Lorenzo Snow, May 4, 1899; Thursday

-- May 4, 1899; Thursday
At 11 A.M. the Presidency met with the Apostles in the Temple. Present: Presidents Lorenzo Snow and Joseph F. Smith, Apostles Brigham Young [Jr.], Francis M. Lyman, George Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, Anthon H. Lund, Abraham O[wen]. Woodruff and Rudger Clawson. ... (1)

-- May 8, 1899
[Finances] Speaking at a conference in St. George, Lorenzo Snow delivers a landmark address counseling church members to be strictly observant of the law of tithing. The renewed commitment to tithing was formalized on July 2, at a solemn assembly in the Salt Lake Temple, where the general authorities, stake presidencies and bishops of the church affirmed that the law of tithing is "the word and will of the Lord unto us." (2)

President Lorenzo Snow announced a renewed emphasis concerning the payment of tithing, which members had been neglecting for some time, at a conference in St. George, Utah. (3)

Revelation to Lorenzo Snow on Tithing-- August 31, 1899).

If there is one topic for which the short administration of President Lorenzo Snow is particularly noted it is his announcement of a renewed emphasis on the doctrine and payment of a full tithing on the part of all members of the L.D.S. Church. The announcement of this new revelation on tithing was first made by President Snow on May 8, 1899 in St. George, Utah. It was re-affirmed in an announcement to the general Mutual Improvement Association conference in Salt Lake City on May 30, 1899.

Neither of these statements, which were both made orally in public meetings, were issued under the signature of the First Presidency. They nevertheless constitute a revelation to the Church by the President and Prophet of the Church. The May 30th statement was not only approved as revelation by unanimous vote of the Mutual Improvement Association conference but by a solemn assembly of all the general authorities of the Church, representatives of all forty Stakes of the Church and of the 478 Wards, and of all the auxiliary organizations, held in the Salt Lake Temple on July 2, 1899.

Reproduced below is the crucial section of the St. George statement which deals specifically with the instructions to the Church on tithing. The statement made in Salt Lake City is reproduced in full as it was printed in the Improvement Era for August, 1899.

DISCOURSE by President Lorenzo Snow

I come here now my brethren that you may understand what is required of you as a people under the peculiar conditions in which the Church is now placed. It is the word of the Lord to you, my brethren and sisters, that you should conform to that which is required of you as a people who have these glorious prospects of exaltation and glory before you. What is it? Why it is something that has been drummed into your ears from time to time until you perhaps have got tired of hearing it. I need the faith and the prayers of every Latter-day Saint; no man needs them any more than I do; and it is unpleasant for me to say things that would in any way diminish the exercise of your faith and prayers in my behalf. But the Lord requires me to say something to you, and since I commenced to labor in His interest, I have never failed, thank the Lord, to do that which He has required at my hands; and I shall not do it today, nor any other day, the Lord being my helper. The word of the Lord to you is not anything new; it is simply this: THE TIME HAS NOW COME FOR EVERY LATTER-DAY SAINT, WHO CALCULATES TO BE PREPARED FOR THE FUTURE AND TO HOLD HIS FEET STRONG UPON A PROPER FOUNDATION, TO DO THE WILL OF THE LORD AND PAY HIS TITHING IN FULL. That is the word of the Lord to you, and it will be the word of the Lord to every settlement throughout the land of Zion. After I leave you and you get to thinking about this, you will see yourselves that the time has come when every man should stand up and pay his tithing in full. The Lord has blessed us and has had mercy upon us in the past; but there are times coming when the Lord requires us to stand up and do that which He has commanded and not leave it any longer. What I say to you in this State of Zion I will say to every Stake of Zion that has been organized. There is no man or woman that now hears what I am saying who will feel satisfied if he or she fails to pay a full tithing.

I could reason with you upon this, but what need is there of showing why we should do these things. We receive from different Stakes of Zion requests for help, some to build meeting houses and some for other purposes. Well, we feel that we ought to help them, because they are deserving of help; but we cannot do it. I do not think I will say much about the financial condition of the Church. The Church, of course is very much in debt. And I do not know that anybody is to blame for it being in debt. It has been partially explained today by the brethren, and I will leave it that way. But we are going into debt no longer. All the enterprises that we have gone into, have been for the benefit of the people. Well; I do not care to talk about this. It is sufficient to say to the Latter-day Saints that we must now pay our tithing. I have scarcely ever talked about tithing. I have said it was the duty of the Latter-day Saints to pay tithing, but I have never made it a business like some of my brethren have. You will not hear much from me now in regard to tithing. I simply tell you the truth straight out; and I have faith in the Latter-day Saints to believe and know that they will respond to this.

Brethren and sisters, I feel and know that you are a good people. I do not flatter you when I say this. I simply tell the facts. The Lord has helped you, as He has helped other portions of the people in Zion. He has done this, not because they have done right under all circumstances, not because they have paid their tithing properly, but because they have paid it partially and have done some good. But when the voice of the Lord comes to us and His will is expressed, then is the time for us to act.

Now, I have shaken hands with over 800 children, and I want to see those children grow up and become 80, 90, 100 or 140 years of age; and this will surely be the case if you will teach them these things that I am talking to you about today. Teach them to pay their tithing while they are young. You mothers, teach your children that when they get any money they should pay one-tenth of it to the Lord, however little it may be. Educate them to pay their tithing in full. Then we will have a people prepared to go to Jackson County. President Smith was talking yesterday about the land of Zion. Yes, surely, this entire continent is the land of Zion, and the time will come when there will be Temples established over every portion of the land, and we will go into these Temples and work for our kindred dead night and day, that the work of the Lord may be speedily accomplished, that Jesus may come and present the kingdom to His father. He is coming soon, too. But we will not hear His voice until we build up Jackson County. Now we should make preparation for this. We are not only going to have Zion throughout this continent, but we will have it over the whole earth. The whole earth is the Lord's. The time will come when it will be translated and be filled with the spirit and power of God. The atmosphere around it will be the spirit of the Almighty. We will breathe that Spirit instead of the atmosphere that we now breathe. But now it is for us to make the preparation, that we may be worthy to be called into the house of the Lord and receive our second blessings. I do not want the presidents of Stakes to send any person to our Temples to receive the highest blessings that have ever been bestowed upon man since the world began, until it can be said of him, "He pays his full tithing." ... {1899-May 8-MS 61:532-533, 545-546 (August 17, 1899;} (4)

1 - First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve minutes
2 - http://www.heraldextra.com/content/view/282148/
3 - Church News: Historical Chronology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/58765/Historical-chronology-of-The-Church-of-Jesus-Christ-of-Latter-day-Saints.html
4 - Clark, James R., Messages of the First Presidency (6 volumes)

LDS History Chronology: Lorenzo Snow

Mormon History Timeline: the life of Lorenzo Snow


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