14. What did Lorenzo Snow stage during Christmas time in Mount Pisgah to lift up the Saints?
Read about Mount Pisgah and some Lorenzo Snow journal entries below:
The Latter-day Saints were forced to leave Nauvoo Illinois in Feb 1846. Temporary settlements were started in Iowa, Mount Pisgah being one of them. “By this time the Saints in Pisgah were in a very destitute condition, not only for food and clothing, but also for teams and wagons to proceed on their journey. Several families were entirely out of provision, and dependent on the charity of their neighbors, who, in most cases, were illy prepared to exercise that virtue. But, above all this, a sweeping sickness had visited the settlement, when there were not sufficient well ones to nurse the sick; and death followed in the wake, and fathers, mothers, children, brothers, sisters and dearest friends fell victims to the destroyer, and were buried with little ceremony, and some destitute of proper burial clothes. Thus were sorrow and mourning added to destitution.” (Lorenzo Snow wrote in his journal).
What a dilemma! And who better calculated to cope with it than Lorenzo Snow? With an indomitable energy—a mind fruitful in expedients, and a firmness of purpose that never yielded to discouragement, he proved himself equal to an emergency which would have terrified men of ordinary abilities. In Nov. 1846, Elder Snow was asked to preside over Mount Pisgah.
First he moved to arouse and combine the energies of the people—organized the brethren in companies, making selections of suitable men, some to proceed to the Gentile settlements to obtain work for provisions and clothing, others to put in crops at home and look after the families of those who were called away—to repair wagons, making new ones out of old, and to manufacture chairs, barrels, tubs, churns, baskets and such other articles as could be disposed of to advantage in the neighboring settlements.
In creating the desirable and necessary union and perfecting these arrangements, he met with much opposition from some who professed to be Latter-day Saints, in consequence of their ignorance and selfishness; but through the blessings of the Lord, he succeeded in having his plans successfully executed.
He sent Elders Dana and Cambell, two intelligent and judicious brethren, to the State of Ohio and other parts of the country, to solicit aid, to invite rich Gentiles to contribute to the wants of the Saints and assist them in their journey westward. They succeeded in gathering funds amounting to about six hundred dollars. The arrangements entered into resulted in supplying the people with abundance of food and clothing, besides facilitating the exodus of those who wished to proceed on the journey as early as practicable.
Lorenzo Snow’s journal continues, “I had the pleasure of taking a wagon load of provisions up to the Bluffs, and in behalf of the Saints of Pisgah, presenting it to President Brigham Young as a New Year’s gift, who manifested a warm feeling of gratitude for this kind token of remembrance.
During the long winter months, I sought to keep up the spirits and courage of the Saints in Pisgah, not only by inaugurating meetings for religious worship and exercises, in different parts of the settlement, but also by making provisions for, and encouraging proper amusements of various kinds. These entertainments corresponded with our circumstances, and, of course, were of a very unpretentious and primitive character; their novel simplicity and unlikeness to anything before witnessed, added greatly to the enjoyment. They were truly exhibitions of ingenuity.
As a sample, I will attempt a description of one [happened around Christmas time], which I improvised for the entertainment of as many as I could reasonably crowd together in my humble family mansion, which was a one-story edifice, about fifteen by thirty, constructed of logs, with a dirt roof and ground floor, displaying at one end a chimney of modest height, made of turf cut from the bosom of Mother Earth. Expressly for the occasion we carpeted the floor with a thin coating of clean straw, and draped the walls with white sheets drawn from our featherless beds.
How to light our hall suitably for the coming event was a consideration of no small moment, and one which levied a generous contribution on our ingenuity. But we succeeded. From the pit where they were buried, we selected the largest and fairest turnips—scooped out the interior, and fixed short candles in them, placing them at intervals around the walls, suspending others to the ceiling above, which was formed of earth and cane. Those lights imparted a very peaceable, quiet, Quakerlike influence, and the light reflected through those turnip rinds imparted a very picturesque appearance.
During the evening exercises, several of my friends, in the warmest expressions possible, complimented me and my family for the peculiar taste and ingenuity displayed in those unique and inexpensive arrangements.
The hours were enlivened, and happily passed, as we served up a dish of succotash, composed of short speeches, full of life and sentiment, spiced with enthusiasm, appropriate songs, recitations, toasts, conundrums, exhortations, etc., etc. At the close, all seemed perfectly satisfied, and withdrew, feeling as happy as though they were not homeless.”
Come up with some simple Christmas activity like in this story to do with your family and friends this Christmas.
Taken from: Eliza R. Snow, Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow, 90.