The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow

The following quotes come from the book The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, the fifth president of the church. This was an employee gift by the First Presidency in 2012. To visit the site with all of the books and quotes from these, go here.

God

“. . .  the Spirit of God rested powerfully upon me and showed me more clearly than I can now see your faces a certain principle and its glory, and it came to me summarized in this brief sentence, ‘As man is now, God once was; as God is now, man may be.’ The Spirit of God was on me in a marvelous manner all that day, and I stored that great truth away in my mind. I felt that I had learnt something that I ought not to communicate to others. (Lorenzo Snow, Deseret Evening News, June 15, 1901. 1.)” (The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, pp. 1-2. Ellipsis mine).

“‘As God now is, man may be.’ Now, I have told you what Father Smith said to me, that I should become as great as I could want to be, even as great as God Himself. About two years and a half later, in Nauvoo, I asked Elder Sherwood to explain a certain passage of scripture; and while he was endeavoring to give an explanation, the Spirit of God fell upon me to a marked extent, and the Lord revealed to me, just as plainly as the sun at noon-day, this principle, which I put in a couplet: ‘As man now is, God once was; As God now is, man may be.’ That fulfilled Father Smith’s declaration. Nothing was every revealed more distinctly than that was to me . . . .  (Lorenzo Snow, Deseret Evening News, July 20, 1901, 22.)” (The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 2. Bold in original. Ellipsis mine).

We are capable of progressing until we reach the fulness God has promised. Now I will say what I received in vision, which was just as clear as the sun ever shone. The knowledge that was communicated to me I embraced in this couplet: ‘As man now is, God once was. As God now is, man may be.’ . . . It was preached a few years after that; at least, the Prophet Joseph taught this idea to the Twelve Apostles . . . . (Lorenzo Snow, Deseret Semi-Weekly News, Oct. 30, 1894, 1.)” (The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 2 Bold in original. Ellipsis mine).

Godhood

“Now, we are the sons and daughters of God. He has begotten us as His own image. He has given us faculties and powers that are capable of enlargement until His fulness is reached which He has promised–until we shall sit upon thrones, governing and controlling our posterity from eternity to eternity, and increasing eternally . . .  (Lorenzo Snow, Deseret Semi-Weekly News, Oct. 30, 1894, 1.)” (The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 3. Bold in original).

Our grand objective, like the Savior’s is to become like our Father. The grand [ultimate destiny] of our lives is up yonder in the other life. I had not been in the Church very long, three or four years, when it was revealed to me most perfectly, and as distinctively as any principle was ever revealed to any man, the [ultimate destiny] of man’s existence; . . . . and that was this: As Man now is, God once was. Now we can understand that . . . .We have our divinity within ourselves; we have immortality within ourselves; our spiritual organism is immortal; it cannot be destroyed; it cannot be annihilated. We will live from all eternity to all eternity. We are the children of God and are His offspring , , , (Deseret Evening News, Apr. 7, 1899, 10.)”  (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 5-6. Bold and brackets in original. Ellipsis mine).

Man can possess the same glory as God. Through a continued course of progression our Heavenly Father has received exaltation and glory, and he points us out the same path and, inasmuch as he is clothed with power, authority, and glory, he says, ‘walk ye up and come in possession of the same glory and happiness that I possess.’ . . . (Deseret News, Oct. 21, 1857, 259.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 5. Bold in original. Ellipsis mine).

Our spirit birth gave us godlike capabilities. We were born in the image of God our Father; he begot us like unto himself. There is the nature of deity in the composition of our spiritual organization; in our spiritual birth our Father transmitted to us the capabilities, powers and and faculties which he himself possessed, as much so as the child on its mother’s bosom possesses, although in an undeveloped state, the faculties, powers, and susceptibilities of its parent. (Deseret News, Jan. 24, 1872, 597.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 5. Bold in original).

Faithful husbands may become gods. I say to you sisters, your husbands, if they are faithful, will be Gods in eternity. After we have passed through the various ordeals of life and go to the other life, where our Father dwells, even the God of heaven, the promise is that we shall be like Him. (Deseret Evening News, July 20, 1901, 22.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 6. Bold in original).

Obedience and purity are requirements of godhood. That exalted position was made manifest to me at a very early day. I had a direct revelation of this. It was most perfect and complete. If there ever was a thing revealed to man perfectly, clearly, so that there could be no doubt or dubiety, this was revealed to me, and it came in these words: ‘As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be.’ This may appear to some minds as something very strange and remarkable, but it is in perfect harmony with the teachings of Jesus Christ and with His promises . . .  This is the high destiny of the sons of God, they will overcome, who are obedient to His commandments, who purify themselves even as He is pure. They are to become like Him; they will see Him as He is; they will behold His face and reign with Him in His glory, becoming like unto Him in every particular. (Deseret Semi-Weekly News, Oct. 4, 1898, 1.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, pp. 6-7. Bold in original. Ellipsis mine).

We must advance through stages to godhood. As man now is, God once was–even the babe of Bethlehem, advancing to childhood–thence to boyhood, manhood, then to the Godhead. This, then, is the ‘mark of the prize of man’s high calling in Christ Jesus.’ [See Philippians 3:14.] We are the offspring of God, begotten by Him in the spirit world, where we partook of His nature as children here partake of the likeness of their parents. . . . (Deseret News, Feb. 17, 1886, 66)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 7. Bold and brackets in original).

Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith was an extraordinary man. I had an intimate acquaintance with Joseph Smith, the Prophet, for a number of years. The position he occupied before the world and the declarations which he made were of an extraordinary character. It was a position which no individual before or since has attempted to assume. I knew Joseph Smith to be an honest man, a man of truth, honor and fidelity, willing to sacrifice everything he possessed, even life itself, as a testimony to the heavens and the world that he had borne the truth to the human family. (Millennial Star, Nov. 25, 1889, 738.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 73. Bold in original).

Mormonism

Mormonism cannot be destroyed. What have we to fear with regard to persecution and with regard to attempts that are made to destroy the principles of ‘Mormonism.’ We know they cannot be destroyed. Our enemies, if permitted, may kill the President of our Church, they may kill his Counselors, and the Twelve Apostles, they may destroy the Seventies, and even the whole of the Priesthood, but the principles of ‘Mormonism’ they cannot destroy. The principles of ‘Mormonism’ are eternal; they emanate from the God of heaven, and never can be destroyed. (Deseret News, Nov. 22, 1882, 690.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 230. Bold in original).

Those who fight against us will one day know the truth. There are thousands of people that are fighting against us who would, if they knew what we know, lay down their weapons and suppress the spirit to contend against us. The time will come when they will know it. It will not be in our day, but it will be in somebody’s day here on the earth, or on some other earth. (In Conference Report, Oct. 1899, 29.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 232. Bold in original).

Mortality

Mortality is a school of suffering and trials. We are here that we may be educated in a school of suffering and of fiery trials, which school was necessary for Jesus, our elder brother, who, the scriptures tell us, was made perfect through suffering [see Hebrews 2:10]. It is necessary that we suffer in all things, that we may be qualified and worthy to rule and govern all things, even as our Father in heaven and his eldest son Jesus. (Millennial Star, Dec. 1, 1851, 363.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 156. Bold in original).

Mother in Heaven

Women can become like our mother in heaven. You sisters, I supposed, have read that poem which my sister [Eliza R. Snow] composed years ago, and which is sung quite frequently now in our meetings [‘O My Father’]. It tells us that we not only have a Father in ‘that high and glorious place,’ but that we have a Mother too; and you will become as great as your Mother, if you are faithful. (Deseret Evening News, July 20, 1901, 22.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 9. Bold and brackets in original).

We have a mother in heaven. We are the offspring of God. He is our Father, and we have a mother in the other life as well. (In Conference Report, Oct. 1898, 56.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p 16).

Obedience

The true gospel requires works. When the Gospel dispensation was introduced, gifts and blessings were obtained upon. . . obedience to certain established rules. . . (The Only Way to Be Saved, 3.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, pp. 20-21. Bold in original. Ellipsis mine).

Our eternity depends upon our keeping the commandments now. I find in reflecting on life that this world is short compared with eternity; that our intelligence, the divinity within us, has always existed, was never created, and will always exist through all eternity. In view of these facts, it becomes us as intelligent beings, to realize that this life closes in a few days, then comes the life which is eternal; and in proportion as we have kept commandments, we have the advantage [over] those who failed to make those improvements. (Brigham City Bugler, Supplement, Aug. 1, 1891, 2.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 46. Bold and brackets in original).

We must work for our own exaltation. I cannot imagine anything that is so vastly important as to work for and obtain one’s own individual exaltation and glory. That undoubtedly is one great purpose for which we came into the world. When we lived in the other life we had no doubt some  understanding with reference to our duties in this life when we were permitted to come to this our second estate. And very likely we put ourselves under certain obligations that we would discharge certain duties devolving upon us when we came here into our second estate. And we had rendered ourselves worthy to come upon this earth for the purpose of securing those blessings that could only be obtained by observing the laws pertaining to our present estate. (In Conference Reports, Apr. 1898, 12.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 124. Bold in original).

We control our destiny. The ultimatum of our travel in this path of exaltation will bring to us the fullness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to stand in the presence of our Father, to receive of His fullness, to have the pleasure of increasing in our posterity worlds without end, to enjoy those pleasant associations that we have had in this life, to have our sons and our daughters, our husbands and our wives, surrounded with all the enjoyment that heaven can bestow, our bodies glorified like unto the Savior’s, free from disease all the ills of life, and free from the disappointments and vexations and the unpleasant sacrifices that we are making here. We portray in our minds the glories that are before us, and we know that if we are faithful there will be on disappointment in the securing of these blessings. The power to prevent us from receiving these things is not in the hands of any man; it lies within ourselves. (Millennial Star, Aug. 24, 1899, 530.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 131. Bold in original).

Perfection

“We may think that we cannot live up to the perfect law, that the work of perfecting ourselves is too difficult. This may be true in part, but the fact remains that it is a command of the Almighty to us and we cannot ignore it. When we experience trying moments, then is the time for us to avail ourselves of that great privilege of calling upon the Lord for strength and understanding, intelligence and grace by which we can overcome the weakness of the flesh against which we have to make a continual warfare. (Deseret News, June 4, 1879, 274.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, pp. 44-45).

The Lord will not require the impossible. The Lord never has, nor will he require things of his children which it is impossible for them to perform. (Deseret News, June 4, 1879, 274.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 46. Bold in original).

Try hourly to be perfect. Try, keep trying daily and hourly in all your avocations, in all your walks of life, in all your associations, to be perfect, even as our Father in heaven is perfect. (In Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow, 486.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 46. Bold in original).

“It is our duty to be perfect. It certainly is possible to advance ourselves toward the perfections of the Almighty to a very considerable extent, to say the least. In fact, we are commanded to be perfect, even as our Father in heaven is perfect. . . . We ought to improve ourselves and move faster toward the point of perfection. It is said we cannot be perfect. Jesus has commanded us to be perfect even as God, the Father, is perfect. It is our duty to try to be perfect, and it is our duty to improve each day, and look upon our course last week and do things better this week; do things better today than we did them yesterday, and go on and on from one degree of righteousness to another. (In Conference Report, Apr. 1898, 13.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 48. Ellipsis mine).

Preexistence

We made covenants in pre-earth life. I often ask myself, what am I in the world for? Where did I come from, and where am I going? Well, we have learned something in regard to this. We have learned that we existed with God in eternity before we came into this life, and that we kept our estate. Had we not kept what is called our first estate and observed the laws that governed there, you and I would not be here today. We are here because we are worthy to be here, and that arises, to a great extent at least, from the fact that we kept our first estate. I believe that when you and I were in yonder life we made certain covenant with those that had the control that in this life, when we should be permitted to enter it, we would do what we had done in that life–find out the will of God and conform to it . . . .(Millennial Star, June 20, 1895, 386).” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, pp. 118-119. Bold in original. Ellipses mine).

We chose to be on earth. We are in the world for a purpose. We are not here accidentally. We came here because we were willing to come, and because it was the wish of our Father in heaven that we should come. We undoubtedly saw very clearly that there was no other way for us to secure what the Father had in store for us. (In Conference Report, Apr. 1901, 2.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 120. Bold in original).

Life’s difficulties were known in premortal life. Trials and tribulations have been the experience of the Latter-day Saints. God so designed that it should be. I daresay that in the [premortal] spirit world, when it was proposed to us to come into this probation, and pass through the experience that we are now receiving, it was not altogether pleasant and agreeable; the prospects were not so delightful in all respects as might have been desired. Yet there is no doubt that we saw and understood clearly there that, in order to accomplish our exaltation and glory, this was a necessary experience, and however disagreeable it might have appeared to us, we were willing to conform to the will of God, and consequently we are here. (Deseret Weekly, Nov. 4, 1893, 609.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 120. Bold and brackets in original).

Pre-earth life affects relations here. “We have not come into this world accidentally. It is my opinion that there has been an inspiration to bring about certain relations that we are forming here in this life, and most likely they arise because of certain relations that existed in our previous life. (Deseret Weekly, June 1, 1895, 737.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, pp. 120-121. Bold in original).

Heavenly Father has reserved some of His strongest children to come forth in these challenging times. I understand very distinctly, as no doubt most of you do, that we have come into the world for a special purpose, to prepare ourselves to enjoy the higher and greater glory and to a more favorable extent than we did when we left the [premortal] state of existence. We have come to help ourselves and to carry on the purposes of our Father in heaven. We did not come into this world accidentally, but by a certain order. Men and women have been kept back by the Lord for thousands of years to come into the world under these peculiar circumstances when the hardest of difficulties would have to be encountered, and the strongest of men and women would be required, and that is the class of people I see before me . . . . when the Latter-day Saints are collected together. (Deseret Evening News, Apr. 7, 1889, 10.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 121. Bold, brackets and ellipsis in original).

Second Coming

“I can tell you what I think: Many of you will be living in Jackson county and there you will be assisting in building the Temple; and if you will not have seen the Lord Jesus at that time you may expect Him very soon, to see Him, to eat and drink with Him, to shake hands with Him and to invite Him to your houses as He was invited when He was here before. I am saying things to you now of which I know something of the truth. (Deseret Evening News, June 15, 1901, 1.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 243).

Temples

We can be saviors to those in the spirit world. God intends to make us saviors not only of many that now dwell on the earth, but of many in the spirit world. He will not only place us in a position to save ourselves, but He will make us competent to assist in the redemption of many of the offspring of the Almighty. And that we may assist in the salvation of other people we are building [temples]. (Deseret News, Jan. 31, 1883, 18.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 126. Bold and brackets in original).

Missionary work is more successful in spirit prison than on earth. A wonderful work is being accomplished in our temples in favor of the spirits in prison, I believe, strongly too, that when the Gospel is preached to the spirits in prison, the success attending that preaching will be far greater than that attending the preaching of our Elders in this life. I believe there will be very few indeed of those spirits who will not gladly receive the Gospel when it is carried to them. The circumstances will be a thousand times more favorable. (Deseret Weekly, Nov. 4, 1893, 609.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 129. Bold in original).

Tithing

Our temporal salvation depends on our paying tithing. The poorest of the poor can pay tithing; the Lord requires it at our hands, to lay this matter plainly before the people, and we are going to do it. It is the temporal salvation of this Church, it depends upon obedience to this law. (Improvement Era, Aug. 1899, 794.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 212. Bold in original).

“Poverty exists among the Latter-day Saints and always will exist until we at least obey the law of tithing. (Deseret Semi-Weekly News, July 28, 1899, 10.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 212.)