Biography and family record of Lorenzo Snow/Chapter III
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My Brother started on Mission.—Without Purse or Scrip.—Hard work to Beg.—Affectionate Aunt.—First Meeting in Medina County, Ohio.—Baptisms.—Preaches in Court House.—Ludicrous Anecdote.—Visits Relatives.—Preaches to Schoolmates.—Baptizes some of them.
A SHORT time after my ordination and reception into the Elders' quorum, i.e., early in the spring of 1837, I shouldered my valise and started out like the ancient missionaries, "without purse or scrip,' on foot and alone, to proclaim the restoration of the fulness of the Gospel of the Son of God, and to bear witness of what I had seen and heard, and of the knowledge I had received by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.
It was, however, a severe trial to my natural feelings of independence to go without purse or scrip—especially the purse; for, from the time I was old enough to work, the feeling that I "paid my way" always seemed a necessary adjunct to self respect, and nothing but a positive knowledge that God required it now, as He did anciently of His servants, the Disciples of Jesus, could induce me to go forth dependent on my fellow creatures for the common necessaries of life. But my duty in this respect was clearly made known to me, and I determined to do it.
I walked upwards of twenty miles the first day, and stayed over night with Mrs. Granger, my father's sister. She was a devoted Presbyterian, and a noble hearted woman; she thought very highly of my father's family, and that there must be something valuable in "Mormonism" or they would not have embraced it. She held me in so great esteem that she could not believe that I would suffer the same abuse, be maltreated and refused accommodation as other "Mormon" Elders. I differed in opinion, and told her I thought I need not expect to travel a smoother path than my brethren. The following morning I left my aunt and her hospitable roof, and traveled about thirty miles, and just as the sun was setting I made my first call for a night's lodging, as a "Mormon" Elder, and was refused; then another, and so on, until the eighth call, when I was admitted to a night's lodging—going to bed supperless, and leaving in the morning, minus a breakfast.
The first meeting I held was in the neighborhood of my uncle, by the name of Goddard, near the county seat of Medina County, Ohio. The people were notified and a respectable congregation assembled. It was a sore trial to face that audience in the capacity of a preacher, but I believed and felt an assurance that a Spirit of inspiration would prompt and give me utterance. I had sought by prayer and fasting I had humbled myself before the Lord, calling on Him in mighty prayer to impart the power and inspiration of the holy Priesthood; and when I stood before that congregation, although I knew not one word I could say, as soon as I opened my mouth to speak, the Holy Ghost rested mightily upon me, filling my mind with light and communicating ideas and proper language by which to impart them. The people were astonished and requested another meeting.
After the second meeting the court house was offered me, which I accepted, and had a very interesting time, and was treated very courteously by several of the officials. I baptized and confirmed into the Church my uncle, aunt and several of my cousins, of whom Adaline was one, who afterwards became my wife.
I traveled and preached during the following summer and autumn, in different parts of Ohio, baptizing quite a number—always traveling on foot, "without purse or scrip," and often meeting with trying and sometimes amusing circumstances. When at the house of Brother Smith, in Stark County, Ohio, I dreamed one night that arrangements were in progress to mob me. The following evening after I had the dream, as I sat conversing with friends who had called on me, a loud rap at the door preceded the entrance of two well dressed young men, who politely invited me to accompany them to a school house about one mile distant, and address an audience already assembled. After a little hesitation on my part, they began to urgently request my acceptance of their invitation, when the dream of the preceding night instantaneously flashed across my mind, and I told them that I could not comply with their wishes. They still persisted to urge and insist on my accompanying them. When they were convinced that I was immovable in my determination of noncompliance, they not only manifested disappointment, but were exceedingly angry.
The next day I learned that they told the truth so far as a congregated audience waiting my appearance at the school house was concerned, but the object was entirely different from that reported by the young men—it corresponded precisely with my dream.
On one occasion (having been joined by Brother A. Butterfield) I called at a hotel for our night's lodging, I think, in Stark County, Ohio. As we approached the house, we saw the landlord standing upon the porch. Accosting him, I told him we were Mormon preachers, traveling as the Elders in former times, and asked him if he would be so kind as to accommodate us with supper and a night's lodging. He very gruffly refused, saying he kept travelers for their money—not for Gospel pay; and advised us to go home, get employment, earn money, then give him a call, and he would be happy to entertain us. I replied that inasmuch as he had met our request with a decided refusal, we would bid him a good evening. But as I was turning to go, it forcibly occurred to me to say something further. Therefore, I said to him, My friend, it is not our wish to crowd ourselves upon you, but we think it might be well for you to know the fact that two servants of God have called upon you for a supper and night's lodging, which you have thought proper to refuse. The future results of what you have done you do not now know; but we know, and a time will come when you also will know. When that Scripture is fulfilled which says, "When the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats." "Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, for I was hungry, and ye fed me; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me." "Then shall the righteous say, Lord, when saw we Thee hungry and fed Thee? Or when saw we Thee a stranger and took Thee in? Then shall the King say to them, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto rne." When this event takes place, you will be there with us, and you will then know that we were the servants of God, commissioned to preach His Gospel, and when engaged in this work, we asked you to administer to our necessities, and you turned us away. This is all I wished to say: we will now go. Good night.
The gentleman seemed struck with amazement, and at a loss what to say or do. We had not proceeded far, however, before our ears were saluted with "Stop, gentlemen, hold on—you need not go off mad—your talk is all stuff and nonsense: but you have plenty of money, I'll be bound. Turn back, gentlemen, walk in—walk in." Of course, we turned back and walked in, and were invited to sit down to a good supper, after which the neighbors were called in, who, with the landlord and family, listened attentively and with apparent interest to our preaching. We had excellent lodging and a good breakfast in the morning, and left without a question whether we had money or not.
The journal continues: I had a strong desire to make known the way of life as God had revealed in plainness, to my relatives, friends and associates. For that purpose I visited my native town and had the privilege of preaching in the school houses, and was offered the town house, in which I met a large audience, and had the pleasure of addressing many of my school fellows and the neighbors of my parents, among whom I had been associated from childhood. How muchsoever I craved the privilege, and hailed with gratitude to God this opportunity, it was a trying position. I was well aware that the principles of the everlasting Gospel, which I estimated dearer than my mortal life, were in contrast to the creeds of the day, to which many of my friends adhered with unyielding tenacity. I was listened to with respectful attention, and although many of my audience acknowledged their belief in my sincerity; with few exceptions, my testimony was unheeded. I had the satisfaction, however, of baptizing some of my schoolmates, who bore testimony that they received a knowledge of the truth of the work by revelation, through the reception of the Holy Ghost.
I addressed a large congregation in the meeting house, in the town of Aurora, adjoining my native town; also in Auburn, Geauga County, in a school house, mostly filled by my relatives—my grandfather, uncles, aunts, and cousins.
While on this mission, I traveled in various parts of the State of Ohio, and during the time baptized many persons who have remained faithful to the truth. The Lord was with me, and I was greatly blessed in performing my arduous labors.