Lesson 17: Lorenzo Snow Served God and His Fellowmen

"Lesson 17: Lorenzo Snow Served God and His Fellowmen," The Presidents of the Church: Teacher’s Manual, (1996)


From studying the life of Lorenzo Snow, class members will desire to serve the Lord by serving their fellowmen.


  1. 1.

    See that each class member has a copy of the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants.

  2. 2.

    Prepare to show the picture of Lorenzo Snow in the color section.

  3. 3.

    Before class draw “Lorenzo Snow’s Life—Path of Service” map on the chalkboard.

  4. 4.

    Assign four class members to give reports on incidents in the life of Lorenzo Snow. Photocopy or hand copy the reports from the lesson and ask the class members to give the reports in their own words if possible.

  5. 5.

    Prepare to show the picture of the soldier found in the lesson.

Suggested Lesson Development



Draw only the path and label on the chalkboard (see sample illustration). During the lesson you will fill in the spaces with examples from the life of Lorenzo Snow. The beginning chalkboard should look like this:

Lorenzo Snow’s Life—Path of Service

The completed chalkboard, after you have added information during the lesson, will look like this:

Lorenzo Snow’s Life—Path of Service

Loved learning

Sought a conversion to the truth

Followed the Spirit of the Lord

Showed kindness, compassion, and sympathy to everyone

Served faithfully all his life


Today we are going to study about the fifth President of the Church and learn something of his love and service to God and his fellowmen.

Picture and chalkboard

Hold up the picture of Lorenzo Snow and ask: Who is this?

All who enter this mortal world travel a “path.” Today we are going to follow the path Lorenzo Snow took during his life.

Lorenzo Snow’s Early Life Prepared Him for Service

Example and discussion

Read or tell in your own words the following from Lorenzo Snow’s early years. Ask the class the questions that follow to stimulate discussion.

Lorenzo Snow was born 3 April 1814 in Mantua, Ohio. Although he was born into a religious family, Lorenzo seems to have been relatively unconcerned about religion in his early life. As a youth, he had been taught by his parents to be responsible, sympathetic, and tolerant. Their home was open to representatives of any church. He had also developed a deep love for books and learning. (See Thomas C. Romney, The Life of Lorenzo Snow [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1955], pp. 16–18.)


Write in block 1 Loved learning.

Early in his life Lorenzo wanted to become a soldier. The Snow family had for generations counted military men of “renown” among their number. “The glittering uniforms of the men in the service of their country and the stirring [military] music electrified [him]. … His devoted sister, Eliza R., fearful that such a career would lead him into … battle [and] a tragic death, pled with him … to change his mind” (Romney, The Life of Lorenzo Snow, p. 19). Eliza, however, made his uniform for him and Lorenzo wore it through his military career, which progressed until he received a lieutenant’s commission from the governor of Ohio.

Picture, discussion, and chalkboard

Show the picture of the soldier from the manual.

  • What values do you think Lorenzo received from his boyhood experiences and his military service? (Answers might include such things as sympathy, discipline, tolerance, responsibility, loyalty.)

Write one or more of these answers in block 2 of the path.

Lorenzo Snow Goes to Kirtland

God helps us gain testimonies. He did this for Lorenzo Snow. Listen for clues as to how Lorenzo Snow developed a genuine desire to gain a testimony and to serve others. (Tell the following example in your own words.)


Lorenzo completed his studies at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, and was not impressed with the religion (Presbyterian) that was taught there. His mother and sister Leonora had accepted Mormonism in 1831, and his sister Eliza had joined the Church in 1835 and moved to Kirtland. There she taught in Joseph Smith’s “family school.” Knowing that Lorenzo intended to continue his study of Hebrew, she invited him to come to Kirtland to study Hebrew in the School of the Prophets. (This school was established by the Prophet Joseph Smith to further the education of some of the brethren.) Lorenzo moved to Kirtland, where he came to know the Prophet Joseph Smith.

At the close of a “blessing meeting” held in the Kirtland Temple, Lorenzo met the Prophet’s father, who was Patriarch to the Church. In his conversation with him, the Patriarch said, “‘Why, brother Snow, I discover that you are trying to understand the principles of Mormonism.’

“‘Yes,’ replied Lorenzo, ‘that was the object I had in view.’

“‘Well, do not worry but pray to the Lord and satisfy yourself; study the matter over, compare the scriptures with what we are teaching; talk with the brethren that you are acquainted with, and after a time you will be convinced that “Mormonism” is of God, and you will be baptized’” (Romney, The Life of Lorenzo Snow, pp. 24–25).


  • How might you have felt hearing the counsel of Joseph Smith, Sr., to Lorenzo? (Allow varied answers.)

  • Why was this good advice? (This is the way most people gain testimonies of the gospel [see Moroni 10:4–5].)

Finally, Lorenzo’s prayers were answered and he was convinced of the truth. In 1836 Lorenzo Snow was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


  • What word or phrase could be used to describe this step (block 3) in Lorenzo Snow’s life? (Possible answers are conversion, baptism, testimony, etc.) Write an appropriate answer in block 3.

Commitment to the Gospel Is Shown in Lorenzo Snow’s Service to God and Man


Once Lorenzo Snow gained a testimony, he wanted to do all he could to serve God, though such service called for great sacrifice.

In the spring of 1837, less than a year after being confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and after receiving the priesthood, Lorenzo Snow went on the first of many missions.

Lorenzo Teaches His Relatives

After a thirty-mile walk on the second day of his mission, Lorenzo held a meeting in the neighborhood of an uncle. This was his first attempt at speaking before an audience, and he had prayed and fasted nearly the whole day, seeking power and inspiration from the Lord. That evening he did not know what to say, but “the Holy Ghost rested mightily upon me,” he said, “filling my mind with light and communicating ideas and proper language. [He bore strong testimony of the restoration of the gospel, convincing many people.] After the second meeting,” he reported, “… I baptized and confirmed my uncle, aunt and several of my cousins, of whom Adaline was one, who [later] became my wife” (Eliza R. Snow Smith, Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Co., 1884], p. 16).


  • Why do you think Lorenzo Snow’s mission was successful? (He followed the Spirit and was dedicated.)

  • What important lessons do you think Lorenzo learned? (To rely on the Lord and to listen to the Spirit.)


Add the key words or phrases to block 4 in the path. (Possible answers might include: followed the Spirit, listened to the Lord, relied on the Lord.)

Lorenzo Snow soon developed many vital character traits that would help him later when he became President of the Church. As the next report is given, try to determine what traits these were.

Compassion for Sister Young

In the spring of 1840, Elder Snow was called on a mission to England. Before his departure he called on a number of the families of the Apostles laboring in England to take messages from them to their husbands. He found Brigham Young’s wife living in “an unfinished log hut, with a floor, and no chinking between the logs, … leaving the [family] exposed to wind and storms. … She had just returned from a long, … fruitless search for her [milk] cow, which had strayed [away] the day before and on which she much depended [to feed] her little ones. On my asking her what she wished me to say to her husband,” recalled Lorenzo, “she replied, ‘You see my situation, but tell him not to trouble, or worry in the least about me—I wish him to remain in his field of labor until honorably released.’ Her apparent poverty-stricken, destitute condition deeply stirred my sympathy. I had but little money—not sufficient to take me one-tenth the distance to my field of labor, with no prospect for obtaining the balance, and was then on the eve of starting. I drew from my pocket a portion of my small pittance, and presented [it to] her, but she refused to accept it; while I strenuously insisted on her taking, and she persisting to refuse—partly purposely, and partly accidentally, the money was dropped on the floor, and rattled through the openings between the loose boards, which settled the dispute, and bidding her good bye, I left her to pick it up at her leisure” (Smith, Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow, p. 47).


  • What character traits do you see being developed by Lorenzo Snow? (Compassion, sympathy, generosity, concern, friendship.)


Add a key word or phrase to the fifth block in the path. (Possible answers might be: kindness, sympathy, compassion for fellowmen.)

Using the Priesthood to Comfort: A Miracle

In March 1891, during the time Elder Snow was holding a stake conference in Brigham City, a fifteen-year-old girl named Ella Jensen passed away. She had suffered with scarlet fever for over a week. She knew she was going to die and said good-bye to her family. She could hear her parents and others weeping, which troubled her greatly. Her spirit entered the spirit world and remained there several hours.

While Elder Snow was speaking in conference, a note was handed to him, telling of Ella’s death. He excused himself from the meeting, saying “it was a call to visit some people who were in deep sorrow” (Romney, The Life of Lorenzo Snow, p. 413). Taking Elder Rudger Clawson with him, he accompanied Ella’s father to the Jensen home. They went to the bedroom where the girl lay dead. President Snow asked President Clawson to anoint her, and then blessed her himself, using a “‘very extraordinary expression, in a commanding tone of voice: “Come back, Ella, come back. Your work upon the earth is not yet completed.”’ …

“‘… More than an hour later, after President Snow administered to her, … she opened her eyes. She looked about the room, and [asked,] “Where is he?” [Her parents asked,] “Who?” “Why, Brother Snow,” she replied, “he called me back”’” (Romney, The Life of Lorenzo Snow, pp. 413–15).


  • What personal lessons might we learn about serving others from this experience? (Allow such varied answers as: we need to interrupt our own pursuits to fill another’s immediate needs, we can use the priesthood to be blessed and to bless others.)

Scripture discussion

Read with the class Doctrine and Covenants 42:29.

  • How can we show love for the Savior? (By serving him and keeping his commandments.)

  • How can we serve the Lord? (Read Mosiah 2:17.)


Lorenzo Snow’s life was one of service. He demonstrated again and again his willingness to fulfill whatever task the Lord asked of him. He was a man who could call on the Saints to sacrifice because his life had been a living testimony of his willingness to do the same. Add Served faithfully all his life to the chalkboard.

Testimony and Challenge

Challenge all members of the class to grow as Lorenzo Snow did. They can if they give unselfishly of their time, talent, and means to further God’s kingdom, thus furthering their own growth.

When we serve our fellowman, we too can know the Savior and his love by the greater witness of the power of the Holy Ghost.

Bear your testimony of the power of service in each of our lives.


Conclude the lesson by reading aloud Doctrine and Covenants 76:5–10 concerning the promises the Lord makes to those who serve him in righteousness.