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From Lorenzo Snow's personal library -
each volume with his rare signature
[Lorenzo SNOW] THE ILIAD OF HOMER. Translated by Alexander Pope, With Notes and Introduction by the Rev. Theodore Alois Buckley, M.A., F.S.A., and Flaxman's Designs. New York: John Wurtele Lovell, Publisher, 1880.
THE ODYSSEY OF HOMER, Translated by Alexander Pope, With Notes and Introduction by the Rev. Theodore Alois Buckley, M.A., F.S.A., and Flaxman's Designs. New York: John Wurtele Lovell, Publisher, 1880.
TWO HANDSOME MATCHED VOLUMES FROM THE LIBRARY OF LORENZO SNOW, EACH BEARING HIS SIGNATURE. Each is 18˝ cm. (= 7˝ inches tall). They are bound in highly decorated cloth gilt; all edges gilt. The Iliad (500 pages) is in reddish purple, the spine faded. The Odyssey (337 pages) is in striking dark blue-green. Original dark brown clay-based endleaves. Each has a frontispiece and three plates. All pages are surrounded by printed red line borders. Moderate wear, but quite attractive.
The ODYSSEY bears the printed bookplate of Le Roie [sic] C. Snow, son of Lorenzo. Lorenzo has signed the first flyleaf in pencil, and written some fifty numerals near his signature.
The ILIAD has numerous light pencil underlinings, presumably by Snow, who has signed it on the first flyleaf in pencil:
LORENZO SNOW (1814-1901) was the fifth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1898-1901). He is remembered as a particularly beloved figure in early Church history who left us with the famous couplet,
"As man now is, God once was;
as God now is, man may be."
It was his son, LeRoy, who also owned these volumes, who related the account of Lorenzo's vision of Christ in the Salt Lake Temple. The setting was immediately after the death of Wilford Woodruff . . .
President Snow put on his holy temple robes, repaired again to the same sacred alter [in the Holy of Holies], offered up the signs of the Priesthood; and poured out his heart to the Lord. He reminded the Lord how he had plead for President Woodruff's life and that his days might be lengthened beyond his own; that he might never be called upon to bear the heavy burdens and responsibilities of Church leadership. "Nevertheless," he said, "Thy will be done. I have not sought this responsibility but if it be Thy will, I now present myself before Thee for Thy guidance and instruction. I ask that Thou show me what Thou wouldst have me do."
After finishing his prayer he expected a reply, some special manifestation from the Lord. So he waited—and waited—and waited. There was no reply, no voice, no visitation, no manifestation. He left the alter and the room in great disappointment. He passed through the Celestial room and out into the large corridor leading to his own room where a most glorious manifestation was given President Snow. One of the most beautiful accounts of this experience is told by his grandaughter, Allie Young Pond.
"One evening when I was visiting Grandpa Snow in his room in the Salt Lake Temple, I remained until the doorkeepers had gone and the night-watchman had not yet come in, so grandpa said he would take me to the main, front entrance and let me out that way. He got his bunch of keys from his dresser.
"After we left his room and while we were still in the large corridor, leading into the celestial room, I was walking several steps ahead of grandpa when he stopped me saying: 'Wait a moment, Allie. I want to tell you something. It was right here that the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to me at the time of the death of President Woodruff. He instructed me to go right ahead and reorganize the First Presidency of the Church at once and not wait as had been done after the death of the previous presidents, and that I was to succeed President Woodruff.'
"Then Grandpa came a step nearer and held out his left hand and said: 'He stood right here, about three feet above the floor. It looked as though He stood on a plate of solid gold.'
"Grandpa told me what a glorious personage the Savior is and described His hands, feet, countenance and beautiful White Robes, all of which were of such a glory of whiteness and brightness that he could hardly gaze upon Him.
"Then grandpa came another step nearer me and put his right hand on my head and said: 'Now, granddaughter, I want you to remember that this is the testimony of your grandfather, that he told you with his own lips that he actually saw the Savior here in the Temple and talked with Him face to face.'
"Then we went on and grandpa let me out of the main, front door of the Temple."
During the M. I. A. June conference in 1919 at the officers' testimony meeting in the Assembly Hall, I related Allie Young Pond's experience and testimony. President Heber J. Grant immediately arose and said: "In confirmation of the testimony given by Brother LeRoi C. Snow quoting the granddaughter of Lorenzo Snow, I want to call attention to the fact that several years elapsed after the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith before President Young was sustained as the president of the Church. . . .
"After the funeral of President Wilford Woodruff the Apostles met in the office of the First Presidency . . .
"President Snow said that he would be pleased to hear from all the brethren . . .
"When we had finished, then and not until then, did Brother Snow tell us that he was instructed of the Lord in the Temple the night after President Woodruff died, to organize the Presidency of the Church at once. President Anthon H. Lund and myself are the only men now living who were present at that meeting." [Deseret News for Saturday, April 2, 1938, quoted in N. B. Lundwall, ed., Temples of the Most High (SLC, 1949 [seventh ed., enlarged]), pp. 148-150 (emphasis added)]
Lorenzo's signature is rare, and was normally written (when written at all!) in pencil, as in these rare volumes from his own library.
"WE ARE IN THE CITY OF ATHENS," he wrote to the editor of the Deseret News on April 10, 1873,
surrounded by the ruined temples and crumbling walls of ancient Greece; have stood on the lofty summit of the Acropolis, beside the marble columns of the Parthenon, in the midst of broken pillars and fallen temples, looking down on modern Athens, the Plains of Attica, the famous Hill of Mars, and off on the "Flowery Hymettus." We have met the King of Greece on the sidewalk of Athens, cane in hand, and in simple costume, like an ordinary gentleman; have seen the nation's deputies debating in parliament, and have spent an evening at tea with our American minister; have sailed on the classical waters of the Mediterranean, up the Archipelago, among its beautiful islands. [Eliza R. Snow, Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow . . . (SLC, 1884), p.558]
Two weeks later from Bavaria, Lorenzo sent a much more detailed description of those same experiences among the ancient scenes of Grecian lore (ibid., pp. 568-71). Clearly, they had made a strong impression upon his mind, explaining, perhaps, the numerous light pencilled marks now found throughout his Iliad, and his curious numerical notes surrounding his signature in his Odyssey.
Lorenzo was "Ever a student," even from his youth, Eliza Snow recalled, ". . . his book was his constant companion when disengaged from filial duties; and when sought by his associates, [the explanation,] 'hid up with his book' became proverbial." (ibid., p.3).
He was thus one who truly read his books. He did not buy these tomes for their pretty bindings, but likely to rekindle the romance of his tour and the contemplation it inspired seven years before these attractive volumes were printed.
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