Lorenzo Snow devoted his life to his religion. A colonizer, missionary, educator, legislator, cultural arts enthusiast, husband, and father, Snow originally planned a career in the military, but his conversion to the Mormon faith refocused his plans. For fifty-two years he was an apostle of the LDS Church and served as president of the more than 250,000 members at the turn of the century.
Born 3 April 1814 in Mantua, Portage County, Ohio, Snow was the fourth of seven children. As the eldest son, he assumed much responsibility for the family farm. The Snows were hard-working settlers, well-to-do by local standards. Though the family was active in the local Baptist congregation, their home was often a forum for other religious teachings. Lorenzo loved to read; he was educated in local schools until he left for Oberlin College, a Presbyterian school, where he distinguished himself in his studies. He left Oberlin in 1836 to travel to Kirtland, Ohio, where he investigated and soon was converted to the Mormon Church, a new religion embraced by his sister Eliza Roxcy Snow.