Lorenzo Snow's Testimony

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Gaining a Testimony

.....This truth is further illustrated by the experiences of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon. Each of the three—Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris—saw the angel, saw and handled the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated, and heard the voice of the Lord declare that the record was true. Yet later, all three, becoming disaffected and out of harmony with the leaders, dwindled in unbelief and apostasy. But the imprint of the Spirit had been so indelible that not a single one of them ever denied his testimony, which is still printed in each copy of the Book of Mormon. The testimony of the still small voice whispering to our innermost beings is of more worth than outward signs or manifestations.

As a young man living in Kirtland, Ohio, Lorenzo Snow, fifth president of the Church, was converted and baptized in 1836. He had studiously and conscientiously compared the teachings of the missionaries with the teachings of the Savior. Becoming convinced of the truths of the gospel, he had sought baptism by immersion.

Following confirmation, he constantly anticipated an assurance that he had received the Holy Ghost. Two or three weeks following his baptism, he reflected that he had not yet received a testimony of the truth. Being uneasy, and laying aside his books, he left the house and wandered through the fields. A gloomy spirit and indescribable cloud of darkness seemed to envelop him. It was his custom, near the close of day, to retire to a nearby secluded grove and engage in secret prayer. This night he had no inclination to do so. The spirit of prayer had departed, and the heavens seemed like brass over his head. But, determined not to forgo his evening practice, he sought his accustomed place and knelt in solemn prayer.

“I had no sooner opened my lips in an effort to pray,” recalled President Snow, “than I heard a sound, just above my head, like the rustling of silken robes, and immediately the Spirit of God descended upon me, completely enveloping my whole person, filling me, from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet, and O, the joy and happiness I felt! No language can describe the almost instantaneous transition from a dense cloud of mental and spiritual darkness into a refulgence of light and knowledge. … I then received a perfect knowledge that God lives, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and of the restoration of the holy Priesthood, and the fulness of the Gospel. It was a complete baptism—a tangible immersion in the heavenly principle or element, the Holy Ghost; and even more real and physical in its effects upon every part of my system than the immersion by water.” (Eliza R. Snow, Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow, p. 8.)

In this manner Brother Snow received comforting assurance as the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and the Holy Ghost blessed him with a testimony that remained with him to the close of his earthly existence.

When you face adversity, you can be led to ask many questions. Some serve a useful purpose; others do not. To ask, Why does this have to happen to me? Why do I have to suffer this, now? What have I done to cause this? will lead you into blind alleys. It really does no good to ask questions that reflect opposition to the will of God. Rather ask, What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial? Willing sacrifice of deeply held personal desires in favor of the will of God is very hard to do. Yet, when you pray with real conviction, “Please let me know Thy will” and “May Thy will be done,” you are in the strongest position to receive the maximum help from your loving Father.

"Man Cannot Endure on Borrowed Light" - Henry D. Taylor - April 1971 General Conference