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Eliza Roxcy Snow

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Eliza Roxcy Snow(Library of Congress)

Eliza Roxcy Snow (January 21, 1804December 5, 1887) was a prominent and influential early Latter-day Saint leader, a poet, and a plural wife of both Joseph Smith, Jr. and Brigham Young.

Born in Becket, Massachusetts on January 21, 1804, and later moving to rural Ohio, Snow had gained renown for her poetry in her twenties. In 1835, she was baptized a Mormon, and, following the Saints, Snow moved to Kirtland, Ohio, Far West, Missouri, Nauvoo, Illinois, and finally Salt Lake City, Utah. In Nauvoo, she was the first secretary of the Relief Society in 1842. She married Joseph Smith, Jr., on June 29, 1842, as a plural wife. Joseph would remain her one true love.

In Utah, after the assassination of Joseph Smith, she married Brigham Young in 1849 as a plural wife, "for time only", mostly as a matter of convenience. As a Church leader, she was president of the Relief Society, and was instrumental in organizing the Primary Association. Her younger brother Lorenzo Snow later became President of the Church.

Some of Snow's poems have been put to music and have become important Mormon hymns. One of her hymns, "Great is the Lord", was published in the first Latter-day Saint Hymnbook in 1835, the year of her baptism. Some of her most well-known poems are as follows:

One of her best-known and personal favorite poems, "Invocation, or the Eternal Father and Mother", was published in the Nauvoo Times and Seasons at a time when she was heartbroken soon after the death of her first husband Joseph Smith. (Eliza R. Snow, "My Father in Heaven", Times and Seasons 6 (15 Nov. 1845); see Jill Mulvay Derr, "The Significance of 'O My Father' in the Personal Journey of Eliza R. Snow", BYU Studies 36, no. 1 (1996-97): 84-126.) This poem, which has become the popular Mormon hymn "O My Father", is credited as helping popularize and establish the Mormon concept of a goddess, or Heavenly Mother.

References

  • Allen, James B. and Leonard, Glen M. The Story of the Latter-day Saints. Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, UT, 1976. ISBN 0-87747-594-6.


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