Lorenzo Snow, Monday, May 29, 1899

-- Monday, May 29, 1899
[Apostle Rudger Clawson Diary] Brigham City. Cloudy and mild. 6:10 a.m. I took the train for Salt Lake, arriving at 9 a.m.

The great naval hero, W. S. Schley, who was the central figure in the battle of Santiago Harbor when the Spanish fleet under Cevera was destroyed, is in Salt Lake. He came in yesterday morning and received an ovation at the depot and along the streets. In the afternoon he attended services at the tabernacle and made a short speech that was applauded to the echo. In the afternoon he made a short visit to Saltair Beach and seemed to greatly enjoy it. At 9:45 this morning he was accorded a street reception by the school children of Salt Lake City. The children formed in line on the north side of South Temple St. from Main to 10th East. The admiral rode in a carriage with Governor [Heber M.] Wells, drawn by four white horses, preceded by a band. There were many carriages in the line. The children were very enthusiastic and cheered to the echo as the distinguished party passed along.

2 p.m. Afternoon session of officers meeting of Y.M.M.I.A., Pres. Lorenzo Snow presiding. Pres. Lorenzo Snow said, we are going to visit you in your stakes and tell you what the Lord has put in our hearts to tell you. Spoke upon the law of tithing, and said, if we don't obey it, this will not be a land of Zion to us. We don't half obey it. If the saints had paid an honest tithing during the past two years, there would be a million dollars in the treasury of the Church that is not there now. It is a question, he said, whether people who don't pay an honest tithing are entitled to go into the temple and receive blessings there. In conclusion he invoked the blessings of the Lord upon the young men present. (1)

-- May 30, 1899
Doctrine of Tithing adopted by vote-- As stated in the notes to the Discourse by President Snow of May 8, 1899, the announcement of this new revelation on tithing in St. George, Utah was repeated in different words but with the same force and meaning when President Snow returned to Salt Lake City and presided over the sessions of the general conference of the Mutual Improvement Associations of the L.D.S. Church.

It was this address, reproduced below, that was adopted by a vote of the conference as "the doctrine of tithing" and as "the present word and will of the Lord unto us."

The resolution presented by B. H. Roberts following President Snow's address was accepted also by a solemn assembly in the Salt Lake Temple on July 2, 1899 as before noted.

For additional information on these two very important documents on the doctrine of tithing and the circumstances which led up to the giving of this revelation to the Church through President Lorenzo Snow see: CHC 6:356-360; RCH 3:253-266. A motion picture, "Windows of Heaven," produced by the B. Y. U. Motion Picture Studio, also tells graphically the story of the giving of this relation.


I feel, brethren, that I am addressing an important body of men whom the Lord has blessed with understanding and with wisdom, and with long experience, as many of you have had. You are capable of understanding a proposition when it is presented, and you could talk upon it far better than I could; I understand all this, but there are certain times when the most simple thing is required to be presented to the Latter-day Saints that does not require great education to understand, it requires only the Spirit of the Lord; that, you certainly possess and accompanied with the great advantage of being learned. Some of you are fine speakers, especially in politics, if you will excuse me for saying it. You are men of intelligence and will understand what is required of you.

There are hundreds of thousands of dollars in notes that are coming up now for payment, and we have no reserve at all, but I am just as sure that we will be able to settle our troubles here in regard to the debts of the Church, just as sure as I see you here, hut it will not be done without exertion in reference to the paying of tithing.

President Smith, President Richards, Brother Lyman, Brother Woodruff, Brother Seymour Young and some others, were with me in the south. We talked plainly to the people, and we had the Spirit of the Lord. There was not a difference of opinion among us, as was shown among you today, we all saw the point exactly alike and we talked plainly upon it. We hoped to present it yesterday morning to the young people, but I do not know why it was, we did not have the spirit that we hoped to have. I understand however that there were persons in the meeting who were making sport, and were not united with us.

Now, brethren, we shall visit all the stakes in Zion and we shall see you again in the parts where you reside. We wish you to consult yourselves and the Spirit of the Lord in reference to this principle. People who have never paid a cent tithing go into the temples. This law of tithing is one which if it is not kept, the land shall not be sanctified unto those who disobey it, and it shall not be a land of Zion unto them. This is a plain and simple statement and can be understood by the most ignorant. Here we have been getting into debt to the Lord. Now I will just give you an illustration: A poor woman, or a poor man, has ten dollars. It is hard for her to support her children; she has ten dollars and goes and pays one dollar tithing, which is used for the benefit of the temple, or for other purposes. Here, on the other hand is a man who has thousands of dollars and pays no tithing. There are thousands of people, pretty good people, but they are ignorant and do not understand what they should do, but I do not know why they should not, they pay no tithing but they go into the temples just as the poor woman, and they are given the same privileges as she, they receive the same blessings, her dollar goes to pay the expenses of the temple and they pay nothing toward it. This illustration might be extended. There are thousands and thousands of such cases. Many poor people pay tithing and it goes to support the temples, while the other people who pay no tithing at all are permitted to receive the same blessings. What do you suppose the Lord thinks of this? And how far does this go to sanctify and preserve us here in this land? President Young came here and knelt down and sanctified the land and dedicated it to God, and here come thousands of people and ignore that law, which if kept, will preserve us; and if not observed, we will have to leave here, or some general calamity will come upon us.

Those who went to Jackson County had much more to do than to pay tithing, and because they failed to observe the law which was given them, they were driven from the country. It is wonderful to me how far the Lord has blessed us and the easiness we have had to comply with the laws of God. It is strange to me and wonderful when we look upon this. The Lord has raised you up and fitted you to come to the rescue, and if we fail to get that assistance from you we shall have to-no I shall not say it, for we would not give up, we will remain faithful to the Lord and try to execute his will. I have given myself to this work, and I do not propose to turn away from the Lord, neither shall I neglect my duty even if it is unpleasant to talk about these things, but I hope it is not unpleasant to you.

I was going to suggest, if you had agreed to lay aside a reserve fund, I should have asked you if you would not first set apart one-tenth of it as tithing. The poorest of the poor can pay tithing; the Lord requires it at our hands, to lay this matter plainly before the people, and we are going to do it. It is the temporal salvation of this Church, it depends upon obedience to this law.

If the Young Ladies' Mutual Improvement Association have a fund, I am going to suggest that they pay tithing on it. I do not know whether the Deseret News pay tithing on its profits or not, but if they wish my name at the head of their paper they must do so. Now I suppose some will find fault, but I hope not, and it matters not if they do, we are going to carry this out, the Lord being our helper.

I am surprised that I am in this position. I am not a speaker. I used to, when I was younger, try to take up a text and to talk upon it, but I was not very successful. But I can tell what the Lord wants of me, and I know what my duty is, and although I never desired but one thing, one office in this Church, and that was to be an Elder, and that I received under the direction of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, I have gone along from one thing to another, with much fear, knowing my inability. I devoted myself wholly to discharging my duties and the Lord has helped me through, and he will continue to help me. I have my counselors here and we are one. Of course President Cannon has been away for some time, but he will see eye to eye with me as President Smith does. I can depend upon my counselors and I know they will support this principle, that everybody should pay tithing. This law shall be observed now, and things will go along pretty well, and we will pay our debts. The Lord has told us not to get into debt. In regard to building temples he gave a revelation that they should not go into debt, and it was not proper for the Presidency to go into debt in building temples, and it certainly does not look wise for us to become involved in any enterprise. The brethren are mostly in debt. The Lord has let this go on inasmuch as the people have not paid their tithing and even at the expense of our homes that our families live in; that is bad.

Now brethren, I do not wish to detain you, but I want you to reflect upon this matter. Read the law of tithing in the Doctrine and Covenants and then why it was the people who disobeyed this law in Jackson County were expelled, and see what the whisperings of the Lord to you are. We want to introduce this matter mildly but firmly.

God bless you. I intend in the future to take more interest in your meetings. I have taken an interest in you and prayed for you and for those who have the direction of your affairs. Now that I see what you are doing I feel that you are strong and that you will do as the Lord requires you to do. God bless you.

At the conclusion of President Snow's address the following resolution was presented by Elder B. H. Roberts:

Resolved: That we accept the doctrine of tithing, as now presented by President Snow, as the present word and will of the Lord unto us, and we do accept it with all our hearts; we will ourselves observe it, and we will do all in our power to get the Latter-day Saints to do likewise.

The resolution was unanimously adopted by all present rising to their feet and shouting "Aye."

Apostle Francis M. Lyman then arose and said: "President Snow: I believe this body of men are about as clear upon this law and have about as faithfully met their obligations in regard to tithing as any body of men in the Church. It is a splendid thing, brethren, for us to be always in shape to accept the will of the Lord when it comes."

Visibly affected, the President then arose and said: "Brethren, the God of our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you. Every man who is here, who has made this promise, will be saved in the Celestial Kingdom. God bless you. Amen." {1898-May 30-Improvement Era 2:792-795 (August, 1899).} (2)

1 - Stan Larson (editor), A Ministry of Meetings: The Apostolic diaries of Rudger Clawson, Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, Salt Lake City, 1993, http://bit.ly/rudgerclawson
2 - 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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