The Educational Philosophy of Eliza R. Snow

Although in her early life Eliza R. Snow (1804-1887) was a school teacher, she gained prominence in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints not as a teacher but as a poet and as general president of the women’s organization, the Relief Society. Consequently, her educational thinking and practice remain largely unexplored facets of her contributions to her nineteenth-century Mormon community. But Snow’s ideas on education appear repeatedly in her poetry and in her speeches and other writings. The author explores Snow’s educational ideas as they appear in four of her poems. “Genius Emancipated” portrays the fruitful effects of education and the potential for continued growth and learning. “The Tool and the Gem” focuses on the educational process and the interplay between the teacher and the learner. “To Parents” underscores the importance of educating children to prepare them to perform the mission God intended for them. “Man Capable of Higher Development,” the capstone piece, connects the educational ideas expressed in the other three poems and clearly articulates Snow’s belief that “grand immortality” is man’s ultimate educational outcome.

Published in BYU Studies Quarterly 50:2
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