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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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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Relief Society Lesson #23 The Prophet Joseph Smith

Every manual in the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church manuals has at least one lesson on Joseph Smith. Before going into the lesson, I’ll link to a few other RS lessons we’ve done here at the Exponent on Joseph Smith.

The Prophet Joseph Smith from the Spencer W. Kimball manual
The Prophet Joseph Smith, God’s Instrument in Restoring the Truth from the George Albert Smith manual
Relief Society Lesson 47: “Praise To The Man”: Latter-Day Prophets Bear Witness Of The Prophet Joseph Smith from the Joseph Smith manual

I would like to start with a quick personal story and some feelings I had while first skimming the lesson to get a sense of it.

Last year when I was meeting with my stake president to renew my temple recommend and going through the appropriate “yes” and “no” responses, there was one question where I stopped and said, “Well, I try…” The stake president looked at me and said, “I don’t want any answers other than ‘yes’ or ‘no.’” So I rephrased my answer into “yes” and was given a recommend. What was the question? “Are you honest in your dealings…?” The honesty question feels a bit like a trick question- who really is 100% honest in everything? Saying you are is obviously a lie! It’s a catch-22. I  am not honest with my fellow people at all times, though like I originally stated, I do try.

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The First Ordained Protestant Woman and Her Best Friend: the College Years

The First Ordained Protestant Woman and Her Best Friend: the College Years

One week from today, Mormon women will attend the Priesthood Session of General Conference to show support for women’s ordination.  Since January, Mormons have been studying Lorenzo Snow in Relief Society and Priesthood classes. Lorenzo Snow was educated at progressive Oberlin College, the first coeducational college in the United States of America  and served as president of the church during the suffrage movement. The timing seems ideal to remember two suffragists who also attended Lorenzo Snow’s alma mater: Antoinette Brown and Lucy Stone.

Lucy Stone sought to become a public speaker advocating for abolition and women’s rights, a scandalous plan at a time when the Biblical injunction to “let your women keep silence” (1 Cor. 14:34) was interpreted quite literally.  Antoinette Brown’s plans were even more shocking; she wanted to become a minister, although no female had ever yet been ordained a Protestant minister.

Lucy Stone was raised by strict, traditional parents who believed educating a woman would be a waste of money. When Lucy learned that a new college was admitting women, she was determined to go in spite of the lack of support from her family.  She saved for years to attend, finally obtaining enough money to enroll for one semester in 1843 at the age of 25.

At Oberlin, Lucy took several jobs with the hope of earning enough money to stay. During her first two years of college, Lucy slept little, awakening at 2 AM to study as her daytime hours were completely filled with coursework and the multiple jobs she was working to pay for her tuition and board. At her dishwashing job, she would prop her books up by the sink so she could study as she worked.

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