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Biographical overview – Lorenzo Snow (biosls ** )


A biographical overview of the life of Lorenzo Snow,
the fifth President and Prophet of the
Church of Jesus Christ

Following is a brief summary of some major events in the life of Lorenzo Snow, who served as the fifth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


  • Lorenzo Snow was born on April 3, 1814 in Mantua, Ohio to Oliver Snow and Rosetta Leonora Pettibone Snow. He was the 5th of 7 children and the 1st son. All of the seven children lived to adulthood.
  • Lorenzo received his schooling at the high school in Ravenna, Ohio and at Oberlin College, a Presbyterian institution. It was while traveling to Oberlin College that he happened to meet David W. Patten, a missionary of the Church.
  • By profession, Lorenzo was a farmer, a school teacher, and a businessman.
  • He was baptized on June 19, 1836 at age 22 by Elder John F. Boynton, one of the original 12 apostles. He was baptized in the Chagrin River near Kirtland, Ohio.
  • Elder Snow related this incredible experience which occurred shortly after his baptism: “At length, realizing that the usual time had come for secret prayer, I concluded I would not forego my evening service, and, as a matter of formality, knelt as I was in the habit of doing, and in my accustomed place, but not feeling as I was wont to feel. 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! No language can describe the almost instantaneous transition from a dense cloud of mental and spiritual darkness into a refulgence of light and 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. It was a compete baptism — a tangible immersion in the heavenly principle or element, the Holy Ghost; and even more real and physical in its effect upon every part of my system than the immersion by water; dispelling forever, so long as reason and memory last, all possibility of doubt or fear in relation to the fact handed down to us that the ‘babe of Bethlehem’ is truly the Son of God. I was perfectly satisfied, as well I might be, for my expectations were more than realized; I think I may safely say, in an infinite degree.”
  • He was ordained an elder in 1836 (age 22).
  • He served his first mission to Ohio in 1837 (age 23).
  • He served his second mission to Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, and Ohio in 1838 and 1839 (age 24-25).
  • On July 17, 1840 he was ordained a Seventy. One day later, July 18, 1840, he was ordained a High Priest.
  • He served his third mission to Great Britain from 1840 to 1843 (age 26-28). During this mission, he presented a copy of the Book of Mormon to Queen Victoria, which book is still in the library of Windsor Castle.
  • On January 17, 1845 (age 30), in obedience to the law of plural marriage, he married Charlotte Merrill Squires, Mary Adaline Stoddard, Sarah Ann Prichard, and Harriet Amelia Squires.
  • On February 12, 1849 (age 34), he was ordained an apostle by Heber C. Kimball.
  • From 1849 to 1852, he served his fourth mission to Italy, England, Switzerland, and Malta. During this mission, he supervised the translation of the Book of Mormon into Italian.
  • In 1864 (age 50) he served his fifth mission to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii). He almost drowned when a boat he was riding in capsized. His missionary companions saved his life. One of his rescuers was Alma Smith, the young boy who had his hip shot away during the Hahn’s Mill massacre.
  • He served as a counselor to President Brigham Young from 1873 to 1877 (age 59-63).
  • In 1885 he served his sixth mission to the American Indians of the northwestern United States (age 71).
  • On April 7, 1889 he was sustained as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
  • On September 13, 1898 he was set apart of the  fifth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (age 84). He chose as counselors Elders George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith.
  • In 1899 (age 85) he re-emphasized the importance of the law of tithing.
  • President Snow died on October 10, 1901 at age 87. He was buried in Brigham City, Utah.
  • President Snow resided in the following states: Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Utah.
  • He recounted a sacred experience to his granddaughter of actually seeing and conversing with the Savior, Jesus Christ, in the Salt Lake Temple.
  • He formed this inspired couplet which has found wide acceptance and use throughout the Church: “As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may become.”
  • Some of the major trials he faced during his lifetime include crossing the plains several times, getting the Church on solid financial ground, settling Brigham City, and being jailed due to the principle of plural marriage.

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