Sacred Music: Eliza R Snow and A Mother There
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.”