Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Prophets Speak on Searching Out Our Dead -- Lorenzo Snow

Quoting from Gospel Topics:
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are blessed to be led by living prophets—inspired men called to speak for the Lord, as did Moses, Isaiah, Peter, Paul, Nephi, Mormon, and other prophets of the scriptures. We sustain the President of the Church as prophet, seer, and revelator—the only person on the earth who receives revelation to guide the entire Church. We also sustain the counselors in the First Presidency and the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostlesas prophets, seers, and revelators.
 Lorenzo Snow was the fifth President of the Church and served from 1898 to 1901. The website contains a short history of his life and service:
Lorenzo Snow was born April 3, 1814, in Mantua, Ohio. As a youth, he preferred academic study to an apprenticeship. Study of Hebrew and theology led to his conversion to the Church in 1836. He spent the rest of his life in service as a missionary, Apostle, and Church President, a position he filled on September 13, 1898. He helped the Church recover from the challenges of the previous decades. He stabilized Church finances as members increased their tithes and offerings, and he expanded Church missionary efforts. As Church President at the dawning of the twentieth century, he opened a new era in Latter-day Saint history. He died in Salt Lake City on October 10, 1901, at the age of 87.
President Snow is best known among the members of the Church for his short statement about the relationship of man to God. He said, "As man now is, God once was; as God is now man may be." His life was entwined with the Temples and he lived to see the capstone laid on the top of the Salt Lake Temple that had been under construction for 39 years. Here are some of the many quotes from President Snow about temples and the work done therein:
We have received much wisdom and knowledge of things which astonish the world when we speak of them. We have learned that, in temples, we are able to form ties which are not dissolved at death, but which reach into eternity; sacred ties which bind families together for time and eternity. In “Funeral Services of Apostle Erastus Snow,” Millennial Star, July 2, 1888, 418.
Every son and daughter of God will have the opportunity necessary for exaltation and glory. … There is but one way by which exaltation and glory can be secured. We have to be baptized for the remission of sins and have hands laid upon us for the reception of the Holy Ghost. These and other ordinances are absolutely necessary for exaltation and glory; and where individuals have lived when the Gospel has not been accessible, these things can be attended to by their friends. We have come into the world now in order to do these things—at least, it is one of the chief objects of our coming. We cannot lay too great stress upon the importance of this work. Millennial Star, June 27, 1895, 405.
 As one of the early converts to the Church, President Snow had a perspective of the importance of the doctrines to those who had not yet had the opportunity to hear them. Here is a quote where he explains the importance of the proxy work for the dead.
Now, in our Temples we allow persons to come in, after they have traced their ancestry, no matter how far back, and to be baptized for their dead father, grandfather, and great grandfather and so on, just as far as they can trace their line. Then we allow them to have the wives sealed to their husbands, all along the ancestry line, as far as they can trace it. Take the case of a virtuous young man who lived before the Gospel was introduced to the children of men. … He married a wife, and raised a family; but he never had the privilege of receiving the Gospel, as you and I have. However, he taught his family the principles of morality, and he was affectionate and kind to his wife and children. What more could he do? He should not be condemned because he did not receive the Gospel; for there was no Gospel to receive. He should not lose his wife because when he married her he could not go into a Temple and have her sealed to him for time and eternity. He acted according to the best knowledge that he had, and she was married to him for time, according to the custom of the country. We respect that marriage, solemnized according to the laws of his country. … We seal children to their parents and wives to their husbands, all along the line. Millennial Star, June 27, 1895, 403–4; see also Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff (2004), 177.

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