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JET - Were can i read this phrase "As man is, God once was;as God is, man may become."
JOEL - This couplet was first uttered by President Lorenzo Snow in 1840, and it has been quoted by many
subsequent church leaders and LDS scholars ever since.
As the story goes, about two weeks before Lorenzo's baptism in 1836 he had attended a very
inspirational meeting in Kirtland in which Joseph Smith Sr., as Patriarch to the Church, had
pronounced several impressive blessings upon various members of the Church. After the
meeting Lorenzo was introduced to Father Smith, who predicted that Lorenzo would soon join
the Church and that "you will become as great as you can possibly wish- even as great as
God, and you cannot wish to be greater." (Eliza R. Snow Smith, Biography and Family Record
of Lorenzo Snow (Salt Lake City: Deseret NewsCo., 1884), pp. 4-6.)
Lorenzo pondered this in his heart and mind for nearly four years. Then, in the spring of 1840,
while Lorenzo was listening to Elder H. G. Sherwood expound upon the Lord's parable of the
husbandman who hired servants at various hours of the day to labor in his vineyard, Lorenzo
said: "the eyes of my understanding were opened," as he would later describe the experience,
and he formed in his mind the following couplet:
As man now is, God once was:
As God now is, man may be.
Lorenzo wrote it down in his private journal in 1840 and a reference to this couplet can be
found in Eliza R. Snow Smith's, Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow (Salt Lake
City: Deseret NewsCo., 1884, pp. 4-6.)
He said about this concept "I felt this to be a sacred communication, which I related to no one
except my sister Eliza, until I reached England, when in a confidential private conversation with
President Brigham Young, in Manchester, I related to him this extraordinary manifestation."
(Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow)
President Young said to him: "Brother Snow, that is a new doctrine; if true, it has been
revealed to you for your own private information, and will be taught in due time by the Prophet
to the Church; till then I advise you to lay it upon the shelf and say no more about it." (Orson F.
Whitney, "Lives of our Leaders-The Apostles: Lorenzo Snow," Juvenile Instructor, January 1,
1900, p. 4)
Three years later the Prophet Joseph Smith confirmed that this doctrine was true when he said
to Lorenzo, 'Brother Snow, that is a true gospel doctrine, and it is a revelation from God to
you.'" (Eliza R. Snow, Diary, December 22, 1846, LDS Archives. Also, Beecher, "Leonora,
Eliza, and Lorenzo," p. 67.)
Other early references to this couplet can be found in:
Deseret Weekly, 8 Oct. 1889, 57:513
LeRoi C. Snow, "Devotion to a Divine Inspiration," Improvement Era, June 1919, 656.
It has since been quoted by many others over the past 160 years. A more recent reference to
this couplet can be found in the talk "Learning to Serve" By Elder L. Tom Perry Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (Liahona, May 2002)
It is also mentioned in our current Priesthood/Relief Society manual for 2013 "Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow" (Chapter 5 p. 83)