Biography and family record of Lorenzo Snow/Chapter LVIII
Expression of appreciation creditable. Lorenzo speaks of his wives. Their nobility. How he made choice of them. His earthly prospects. How they accepted the position. The Editor explains. Theytprove superior to circumstances of trial and hardships. Are comfortably situated. Step forth as mothers in Israel. Their positions. Questions to the defamers of Latter-day Saint women. Lorenzo's independence of char- acter. Where credit is due. Wife-missions. Success attributed to God. Testimonials of love and respect.
'HE following expression of appreciation, whicli I am happy to find recorded in my brother's journal, does no more credit to the recipients of the enconiums, than to the heart that prompted, and the head that indited
them. The acknowledgment of true merit is a virtue as well as a duty.
In the journal, Lorenzo, speaking of his wives, says: After years of companionship, I can truly say I have been perfectly satisfied, and have never, for one moment, felt that I had the least reason or occasion for regret. In making choice of wives in . view of continuing the relationship, not only through time, but through endless eternity, realizing my own lack of wisdom and incompetency of judging in this impor- tant matter, it has been my invariable practice to seek in humble, earnest prayer, the mind and will of God; and I v acknowledge His guiding wisdom in this respect, and realize it impossible for me to feel sufficiently thankful for the good, noble-minded women He has given me, which applies to each without one exception.
Previous to marriage, I explained my position as a public- servant, a minute man one to whom was committed a dispen- sation of the Gospel of the Son of God; and gave them 1 to understand definitely that so far as this world's goods were concerned, my prospects were not very flattering, and to their praise be it written, their minds were elevated, and the desires of their hearts lifted far above the gross yearnings of frail humanity after perishable objects, and they have proven themselves superior to the hardships, privations, poverty, and even perils which the Saints, in the earlier periods of the history of the Church, experienced.
Possessing, as they did, that rare gift the gift of sound common sense, my wives all acted in concert, mutually assist- ing each other; and with all the inconveniences, hard work, and privations, to which, while raising our children, they have experienced through my frequent, and, at times, long absence, like the brave Altnomock, they " scorned to complain," and never have they, at any time, sought to detain me, or prevent my fulfilment of public duties; but on the other
hand, have been and are co-laborers with me! in the great so
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work of the last days. This testimony of my true and faithful wives I would fain have " engraven with an iron pen, in the rock forever," as I bear record in this my journal.
When, by the cruel hand of persecution, the wives of my brother and the Saints generally were homeless and destitute of all conveniences, and most of the comforts of domestic life, at times living in tents and wagons, in storm and sunshine at others, in temporary houses or huts, my brother, feeling the weight of responsibility as husband and father, with all the warm sympathies of his nature aroused, had to suppress and struggle against his feelings in view of the cir- cumstances.
It was at such times that the nobility of soul, of heart and mind, of his wives shone out, approaching almost to sublimity. In the most gloomy times, when all was toil and privation, their cheerfulness and courage, in which they arose superior to trials, were like sunbeams shining though dark, threatening clouds, and really seemed to warm the cold hand of poverty which, apparently, was extended in every direc- tion toward the Latter-day Saints.
Through the blessings and overruling hand of God, the Saints have had a season of comparative peace and temporal prosperity, and the circumstances of my brother's wives have greatly changed, exhibiting a striking contrast to those in bygone days. Through Lorenzo's exertions, industry and economy, God has wonderfully prospered and bestowed upon him means, insomuch that his wives have within their reach not only the necessaries but conveniences and comforts of life. Instead of tents and wagons, they now live in good, well furnished houses, with plenty of food and clothing, and where- with to entertain their friends, and instead of the hurrying, bustling scenes of other days, congenial quietude.
And now, instead of merely fulfilling their very impor- tant duties as wives and mothers of children, they step forth into the broad arena of public life and officiate in the wider
sphere, and with increasing responsibilities, as mothers in Israel ; thus, in connection with the faithful discharge of home duties, they are actively engaged in various organizations as presidents, counselors, secretaries, teachers, etc.; and some of them have the pleasing satisfaction, even now, of seeing their daughters following, in this direction, in their footsteps, occu- pying important positions. Mary Adaline, the eldest of my brother's wives, during the trying scenes through which we have passed, has been as a mother to all his family. Naturally of a cheerful disposition, all within her sphere were recipients of her motherly, comforting and encouraging influence. Now age is tracing its lines on her still cheerful face.
Harriet Amelia, after having been for some length of time president of a ward relief society, has been for several years past, "and is at present, a very efficient president of the relief society of Box Elder Stake of Zion, also president of the general monthly meetings of the four branch (ward) societies of Brigham City.
Sarah Ann has, for two successive years, performed the duties of teacher in the relief society.
Eleanor has been, and now is, acting as teacher in the relief society in the Second Ward of Brigham City.
Mary Elizabeth is president of the relief society in the Second Ward, Brigham City, also Stake secretary.
Phebe Amelia, for several years Stake secretary for the relief society, in which she was efficient, has now turned her attention to promoting the interests of the primary association.
Minnie, for some time president in branch (ward) capa- city, now presides over the young ladies' mutual improvement associations of Box Elder Stake of Zion ; she also officiates as organist for the tabernacle choir.
Are these women "down-trodden?" Are they ignorant? Are they enslaved? Do the foregoing expressions of their husband indicate that he estimates them below his own status, as slaves to do his bidding, or as dupes to gratify his passions?
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Let the defamers of Latter-day Saint women hide their faces in shaine and confusion. Well may ignorance blush and persecution cower beneath the cloak of apostate Christianity ; and well might the corrupt, foul-hearted and foul-mouthed calumniator of "Mormon" women retire to the depth of a lone solitude, and there bewail the day of his birth, else, forever hold his peace.
The staunch feeling of independence, a peculiar trait exhibited in my brother's character in early youth, has marked his career through all the vicissitudes of his active and event- ful life. Although it greatly augmented the trial of his nature in going forth to preach without purse or scrip, particularly the purse, it has fortified and many times enabled him to rise superior to circumstances.
During forty-eight years he has been engaged in the work of the ministry, either at home or abroad. He has crossed the ocean eight times, and traveled over one hundred and fifty thousand miles, and withal raised and supported a large family many of his children having become fathers and mothers of families. However, much credit is due his wives a compliment which he fully endorses. In fact, it is a con- ceded point that when the husband and father is abroad and performing missionary labors, the wife or wives and mothers, with all the family cares and responsibilities devolving upon them, have quite as much of a mission at home. Notwith- standing my brother's frequent sudden calls abroad, and at times under pecuniary embarrassments, his wives have never solicited nor received assistance from any source, nor have they ever accumulated debts for their husband to cancel on his return.
In going to his fields of labor, he has invariably borne his own expenses, even when on some occasions obliged to borrow money at a heavy and exorbitant percentage. When on his English and Italian missions, the Saints in Europe con- tributed liberally in furnishing means which he expended in
the translation and publication of the Book of Mormon and other works; also in introducing the Gospel into different countries, but no gratuity from the Church.
In meeting the heavy expenses of the Sandwich Islands and Palestine missions, his good friends in Brigham City gen- erously contributed.
A few years since, at a conference in Salt Lake City, in view of the constant spiritual labors of the Twelve Apostles, the Saints voted them a certain specified amount, to be drawn from the tithing funds. With the foregoing exceptions and small gifts occasionally slipped into his hand as testimonials of friendship, my brother and his family have managed to take care of themselves; but to accomplish this and gratify their commendable independent ambition, has required
careful management, and, at times, rigid frugality and strict economy, contenting themselves for years with the common necessaries and dispensing with many of the ordinary conve- niences of life.
I have been prompted to bear this testimony as a rebut to the frequent untruthful charges of our opponents that the "Mormon" Elders and their families are supported by tithing of the Saints.
That my brother and his family have been thus success- ful, he acknowledges the overruling hand of God; and in recounting His constant aid and the wonderful manifestations of His special favors and kindness, his heart swells with grati- tude beyond the power of language to express.
"HONOR TO WHOM HONOR is DUE." Some two years after my brother's return from the Italian mission, as a grateful expression of their love and their appreciation of his efforts, devotion and faithfulness in opening up the Gospel to them, and in establishing the Church of God in that far distant nation, the Saints in Switzerland forwarded to him, as an affectionate memorial, a magnificent gold chronometer.
The rich and beautiful gift was received with correspond-
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ing feelings of love and sincere, heartfelt gratitude, and Lorenzo, for a season, took pride and pleasure in wearing it, out of respect to those who so generously presented it; and afterwards, feeling that President Brigham Young, more than any other man living, was worthy of the costly tribute, pre- sented it to him, and he manifested his appreciation by having the presentation with the donor's name inscribed in full on the interior, and I think he carried it till the close of his life.
, Some years after the above presentation, my brother being in Salt Lake City on a visit, President Young sent a note, requesting him to call at the office of the latter; he did so, and was invited by the President to accompany him to his carriage house, which was occupied by a number of carriages. By this time my brother was in quite a quandary, silently wondering "what w r as up," when, to his great surprise and astonishment, President Young, pointing to a very substantial and beautiful one, said, "Brother Lorenzo, that carriage is for you; I shall send it on your return to Brigham City." The carriage was nearly new had been purchased at the manu- factory at a cost of five hundred dollars. Feeling almost bewildered with surprise, Lorenzo protested against its accept- ance, but on his arrival in Brigham City, he received a mes- sage that the carriage had been shipped on the Utah Central railroad.