, had eight children, and served faithfully in her Church callings.71

  • During the April 1889 general conference, Lorenzo Snow was sustained as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He became the first president of the Salt Lake Temple in 1893


  • On September 13, 1898, at age eighty-four, he was sustained as the fifth President of the Church. Worried about his advanced age, he pleaded for a manifestation of divine will.  President Snow’s granddaughter, Allie Young Pond, shared the following story:

(Story 7) “One evening while I was visiting grandpa Snow in his room in the Salt Lake Temple, I remained until the door keepers had gone and the night-watchmen had not yet come in, so grand-pa said he would take me to the main front entrance and let me out that way. He got his bunch of keys from his dresser. After we left his room and while we were still in the large corridor leading into the celestial room, I was walking several steps ahead of grand-pa when he stopped me and said: ‘Wait a moment, Allie, I want to tell you something. It was right here that the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to me at the time of the death of President Woodruff. He instructed me to go right ahead and reorganize the First Presidency of the Church at once and not wait as had been done after the death of the previous presidents, and that I was to succeed President Woodruff.’

“Then grand-pa came a step nearer and held out his left hand and said: ‘He stood right here, about three feet above the floor. It looked as though He stood on a plate of solid gold.’

“Grandpa told me what a glorious personage the Savior is and described His hands, feet, countenance and beautiful white robes, all of which were of such a glory of whiteness and brightness that he could hardly gaze upon Him.

“Then he came another step nearer and put his right hand on my head and said: ‘Now, grand-daughter, I want you to remember that this is the testimony of your grand-father, that he told you with his own lips that he actually saw the Savior, here in the Temple, and talked with Him face to face'”

  •  By 1898 the Church owed $2.3 million, an overwhelming burden of debt considering its resources. The major cause of debt was the U.S. government’s escheat of Church properties.Most of the Church’s assets, including tithing funds, had been seized by federal agents.  President Snow pondered and prayed for guidance about how to free the Church from its debilitating debt. In May 1899 he felt prompted to travel to St. George, Utah, with other Church leaders. Although he did not know why they needed to go, he and his brethren responded to the prompting quickly. Lorenzo received a spiritual manifestation: “This is the answer to our financial problems. Even though as a Church we are heavily in debt, I say unto you that, if this people will pay a full and honest tithing, the shackles of indebtedness will be removed from us”. Carrying this message to the Saints throughout the territory, he stimulated a renewed commitment to tithing, and the Church’s debt problems were resolved before he died.  Orsen F Whitney stated: “The effect of the movement was instantaneous. Tithes and offerings came pouring in with a promptness and plenitude unknown for years, and in many ways the Church’s condition improved and its prospects brightened. President Snow had previously possessed the love and confidence of his people, and now these good feelings were increased and intensified.”
  • Suffering from declining health, President Snow died of pneumonia in the Beehive House, the residence of the President, on October 10, 1901. At the time of his death, there were 50 stakes and 292,931 members in the Church, an increase of 10 stakes and 25,680 members during his three-year presidency.  Heber J Grant stated: “Lorenzo Snow came to the presidency of the Church when he was eighty-five years of age, and what he accomplished during the next three years of his life is simply marvelous to contemplate. … In three short years this man, beyond the age of ability in the estimation of the world, this man who had not been engaged in financial affairs, who had been devoting his life for years to laboring in the Temple, took hold of the finances of the Church of Christ, under the inspiration of the living God, and in those three years changed everything, financially, from darkness to light.”

What did we learn about Pres. Snows Character?


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