Monday, March 14, 2016

Eliza R. Snow

Eliza R. Snow is best remembered for her poetry, at least one of which has been put to music, "O My Father."  This beautiful description of our Heavenly Mother, and eternal realms is a Mormon gem.   However, a book I am now reading, "Signs, Wonders, and Miracles"  it points to her as a widow of the martyred prophet Joseph Smith.  She had asked the Lord to take her as well.  However the prophet appeared to her from beyond the veil, and told her that was not God's intentions for her.  The prophet told her to "be of good courage and help to cheer and lighten the burdens of others."  Eliza was later asked by Brigham Young to organized relief societies in the local units of the church.  She then became the second general president of the relief society. 
Although  "O My Father" is a poem well revered, I like another even better: A Word To Saints Who are Gathering
by Eliza R. Snow
Think not, when you gather to Zion,
Your troubles and trials are through--
That nothing but comfort and pleasure
Are waiting in Zion for you.
No, no; 'tis design'd as a furnace;
All substance, all textures to try--
To consume all the "wood, hay and stubble,"
And the gold from the dross purify.

Think not, when you gather to Zion
That all will be holy and pure--
That deception, and falsehood are banish'd
And confidence wholly secure.
No, no, for the Lord our Redeemer
Has said that the tares from the wheat
Must grow; until the great day of burning
Shall render the harvest complete.

Think not, when you gather to Zion
The Saints here have nothing to do
But attend to your personal welfare,
And always be comforting you.
No, the Saints who are faithful are doing
What their hands find to do, with their might
To accomplish the gath'ring of Israel
They are toiling by day and by night.

Think not, when you gather to Zion,
The prize and the victory won--
Think not that the warfare is ended,
Or the work of salvation is done.
No, no; for the great Prince of Darkness
A tenfold exertion will make
When He sees you approaching the fountain
Where the truth you may freely partake.  (LDS Women)

Now, recently in the media we are made aware of another way to think of Eliza R. Snow, as a survivor of gang rape.  This knowledge helps me to appreciate this woman even more.  Two times she has to pick herself up, and go on.  I noted in the "Liahone September 1987" this story about Eliza Snow>  With the expulsion of the Saints "a man taunted Eliza R. Snow, saying, “Well, I think this will put an end to your faith.” She replied, “No, sir, it will take more than this to put an end to my faith.” He humbly responded, “I must confess you are a stronger person than I am.”  Eliza R. Snow is a person among people.  A person who overcame hardship, and was able to help many others.  A woman who fought for women's suffrage and women's rights.  (Utah had women's suffrage long before any other state or territory, but it was taken away by the federal government.)

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