The Church Historian's Press The Church Historian's Press

Circa 1855


Polysophical Society; Lorenzo Snow’s Hall, Salt Lake City, Utah Territory

A large white house surrounded by trees

Lorenzo Snow’s home on South Temple Street in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo taken circa 1920. (Courtesy Church History Library.)

“Address to School Teachers”

Read before an Assembly of the Polysophical Institution in L. [Lorenzo] Snow’s Hall

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

I was highly delighted & edified with the Essay of br. [David] Candland at our last meeting. I felt particularly interested in the subject of schools, teaching, etc. and freely responded to what he said, as all truth; but to admit that it was all of the truth, would be a burlesque on our Polysophical “ten minutes.”

As br. Candland possesses a mind very fertile in subjects for discussion, he cannot be expected to entertain us a second time with the same, and I take the liberty to speak a word of encouragement to school Teachers: not for the purpose of commenting on what br. Candland has said; but to say a few things which he had not time to say. Br. C’s rich skill in painting, left the picture so strikingly dark, that, unless a few bright rays should be added, or the leaf be turn’d to exhibit the other side of the picture; I should dread the result, inasmuch as several of the members of this Institution, are officiating as Teachers. I hope, at least, they will give the subject a reconsideration, before they relinquish the pedagogical chair.

With all of the present difficulties, and in many instances, the utter impracticability of a proper home education; schools and school-teaching are very important.

Although many parents seem to undervalue, and feel inclined to award only ordinary, if any pay at all, for those laborious & responsible services; they are no less necessary for the welfare of community and the future good of Zion.

But is it the duty of those who are qualified to teach, to exhaust their own resources, and tap their mental & physical powers, to instruct & benefit children whose parents feel too little interest to make a just remuneration?

Having been a little experienc'd in these matters, I can say, for one, that there are but few services I have rendered in which I could feel as much satisfaction in doing, without realizing a present compensation; as in discharging the arduous duties of school-teaching in the Church of Jesus Christ. Why? Because this, leaves its own impress, which, if effectual, is an everlasting one. Earthly things perish with their using; and many of the toils of life, leave no traces behind them: But the work of instructing the young Latter-Day Saints, [n.p.] like sculpture in valuable marble, will make impressions that are imperishable—they will remain till immortality shall cease to be. What can awaken a holier feeling than the anticipation, that when a few years shall have passed away, and the young men whom you are now instructing, shall have become Statesmen of Zion and judges in Israel; and the young ladies, mothers, with capacious minds, engrossed in training a yet more noble and righteous youthful generation—that they shall bless your memory with gratitude for the hightoned, mind-expanding, and heart-ennobling bias which your indefatiguable exertions are imprinting on their young minds, and perpetuate your now unappreciated labors, by honorably exhibiting in practice, those qualifications for usefulness which you are now confering upon them? Is it not more in consonance with our profession, as Saints; to anticipate a reward like this, or even farther on—at the resurrection of the just; than to consume all our ways as fast as earned, and have it said of us as Jesus said of the pharisees, “Verily I say unto you they have their reward”?

It is true the labourer is worthy of his hire, and those who labor for Zion are sure to obtain it sooner or later. But suppose we have to fare scantily, and for a season dispense with plum puddings, pound cakes, icecreams, jellies &c. &c., if through our faithfulness & diligence we are counted worthy the distinguished honor of sitting down at the marriage supper of the Lamb, we can then take sweet revenge on all the present abstemiousness which we patiently endure for Zion’s sake; and then we can feast without surfeiting, on food & drink fill’d with the spirit of Jesus Christ.

There certainly is a better time coming for school teachers in Zion. But a foundation must be laid, and a little time is necessary even for Saints to accomplish important purposes. Then let us be willing to do as well as we can until we can do better. Sacrifice precedes reward—Unfaltering pioneers will lead the way to great achievements; and Who, that is truly a philanthropist, would hesitate or shrink from such an <honorable> position?

There is a vast difference between teaching in Babylon and teaching in Zion. The one is to lead students forth into the service of [n.p.] satan; the other is to qualify the young saints, more effectually to assist in building up the kingdom of God, and in rolling forth the mighty chariot of salvation to the nations of the earth. [n.p.]

Source Note

Eliza R. Snow, Journal (1842–1882), n.p., CHL (MS 1439).