Relief Society Lesson: More on the Life and Ministry of Lorenzo Snow

I love this lesson series. I love the different approaches different writers take, and the insights they have  that I’d miss on my own. Most of all, I love that it exists. So of course the first place I went to prepare for teaching this lesson was EmilyCC’s post on the introduction to the Lorenzo Snow manual. She listed some great references, so I started reading.

And I kept reading. And kept reading. Here’s the bottom line: Lorenzo Snow was fascinating. I had a great reaction from my lesson today, and even though I’ll bet you’ve all covered this part of the manual in your Relief Society lessons already, I want to share my notes just because I’m so in awe of the man. (Just please remember that they’re notes, and if you rudely point out grammatical or style errors I will send my peeps after you.)

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Relief Society Lesson: The Life and Ministry of Lorenzo Snow

I think there’s a lot to be hopeful about in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow manual. First of all, it’s encouraging to see notations like this one:
“President Snow often used terms such as men, man, or mankind to refer to all people, both male and female. He frequently used the pronouns he, his, and him to refer to both genders. This was common in the language of his era. Despite the differences between these language conventions and current usage, President Snow’s teachings apply to both women and men.”

I’d like to think that this gives us a bit of license to demonstrate what gender inclusive language would look like when working with this text.

We also see in Lorenzo Snow’s timeline that two of his wives are mentioned. We’ll see a few more in Chapter 5, which is an improvement…Brigham Young’s first two wives are the only ones mentioned in his manual and the second one is his wife after the first one’s death. Sadly, President Snow’s last five wives are not mentioned anywhere in the manual. I hope we’ll see continue to see more of our prophets’ wives and their stories woven into these manuals in the future.

I am thrilled to see that Eliza is mentioned and cited frequently in her brother’s manual—she’s in nearly every chapter (want to use her and him in relation to Relief Society more? Don’t forget to use Daughters in My Kingdom as a companion to this Teachings of Presidents of the Church manual.)

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Sacred Music: Eliza R Snow and A Mother There

Eliza and MotherThis image is one that will be in the upcoming EXPONENT II COLORING BOOK (look for it later this year).

It is Eliza Roxcy Snow writing her famous hymn: “O My Father”.  Eliza had many roles and callings in the early church including 2nd President of the Relief Society, sister to the Prophet Lorenzo Snow, plural wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith and she was called the Prophetess of the Church by some.  She was also known throughout the region as a poet.

“In Nauvoo, she gained distinction as a Mormon poet [through her] featured [work] in local newspapers … and was called “Zion’s Poetess”.  She wrote 10 of the hymns in our current hymn book including some of my favorites:

  • How Great the Wisdom and the Love
  • In Our Lovely Deseret (sung with great fervor by the Elders on my mission)
  • The Time is Far Spent (another beloved song from mission days)
  • Truth Reflects Upon Our Senses

And, of course, the hymn she is perhaps most known for: O My Father.  This is a beautiful hymn written in 1845, a year after Joseph’s death, directed to our heavenly parents.  This direction is precicely what makes it so well known – it names both our Father and our Mother in Heaven.

Today on Mother’s Day, I pay tribute to both of these women who represent different kinds of mothers.

1. Heavenly Mother created our spirits and gave us life in a heavenly sense. In an earthly reflection of this creation, our mother’s here give life to our physical bodies. I honor the mother of my spirit and the mother of my body.  My earthly mother is good and kind and caring.  She gave me my body and has stayed near me on life’s journey to guide me and love me. This gift has come at a personal sacrifice to her.  Earthly mothers everywhere give of their body, blood, and heart to bring us into the world. A beautiful calling.

2. Eliza Snow did not bare children, but she has been a women of great influence and mentored many.  She used her spiritual gifts well and did great things for the Kingdom of God. This emulation of womanhood can also be called Mother. I honor Eliza, this pioneer Mother who went before me.  I also honor the many women who mentored me and loved me now. I consider them mothers to my spiritual journey.

Today,  I love both “the mother who bore me and the many mothers who bare with me.”

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Relief Society Lesson 7: Joseph Smith, An Instrument in the Hands of the Lord

Relief Society Lesson 7: Joseph Smith, An Instrument in the Hands of the Lord

Traduction en français/Click for French Translation


As I prepared this lesson an inspired tangent led me to delightful readings from the Church History Department on the first sister missionaries and their role in testifying of Joseph Smith and the restored gospel. The trying experiences of ETB in England illustrate the need for sister missionaries. I have used his experiences as a launching point for a deeper discussion of women as instruments in the hands of the Lord and the origins of sister missionaries. I have provided links and resources from the Church History Department to help you share the lives of Elizabeth McCune, Inez Knight, Jennie Brimhall, and Flora Benson (if you have time). Throughout the lesson, I return to the topic of Joseph Smith and provide questions for a discussion tying the voices of women to a testimony of Joseph Smith.

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Relief Society Lesson 24: Reflections on the Mission of Jesus Christ


Once upon a time, Brigham Young invited everyone’s favorite brother and sister duo, Lorenzo and Eliza Snow, to go on a very special journey across the sea, with George A. Smith and a few other individuals.

The group would begin in Europe and visit places like Vienna and Rome, before very purposefully ending in Jerusalem, the Holy Land of holy lands. A letter from President Young and one of his counselors explained the reason: the city was to be dedicated and consecrated.

The responsibility was accepted and the group set off. They were gone for some time, and much of their day to day sleeping and travel was adventurous to say the least, and unpleasant to say a tiny bit more. (For instance, there were at least “twenty-nine days of tent life and twenty-one days of riding on horseback,” all while Eliza was “in her seventieth year!”).

Throughout it all, the travelers sent letters back across the sea to friends and loved ones. Lorenzo’s primarily detailed the things that he saw and experienced. That is, until he got to Jerusalem. There he wrote about the things that he felt–particularly concerning his Savior, Jesus Christ, and the mission of his Savior, Jesus Christ.

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