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Picturing history: President Lorenzo Snow — sites of his birth, childhood, conversion

SHARE Picturing history: President Lorenzo Snow — sites of his birth, childhood, conversion

Oliver and Rosetta Snow were the 12th family to settle in Mantua, Ohio, some 40 miles south of Cleveland. They came from Massachusetts where a daughter, Eliza, was born on Snow Road in the village of Becket. Following the move to Mantua, a son, Lorenzo, was born on April 3, 1814, in a home that still stands. Lorenzo Snowwould later be the fifth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Relatively little is known about Lorenzo’s boyhood. His sister Eliza recalled that he had an “inflexibility of purpose which ensures success” and that he was "ever a student," being drawn to books whenever circumstances allowed (see "Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow," by Eliza R. Snow).

The Snow family worshiped at a Campbellite church at Mantua Center, just a mile or two north of their home. That church building is still extant.

Much of Lorenzo’s formal education was completed at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, 60 miles west of Mantua. During the journey to Oberlin, Lorenzo met and walked with a Mormon missionary named David W. Patten. Elder Patten, as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, would suffer a martyr’s death at the Battle of Crooked River in upper Ray County, Missouri. While at Oberlin, Lorenzo became disillusioned about religion, commenting, “If there is nothing better than is to be found here in Oberlin College, good bye to all religions.”

Lorenzo eventually met the Prophet Joseph Smith and his father, Joseph Smith Sr. Father Smith told Lorenzo that he would join the church at a time when Lorenzo had no such thought himself. But on June 23, 1836, Lorenzo was baptized into the Church of the Latter Day Saints (as it was then called) by Elder John Boynton, an apostle.

The time came when Lorenzo received a patriarchal blessing from Father Smith which made some remarkable statements including, “The dead shall rise and come forth at thy bidding” (see Improvement Era, 1929, Vol. XXXII, August 1929, No. 10). This prophetic statement would come to pass decades later near Brigham City, Utah.