The Three Nephites

Compiled and Printed
Ogden Kraut

First Edition 1969
Second Edition 1988
Third Edition 1993

Wherefore, I will that all men shall repent all are under sin, except those which I have reserved unto myself, holy men that ye know not of. (D. & C. 49:8)

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Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (Heb. 13:2)


[7]                               Chapter 1


The story of the Three Nephites is well known among the Mormons and to a limited extent among non-Mormon people. However, many who have heard the stories of these three men, have cast them aside as spurious myths, homespun folklore, or religious exaggerations. To the Mormon people the ministry of these three men is as real as the acts of the Apostles. The work of the ministry and the labors of the Three Nephites are as important as the labors of any other missionary in the mission field today.

The scriptures inform us that the “things of God can only be known by the Spirit of God;” therefore, many of the acts and dealings of God with man can never be understood by the general masses of humanity. We live and grovel our way through a dark and depraved, unspiritual generation. Modern science cannot explain the miracles of the Bible; neither can the remarkable exploits of the Three Nephites be explained by the modern materialistic mind. The work of translated beings is one of the connecting links between the seen and the unseen world. These beings form a spiritual bond and a faith promoting labor which cannot be accomplished by any other means. Their message, their labors, and their stories all focus upon this one fact–that God is with His people.

\The stories of the Three Nephites are stories of miraculous powers of help, prophecy, or spiritual guidance to people the world over. These three make sudden appearances and sudden disappearances; they perform herculean tasks beyond the capacity of mortal men; they foretell and instruct with a divine guidance; and they bestow various kinds of blessings upon righteous souls everywhere.

[8] Our own labors and endeavors for the cause of the Gospel are very limited, and we can scarcely comprehend the abundant dealings of God with man. In our efforts to maintain a livelihood for our families, we are often unable to perform the spiritual tasks which must be done prior to the coming of the Son of Man. A great missionary work, beyond our own capacity, must and is being done–this is the labor and calling of the Three Nephites.

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There are perhaps few members of the Church who have not heard or told some of the interesting and faith promoting visitations of the Three Nephites. There can never be a complete compilation of these stories. Some of the incidents and experiences have certainly never been told; others perhaps related to only a few individuals; while others became forgotten or passed away with those who were acquainted with them. The stories related here are only a small portion of those which have been collected.

To understand the miraculous work of the Three Nephites, one must first understand the doctrine of translation. The spectacular ability of disappearance, miraculous speed, superhuman strength, and the gift of foreknowledge, endow these apostles with faculties which far transcend those of mortal men.

The fact that most ministers of today cannot comprehend the nature of spirits, angels, translated and resurrected beings, requires a brief explanation within these pages; therefore, the second chapter is devoted to these subjects.

[9]                               Chapter 2


This chapter is divided into three main areas, with emphasis on the latter one: (1) Spirits; (2) Resurrected Personages; and (3) Translated Beings.


Man is a composition of body and spirit. At death the body and spirit are separated. Jesus, Stephen, and others committed their spirit to God at death. (Luke 23:46; Acts 7:59) The spirit had a birth long before the body has a birth. This period of time is called the pre-existence of man.


When Solomon said “then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecc. 12:7), he inferred that the spirit had an existence in heaven before it came to earth. Jesus knew this doctrine and in His prayer said, “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” (John 17:5)


The Apostle John says:

And there was a war in Heaven: Michael and his angels fought against              the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels and prevailed not;       neither was their place found any more in Heaven. And the great dragon              was cast out, that old Serpent called the Devil, and Satan, which     deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into THE EARTH, and his angels       were cast out with him. (Rev. 12:4, 7-9)


[10] The angels engaged in this war were spirits–some good and some evil–and this was the reason for a spiritual war before the coming of man to the earth. The devil and his angels were here when Eve was tempted, and they continue their war against “good” to this day. They are referred to as “unclean spirits” and these are the spirits which Jesus cast out of the man who lived near the tombs (Mark 5:13). And He cast these spirits out of other people who were also troubled by them (See Luke 7:21).


Before his mortal birth, man took upon him a form, character, and certain degrees of knowledge. The combination of this spiritual being with a mortal body is an advancement in the realm of experience to help exalt and perfect that soul.


When the experience and trials of mortality are finished, the spirit leaves to return to the paradise of God. Parley P. Pratt explains:

Persons who have departed this life, and have not yet been raised from              the dead are spirits.

These are of two kinds, viz.–good and evil. These two kinds also          include many grades of good and evil.

The good spirits, in the superlative sense of the word, are they who,     in this life, partook of the Holy Priesthood, and of the fulness of the        gospel.

This class of spirits minister to the heirs of salvation both in this            world and in the world of spirits. They can appear unto men, when            permitted; but not having a fleshly tabernacle, they cannot hide their    glory. Hence, an unembodied spirit, if it be a holy personage, will be                surrounded with a halo of resplendent glory, or brightness, above the     brightness of the sun.

Whereas, spirits not worthy to be glorified appear without this               brilliant halo; and, [11] although they often attempt to pass as angels       of light, there is more or less of darkness about them. So it is with            Satan and his hosts who have not been embodied. (Key to Theology, p. 116)


Resurrected Personages


The Lord says, “the spirit and the body are the soul of man, and the resurrection from the dead is the redemption of the soul.” (D. & C. 88:15-16) And after the body is delivered to the grave, the spirit returns to the spirit world, or paradise. Then the “paradise of God must deliver up the spirits of the righteous, and the grave deliver up the body of the righteous; and the spirit and the body is restored to itself again.” (2 Nephi 9:13)


When John, the Baptist, appeared to Joseph Smith in May 1829, he appeared as a resurrected being (J. Smith, p. 56), and he was acting under the direction of Peter, James, and John, who were also resurrected personages. The Prophet Joseph gave a key to understanding the nature and difference in the detection of good and evil spirits, and resurrected beings, when he wrote:

There are two kinds of beings in heaven, namely: Angels, who are       resurrected personages, having bodies of flesh and bones–

For instance, Jesus said: Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not          flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

Secondly: the spirits of just men made perfect, they who are not          resurrected, but inherit the same glory.

When a messenger comes saying he has a message from God, offer him            your hand and request him to shake hands with you.

If he be an angel he will do so, and you will feel his hand.

[12]            If he be the spirit of a just man made perfect he will come in his           glory; for that is the only way he can appear–

Ask him to shake hands with you, but he will not move, because it is   contrary to the order of heaven for a just man to deceive; but he will              still deliver his message.

If it be the devil as an angel of light, when you ask him to shake          hands, he will offer you his hand, and you will not feel anything; you       may therefore detect him.

These are three grand keys whereby you may know whether any         administration is from God. (Doc. & Cov. 129:1-9)


Often times good spirits, evil spirits, and resurrected beings will appear to mortals. Good spirits and evil spirits will usually make an appearance only to deliver a message; whereas angels may have more to accomplish. Again we quote from Parley P. Pratt:

When they come as other men, they will perhaps eat and drink, and wash         their feet; and lodge with their friends. Hence, it is written”Be not      forgetful to entertain strangers for thereby some have entertained angels              unawares.”

Their business is, also, to comfort and instruct individual members of                 the Church of the Saints; to heal them by the laying on of hands in the   name of Jesus Christ, or to tell them what means to use in order to get   well; to teach them good things, to warn them of approaching danger, or,      to deliver them from prison, or from death.

These blessings have always been enjoyed by the people or Church of               the Saints, whenever such Church has existed on our planet. They are not     peculiar to one dispensation more than another. (Key to Theology, p. 113)


[13]  Translated Beings


Although we read that Enoch and his city were translated, as well as Moses and Elijah, we should not be any less astonished that others might also receive similar blessings and missions. Peter was amazed at seeing Moses and Elias, but it was also an angel who delivered him from the bonds of prison. (Acts 5:19) Those who have become translated or resurrected have special missions assigned to them.


The Prophet Joseph Smith comments upon this:

Translated bodies cannot enter into rest until they have undergone a change equivalent to death. Translated bodies are designed for future missions. The angel that appeared to John on the Isle of Patmos was a translated or resurrected body. (TPJS, p. 191)


And further he explained:

Many have supposed that the doctrine of translation was a doctrine whereby men were taken immediately into the presence of God, and into an eternal fullness, but this is a mistaken idea. Their place of habitation is that of the terrestrial order, and a place prepared for such characters He held in reserve to be ministering angels unto many planets, and who as yet have not entered into so great a fullness as those who are resurrected from the dead. `Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.’ (Heb. 3:35)

Now it was evident that there was a better resurrection, or else God would not have revealed it unto Paul. Wherein, then, can it be said a better resurrection? This distinction is [14] made between the doctrine of the actual resurrection and translation: translation obtains a deliverance from the tortures and sufferings of the body, but their existence will prolong as to the labors and toils of the ministry, before they can enter into so great a rest and glory. On the other hand, those who were tortured, not accepting deliverance, received an immediate rest from their labors. (D.H.C. 4:210)


The Three Nephites received a translation of their bodies. Mormon explains the nature of the change that was experienced by them and the change that takes place at the time of the resurrection:

And now behold, as I spake concerning those whom the Lord hath chosen, yea, even three who were caught up into the heavens, that I knew not whether they were cleansed from mortality to immortality–but behold, since I wrote I have inquired of the Lord, and he hath made it manifest unto me that there must needs be a change wrought upon their bodies, or else it needs be that they must taste of death; therefore, that they might not taste of death there was a change wrought upon their bodies, that they might not suffer pain nor sorrow save it were for the sins of the world.

Now this change was not equal to that which shall take place at the last day; but there was a change wrought upon them, insomuch that Satan could have no power over them, that he could not tempt them; and they were holy, and that the powers of the earth could not hold them. And in this state they were to remain until the judgement day of Christ; and at that day they were to receive a greater change, and to be received into the kingdom of the Father to go no more cut, but to dwell with God eternally in the heavens. (3 Nephi 28:36-40)


[15] The Apostle Erastus Snow also elaborated on the nature of the change between translation and resurrection:

We read–`Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.’ The Apostle Paul says he was translated. The revelation given through Joseph Smith teaches that a great many others in Enoch’s day obtained the same blessing.

We read in the Book of Mormon of Three Nephites, upon whom the Lord wrought a change, that their bodies should not see corruption; but that change was in itself equivalent to death and the resurrection. Whether the complete change took place in that day, or whether a still greater change remains to take place with them, we are not informed positively. But Mormon, writing about it, gives it as his opinion, and says it was so signified to him by the Spirit, that there remained for them a greater change in the great day when all should be changed.

Suffice it to say that because of the fall of Adam, the elements of the earth of which we partake have sown the seeds of mortality in the earthly tabernacle, so that it becomes necessary they should all undergo the same change, whether by returning to the dust, and being raised again, or by that change which takes place in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. (Erastus Snow, J.D. 7:356)


Another apostle, Orson Pratt, delivered a discourse in the tabernacle in Salt Lake City, July 19, 1874, elaborating upon this subject:

But it is in the order of God that man should die. Man brought this upon himself by transgressing the laws of heaven. By putting forth his hand and partaking of that which God [16] had forbidden, he brought this great evil into the world. Death not only came upon our first parents, who committed the first great transgression, but the curse has been inherited by all their generations. None can escape the curse so far as the mortal body is concerned.

I think, perhaps, this broad assertion may be contradicted in the minds of some. They may tell us of Enoch, who was translated to heaven, they may speak of Elijah, who was caught up in a chariot of fire, and say, `Here, at least, are two exceptions to the general rule.’ But what do we know concerning translations? What has God revealed in all the revelations contained in the Old and New Testaments in relation to a translated being? Are we assured that such beings never will have to undergo a change equivalent to that of death?

Our new revelations that we have received inform us of a great many individuals that were translated before the flood. We read that a great and mighty Prophet of the Most High God was sent forth in the days of Adam, namely, Enoch, the seventh generation from Adam, who lived contemporary with his ancestor, Adam; that in his days a great number of people heard the plan of salvation preached to them by the power of the Holy Ghost that rested upon Enoch and those who were called with him; that they received this plan of salvation and gathered themselves out from among the various nations of the earth where they had obeyed the gospel; that they were instructed, after they assembled in one, in righteousness, for three hundred and sixty-five years; that they learned the laws of the kingdom, and concerning God and every principle of righteousness that was necessary to enable them to enter into the fullness of the glory of heaven; they were instructed to build up a city, and it was called a city of holiness, [17] for God came down and dwelt with that people; he was in their midst, they beheld his glory; they saw his face; and he condescended to dwell among them for many long years, during which time they were instructed and taught in all of his ways, and among other things they learned the great doctrine and principle of translation, for that is a doctrine the same as the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, which is among the first principles of the plan of salvation; and we may also say that the doctrine of translation, which is intimately connected with that of the resurrection, is also one of the first principles of the doctrine of Christ. They were instructed in relation to this government, the object of it, etc.

According to the light and knowledge which the Latter-day Saints have upon this subject, revealed in the revelations given through Joseph Smith, we find that those people, when they were fully prepared, having learned the doctrine of translation, were caught up into the heavens, the whole city, the people and their habitations. How much of the earth was. taken up in connection with their habitations we are not informed. It might have been a large region. You may ask: `Where was this city of Zion built in ancient days?’ According to new revelation it was built upon this great western hemisphere. When I speak of this western hemisphere, I speak of it as it now exists. In those days the land was united; the eastern and the western hemispheres were one; but they dwelt in that portion of our globe that is now called the western hemisphere, and they were taken up from this portion of the globe. No doubt all the region of country occupied by them was translated or taken away from the earth.

Some five thousand years have passed away since they were caught up to the heavens. What has been their condition during that time? Have [18] they been free from death? They have been held in reserve in answer to their prayers. What were their prayers? Enoch and his people prayed that a day of righteousness might be brought about during their day; they sought abroad over the face of the earth and saw the corruptions that had been introduced by the various nations, the descendants of Adam, and their hearts melted within them, and they groaned before the Lord with pain and sorrow, because of the wickedness of the children of men, and they sought for a day of rest; they sought that righteousness might be revealed, that wickedness might be swept away and that the earth might rest for a season. God gave them visions, portrayed to them the future of the world, showed unto them that this earth must fulfil the measure of its creation; that generation after generation must be born and pass away, and that, after a certain period of time, the earth would rest from wickedness, that the wicked would be swept away, and the earth would be cleansed and sanctified and be prepared for a righteous people. `Until that day,’ saith the Lord, you and your people shall rest, Zion shall be taken up into my own bosom.’ Ancient Zion should be held in reserve until the day of rest should come, `then,’ said the Lord to Enoch, `thou and all thy city shall descend upon the earth, and your prayers shall be answered.’

They have been gone, as I have already stated, about five thousand years. what have they been doing? All that we know concerning this subject is what has been revealed through the great and mighty Prophet of the last days, Joseph Smith–that unlearned youth whom God raised up to bring forth the Book of Mormon and to establish this latter-day Church. He has told us that they have been ministering angels during all that time. To whom? To those of the [19] terrestrial order, if you can understand that expression. God gave them the desires of their hearts, the same as he gave to the Three Nephites, to whom he gave the privilege, according to their request, of remaining and bringing souls unto Christ while the world should stand. Even so, he granted to the people of Enoch their desire to become ministering spirits unto those of the terrestrial order until the earth should rest and they should again return to it.

Joseph inquired concerning their condition, whether they were subject to death during that period, and was informed, as you will find in the history of this Church, as printed in the Millennial Star and other publications thereof, that these personages have to pass through a change equivalent to that of death; notwithstanding their translation from the earth, a certain change has to be wrought upon them that is equivalent to death, and probably equivalent also to the resurrection of the dead. But before that change comes, they minister in their office unto those of another order, that is, the terrestrial order. Strangers will not understand, perhaps, what we mean by the terrestrial order. If they take the opportunity of reading the doctrines of this Church, as laid down in the revelations given through Joseph Smith, they will learn what our views are in relation to this matter. God revealed by vision the different orders of being in the eternal worlds. One class, the highest of all, is called the celestial; another class, the next to the celestial in glory, power, might and dominion, is called the terrestrial; another class, still lower than the terrestrial in glory and exaltation, is called the telestial. This middle class, whose glory is typified by the glory of our moon in the firmament of the heavens as compared with the sun, [20] are those who once dwelt on this or some other creation and, if they have had the gospel laid before them, they have not had a full opportunity of receiving it; or they have not heard it at all, and have died without having the privilege. In the resurrection they come forth with terrestrial bodies. They must be administered to, says the vision, and God has appointed agents or messengers to minister to these terrestrial beings, for their good, blessing, exaltation, glory and honor in the eternal worlds.

Enoch and his people understanding this principle, sought that they, before receiving the fulness of their celestial glory might be the instruments in the hands of God of doing much good among beings of the terrestrial order.

We read in the New Testament concerning certain angels that are in the eternal worlds, and the question is asked by the Apostle Paul: `Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation?’–not for those who were already heirs of salvation, but for those who shall be, those who were to be redeemed, that were to be brought forth and exalted. Enoch and his people were appointed to this ministry, holding the Priesthood thereof, with power and authority to administer in order that those beings may be exalted and brought up, and inherit all the glory that they are desirous to receive. (Orson Pratt, J.D. 17:146-149)


The Apostle Franklin D. Richards thought that the Three Nephites were acquainted with and had received special blessings from the people of Enoch.

If there is anything in the world that can satisfy the hungry soul for knowledge, it is the revelations of the Lord Jesus Christ, which open up continually line upon line, and precept upon [21] precept; here a little and there a little; indeed there is nothing else can satisfy the longing of the human soul. This will lead to the same blessing and glory which the Prophet Joseph told us Enoch had attained unto. He taught us that he and his city had attained in his day to a terrestrial glory, that they were enjoying that glory still. They attained unto the power of translation, that they might take their bodies and their city with them. The resurrection was not until Christ came and became the first fruits of them that slept.

This view of the subject brings me to think and to speak a word in reference to the Three Nephites. They wanted to tarry until Jesus came, and that they might He took them into the heavens and endowed them with the power of translation, probably in one of Enoch’s temples, and brought them back to the earth. Thus they received power to live until the coming of the Son of Man. I believe He took them to Enoch’s city and gave them their endowments there. I expect that in the city of Enoch there are temples; and when Enoch and his people come back, they will come back with their city, their temples, blessings and powers. The north country will yield up its multitude, with the Apostle John, who is looking after them. They also will come to Zion and receive their crowns at the hands of their brethren of Ephraim. (F.D. Richards, J.D. 25:236)


In the Gospel of John (21:22) we read that Jesus responded to a question from Peter by saying, “If I will that he (John) tarry till I come, what is that to thee?” One day, the Prophet Joseph and Oliver Cowdery were discussing this passage of scripture and expressed different views on its meaning. To understand what was meant, the Prophet inquired of the Lord and received the contents of a parchment which had been written by John and hid up by him.


[22]            And the Lord said unto me, John, my beloved, what desirest thou? For if ye shall ask, what you will, it shall be granted unto you.

And I said unto him, Lord, give unto me power over death, that I may live and bring souls unto thee.

And the Lord said unto me, Verily, Verily, I say unto thee, because thou desirest this thou shalt tarry until I come in glory, and shalt prophesy before nations, kindreds, tongues and people.

And for this cause the Lord said unto Peter, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? For he desired of me that he might bring souls unto me, but thou desirest that thou mightest speedily come unto me in my kingdom.

I say unto thee, Peter, this was a good desire, but my beloved has desired that he might do more, or a greater work yet among men than what he has before done.

Yea, he has undertaken a greater work, therefore I will make him as flaming fire and a ministering angel; he shall minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation who dwell on the earth. And I will make thee to minister for him and for thy brother James; and unto you three I will give this power and the keys of this ministry until I come.

Verily, I say unto you, ye shall both have according to your desires, for ye both have joy that which ye have desired. (Doc. & Cov. Sec. 7)


Here we see that John also is a translated being and that he still has the keys of the ministry among mortals. He acts as an angel, yet he may be seen as a mortal. Parley Pratt explains:

[23]            Angels are of the same race as men. They are, in fact, men who have passed from the rudimental state to the higher spheres of progressive being. They have died and risen again to life, and are consequently possessed of a divine, human body of flesh and bones, immortal and eternal. They eat, drink, sing, worship and converse. Some of them hold the keys of apostleship and priesthood, by which they teach, instruct, bless, and perform miracles and many mighty works.

Translated men, like Enoch, Elijah, John the Apostle, and three of the Apostles of the Western Hemisphere, are in these respects like the angels. (Key to Theology, p. 112)


The Apostle Orson Pratt continues with a review of the lives of these translated men:

In regard to this partial change that will be wrought upon the people in those days, let no one suppose that this is inconsistent with the dealings of the Lord, for we have on record in the Book of Mormon, that He did accomplish a work similar to this upon the bodies of at least four men who once lived upon this globe, three of whom belonged to the Twelve Disciples which Jesus, personally, chose to minister on this western continent. They had a desire to live while the world should stand, for the purpose of bringing souls unto Jesus, and the Lord granted unto them their desire. But first the heavens were opened, and they were caught up, and they saw and heard unspeakable things, things that were not lawful to be uttered, and which they were forbidden to utter, and it seemed to them like unto a transfiguration. They, nevertheless, came down again out of heaven, after having had this great feast, and they went forth upon the face of this land in connection with nine others of their quorum, and ministered among [24] the people, and so great was their faith, that when their enemies shut them in prisons, the prisons were rent in twain, and they came forth from their confinement. Again, when they dug pits in the earth, however deep, and cast them down into them, they smote the earth by the word of God, and were delivered out of the pits and came forth unharmed. Again, when they cast them three times into furnaces of fire, they came forth unharmed; and when they cast them into dens of wild beasts, they played with them as a child would play with a suckling lamb, and came forth unharmed, and they performed mighty miracles, and signs, and wonders in connection with the other members of the Twelve. They also built up the Church of God upon all the face of this land, and all the inhabitants thereof were converted and brought to a knowledge of the truth.

These three men tarried among the Nephites until between three and four hundred years after Christ, and until the wickedness of the people became so great that the Lord took them out of their midst. Mormon, in speaking of these three men, inquired of the Lord, whether they did receive a change to immortality at the time they were caught up into heaven. The Lord answered and told him, that they did not receive a full change, but only so much that Satan had no power over them, and sickness had no power over their bodies. This partial change, then, was sufficient to preserve them to live without pain and sickness, and without Satan having power to tempt them and lead them astray, and they would have no sorrow in relation to themselves, but only in regard to the sins of the world, and on this account they sorrowed considerably.

It seems then, that if God did, in ancient times, so show forth His power, as to operate upon three men on this American Continent, and one on the Eastern Continent, namely, John the [25] Revelator, so that the power of death could not be exercised over them, that they could tarry and live here on the earth for eighteen hundred or two thousand years, as the case may be, he can perform the same in regard to the Latter-day Saints, that they also shall live; and inasmuch as they are permitted to dwell here in the presence of Jesus, it is reasonable to believe that they will ask, and desire, and seek unto him to receive this partial change. And will he grant it? Yes. But yet there is to be a falling asleep; notwithstanding this partial change, they will fall asleep, when they have come to full maturity, or the full age of man. But they will not be deposited in the grave–this is what the Lord has told us–they will be raised again immediately after having fallen asleep, raised again to immortality and eternal life, instead of being buried and seeing corruption. Those persons, therefore, who die under these circumstances, have not the experience of a long absence from their bodies, their spirits are only separated for a moment, as it were, and then they are permitted to come forth in the beauty of immortality and eternal life. (Orson Pratt, J.D. 16:320-321)


Little enough has been spoken and written upon the glorious power and mission of translated men. Their power and faith seems incredible–yet every man who is esteemed worthy of the ordination and covenant of the High Priesthood should become heirs to these grand powers. From the Inspired Translation of the Bible by Joseph Smith we find evidence of the power of that Priesthood:

Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire.

And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch.

[26]            It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God;

And it was delivered unto men by the calling of His own voice, according to His will, unto as many as believed on His name.

For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should dry up waters, to turn them out of their course;

To put at defiance the armies of nations; to divide the earth; to break every band; to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to His will, according to His command; subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world.

And men having faith, coming up unto this order of God. were translated and taken up into heaven.

And now Melchizedek was a priest of this order; therefore he obtained peace in Salem, and was called the prince of peace.

And his people wrought righteousness, and obtained heaven, and sought for the city of Enoch which God had before taken, separating it from the earth, having reserved it unto the latter days, or the end of the world;

And hath said, and sworn with an oath, that the heavens and the earth should come together; and the sons of God should be tried so as by fire. (Gen. 14:26-35)


Everyone who can prove himself worthy of the Priesthood should make every consecrated effort to grow in power and faith as these disciples of Jesus have done. Who knows what great efforts they are now exerting to help guide, comfort, and assist faithful men of today? Wherever these men labor, there is the work of God.



[27]                              Chapter 3




During the ministry of Jesus to the Jews at Jerusalem, He told them of “other sheep” which were not of “their fold,” but they too would hear His voice. The disbelieving Jews scoffed and said that He was “mad and hath a devil.” However, after His crucifixion and resurrection, He visited the Nephite “fold” and they heard His voice and became His “sheep.” From among them He selected twelve disciples and ordained them to labor as apostles. These disciples taught and labored valiantly for 70 years, for which they were rewarded the desires of their hearts. The Lord appeared to them, asking them what they desired most. The account is beautifully recorded by Mormon:

And it came to pass when Jesus had said these words, He spake unto His disciples, one by one, saying unto them: What is it that ye desire of Me, after that I am gone to the Father?

And they all spake, save it were three, saying: We desire that after we have lived unto the age of man, that our ministry wherein thou hast called us, may have an end, that we may speedily come unto thee in thy kingdom.

And He said unto them: Blessed are ye because ye desired this thing of me; therefore, after that ye are seventy and two years old, ye shall come unto me in my kingdom; and with me ye shall find rest.

And when he had spoken unto them, he turned himself unto the three, and said unto them: What will ye that I should do unto you, when I am gone unto the Father?

[28]            And they sorrowed in their hearts, for they durst not speak unto him the thing which they desired.

And he said unto them: Behold, I know your thoughts, and ye have desired the thing which John, my beloved, who was with me in my ministry, before that I was lifted up by the Jews, desired of me.

Therefore, more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death; but ye shall live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in my glory with the powers of heaven.

And ye shall never endure the pains of death; but when I shall come in my glory ye shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye from mortality to immortality; and then shall ye be blessed in the kingdom of my Father.

And again, ye shall not have pain while ye shall dwell in the flesh, neither sorrow save it be for the sins of the world; and all this will I do because of the thing which ye have desired of me, for ye have desired that ye might bring the souls of men unto me, while the world shall stand.

And for this cause ye shall have fullness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fullness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one;

And the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and the Father giveth the Holy Ghost unto the children of men, because of me.

And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words, he touched every one of them with His finger save it were the three who were to tarry, and then He departed.

[29]            And behold, the heavens were opened, and they were caught up into heaven, and saw and heard unspeakable things. And it was forbidden them that they should utter; neither was it given unto them power that they could utter the things which they saw and heard;

And whether they were in the body or out of the body, they could not tell; for it did seem unto them like a transfiguration of them, that they were changed from this body of flesh into an immortal state, that they could behold the things of God.

But it came to pass that they did again minister upon the face of the earth; nevertheless they did not minister of the things which they had heard and seen, because of the commandment which was given them in heaven.

And now, whether they were mortal or immortal, from the day of their transfiguration, I know not;

But this much I know, according to the record which hath been given–they did go forth upon the face of the land, and did minister unto all the people, uniting as many to the church as would believe in their preaching; baptizing them, and as many as were baptized did receive the Holy Ghost.

And they were cast into prison by them who did not belong to the church. And the prisons could not hold them, for they were rent in twain.

And they were cast down into the earth; but they did smite the earth with the word of God, insomuch that by his power they were delivered out of the depths of the earth; and therefore they could not dig pits sufficient to hold them.

And thrice they were cast into a furnace and received no harm.

[30]            And it came to pass that thus they did go forth among all the people of Nephi, and did preach the gospel of Christ unto all people upon the face of the land; and they were converted unto the Lord, and were united unto the Church of Christ, and thus the people of that generation were blessed, according to the word of Jesus. (3 Nephi, Chap. 28)

Mormon records the names of the original quorum of these twelve disciples:

And it came to pass that on the morrow, when the multitude was gathered together, behold, Nephi and his brother whom he had raised from the dead, whose name was Timothy, and also his son, whose name was Jonas, and also Mathoni, and Mathonihah, his brother, and Kumen, and Kumenonhi, and Jeremiah, and Shemnon, and Jonas, and Zedekiah, and Isaiah–now these were the names of the disciples whom Jesus had chosen. (3 Nephi 19:4)


He also knew the names of the three who were to tarry, but he adds at a later date:

Behold, I was about to write the names of those who were never to taste of death, but the Lord forbade; therefore I write them not, for they are hid from the world. (3 Nephi 28:25)


However, in the journal of Oliver B. Huntington, he writes:

I am willing to state that the names of the Three Nephites who do not sleep in the earth are Jeremiah, Zedekiah, and Kumenonhi. (Oliver B. Huntington Diary, 2:367)


The source of Brother Huntington’s information is not definite, but it is a point of interest.


[31] The life and story of the mission of these three, while they lived as mortals, would fill a large volume of amazing reading. They lived in a most unique and contrasting generation. They were witnesses to one of The most corrupt and also one of the most noble generations in the history of the world.


They saw their nation undergo moral and physical destructions at the time of Christ’s crucifixion. After the days of darkness and the terrible earthquakes, the people were humbled to the dust at witnessing so many people and cities utterly destroyed. They took a new outlook upon life; and with a desire to keep God’s commandments, they began to obtain blessings rather than cursings.


The Church and nation of the Nephites began to prosper as never before. After the tremendous changes upon the face of the land, there were marvelous changes in the hearts of the people. Through repentance and conversion to Christ, there were no more contentions, disputations, or injustices and “every man did deal justly one with another.”


At this time the disciples of Jesus went among the people to heal the sick, causing the lame to walk, the blind to see, and the deaf to hear. On occasions they raised the dead and performed “all manner of miracles” in the name of Jesus. It seemed almost like a storybook fable to witness a people who could so quickly and wholeheartedly become converted from savagery, war, and corruption to the simple and beautiful Gospel of Christ. But only through the calamities and destructions of the Almighty has man had to learn the painful lessons of the laws of righteousness. After the suffering cometh the blessings. A marvelous story was recorded in the conversion of the Nephites to the Gospel of Christ.


“Because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people,” they cast away all selfishness and lost their strifes, tumults, and lasciviousness. And, instead [32] of contention, they “had all things common among them, therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free” or any inequality.


Mormon looked upon this beautiful and envious time and recorded that they “were in one, the children of Christ and heirs to the Kingdom of God, and how, blessed were they! For the Lord did bless them in all their doings” and “surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.” Here is a lovely page in the history of man where he has “condescended” to allow God to rule over his life.


Here was a time and a setting for which every missionary of Christ has dreamed–a people who believed and were converted to the Gospel of Christ without contention, disbelief or ridicule. Here were a people whose hearts had changed in a miraculous manner and accepted the Gospel in its entirety with a pure faith.


We read that they continued to fast and pray after their baptism, and they did meet together often to hear the word of the Lord and thus they were blessed and “filled with the Holy Ghost.” As a result there were many “mighty miracles wrought among the disciples of Jesus.” The people and the land prospered as never before.


By the year 201 A.D. the Nephite people had “multiplied insomuch that they were spread upon all the face of the land, and that they had become exceedingly rich.” The disciples that Jesus had chosen had “all gone to the paradise of God, save it were the three who should tarry.” At this time the glorious principles of the Gospel began to waver, because some were lifted up in pride in the desires for the “fine things of the world.” Inequality soon followed and Satan caused dissentions, persecutions, and all manner of wickedness. Within another eight years many churches had been established, while the true church received persecutions and death at the hands of the other churches. The disciples of Jesus were hunted down by the mobs, politicians, and ministers who all thirsted for their death.


[33] These disciples were “cast into prisons” but they tore the prisons down; they were cast into deep pits in the earth but they came forth; three times they were thrown into a furnace but received no harm; and twice they were cast into dens of wild beasts but the animals became tame at their touch. They were smitten, ridiculed, and driven out by mobs until the nation had become ripe for total destruction. Thus from the year 201 A.D. to 230 A.D. that great nation had almost crumbled into total apostacy.


The visitations and miracles of the disciples have only been manifest during the times of righteousness among the people. As wickedness increases, their faith and the power of God also diminish. At the final apostacy and dissolution of the Nephite nation, the appearance and labors of the three Disciples were almost unknown. Mormon records:

And I did endeavor to preach unto this people, but my mouth was shut, and I was forbidden that I should preach unto them; for behold they had wilfully rebelled against their God; and the beloved disciples were taken away out of the land, because of their iniquity. (Mormon 1:16)

And there are none that do know the true God save it be the disciples of Jesus who did tarry in the land until the wickedness of the people was so great that the Lord would not suffer them to remain with the people; and whether they be upon the face of the land no man knoweth. (Mormon 8:10)


Moroni was acquainted with the Three Nephites, for he wrote:

My father and I have seen them, and they have ministered unto us. (Mormon 8:11)


[34] And Moroni’s father, Mormon, also made mention of their visit to him:

But behold, I have seen them, and they have ministered unto me. (3 Nephi 28:26)


Then after the fourth century the Three Nephites probably labored throughout the world, wherever honest, God-fearing souls needed aid and instruction. Later records indicate the appearance of one or more similar characters at the discovery of America, the Continental Congress, the making of the American flag, and at the time of the restoration of the Gospel.


Practically nothing is known of the work and mission of the “Three” from the time of Moroni until a thousand years later. One incident in the life and voyages of Christopher Columbus mentions an unusual occurrence which may well have been the appearance of the Nephites to the members of that famous voyage. Since the mission of the Three Nephites was in the land of America, there is little wonder that they should not be somewhere within that famous discovery of the new world by Columbus.


E.D. Partridge of the Brigham Young University wrote an interesting article about the sailor in Columbus’ party who may have seen those Nephites:


The “Three Nephites”

Did One of Columbus’ Sailors See Them?

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are always on the lookout for evidences of the Divine origin of the Book of Mormon. This interest led me to mark many passages in Irving’s Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus, some of which seem to be worthy of more than a mere passing notice.

Columbus, though steeped in the superstitions of his day, was a very humble man. Often, [35] while sailing abroad, he would spend a whole night in prayer and supplication. He felt that he was doing God’s will in making these voyages of discovery; and no doubt, it was this feeling which caused him to say to his officers and men, when implored to return, and even threatened with death, “Sail on–sail on!” Irving says–* {*All quotations from Irving in this article will be from the works of Washington Irving, Vol. 6, The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus, published in New York by Peter Fenelon Collier, 1897.}(page 17) “He attributed his early and irresistible inclination for the sea, and his passion for geographical studies, to an impulse from Deity, preparing him for the high decrees he was chosen to accomplish.” And when he came before the king of Spain asking for royal and financial support, “he unfolded his plan with eloquence and zeal; for he felt himself, as he afterwards declared, kindled as with a fire from on high, and considered himself the chosen agent by heaven to accomplish its grand designs” (page 64). This is very significant when compared with the following: “And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God that it came down and wrought upon the man, and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren who were in the promised land” (I Nephi 13:12).

By far the most interesting paragraph in the whole volume is found beginning on page 329, which I will give after quoting a few passages from the Book of Mormon. I have always been deeply interested in the account of the “Three Nephites” and have often wondered if there [36] were not on record somewhere an account of their having been seen by someone outside of the Church. I am almost convinced that Irving has made just such a record. * * *

I will now give the above mentioned paragraph from Irving. It is in the account of Columbus’ second voyage of discovery to America. He was cruising along the coast of Cuba, when one day he anchored near a beautiful palm grove:

“Here a party was sent on shore for wood and water; and they found two living springs in the midst of the grove. While they were employed in cutting wood and filling their water casks, an archer strayed into the forest with his crossbow in search of game, but soon returned, flying with great terror, and calling loudly upon his companions for aid. He declared that he had not proceeded far, when he suddenly espied through an opening glade, a man in a long white dress so like a friar of the order of St. Mary of mercy, that at first sight he took him for the chaplain of the admiral. Two others followed in white tunics reaching to their knees, and the three were of as fair complexions as Europeans. Behind these appeared many more, to the number of thirty, armed with clubs and lances. They made no signs of hostility, but remained quiet, the man in the long white dress alone advancing to accost him. But he was so alarmed by their number that he had fled instantly to seek the aid of his companions. The latter, however, were so daunted by the reported number of armed natives, that they had not courage to seek them nor await their coming, but hurried with all speed to the ships.”

It is stated that Columbus sent two different expeditions in search of the three white men and their followers, but both returned unsuccessful. Irving apologizes for the appearance of this item in his record, and states that, [37] since no tribe of Indians was ever discovered in Cuba who wore clothing, the matter probably arose in either error or falsehood.

No apology is needed. however, by the Latter-day Saints. The account given by the archer portrays conditions just as they would naturally be with the “Three Disciples.” They lived among the people when the vision recorded in 1st Nephi was taught. They were, of course, looking forward to its fulfillment. They were to bring souls to Christ till he should come again, and had probably been busy gathering bands of followers all over the country. They, of course, taught their followers to wear clothing and to live as much of the Gospel as they could. They naturally would have to arm themselves against their savage neighbors.

Columbus and his sailors were looked upon by the natives as visitors from heaven, and their appearance among them was heralded all over the country. Their movements were watched closely from the shores, since whenever they landed they found themselves not unexpected. It does not take much imagination to see the “disciples” and one of their bands following the movements of the ships from the trees or mountains, awaiting a favorable opportunity to make themselves known. In fact, there is nothing in the report of the archer which is in the least at variance with what might be expected from our knowledge of the Book of Mormon. As I said before, I am almost convinced that this is the record I have been looking for. (Improvement Era 7:621-624)


Nearly 200 years later another story, which probably is an account of the workings of one of the Three Nephites, is recorded as an authentic American historical tale:


[38]            In the frontier town of Hadley, Massachusetts, then on the northwestern edge of civilization, on a day in the summer of 1676, the people were all gathered at the meetinghouse, engaged in divine service. It was a day of fasting and prayer, set aside to implore God’s aid to relieve the land from the reign of terror which had come upon it. Yet the devout villagers, in their appeal for spiritual aid, did not forget the importance of temporal weapons. They had brought their muskets with them, and took part in the pious exercises with these carnal instruments of safety within easy reach of their hands.

Their caution was well advised. In the midst of their devotional exercises a powerful body of Indians made a sudden onslaught upon the village. They had crept up in their usual stealthy way, under cover of trees and bushes, and their wild yells as they assailed the outlying houses were the first intimation of their approach.

These alarming sounds reached the ears of the worshippers, and quickly brought their devotional services to an end. In an instant all thought of dependence upon the Almighty was replaced by the instinct of dependence upon themselves. Grasping their weapons, they hurried out, to find themselves face to face with the armed and exultant savages, who now crowded the village street, and whose cries of triumph filled the air with discordant sounds.

The people were confused and frightened, huddled together with little show of order or discipline, and void of the spirit and energy necessary to meet their threatening foe. The Indians were on all sides, completely surrounding them. The suddenness of the alarm and the evidence of imminent peril robbed the villagers of their usual vigor and readiness, signs of panic were visible, and had the Indians attacked at [39] that moment the people must have been hurled back in disorderly flight, to become in great part the victims of their foes.

It was a critical moment. Was Hadley to suffer the fate of other frontier towns, or would the recent prayers of pastor and people bring some divine interposition in their favor? Yes; suddenly it seemed as if God indeed had come to their aid; for as they stood in a state of nerveless dread, a venerable stranger appeared in their midst; a tall, stately personage, with long white hair, and dressed in strange, old fashioned garb, his countenance beaming with energy and decision.

“Quick,” he cried, “into line and order at once! The Indians are about to charge upon you. Take heart, and prepare for them, or they will slaughter you like sheep.”

With the air of one born to command, he hastily formed the band of villagers into military array, displaying such skill and ardor that their temporary fright vanished, to be succeeded by courage and confidence. Had not the Almighty sent this venerable stranger to their aid? Should they fear when led by God’s messenger?

“Now, upon them!” cried their mysterious leader. “We must have the advantage of the assault!”

Putting himself at their head, he led them on with ardor remarkable in one of his years. The savages, who had been swarming together preparatory to an attack, beheld with surprise this orderly rush forward of the villagers, and shrunk from their death-dealing and regular volleys. And the white-haired form who led their foes with such fearless audacity struck terror to their superstitious souls, filling them with dread and dismay.

The struggle that followed was short and decisive. Animated by the voice and example of [40] their leader, the small band attacked their savage enemies with such vigor and show of discipline that in very few minutes the Indians were in full flight for the wilderness, leaving a considerable number of dead upon the ground. Of the villagers only two or three had fallen.

The grateful people, when the turmoil and confusion of the affray were over, turned to thank their venerable leader for his invaluable aid. To their surprise he was nowhere to be seen. He had vanished in the same mysterious manner as he had appeared. They looked at one another in bewilderment. What did this strange event signify? Had God really sent one of his angels from heaven, in response to their prayers, to rescue them from destruction? Such was the conclusion to which some of the people came, while the most of them believed that there was some miracle concerned in their strange preservation. (Historical Tales, Vol. 1:69-72, by Prof. Morris Angelus)


The Three Nephites would be well informed of–and especially concerned about–the welfare and mission of the record of their people–the Book of Mormon. Thus when the time of the restoration was to take place, they would necessarily be eager to assist in the great latter-day work of restoring these things again to man.


These Three would labor to assist those mortals who would be working to establish the Gospel. This did happen. David Whitmer, a witness to the plates of the Book of Mormon, was convinced that the Nephites had aided him:

In the spring of 1829, persecution became so severe in Harmony, Pennsylvania, where the Prophet Joseph was then living, that it became almost unbearable. It was then that Peter Whitmer, living in Fayette, Seneca Co., New York, felt that he would like to have the young [41] Prophet come and stay with him, and carry on his labors under the hospitality of the Whitmer home.

His young son, David Whitmer, also felt the urge to go to Harmony in search of Joseph Smith, but he questioned the wisdom of such a course, because his farm work was in such a condition that much loss must naturally ensue if he departed at a time so apparently inopportune.

He was pondering his doubts upon the subject, when he was instructed by the whispering of the Spirit that his duty required him to go down to Harmony as soon as his field labor should reach a certain state. He toiled during the ensuing day to harrow in the wheat of a large field; and at night he found that he had done more in a few hours than he could usually accomplish in two or three days.

The next morning he went out to spread plaster, according to the custom of that region, upon another field. When he reached the spot where he had formerly deposited large heaps of the plaster, he found that it had been carried upon the field and spread just as he would have laid it by his own hand, which caused him to marvel much.

His sister dwelt near the place and he asked her who had done the work. She answered him that Three Strangers had appeared at the field the day previous and had scattered plaster with wonderful skill and speed. She and her children had viewed with amazement the progress made by the men; but she had said nothing to them as they were strangers, and she presumed that David had employed them to help him through his rush of work.

Both Peter Whitmer and his son regarded these events as miraculous interpositions to aid David to hasten down into Pennsylvania. The [42] young man therefore departed with his horses and wagon the next morning and journeyed to Harmony, a distance of one hundred and fifty miles in two days.

This aid came providentially; and Joseph, after receiving instruction in answer to prayer, accepted the invitation. When the Prophet was prepared to depart from Harmony, he asked the Lord to direct the manner in which the plates should be carried to Fayette. He was told in response that the angel would receive the treasures; and after the arrival of Joseph at the home of Peter Whitmer in Fayette, would again deliver them into his hands. This relieved Joseph, who then went serenely forth; and in a few days was safe at Fayette. In the garden adjoining the Whitmer residence, the Prophet was visited by the angel and once more was placed in possession of the records. (From Life of Joseph Smith, by Cannon, p. 67)


Apostle Orson Pratt and Apostle Joseph F. Smith interviewed David Whitmer in later years and asked him about the Angel Moroni and also the suspected Nephite who plowed his field. Whitmer relates:

The fact is, it was just as though Joseph, Oliver and I were sitting just here on a log, when we were overshadowed by a light. It was not like the light of the sun nor like that of a fire, but more glorious and beautiful. It extended away round us, I cannot tell how far, but in the midst of this light about as far off as he sits (pointing to John C. Whitmer, sitting a few feet from him), there appeared as it were, a table with many records or plates upon it, besides the plates of the Book of Mormon, also the Sword of Laban the directors–i.e., the ball which Lehi had, and the Interpreters. I saw them just as plain as I see this bed (striking the [43] bed beside him with his hand), and I heard the voice of the Lord, as distinctly as I ever heard anything in my life, declaring that the records of the plates of the Book of Mormon were translated by the gift and power of God.

Elder O.P.: Did you see the Angel at this time?

D.W.: Yes; he stood before us. Our testimony as recorded in the Book of Mormon is strictly and absolutely true, just as it is there written. Before I knew Joseph, I had heard about him and the plates from persons who declared they knew he had them, and swore they would get them from him. When Oliver Cowdery went to Pennsylvania, he promised to write me what he should learn about these matters, which he did. He wrote me that Joseph had told him his (Oliver’s) secret thoughts, and all he had meditated about going to see him, which no man on earth knew, as he supposed, but himself, and so he stopped to write for Joseph.

Soon after this, Joseph sent for me (D.W.) to come: to Harmony to get him and Oliver and bring them to my father’s house. I did not know what to do, I was pressed with my work. I had some 20 acres to plow, so I concluded I would finish plowing and then go. I got up one morning to go to work as usual, and on going to the field, found between five and seven acres of my ground had been plowed during the night.

I don’t know who did it; but it was done just as I would have done it myself, and the plow was left standing in the furrow.

This enabled me to start sooner. When I arrived at Harmony, Joseph and Oliver were coming toward me, and met me some distance from the house. Oliver told me that Joseph had informed him when I started from home, where l had stopped the first night, how I read the sign [44] at the tavern, where l stopped the next night, etc., and that I would be there that day before dinner, and this was why they had come out to meet me; all of which was exactly as Joseph had told Oliver, at which I was greatly astonished. When I was returning to Fayette, with Joseph and Oliver, all of us riding in the wagon, Oliver and I on an old-fashioned wooden spring seat and Joseph behind us; while traveling along in a clear open place, a very pleasant, nice-looking old man suddenly appeared by the side of our wagon and saluted us with, “Good morning, it is very warm,” at the same time wiping his face or forehead with his hand. He returned the salutation, and, by a sign from Joseph, I invited him to ride if he was going our way. But he said very pleasantly, “No, I am going to Cumorah.” This name was something new to me; I did not know what Cumorah meant. We all gazed at him and at each other, and as I looked around enquiringly of Joseph, the old man instantly disappeared, so that I did not see, him again.

J.F.S.: Did you notice his appearance?

D.W.: I should think I did. He was, I should think, about 5 feet 8 or 9 inches tall and heavy set, about such a man as James Vaucleave there, but heavier; his face was as large, he was dressed in a suit of brown woolen clothes, his hair and beard were white, like Brother Pratt’s, but his beard was not so heavy. I also remember that he had on his back a sort of knapsack with something in, shaped like a book. it was the messenger who had the plates, who had taken them from Joseph just prior to our starting from Harmony. (Mill. Star, 1878, p. 772)


The Three were laboring also with the Indian people. Some of the first white settlers and early missionaries found many tales relating to the “Three” messengers.


[45]            President Brigham Young firmly believed in sending the gospel to all the Lamanites, and sent a group of missionaries to the Hopi as well as to the other tribes. In 1859 he sent Jacob Hamblin with a company that consisted of Marion J. Shelton, Thales Haskell, Taylor Crosby, Benjamin Knell, Ira Hatch, and John Wm. Young.

They reached the Hopi villages November 6, talked with the Indians three days and then left the work of possible conversion on the shoulders of Shelton and Haskell, who returned to the Santa Clara the next spring.

The Indians were kind but unbelieving and could make no move until the reappearance of the THREE PROPHETS who led their fathers to that land and told them to remain on these rocks until they should come again and tell them what to do.”

The trust placed in Mormon visitors to the Hopi was shown by exhibition to them of a sacred stone. On one of the visits of Andrew S. Gibbons, accompanied by his sons, Wm. H. and Richard, the three were guests of old Chief Tuba in Oraibi.

Tuba told of this sacred stone and led his friends down into an underground kiva, from which Tuba’s son was dispatched into a more remote chamber. He returned bringing the stone. Apparently it was of very fine-grained marble, about 15 x 18 inches in diameter and a few inches in thickness. Its surface was entirely covered with hieroglyphic markings, concerning which there was no attempt at translation at the time, though there were etched upon it clouds and stars. The Indians appeared to have no translation and only knew that it was very sacred. Tuba said that at one time the stone incautiously was exhibited to an army officer, who attempted to seize it, but the Indians saved the relic and hid it more securely.

[46]            The only official record available about the stone is found in the preface of Ethnological Report No. 4, as follows:

“Mr. G. K. Gilbert furnished some data relating to the sacred stone kept by the Indians of the village of Oraibi, on the Moki mesas. This stone was seen by Messers. John W. Young and Andrew S. Gibbons, and the notes were made by Mr. Gilbert from those furnished him by Young. Few white men have had access to this sacred relic, and but few Indians have enjoyed the privilege. The stone is a red-clouded marble, entirely different from anything found in the region.” (Mormon Settlement in Arizona, McClintock, see pages 65 and 81.)


Prophecies about the American Revolution and the founding of America as recorded in the Book of Mormon were part of the ancient Nephite record. (I Nephi) The Three Nephites would have had a great interest and perhaps a helping hand in this great work. The “stranger” who appeared and became committee speaker and designer of the first flag has all of the earmarks of one of the Nephites:

The Committee of Three, with Franklin as chairman, was appointed by the Colonial Congress on Sept. 13, 1775, to design a flag. They met on Dec. 13, 1775, at that certain Cambridge secret home, including its host and hostess.

There they found “a stranger, or professor,” who looked to be over 70 years of age, who had a curious box filled with ancient writings which he closely guarded. He knew all details of the past 1410 years of American history.

George Washington, the fourth and honorary member, and Benjamin Franklin made him the 6th member of this committee. The “Stranger” then requested that their hostess be made the 7th member.

[47]            The “Stranger” also asked to be the first speaker. He then submitted a drawing of this flag. It was accepted at once and the “Stranger” disappeared.

This flag was made. George Washington personally hoisted it on Jan. 1, 1776, over his camp and army, on a specially prepared pole, and both his and the English army at a distance, saluted it with 13 cheers and 13 guns. It is called the “Grand Union”, also the Cambridge flag, and has the Union Jack in place of the stars.

The “Stranger” stated that in order to unite the 13 colonies in their separation from their mother country, the Union Jack was necessary to begin with, and later on could be changed. This Union Jack was replaced June 14, 1777, with a blue field having 13 stars in a circle, which became our second national flag, and was designed by Elizabeth (Betsy) Ross.

Now it was apparently this same “Stranger” who again appeared at Philadelphia on July 4, 1776. Speaker after speaker had failed to rally the delegates (who feared for their lives) to sign the prepared Declaration of Independence. The old bellman finally said, “No, they never will sign it.”

When one o’clock came, a penetrating voice rang out, ringing with holy zeal. The debating stopped and everyone listened. It was not the voice of mortal man–for it stirred their inner souls. His divine counsel and commanding voice strengthened their faith and gave them courage to back it up. The speaker ended with these words: “God has given America to be free.”

The immediate signing of the document began, and the prepared bell of liberty, at 2 p.m., sent their decree around the world. A child, a nation was born–their Declaration of Liberty was signed–but the “Stranger was gone. (From the book America’s Thirteen Colonial States)


[48] Perhaps there have been many souls who have received teachings and assistance to prepare them for the restoration of the Gospel by these Nephites. One such incident was recorded by William Huntington, and was reprinted by N.B. Lundwall:


The Prophet Joseph Identifies the Stranger

(Note: While visiting in Portland, Oregon, during the month of September, 1938, Pres. Wm. R. Sloan related the following incident to the compiler of this book <Lundwall>.)

It was a cold night in the latter part of November, and in the home of William Huntington the family gathered around the big fireplace in the spacious kitchen. After the evening meal, when all the evening work was done, it was the habit of this family to get their instruments of music and sit around the blazing logs and play the old fashioned tunes and hymns, also tunes of more cheerful air, although they did not dance.

Grandfather Huntington played the bass viol, his daughter Zina the cello, William, the cornet, and Dimick, the drum. There were five sons and two daughters; the oldest daughter, Presenda, being married, lived some distance from them. It was a happy New England family and they lived the clean, pure life of the Puritan stock. After the music ceased, a hush fell on the group and a knock was heard on the door and as it opened a strange old gentleman of medium weight, dressed in old fashioned clothes and carrying a bundle on his arm appeared and stepped into the room and said: “I usually bend my steps to some sequestered vale. May I find lodging here tonight?”

With cordial welcome he was invited in and given a place by the fire, in an old easy farm chair, and Mother Huntington asked if he would like some supper and modestly he said he would. [49] Then a good New England meal was spread before him, with milk, honey, maple syrup, cold meat, delicious home-made bread and butter. He partook of a light supper while the family spoke in soft tones. It was the custom to read a portion of the scriptures before going to bed. He again joined the circle, and father Huntington began to read from the Holy Bible, a portion of the New Testament, to which they all listened attentively. Grandmother Huntington made some comment on the fact that they would like to hear the gospel in its fullness as explained and taught by the Savior. The stranger immediately took up the subject and began explaining the scriptures and quoting the sayings of the Savior in what seemed to them a new light and greater beauty than they had ever thought of before. They sat in rapt attention listening to every word. Both father and mother Huntington agreed with his explanations while the boys exchanged glances of admiration and the daughter Zina was spellbound and sat and gazed upon the stranger with admiration and reverence. After one hour spent in conversation upon this sacred subject, father Huntington had prayers, mother Huntington prepared a comfortable resting place for the stranger and he bid them goodnight, the boys going upstairs, father and mother Huntington to their bedroom which led from the kitchen, and Zina in her little bed heard her parents talking in low tones about the wonderful stranger and discuss the things he said. The stranger had filled them with awe and reverence, such as they had never felt before. In the morning everyone was astir bright and early as is usual on a farm when so much work has to be done, both outside and in.

The stranger sat placidly watching the remarkable family with whom he took breakfast. The family invited him to stay but he said he [50] had other places to visit and he left them standing in a group as he closed the door softly. When father Huntington saw the stranger depart, he sent Dimick after him to tell him to come again. He immediately opened the door and they all looked out to see and call the stranger back, but he was no where to be seen. When looking on the door step where the snow had fallen the night before, no trace of a footstep could be seen and the boys running from all directions said that he had vanished and could not be found. Father Huntington remarked that he was the strangest person that ever was and he could not understand where he went, but he had shown them the Gospel in a new light.

Mother Huntington felt that this stranger was some messenger from heaven and all the family were deeply impressed with his wonderful influence and beautiful way of explaining the scriptures.

When the Gospel of life and salvation was brought to them by Hyrum Smith and other Elders, they seemed to coincide with what the stranger had told them concerning the Bible and the restoration of the Gospel. All the family but one accepted the Gospel and prepared to emigrate in a few years to Kirtland; here they met the Prophet of God, Joseph Smith, and became his faithful and loyal followers and friends.

On an occasion when the Prophet Joseph. was speaking of the Three Nephites, Brother Huntington related this little incident to him. He laid his hand on his head and said: “My dear Brother, that man was one of the Three Nephites who came to prepare you for the restoration of the Gospel and its acceptance.”

Many incidents of a similar nature occurred, but those were days when the children of men were seeking for guidance in the new and enduring faith which is as old as the world but [51] had been forsaken by men and it was again brought forth by the power of God through His humble servant Joseph Smith. (Assorted Gems of Priceless Value, by N.B. Lundwall, pp. 20-22)


From this history and early accounts of the Three Nephites, let’s go now to their main role in assisting with the missionary work of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.



[52]                              Chapter 4




The work of the ministry has always been a worldwide labor. The Three Nephites have been seen and heard everywhere–many of the people knowing nothing of who they really were. The Prophet Mormon says, “they will be among the Gentiles, and the Gentiles shall know them not,” and adds that “they will be among the Jews and the Jews shall know them not.” Their work and labors shall be to convince man of the truths of the Gospel and to build faith among all men.


The Gentiles and the Jews are not the only people who shall “know them not”–probably many Latter-day Saints know or care little about the life and labors of these men of God. Apostle George Q. Cannon expressed a similar view:

I have had my thoughts attracted, in consequence of a visit which Brother Brigham, Jr., and myself made to the Hill Cumorah about three weeks ago, to the Three Nephites who have been upon this land, and I have been greatly comforted at reading the promises of God concerning their labors and the work that should be accomplished by them among the Gentiles and among the Jews, also before the coming of the Lord Jesus. I doubt not that they are laboring today in the great cause on the earth. There are agencies laboring for the [53] accomplishment of the purposes of God and for the fulfillment of the predictions of the holy prophets, of which we have but little conception at the present time. We are engrossed by our own labors. You in Cache Valley have your thoughts centered on the labors that devolve upon you. We in Salt Lake and elsewhere have ours upon the work that immediately attracts our attention; and while we, or all amongst us who are faithful, shall no doubt be instrumental in the hands of God, in bringing to pass His purposes and accomplishing the work He has predicted in connection with the ten tribes, the Lamanites, the Jews, and the Gentile nations, we need not think that these things depend upon us alone. There are powers engaged in preparing the earth for the events that await it and fulfilling all the great predictions concerning it, which we know nothing of, and we need not think that it depends upon us Latter-day Saints alone, and that we are the only agents in the hands of God in bringing these things to pass. The powers of heaven are engaged with us in this work. (George Q. Cannon, J.D. 16:120)


The broad expanse of the greatness and labors these ancient apostles was expressed by Mormon who said their ministry would be to “all nations”:

They will be among the Gentiles and the Gentiles shall know them not. They will also be among the Jews, and the Jews shall know them not. And it shall come to pass, when the Lord seeth fit in his wisdom that they shall minister unto all the scattered tribes of Israel, and unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, and shall bring out of them unto Jesus many souls, that their desire may be fulfilled, and also because of the convincing power of God which is in them. (3 Nephi 28:27-29)


[54] Many of the labors of these disciples are performed in a subtle and unassuming manner; therefore, people usually have no reason to suspect the identity of these ancient apostles. Other situations, however, give miraculous and apparent reasons for believing in their supernatural powers. Many instances can be related of these methods in giving aid and comfort to the missionaries.

Incident encountered by my father, George E. Brown, and John J. Oldroyd, over twenty-five years ago. The incident occurred on the Island of Vancouver, B.C.

Five years prior to this incident, two “Mormon” elders had been accused of criminally assaulting a young woman on the Island of Vancouver. For some reason they were proven guilty of the charge and sentenced according to the law of the Island. (The Church, as well as the missionaries who were involved, believed that the act was purposely committed by enemies of Mormonism who arranged the evidence in such a way that it was possible to convict the Mormon elders.)

. . . One evening they (Brown and Oldroyd) decided to hold a street meeting. They knew feeling was running high and that they would probably be molested, but they decided to go ahead regardless. . . . They had little more than started when down the street marched a large group of men and boys carrying several large pots of melted tar and several old feather ticks. The leader walked directly to my father and asked him if he was a Mormon. Much to the satisfaction of the mob, my father answered him in the affirmative.

Some of the members of the mob began to tear open the feather ticks, while others stirred the still warm tar. Just as the mob leader and two or three of the mobsters began to tear the clothes from my father’s body, a white haired [55] gentleman (no one saw him arrive at the scene) grasped the leader by the wrists and said in a loud commanding voice, “I have heard these boys preach back in the old country and they are all right. Now let them alone.”

At this the mob leader showed signs of wanting to fight. (The mob leader was a huge, muscular type of man.) Immediately the newcomer grasped him at the nape of the neck with One hand and by the belt with the other and shook him so soundly, taking him completely off his feet, that when he had finished, the mobster could not stand without assistance. Members of the mob picked him up, gathered up their feathers and tar, and departed much faster than they had appeared.

My father and his companion thanked the white-haired man for what he had done and asked him to stay and attend the remainder of the meeting. He accepted their invitation and stood directly in front of them throughout the services. . . . Mr. Oldroyd closed the meeting with prayer, as was the custom, and then looked at the spot where the man had been standing. It was vacant. This was before anyone in the crowd had moved at all. No one had seen him go, not even the people who had been standing at his side. . . .

As I understand it, the Nephites are supposed to be able to appear and disappear at will; on this, was based the conclusion that he might have been one of those Three. (Manuscript by Glen J. Brown, Scipio, Utah; May 24, 1938)


Another story of comfort and encouragement occurred to two elders while laboring in Oregon:

During the month of November, 1927, four missionaries (Elders Roy D. Olpin, R.B. Muer, [56] Asahel A. Parry, and Melvin Hoggan) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were laboring in Medford, Oregon. Elder Parry and I, together with the other two elders, held street meetings every Saturday evening. On the evening in which this incident happened, Elders Olpin and Muer were absent, having left during the forenoon for Klamath Falls, Oregon, for the purpose of reorganizing the Sunday School at that place. Elder Muer was the senior Elder of the group. Elder Parry had been in the missionfield about three months and Elder Hoggan but a month. Both Elders were very inexperienced.

Elder Parry and I were very undecided whether to hold a street meeting, as we two had never held one before together and only twice with all four Elders present. We had knelt down and had prayed before we left our room which was our usual practice. We walked to the corner of the street in front of one of the banks where we usually held our street meetings. It was rainy and cold. I was not very enthusiastic about holding a meeting, being new in the work. But few persons were on the streets within a radius of many blocks in every direction. I felt that it was perfectly useless to hold a meeting on the street under those conditions. Neither one of us could carry a tune, but we stepped out on the corner and proceeded to sing the song: “Oh My Father.” We were just about through the last verse when I noticed a gentleman to the right of me about ten feet away, at the side of an automobile. He was taking off his cap and gloves. He was of very small build, about five feet eight inches tall, light complexioned, slightly bald, about fifty years of age, and dressed very neatly but not elaborately. He came over to us and asked: “Do you boys mind if I help you sing?” From that time on he took complete charge of the meeting [57] and assumed the responsibility. Elder Parry asked him: “Are you a member of the Church?” The stranger replied by saying: “I am acquainted with this work.” He then suggested that we sing: “Love at Home”, which was recorded in the small booklet that contained the popular Latter-day Saint songs. One of these small booklets was given to him. We all started to sing this song, but soon Elder Parry and I stopped singing and listened to the beautifully clear tenor voice which rang out for blocks in its sweet harmonious strains. At the time we first started to sing, there were only two or three people listening by the side of the bank building, on the sidewalk. When he had finished singing this song, a fair sized crowd had assembled, of some twenty persons, which was the largest that had ever gathered in that town before. He stepped to the curb and gave a five minute talk to the people assembled on the theme: “Love at Home”. The crowd gave rapt attention while he was speaking, but was less attentive while we spoke to them. After making the very effective remarks, he stated to the crowd: “Now one of the brethren will speak to you,” at the same time turning to Elder Parry. Elder Parry then stepped forward and spoke. While Elder Parry was speaking, the stranger stepped up to me and said: “We will sing this song, then you can speak,” (pointing to the song numbered 119 in the little booklet, entitled: “Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken”.) I looked at the name of the song and said: “I don’t know that song.” He replied: “You should; they play it while they pass the sacrament.” He then hummed the tune to me, which I afterwards learned was the same tune that was used originally in singing this song, and not the modern tune sometimes used at the present time. While Elder Parry was speaking, several in the crowd [58] were talking which seemed to disturb him. The stranger walked over to them and said something which I did not hear, but they were very attentive after he had spoken to them.

After humming the tune of this song to me, he turned his face towards the west as though he were looking at someone and said: “Hello,” at the same time walking not more than fifteen feet in that direction, the crowd being several feet to the north, and all of a sudden he completely vanished from sight. I was watching him closely all the time, observing his actions and taking note of what he said. Elder Parry all this time was talking to the people; and after he had closed his remarks, I spoke for a few minutes.

We afterwards walked around the town to see if any individual could be found who coincided with the appearance of this stranger, but no one knew of him before or since. Medford is a town similar to Murray, Utah, with about the same population. When President Sloan visited us in Medford, this incident was related to him and he unhesitatingly stated that it was one of the Three Nephites. We were thrilled and amazed at this wonderful experience and will remember it as long as we live. During the visit of this stranger, the feeling experienced was as if a messenger of God was there, sent to assist us with this meeting. A very peaceful and uplifting feeling was experienced and enjoyed. Signed: Melvin John Hoggan (Assorted Gems of Priceless Value, by N.B. Lundwall, pp. 31-33)


A daughter of Brigham Young often related an incident that occurred to her father while he was on his mission in Liverpool, England. An elderly man with a long beard met Brigham Young at the door of a chapel and gave him many encouraging words. President Young often spoke of the incident with a solemn and delightful pleasure.


[59] The Mysterious Preacher


One of the most famous missionary experiences affiliated with the Nephites is the “mysterious preacher” who appeared in 1878 in Tennessee. An account of this was written by a missionary in the Southern States Mission and was printed in the Deseret News of May 17, 1880. It was reprinted in the Millennial Star of the same year: (Note: Because of the length of the following two entries, they will not be indented as regular quotes.)


Shady Grove, Hickman Co.

May 6th, 1880

Editors Deseret News,

In the month of April, 1878, one Robert Edge, a preacher of the Gospel after the apostolic order, came to and near Lexington, Henderson Co., Tennessee, and commenced warning the people of the judgments of God that will shortly come upon them for their wickedness. Spoke very lengthily upon the fulfillment of prophecy that was uttered by ancient prophets, and thoroughly proving the falling away and apostasy of the primitive Church; the killing of the Saints by pagan Rome; the rise and progress of the Romish Church, as being mystery, Babylon, and all her daughters and grand-daughters being under direct inspiration of Lucifer, the son of the morning; that Jesus Christ is the head Mason, and that Masonry, as at present, is a base counterfeit, and all secret societies are institutions of men, and are an abomination in the sight of the Lord.


He dwelt very lightly on the principle of baptism, but extensively on the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost; that the apostolic church was again restored the earth, with prophets and apostles, baptism for the remission of sins, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, with signs following them that believe. By his administration four remarkable cases of healing occurred!


[60] He positively refused money for his preaching. In the meantime the people became very curious to know who he was, and what church he belonged to. Being asked if baptism is essential for salvation, he said it was a true principle, but the people did not understand it. Being asked if he had authority to baptize, said if he had not. there were many on the earth who did have. Being asked if there was an apostolic church on the earth, said there was, with many members. Being asked where it was,he said it was in the United States, but avoided giving any further information.


After having delivered a series of sermons, he called upon all to come out of Mystery Babylon, forsake manmade institutions, and follow Christ in accordance with the apostolic order.


Sixty-three then agreed to follow him as he followed Christ. He then proceeded to organize them in a brotherly love order, after the apostolic order, by laying on hands and blessing them, and by instructing them not to marry outside of said order, saluting each other with the holy kiss, and if they would be honest, faithful and prayerful, the Lord would guide them by His spirit in all things they should do to be saved; that there was more he would like to inform them upon, but persecution was rising, and he would shortly have to leave them; that if persecution arose so they had to leave, for them to go west of the Rocky Mountains for safety.


A lively persecution shortly arose, charging him to be a Mormon” preacher, which he did not deny nor sanction, but his followers did deny that he or they were “Mormons.”


Nineteen of the number fulfilled the requirements of the order of brotherly love, have withstood two years’ persecution, more or less, and in the absence of their beloved preacher, they have held weekly meetings.


[61] In the fall of 1879, their attention was called to an interview between O.J. Hollister, a United States official, and President John Taylor.


They then wrote to the county clerk of Salt Lake County for information, who kindly forwarded a “Voice of Warning” and a list of Church works, by which they sent for a full list of Church works, Deseret News and Millennial Star.


They wrote a letter of inquiry to President Morgan, who forwarded the same to me, which was promptly answered, and in reply to which James H. Scott and S. Reed came to Cane Creek, Lewis County, a distance of fifty miles, and after hearing our views of the Gospel, which coincided with the teaching of Mr. Edge, they were baptized and confirmed by Brother Hyrum Belnap and myself, and returned home rejoicing that they had thus far followed the promptings of the Spirit of the Lord. Since Brother Argyle left me in charge of this Mission, Dec. 17th, 1879, eleven members have been added to the Church. Elders Carver, Belnap and Hunsaker are active in their mission and enjoying the same. (Franklin Spencer, Millennial Star, Vol. 42:399; 1880)


*  *  *


The Hyrum Belnap, who labored in this mission, also bore record of this “Mysterious Preacher” and later wrote his own account of this story:


One calm, sunny day, in the month of May, 1878, a supposed clap of thunder directly over the city of Lexington, Henderson County, Tennessee, rebounding from the hills and cliffs nearby, greatly excited the curiosity of the Peoples of that region. The farmer stopped his plow, gazed around for an approaching storm, but seeing no cloud in the clear sky threw his plow again into the furrow and Plodded on, as though nothing had happened. The workman [62] in his shop laid down his tools, walked to the door, to see from whence the storm was coming. The merchant and the tailor did the same, but seeing no sign of a storm returned in wonderment to their labor, and consoled themselves with the thought that the noise was only one of the phenomena of the nineteenth century.


One strange feature, however, of this occurrence was that every person who lived within eight miles of Lexington stated that the sound proceeded either from a bluff located near the city or else sounded directly overhead. Reports soon came that this peculiar sound was heard for thirty miles around.


In the afternoon of the same day a strange man appeared near Lexington, the county seat. He was rather spare built, Of medium height, had fair skin, and dark brown hair which was rather thin and inclined to curl; his beard was of a reddish cast and not very heavy. Judging from his appearance his age was between twenty-seven and thirty years.


The object of this stranger was to announce a meeting which was to be held in the neighborhood that evening. Being rather poorly clad, and because of his seeming intimate acquaintance with the shortest roads in the fields and woods, he excited the curiosity of a great many people, and as a consequence the meeting house, that evening, was crowded to its utmost capacity.


At the hour appointed the stranger took his position on the stand. After looking around the assembly for a few moments he arose, and in a very clear, sharp tone, called the audience to order. He then sang a hymn that was most pleasing both in sentiment and melody.

On arising to speak he astonished his congregation by not using that whining tone which is usually characteristic of modern divines, but spoke in a clear, decisive tone. He was very calm in his introductory remarks, but grew more eloquent as he entered deeper into his subject.


[63] At the close of the services he appointed, at the solicitation of those present, several meetings to be held In the surrounding country.


He gave his name as Robert Edge, and said he belonged to the Church of God, but concerning the place from which he came, the inquirer received no satisfaction.


The news that a strange but eloquent preacher had come into the country, spread far and near. In his first circuit through different parts of the county this person pursued a very peculiar but effective course. Seemingly his object was to get all classes of people out to hear him. By way of illustration, when he first entered a neighborhood whose dominant sect was of the Baptist persuasion, he would speak upon some gospel principle of which this class of people were particularly fond, and display its good features in a very pleasing and beautiful manner. lt is needless to say that after thus speaking, the Baptists would gather around him and express their appreciation of his remarks. When he entered a Methodist, Presbyterian or Campbellite neighborhood, he pursued the same course with regard to the good features of their respective religions. Occasionally he would intermingle his ideas upon other principles, such as free thought, independence of character, etc. By this means he gathered around him the Methodist, Presbyterian, Campbellite and the so called sinner. His fame as an eloquent speaker grew so rapidly that people of all classes gathered to hear him from localities twenty and thirty miles distant.


By this time a great many began questioning among themselves why it was that no one had ever seen Mr. Edge either come or go any great distance from the meeting house. When he would come to meeting no one remembered seeing him until after he had arrived in the crowd, or was in the pulpit. They at once appointed persons to watch him, but they, as well as the people, were sure to lose track of him before he had proceeded very far, unless he had, perchance, accepted an invitation to accompany some of his hearers home.


[64] Mr. Edge being a supposed stranger in that locality, the people wondered why he had not asked his way when desiring to go from one place to another. One evening a gentleman who had never before seen the mysterious preacher came to his meeting, and was very much pleased with his discourse. At the close of the meeting the stranger arose to his feet and asked Mr. Edge if he would be kind enough to come and speak at his house the following Wednesday. Mr. Edge dropped his head a moment as though thinking whether he could fill the appointment or not, then looked up and replied, “Yes, sir, I will be there at seven o’clock.”


The gentleman lived several miles from where that meeting was held, and therefore wondered why he was not asked the road leading to his residence, but no questions were asked. The people where he was then stopping said they watched Mr. Edge very closely but learned to their satisfaction that he did not make any inquiries concerning. the gentleman’s name or his place of residence; still, when the time for the meeting came he was in his place.


As we have now given a brief outline of the course pursued by Mr. Edge when he first came into their midst, as well as some of his peculiarities, we will turn to the doctrines taught by him.


Although he had been speaking quite freely upon the principles advocated by the various sects, seemingly to draw around him the different classes of people, he gave them to understand that he believed first in a tangible God–in a God that could walk, talk, understand and be understood; in a God that had passions to love and hate right and wrong principles.


Second, in a repentance that consisted in turning from sin, and learning to do well.


Third, in a baptism after the likeness of the death, burial, and resurrection of our risen Redeemer, in a baptism that would cleanse one from his sins, and enable him [65] to walk in a newness of life, as did our Savior when He passed from mortality to immortality. At this time he only referred to the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost, as being a principle taught by Jesus Christ and His apostles, and left the query on the minds of the people, how such and such doctrines could be taught in His Church now, and yet He be an unchangeable being.


Mr. Edge dwelt very elaborately upon prophecy contained in the Old and New Testaments. First he referred to prophecies that have received their literal fulfillment, in order to give them a correct understanding of the term. Then very ably referred to many prophecies that are being fulfilled, or that have not yet received their fulfillment–such as those referring to the second coming of Christ; to the gathering together of Israel; to the rebuilding of Jerusalem by the Jews; to the mountains of ice flowing down and highways being cast up for the people to travel upon who should come from the north countries whither they have been scattered; to the restoration of God’s kingdom upon this continent, before that reign of peace for one thousand years, with Christ and His people.


About this time Mr. Edge held a meeting at the city of Lexington that will long be remembered by the multitude that gathered to hear him from the surrounding country. Their attention was first called to his peculiar prayer, wherein he asked the Lord to grant unto all people everywhere the desires of their hearts; should they seek knowledge, to cause that they might be filled; should they ask for wisdom, to give it unto them; if notoriety or fame be their object, to permit them to obtain it; if it be gold they are seeking, to fill their laps; should the reverend divines seek to bring souls unto Christ, to aid them in so doing; should they preach for hire and divine for money, to hinder them not from receiving it; should the loaves and fishes be their desire, to fill their plates. More [66] especially did he appeal to God that all those who were then assembled might depart filled with that for which they came; if gospel truths be what they are seeking, to fill them to overflowing; if curiosity is what they came for, to cause that they might return feeling more curious.


Those who have listened to the many long appeals for the wandering sinner by the reverend divines can better imagine the amazement of this assembly than we can describe it.


When Mr. Edge arose to speak, every eye was fixed upon him, wondering what next. That afternoon he took for his text, “Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth,” referred to in the seventeenth chapter of Revelation.


At first he explained in a short but clear manner how beautifully God’s Church was organized in the apostles’ days; how nicely every principle was linked together from faith, repentance, baptism and the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost, to the resurrection of the dead, after which he brought down in a vivid and forcible manner the history of God!s people until the last one that had the testimony of Jesus was driven to an untimely grave.


With this he connected Catholicism and the dark ages, when man could circumnavigate this globe in search of one divinely authorized servant of God who had the spirit of prophecy, and not find him.


After Mr. Edge had proven from the scriptures and profane history that God’s people had been destroyed and every vestige of His Church taken from the earth, he very frankly told them that every sect and creed over this broad land was wrong, and that all had departed from the faith once given to the saints. He then bore a powerful testimony that the gospel in all its primitive beauty had been restored to the earth, and that, too, with apostles [67] and prophets and inspired men at its head. He then called upon all to repent of their sins and come out of Babylon and follow Christ, for the hour of God’s judgment was at hand.


After this most wonderful discourse, Satan himself seemed to turn loose. The people were divided among themselves and began contending with each other. The preachers flew into a perfect frenzy and began plotting and planning how to get rid of this fellow. And, by the by, our new preacher seemed to have turned loose also, for he went through the country like a man inspired of God, warning the people to repent and serve their Maker, or some of the most fearful calamities that ever befell man would come upon them and this nation.


Many of the honest-in-heart gathered around him and began to inquire from whence he came and where could this kingdom of God be found that he had so beautifully described.


They still received no satisfaction as to where he came from, but the kingdom of God, said he, “is located within these United States.”


To give you a better idea how Mr. Edge was questioned, and how peculiar his answers were, we will relate an instance.


While walking the road one day the boys began remarking among themselves, how hard it was to find out who this Mr. Edge was, and where he had come from. At this, one Jones, a Baptist deacon, spoke up in a very determined manner saying, “Why, I’ll dig him up this evening.”


Mr. Edge had an appointment for a meeting in a private house that evening nearby. As it happened, he stayed with the family where he held meeting that night. At supper Mr. Edge had eaten but very little, when he [68] pushed back from the table and began pacing the floor, as though somewhat uneasy. However, in a few moments he turned to the family and remarked, “I am going to be tempted by the devil this evening through a man.”


Soon the young people began gathering in from all directions anticipating some fun between Jones, the deacon, and our strange preacher.


Just as the last rays of the sparkling sun sank behind the horizon, Mr. Edge discovered a man climbing the fence, a few hundred yards off, as though coming to meeting. Turning to the family he remarked, “Here comes the gentleman now.” On his arrival it proved to be Jones, the deacon.


By this time a goodly number had gathered in, and Mr. Edge had taken his seat in the far end of the room, beside a small table containing his Bible and hymn book. when Mr. Jones came in, he deliberately walked across the room and sat down beside Mr. Edge. After a few moments’ silence, Mr. Jones inquired, “My friend, where are you from?”


Mr. Edge looked up from his Bible as though somewhat astonished, and replied, “From about six miles,” meaning the next neighborhood, where he had just left.


Mr. J.–“What church do you belong to?”

Mr. E.–“The Church of God, sir.”

Mr. J—“Where is it?”

Mr. E.–“In the United States.”

Mr. J.–“You have been speaking about one being ordained before he had the right to preach. By whom were you ordained?”

Mr. E.–“By Jesus Christ, sir.”


Mr.E.–“In eternity.”

Mr.J.–“How long have you been preaching?”

Mr.E.–“About eighteen hundred years.”


[69] At this point Mr. Jones sprang to his feet and walked away in disgust.


On another occasion Mr. Edge pronounced the secret societies as being man-made institutions through which the devil operated. In referring to Masonry, he said, “Although this institution dates its origin many centuries back, it is only a perverted priesthood stolen from the temples of the Most High.” After giving several Masonic signs he testified that Jesus Christ Himself was the chief and master Mason.


In order to give a better understanding how he explained the prophetic visions of ancient men of God, we will refer to a favorite text of his when contrasting the powers of God and the world; and the length of time Satan should bear rule. Rev. II:l-3:

And there was given me a reed like unto a rod; and the angel stood, saying, rise and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.

But the court which is without the temple leave out and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles; and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.


The inner courts he explained as the courts of God filled with the brightness of the Lord’s glory. The outer courts as the kingdoms of this world that had been placed in the hands of the Gentiles. In like manner he explained the wheel within a wheel. The time the Gentiles should possess the outer kingdoms he positively declared would expire in this generation, after which Jesus Christ would rule.


By this time many of the professed followers of the meek and lowly Jesus, together with the pious Free Masons began seeking his life. One reverend divine went so far as to hire a gang of lawless men to hunt him down and shed his blood before sleep should overtake them. This [70] movement compelled Mr. Edge to confine his labors more particularly among those who were his friends. However, many who were friendly at first began dropping off as popular feeling against him became more intense.


The course pursued by Mr. Edge in the beginning enabled him to reach all classes of people. Hence today many who severed their connections with the churches are looked upon as infidels because they believe not the dogmas of today noting the difference between them and the doctrines of Christ, as laid down in the divine scriptures.


Those who were indeed his friends by this time gathered around him and desired baptism. He answered them in these words, “I would not baptize a man for my right arm.”


One then said, “You have not the right to baptize, then?”


Mr. Edge replied, “If I have not, others have,” and he promised that all who so desired he would organize into a church of brotherly love after the apostolic order. This proposal met their approval and some sixty persons assembled together when he laid his hands upon their heads and blessed them, as they supposed for the reception of the Holy Ghost. He then selected one from among them to take charge of their prayer meetings.


Mr. Edge was not a man of many words outside the pulpit, and when he did converse with his fellowmen, it was mostly upon religion. “For,” said he, “my Father’s business is too urgent for me to trifle with political affairs.”


When it could be so arranged, he held from one to three meetings a day. He did his own singing, preaching and praying without even showing the least sign of hoarseness. He ate, on an average, only one meal per day.


[71] Mr. Edge circulated the news that on a certain evening he would deliver one discourse in behalf of the devil. Although popular feeling by this time was very much against him, hundreds of people, through curiosity, came to hear this peculiar sermon. When the evening came, the house was packed to its utmost capacity.


On arising to speak, the preacher read the following verses for a text: Matt. iv. 8,9.

Again the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain; and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them.

And said unto him all these things will I give unto thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.


He then assumed the attitude of the devil; and gave his audience to understand that every word spoken by him was the same as if Lucifer had said it himself.


After showing from his text that this whole world was under his direct command, he portrayed the many beauties and pleasures that were at his disposal. He then eulogized them very much upon the course they were pursuing. “I am not so particular,” said he, “how you obtain money, but the idea is, get it.”


He said to his assembly that should one of them have a horse to sell, his advice as the devil, would be to take him into the back yard for a few days and there feed him well on the best of buckskin, then to bring him out into the road prancing on his hind feet, take him down in town, meet some old gentleman that knew nothing about a horse and obtain two prices for the animal, then the thing to do was to return to one’s comrades and brag how nicely it was done.


[72] He advised the young people not to live such a penurious life, but to dress in the heighth of fashion; ride behind fine horses; be free with the opposite sex; and if, perchance, one of those fair daughters should be ruined, cast her aside to wallow in disgrace the remainder of her days, while the gentleman who perpetrated the foul deed should be held up as a cunning fellow.


His advice to the reverend divines was to make long prayers, pull straight faces, pretend righteousness, preach sympathetic and graveyard sermons, deceive every man’s wife they possibly could, and be sure not to forget to steal the virtue of every fair maiden who should come within their grasp. In fact, to go on just as they had been. doing, “For in reality,” said he, “my kingdom is yours.”

And thus he went on keeping his audience in a continual titter for about one hour and a half while he portrayed the various crimes in society as being just the thing they ought to do. At the expiration of this time he stepped forward, threw his hands down by his side and explained, “Get behind me, Satan.”


Every countenance was immediately changed and breathless silence reigned. He then began rebuking these actions in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and called upon everyone to repent and turn unto the true and living God, or damnation would be theirs.


One evening at a meeting composed mostly of his followers, the features of Mr. Edge turned purple. No sooner had all quieted down in their seats than he sprang to his feet and severely reprimanded them for the course they were taking. “For,” said he, “you have not only been plotting and planning among yourselves to deceive me, but you have brought with you legions of devils. Why, I can see them all through the house.”


On another occasion, after Mr. Edge had returned from holding meeting in the courthouse at Lexington, [73] three of his young followers were out by the yard, severely criticising the course pursued by their new preacher. One in particular thought it was the height of folly for a man in these days to pretend to be inspired of God. While they were just in the heat of their vilification, Mr. Edge came out of the house, which was about one hundred and fifty yards away, and very calmly walked down towards the yard. The boys saw him, ceased their abuse and turned towards the house. When they met, Mr. Edge turned to the young man who had so bitterly talked. about him, and said:


“Young man, you will not do; my spirit has been listening to your cowardly slanderings!”


The boys, knowing that they were too far from the house to be overheard, grew somewhat astonished when Mr. Edge told the young man every sentence, word for word, that he had uttered.


Mr. Edge came to the residence of a widow lady by the name of Telitha Cumi Reed, one day, about twelve o’clock, took off his hat, set aside his cane and amused himself by reading while the lady prepared refreshments. After they had sat down to the table, Mrs. Reed turned and asked Mr. Edge to return thanks, when she saw a bright light encircling his head, which made a strange feeling pass over her; however, she sat perfectly quiet. After grace, the light passed away.


While upon this subject I will relate a few of the many cases of healing that were effected by the imposition of hands during Mr. Edge’s stay among them. This same lady, Mrs. Reed, had been bowed down with rheumatics for several years. On learning this strange preacher taught the laying on of hands for the healing of the sick, she believed he was a servant of God and sent for him. Without detailing how marvelously this lady recovered, we will say that two years later her walk was as free and easy as though rheumatics had never racked her frame.


[74] The wife of James Reed, who was then said to be in the last stages of consumption, was almost instantly healed through the imposition of Mr. Edge’s hands in the name of Jesus Christ.


There were several beautiful sketches drawn by Mr. Edge while in this locality. The one that more particularly attracted my attention was a beautiful arch drawn upon the front leaf of a large Bible, owned by Mr. Sirenous Reed. Directly up the center of this arch were very neatly placed seven steps, on the foot of which was written, beginning at the bottom, the following words: “Virtue, Knowledge, Temperance, Patience, Godliness, Brotherly, Kindness and Charity.”


Just beneath the bow of the arch was placed the figure of a young man who had just climbed this narrow stairway, kneeling upon the top step, receiving a magnificent crown from the hands of an angel.


ln the early part of July, Mr. Edge kindly informed his followers that he would soon depart on his Father’s business. Before leaving, however, he desired all those whom he had blessed to go with him through a fast of three days. In calling his brethren and sisters together he told them the fast he desired them to pass through was similar to that observed in ancient days by the Apostle Paul.


He gave as his reasons for this task the cleansing and purifying of the system, the preparatory step to a greater labor, to test their worthiness to enter God’s kingdom; and lastly, if they would honestly and faithfully go through this fast, it would enable them to taste of that spirit that would hereafter, through obedience, bring them forth in the first resurrection.


As the greater part of his followers lived on the banks of Beech River, near the mouth of Haley’s Creek, this place was selected for the purpose of fasting. These [75] three days were spent in singing, and praying, and rejoicing in the Lord. Once a day they were allowed to bathe in the waters of Beech River.


Some were only able to fight the pangs of hunger one day, while others held out until the evening of the second day; but only twenty-one, out of the sixty-odd who began the fast, were able to say on the evening of the third day, “I have truthfully kept the fast.”


It may seem strange, nevertheless a fact, that every one of those who kept not the fast turned to be his bitterest enemies.


It is not necessary for me to explain to him who has battled against popular sentiment that, although the acts of this little band were as pure as the falling drops of rain, many of the most glaring falsehoods were circulated about them.


In those who had followed him through these ordeals, Mr. Edge seemed to have implicit confidence. Hence, he began teaching the more advanced principles of eternal life, such as building places of worship, erecting temples to the Most High, and to prepare for the grand millennium day of rest, when Christ will reign a thousand years on earth. In this connection he told his followers that this continent, the land of the free, the home of the brave and the asylum of the oppressed, is the place designated by Him who reigns on high for the building of that beautiful city, the New Jerusalem; aye, and more: that the day would come when these United States would be dotted with temples, one of which would be built in Henderson County, Tennessee.


Soon after their fast he called them together and pronounced upon each couple a ceremony of marriage, and gave them to understand that if another opportunity was not afforded them, this would hold throughout time and all eternity. He also gave them some tokens that they might know when they entered a temple controlled by servants of God.


[76] At another time, when admonishing them, he quoted Rev. ii:17:

To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name is written, which no man knoweth save he that receiveth it.


The story, ere this, had been circulated that Mr. Edge was a “Mormon” preacher, in this county for the purpose of leading silly women astray. The name of a “Mormon” had a peculiar jingle in the ears of his followers, hence, they flew to their preacher, Edge, at once for the truthfulness of this story. He neither affirmed nor denied their queries, but regarding polygamy he said:

If God shall give a man one wife she will be his; and if it so pleases Him to give the same man two, three, or even more, they also will be his.


Dear reader, to save wearying you, we will only relate one instance where Mr. Edge was miraculously delivered from the hands of a ruthless mob, among the many similar cases that occurred while he was in this county. The last time the pleasant countenance of Robert Edge was seen by his beloved followers he stayed at the residence of E.R. Reed, some seven miles northeast of Haley’s Creek.


At supper he gave Mr. Reed and family to understand his intentions were to remain among them some three weeks longer in order to more thoroughly organize and instruct them in the gospel truths.


About eleven o’clock that night Mr. Reed was aroused from his slumbers by Robert Edge gathering up his small bundle, Bible and cane. Mr. Reed inquired what was wrong. Mr. Edge replied:


[77] There will be a mob here shortly, and I must depart.”


At this Mr. Reed sprang from his bed, saddled his animals, and he and Mr. Edge mounted them and departed down through the woods in the direction of Alabama.


Although Mr. Reed was familiar with the roads for miles away, Mr. Edge led their course through the woodlands in the darkening hours of night.


Soon Mr. Edge dismounted from his horse and told Mr. Reed he had gone far enough. Then taking his bundle, Bible and cane, he bid Mr. Reed farewell.


We will return to Mrs, Reed, who was left with the little ones, anticipating a mob every moment.


About twelve o’clock there suddenly rushed around the house a gang of maddened brutes, called men, who demanded the preacher, Edge. The lady kindly informed them that he was not there. Not being satisfied with her answer, they rushed into the house and searched it from the loft to the cellar. Not finding the object of their search, they cursed and swore like so many demons. After about one hour and a half they departed, promising the lady they would get him yet.


This little band of Mr. Edge’s followers, according to his instructions, met together often, talked to each other and sang praises to God. They frequently referred to the sayings of Mr. Edge, where he told them that if they remained faithful, and followed the dictations of the good spirit, that other preachers would visit them and lead their footsteps to the main body of the Church. During the Winter of 1880 there appeared in the New York Sun an interview with President John Taylor by O.J. Hollister, in which the officers of the Church were named and many of its doctrines spoken of.


[78] This was the first thing to attract the attention of the followers of Mr. Edge towards the Latter-day Saints, and being desirous to learn more about this peculiar people they addressed a letter of inquiry to the county clerk of Salt Lake County. D. Brokholt, being clerk at that time, at once sent them the “Voice of Warning” and several copies of The Deseret News, with advice to address Pres. John Morgan at Rome, Georgia.


After reading the “Voice of Warning” and being favorably impressed with the doctrines contained therein, they addressed a letter to Pres. Morgan, informing him that one of our preachers visited them a few years previous and laid his hands upon their heads for the reception of the Holy Ghost, but did not baptize them. Hence, they were very desirous to have an Elder sent there to perform this ordinance.


Pres. Morgan at once forwarded the letter to Pres. Franklin Spencer at Shady Grove, Hickman Co., Tenn., who was then presiding over the Tennessee Conference, at the same time writing to these people in Henderson County, informing them that There was a branch of the Church on Cane Creek, Lewis Co., Tennessee.


On receiving this intelligence four of them mounted their horses and rode about sixty miles before they reached Cane Creek; but finding no Elders there, they returned.


At the time this epistle came from Pres. Morgan, there were laboring in the conference, Pres. Franklin Spencer, George H. Carver, Lorenzo Hunsaker and myself. Brother Carver and I were selected to visit West Tennessee. This left President Spencer and Brother Hunsaker each to travel alone. However, before starting Pres. Spencer and I visited Cane Creek, at the same time sending a letter to West Tennessee.


On arriving at Cane Creek we found this little branch somewhat exercised over the visit of these four gentlemen.


[79] About the time our West Tennessee friends arrived home they received Pres. Spencer’s letter, bringing the news that we would be at Cane Creek at a certain date. James H. Scott and Sirenious Reed wheeled their horses and came back.


They arrived at Cane Creek late in the afternoon. That evening and the following day were spent in conversing with these two .gentlemen upon the principles of the gospel, who Mr. Edge was, how he taught the falling away and restoration of the gospel, the necessity of building temples, the name that one would receive who should remain faithful after passing through the temples, etc.


Late in the after part of the same day these gentlemen, after having conversed together a short time, said:


“What hindereth us from putting on the whole armor of God that we might withstand the fiery darts of the adversary?”


Hence they were baptized and returned home rejoicing.


On the 13th day of May, 1880, Brother George H. Carver and myself started on our trip to Henderson County, Tenn.


Not until we arrived within about thirty miles of Lexington did we hear much about this peculiar preacher.


On the night of the 20th, we stayed with Squire Long, a very intelligent gentleman, who began telling us about that wonderful preacher, Robert Edge, who came into their midst some two years previous. As we knew nothing of Mr. Edge we sat and listened very attentively to his long story. He spoke about Mr. Edge pretending to be inspired of God, about his peculiar manner of going to and coming from meeting, of his being hunted down by [80] mobs, of their fasting three days and more particularly about the lumbering noise heard about the time Mr. Edge came among them.


On the evening of the 21st, we arrived at Sirenious Reed’s. He received us kindly and sent out for a number of his brethren; and, you may be assured, we had a good old-time chat that evening.


On the 15th day of June we obtained the following statement, which was dictated and signed by two of them: (Not quoted herein, as it is a repetition of the account just given about Robert Edge. It was signed by James Henderson Scott and Sirenious Reed.)


In a conversation with some of them, Mr. Edge stated that he once lived in the land of Texas and had a wife and one child when he began his missionary labor.


He also informed them that he had a partner whom he very frequently traveled with, by the name of Cob, whom he had not seen since leaving the State of Arkansas.


In speaking of himself he said: “I am not worthy of but one of the nail prints in my hands.”


Some time after his departure, one of this little band was casually turning the leaves of the large Bible owned by S. Reed, and discovered the 31st verse of the 24th Chapter of Matthew enclosed in brackets, inside of which was written the name of Robert Edge.


He wrote his people two letters of encouragement, one while in the State of Georgia and the other while in South Carolina. In the last one he spoke some of visiting England.


A few months later I met Pres. Morgan in the city of Nashville, who, while in conversation regarding this preacher, Edge, showed me a letter he had received some time previous with no name signed on it.


[81] As far as I was able to judge between the writings left in Henderson County by Mr. Edge and this letter, they were penciled by the same hand.


Late in the fall of the same year, Haley’s Creek Branch, save one soul, emigrated to San Jose County Colorado.


Thus we close our narrative thinking of the prayer of Robert Edge: “Those who seek curiosity, cause that they might feel more curious.” (Juvenile Instructor, Vol. 21, 1886)


The “Mysterious Preacher” had been active in other areas–preaching, teaching, and converting. Elder John Morgan, a convert to the Church, who wrote one of the most widely published Church tracts (The Plan of Salvation), had a similar experience with the preparatory labors of this strange missionary.

A tree in a fork in the road brought him out of his revery. For a moment he was uncertain as to which road in the fork would lead him to Rome and while meditating there came to his memory a dream he had had one night, ten years before while residing in the home of [82] Bishop Heywood of the 17th Ward, in which he saw this very fork in the road that now lay before him. In the dream, however, he saw President Brigham Young, who, standing in the fork advised him that the right-hand fork would lead him to Rome, but if he would take the left-hand fork it would lead him to an experience that would be proof sufficient to him of the divinity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

John remembered he had remarked to Sister Heywood, “I’m not looking for evidence of the divine authenticity of your church, but, I still would like to know what you think of that dream.”

To Sister Heywood the matter was not to be lightly treated. “I can give you the interpretation!” She prophesied: “Some day you will join our Church. You will be sent on a mission for our Church. You will be going over the same road you saw in your dream and will come to that identical fork in the road. You will recognize that tree. Brigham Young will not be there, but don’t forget what he told you. Act upon his counsel.”

Now, here he was! Just as he had dreamed ten years before that he would be? Traveling along the forest road as a missionary; confused as to which road to take. Remembering Sister Heywood’s advice to follow the counsel of Brigham Young, he took the left fork of the road which led him into a place, which, surprisingly, was called Haywood Valley.

As he came out of the woods, there spread before him, was a beautiful valley clothed in autumn finery. He felt he had never beheld a scene more lovely. No longer did he fret over not having gone to Rome for his meeting. He took it all as a providential part of this [83] experience. He was tingling with anticipation, and felt that something very important was about to happen–that the promise given him in his dream was about to be fulfilled. He quickened his pace. At a turn in the road he met a man from whom he made some inquiries. He found that Haywood Valley had some twenty-five families of thrifty farmers. He felt a deep urge to stop at the first home he came to. The lady of the house answered. When he had explained his mission he was invited in and made welcome. It was late afternoon. The head of the house had just returned from the fields. Supper was prepared and Elder Morgan was invited to join in the family meal. After supper and evening chores the family gathered in the front room where, by invitation, Gospel subjects were discussed. He was blessed with great freedom of expression as he made plain the truths of the Bible, the first principles, and the plan of salvation prepared by God for the redemption of his children. Before they knew it the midnight hour arrived.

Elder Morgan was invited to spend the night but before concluding the evening’s religious feast, the father brought out the family Bible and opened it to the scriptures Elder Morgan had been reading and explaining. Every reference and quotation he had used in his evening’s presentation of the Gospel plan was underscored in red in this old family Bible.

As the father proceeded to point to passage after passage marked in red, he had difficulty in suppressing the excitement he felt as he went on to relate that a stranger had visited them about ten days before. They did not know from whence he came. They did not know his name or where he went upon leaving them. They did know that he was neatly dressed and possessed of a most pleasant personality. This stranger spent some time with them and marked numerous [84] passages of scripture in the Bible. Then, strangest of all, he had told them that within a few days another man would visit them to explain in detail and with great clearness the meaning of the marked scriptures and the purpose of this life and eternal life.

Though John Morgan was amazed, yet he was prepared for just such a situation. His faith had increased from the moment he found himself before the fork in the road and had recollected his dream and its interpretation by Sister Heywood many years before. Here was the miraculous incident which Brigham Young had said would give him additional evidence as to the divinity of the Book of Mormon.

To Elder Morgan, the stranger to whom the head of the house was referring was none other than one of the Three Nephites who were chosen and blessed by the Savior during one of his visits to the western continent to the end that they should never taste of death, but should “live to behold all the doings of the Father, unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled, according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in my glory, with the powers of Heaven.”

Before retiring that night, on bended knee, and in the spirit of deep humility, he thanked God for this great testimony that had been given him and promised that from then on he would dedicate all his talents and possessions to this work of saving souls and bringing to pass the purposes of the Almighty on the earth.

The first thing he did the next morning was to send a letter to Rome advising a friend there that it might be some time before he would get to that city as he had much work to accomplish in Haywood Valley; but when he had concluded it, he would visit with them.

From his kindly benefactors he obtained the names of the various families living in the [85] valley. He set about the ministry that lay before him. For the next month he devoted every waking hour to the teaching of the people, visiting every home in the valley. He found to his utter amazement that, with the exception of one or two cases, the stranger had visited every family, marking their Bibles and assuring them that shortly another would come who would explain the gospel to them in its fullness. Every family thus visited by the stranger was converted and baptized into the Church by Elder Morgan, including the Methodist minister.

His church building became the meeting house for the new converts and he, himself, became the Presiding Elder of the Haywood Branch. (January, 1877; The Life and Ministry of John Morgan, pp. 119-123)


The Nephites are laboring in the interest of this church and Kingdom of God. In their seemingly casual visits, they leave blessings to members of the Church as they predict the future, promote faith, and offer sound counsel, as in the following two incidents:

There was a time when such a succession of crop failures and other economic calamities visited the people of Utah that they despaired of finding succor by natural means. Being a pious people, they placed the whole of their faith in God and prayed for aid.

One Sunday afternoon the inhabitants of the little village of Panguitch had gathered for the regular sacrament meeting. Although the economic trouble was not the primary object of discussion, the problem was uppermost in the minds of all. Near the close of the meeting a dignified, elderly gentleman clothed entirely in white entered and asked permission to speak. Not doubting that he bore a message from a recognized church authority, the congregation immediately gave him attention.

[86]            The old man outlined the economic situation perfectly and counseled the people to prepare for a period of prosperity to be followed by a greater depression. He warned of the fallacy of placing money high in human estimation and, with an admonition to live clean lives and follow the church precepts, he turned and left the assembly. An official of the church followed him outside only to find that he had disappeared. Upon inquiry it was discovered that the old man had never been seen in that country before, nor did he bring a message from the central authority of the church.

Similar old men appeared at the same hour and day in the villages of Nephi and Heber City. Each had asked permission to speak at the Sacrament Meetings, and each had delivered the same message. (From manuscript titled “The Nephites” from WPA Writers’ Project files; collected by N. Field Winn)

*  *  *

On the morning of the 19th of March, 1940, at about 7 o’clock, I was going out into the yard taking care of some of the duties of the household, and upon opening the door an elderly man stood about four feet from the kitchen door from which I had just come. His hair was not entirely grey but it had streaks of grey. He was about five feet eleven inches in height, was not especially heavy set, but weighing about one hundred sixty pounds. He wore a beard but no mustache. trimmed, and was tidily dressed with a dark suit. He wore a light grey overcoat of light weight. He looked very kind, his eyes were greyish blue, and he wore a light grey hat.

Upon seeing me, he took off his hat and said: “Good morning, my dear, can you spare time to fix me a bit of breakfast.” I at first [87] thought I would say “no,” but he looked so kind and clean that I said: “Sure, come in,” both of us walking toward the kitchen door and he following me. I set a chair before him and invited him to sit down which he did, this being in the kitchen.

I immediately started to fix breakfast for him. He sat and watched me and soon he said: “It has been many years since I have been in this part of the Lord’s vineyard. I was amazed at the growth of Mesa.” I made some reply which I do not now recall. He went on to ask: “Is the Church growing rapidly? to which I answered, “Yes, it is, especially here. My father came with the early pioneers and I can remember as a child there were such a few, but now there are ten wards in this stake.” He said: “My dear, your father was very fortunate to be called as one of the pioneers. I have been in Mexico for many years laboring in that branch of the Church.” (It struck me at the time as peculiar when he called it a branch.) “You will live to see the day when that part of the Lord’s vineyard and this part will be as brothers. I visited with the Saints in California last week. The Lord is not pleased with His people there; they are living too fast. They let the real things of life slip behind while they take up the unimportant things. They are like the most of the people now; they pray with their lips and have no faith in their hearts.” *


* Note: The faithful Saints in California need not feel displeased at this narrative for the worldly Saints there have plenty of company in Utah and in every ward in the church. Pres. Brigham Young’s statement will prove prophetic when he said: “When Jesus makes His next appearance upon the earth, but few of this Church will be prepared to receive Him and see Him face to face and converse with Him but He will come to His temple.” (J.D. 7:142)


[88]            Continuing he said: The condition of the world is dreadful. In Germany there are many of the Lord’s choice people and in no other way could the gospel be spread only through this dreadful war.

All this was said while I was preparing the meal, after which I set it down before him. While he was eating I washed the morning dishes. I asked him if he would have anything else and he said: “Thank you, my dear.” When I was fixing his breakfast, l said: “Do you like your eggs poached hard or soft?” to which he replied: “My dear, even as you have done it unto the least of these you have done it unto me.” During the entire visit I felt a very serene, peaceful and quiet feeling.

After finishing his breakfast, he arose, took his overcoat which he had put over a chair, and as he reached the door, he turned and said: “You may not think much of this coming from me, but I promise you that through your faith, you nor yours shall never want.”

Before going to the door I handed him his hat. He then said: “Good morning,” and I replied, “Good morning,” and he was gone. All the while my son, Robert Shill, was in the adjoining room from the kitchen and after the stranger had left, he immediately came into the kitchen and said: “Mom, who was that man? He was the queerest talking man I ever heard.” To which I replied: “I don’t know, son, but he was dressed so well and looked so well kept to be asking for breakfast.”

We both walked out of the house, not more than a minute from the time he left the kitchen door, going clear to the road which was about three hundred feet from the kitchen, but could see no one. He could not be seen in any direction, the road going straight for two miles in either direction. I have wondered and pondered [89] about it so much and feel assured in my own heart and mind it was one of the Three Nephites. It would have taken at least a few minutes to go to the road and we went out immediately after he had left.

This incident occurred in the settlement of Lehi, Maricopa County, Maricopa Stake, Arizona, on our twenty-acre farm. The Latter-day Saint church is located about one thousand feet from our home and the school house about the same distance.

Signed the 7th day of April, 1940.

Signed: Hazel L. Shill

Signature witnessed by: N.B. Lundwall

Wm. F. Gollaher

Alice Gollaher

(Assorted Gems of Priceless Value, p. 22-24)


One of the pertinent missions of the Nephite messengers is to preach to the Lamanite people. The Indian nations everywhere have their stories, traditions, and experiences that testify of the “white” messengers who brought them the Gospel. Orson Pratt mentioned many elders who reported of Indians who had seen these men. Said he:

Forty-five years have passed away since God brought forth this sign, the Book of Mormon, and sent missionaries to the nations–to Tarshish, Pul, Lud, Tubal, Javan, and to the islands afar off, that have not heard his fame neither have seen his glory and these missionaries have declared His glory among the Gentiles. Forty-five years of proclamation to the nations of the Gentiles! Forty-five years of warning to all nations and tongues! Now, after so long a period has elapsed since God brought forth this wonderful sign, He has begun to work among the remnants of the house of Israel, the American Indians, upon this continent, by his own power.

[90]            What is it that has stirred them up to believe in this work? Has it been your exertion? Not altogether; yet, no doubt, you, in some small degree, as far as your faith would permit, have helped on the work among these wild tribes. You have sought to recover them; you have fed and clothed them to some extent; you have told them occasionally about the records of their fathers; you have tried to bring them to repentance; but, after years of labor, you have said–“Alas! alas for them! What can be done to reclaim a people so far fallen into the depths of ignorance and corruption?” Your hearts have been almost discouraged so far as your own labors were concerned.

But how soon and how marvelously, when the time had come, has the Lord our God begun to operate upon them as nations and as tribes, bringing them in from hundreds of miles distant to inquire after the Elders of this Church. What for? What do they want with the Elders? They want to be baptized. Who told them to come and be baptized? They say that men came to them in their dreams, and spoke to them in their own language and told them that away yonder was a people who had authority from God to baptize them; but that they must repent of their sins, cease their evil habits and lay aside the traditions op their fathers, for they were false; that they must cease to roam over the face of the land, robbing and plundering, and learn to live as the white people.

Who are these men who have been to the indians and told them to repent of their sins, and be baptized by the “Mormons?, They are men who obtained the promise of the Lord, upwards of eighteen centuries ago, that they should be instruments in his hands of bringing about the redemption of their descendants. The Lord God promised them the privilege of working for and behalf of their descendants in the [91] latter days; and they have begun the work. All this was foretold in this record, the Book of Mormon.

Now these men lived in the first century of the Christian era on this continent; and when that generation all passed away they also lived in the second century of the Christian era, and ministered to the ancient inhabitants on this land. And when the second century had all passed off the stage of action They also lived the third century; and in the fourth century the Lord took these three men from the midst of the remnant of Israel on this land. Where did he take them? I do not know; it is not revealed. Why did he take them away? Because the people were unworthy of the ministration of such great and holy men; because they sought to kill them; because they cast them into dens of wild beasts twice; and these men of God played with these wild beasts as a child would play with a suckling lamb, and received no harm from them. They cast them three times into a furnace of fire, and they came forth therefrom and received no hurt. They dug deep pits in the earth and cast them therein, supposing that they would perish; but by the power of the word of God that was in them, they smote the earth in the name of the Lord, and were delivered from these pits.

And thus they went forth performing signs, wonders, and miracles among this remnant of Ishmael, until their wickedness became so great that the Lord commanded them to depart out their midst. And the remnant of Israel, from that day to the present–between fourteen and fifteen centuries–have been dwindling in unbelief, in ignorance, and in all the darkness which now surrounds them; but notwithstanding their darkness and misery, the Three Nephites, for many generations, have not, administered to them, because of the commandment of the Almighty to them.

[92]            But are they always to remain silent? Are there no more manifestations to come from these three men? Are they never again to remember the remnants of the House of Israel on this land? Let us read the promise. “Behold I was about to write the names of those who were never to taste of death, but the Lord forbade; therefore I write them not, for they are hid from the world; but behold I have seen them.” Mormon saw them nearly four centuries after they were caught up into heaven, and after they received their partial change. Mormon saw them and they administered unto him. He says: “Behold, I have seen them and they have ministered unto me; and behold they will be among the Gentiles, and the Gentiles knoweth them not. “They will, no doubt, call them poor deluded Mormons, and say that they ought to be hooted out of society, and that they ought to be persecuted, afflicted, and hated by all people. * * *

Now, having read these things, let us come back again to this spiritual movement that we hear of among the remnants of Jacob, in these western deserts, in the northwest hundreds of miles, in the west and in the southwest. It is not confined to hundreds, but thousands testify that men have appeared individually in dreams, speaking their own language and, as Brother Hyde said last Tuesday, these men tell their descendants what their duties are, what they should do, and how they should hunt up this people, repent of their sins, be baptized, etc. And the parties who have been thus instructed time and time again, have fulfilled the commandments that they received, and some of them have come hundreds of miles to be baptized, and they are now desirous of laying aside their savage disposition, their roaming habits, and they want to learn to cultivate the earth, [93] to lay down their weapons of war, cease stealing and to become a peaceable good people. (Orson Pratt, J.D. 18:2-22, 1875)


There are very few accounts where all three of these ancient apostles make an appearance at the same time. One such instance, however, occurred in the life of a young Indian boy. The labors of his life and mission were presented to him by these “three friends.”

Knowing how greatly interested children are in Indian stories, I venture to write them this one about Albert, an Indian boy, the adopted son of Jacob Hamblin, the great pioneer and Indian interpreter. In the year 1850, Hamblin and his family with other Saints settled in Tooele Valley which was at that time inhabited by a band of Indians led by a chief called Old Big Foot. Old Big Foot was a bad Indian and he and his followers caused the white settlers a great deal of trouble by their depredations, which, despite the efforts of the people of Salt Lake and Tooele to quell them, continued to last about three years.

Finally Hamblin, who was then lieutenant, asked that a company be given him with which to make a raid on the Indians; he succeeded finally, not in killing them. but in effecting a peace with them. During this raid against them he had become convinced by the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in many instances that his calling was not to fight and kill the Indians, but it was to be a messenger of love and peace to them, and by this same spirit it was also made manifest to him that if he would not thirst for their blood, he should never fall by their hands. This precious promise of the Almighty through His spirit to Hamblin was a source of great strength and assurance to him in after years, and enabled him, while among the Indians to pass through scenes unmoved which caused some of the bravest of other men to tremble.

[94]            Soon after his return from trailing after Old Big Foot he dreamed that he was on a friendly visit to the Indians they had been so long trying to destroy, and while walking and talking with them he picked up a stone. This on being touched, diffused a bright Phosphorescent light, and as he handled it, the light stuck to his fingers, and as he tried to brush it away it continued to spread over him.

This dream made a great impression upon him and was repeated to him for three successive nights. At the third repetition of it he arose from his bed, saddled his horse and taking his gun and blankets went alone into the Indian country. He the valley where their lodges had stood when he was there before but saw no Indians, but a smoke curled up near the center of the valley. He directed his way to it and found there sitting on a rock nearby a little Indian boy about ten years old, who was crying bitterly. The spirit said to Hamblin as he addressed the boy, “This is the bright stone you saw in your dream; take the lad home with you.” He asked the boy the cause of his grief; he replied by pointing to an old lodge nearby where an Indian woman, the boy’s mother, lay dying. The other Indians, according to their custom at such times, had gone away and left her to die alone. He asked the boy if he would like to go home with him; he replied that he would, added, “I want you to come and heal my mother first.” Hamblin went with the boy to where his mother lay and administered to her by laying hands upon her and she soon after sat up and conversed with him. Though he knew very little of their language, yet by the gift of tongues he was enabled to understand them and to make himself understood.

They told him they had known all day that he would come to them, and the boy afterwards [95] said, when Hamblin asked him why he was so willing to go with him, the first white man he had ever seen and a stranger, that three men having white hair and beard came and told him of his (Hamblin’s) visit and advised him to go home with the white man when he came.

The fire had been built to attract the expected visitor’s attention to the spot.

Though the mother had readily given her consent when Hamblin first asked for the boy to go with him, yet when about to depart and the little fellow picked up his bows and arrows, she set up such a wail that Hamblin’s heart was touched and he told the boy to go back and remain with her; but the lad refused to do so and followed his new guardian. That night, the mother, still anxious about her son, came to the camp and told Hamblin she was willing for him to take her boy, for she believed he was a good man, but exacted the promise from him that he would always be a father to him and own him for a son. Hamblin gave the promise and was always faithful to the trust.

The boy Albert was very much attached to his adopted father who was his only confidant and friend, and he was an obedient and faithful son to him. As he grew older, the care of his father’s flocks was given him and they increased rapidly while under his management.

He manifested a great love for the gospel and its teachings, had many dreams and visions but had also many trials and temptations. One day after having made some remark about his mission on the earth, he was questioned by his father when he confessed to him that he had many times met with and received counsel from his “three friends” as he called them; he had been reticent about speaking of it to his father for fear of his displeasure, but when he found he was to receive only encouragement from him, [96] his pleasure knew no bounds he seemed imbued with the idea that he had a mission to perform among his race in the spirit world; he was ordained to the offices of the lower priesthood and when he had arrived at the age of manhood, he told his father one day that the time had come for him to receive his endowments, for he was soon to go on his mission, and it was necessary that he should receive his blessings first. For some cause it was not convenient for him to go in the house of the Lord at that time; when his father told him he would have to wait awhile, he said, “Then I shall have to suffer.” Soon after he was stricken with erysipelas in his eyes and face and was not healed until his father started with him from Santa Clara, where he then lived, for Salt Lake City, where he received his endowments.

In 1863, twelve years from the time when Albert picked up his bows and arrows and left his Indian haunts for the home of his white friends, as Hamblin was leaving home on a mission to the Moquis Indians, he approached him and said, “Father, I shall be on my mission before you get back again.” His father asked him what he meant and he said, “My time has come to go and I shall be dead and buried before your return.” When Hamblin returned at the expiration of two months, he found Albert’s place vacant; he had passed away, as he had predicted, the morning of his father’s departure. (Juvenile Instructor, Vol. 22:332)


Hundreds of Lamanites, in different parts of the country, have been converted to the Gospel by the labors of these three disciples. The Apostle Orson Pratt elaborates further on the mission of the Three Nephites among the Lamanite people:


[97]            There is one thing which I am now about to read which has not yet been fulfilled, and which we must fulfill before Zion is redeemed. I will read it: “Behold, saith the Father, I will bring the Fulness of my Gospel from among them, and then I will remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my Gospel unto them.” Now then we are here in this land, the house of Israel are scattered all around us, some in the great basin, some in Arizona, some in Idaho, some in Colorado, some in Montana, some in one place, some in another–I refer to the American Indians, all remnants of Joseph and belonging to the house of Israel They have become very degraded in consequence of the apostacy and wickedness of their ancient fathers. This people–the Latter-day Saints, before they can ever return to build up the waste places of Zion and receive their inheritances in Jackson County, Missouri, have got to exert themselves to bring the remnants of Joseph to a knowledge of the truth. We have not made any very great exertions in this direction unto the present time. The Lord has given us time since He brought the fulness of the Gospel from among the Gentiles to lay a foundation so that we could commence this missionary work in behalf of and among the remnants of Joseph. We have got the foundation laid, we have succeeded in building many cities, towns, villages, etc., for some four hundred miles north and south–we have got our farms fenced and our water ditches dug, and we have begun to prosper in the land, so that now, I think, is the time for us to wake up our minds in relation to the scattered remnants of the house of Israel. “Behold, then I will remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my Gospel unto them.”

[98]            It seems that the Lord is working among that people, and that He is determined this prophecy shall be fulfilled whether we take it in hand or not. What do my ears hear? What do we all hear? Messengers are visiting these wild tribes in the basin, and in the region round about hundreds of miles apart. These messengers come to them, and they speak in their own language in great plainness, and tell them what to do. They tell them to repent of their sins and to be baptized for the remission thereof; tell them also to cease roaming over the country and to cultivate the land; tell them to go to the Elders of this Church and receive the ordinances under their hands.

Who are these messengers? Read the Book of Mormon and you will find what God promised to do for the remnants of Joseph fourteen hundred years ago, about the time that most of them were becoming wicked and corrupt. The Lord said when their record should come forth in the latter days that He would send his messengers to them, and among these messengers He mentioned three persons who lived some eighteen hundred years ago, three of the Twelve who were chosen on this land. The Lord made a promise to these three that they should administer, as holy messengers in the latter days, for and in behalf of the remnants of the house of Israel, which should fall into a low and degraded condition in consequence of the great wickedness and apostacy of their ancient fathers; that they should be instruments in His hands in bringing these remnants to the knowledge of the truth. We hear that these messengers have come, not in one instance alone, but in many instances. Already we have heard of some fourteen hundred Indians, and I do not know but more, who have been baptized. Ask them why they have come so many hundred miles to find the Elders of the Church, and they will reply: [99] “Such a person came to us, he spoke in our language, instructed us and told us what to do, and we have come in order to comply with his requirements.” (J.D. 17:299-300, Feb. 7, 1875)


Elder John Nicholson, writer for a Church publication, wrote about the conversion of the leader of the Goshute Indians and most of his tribe. The conversion was accomplished by the labors of the Three Nephites.

The subject as to who the Indians or Lamanites are has been so frequently treated upon in The Instructor that the writer supposes that most of his readers already know who and what they are, and he will therefore confine himself mainly to narrating circumstances connected with and making allusions to what appears to be a great movement that is going on among them at the present in this part of the country. The Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ have preached the gospel among them a good deal, especially in past years, but apparently without any visible effect; but their eyes are now being opened to the principles of truth, and hundreds of them are being baptized.

Here is a quotation concerning the Lamanites; the 12th paragraph of the 12th chapter of the Second Book of Nephi, Book of Mormon.

“And now, I would prophesy somewhat more concerning the Jews and the Gentiles. For after the book of which I have spoken shall come forth, and be written unto the Gentiles, and sealed up again unto the Lord, there shall be many which shall believe the words which are written, and they shall carry them forth unto the remnant of our seed. And then shall the remnant of our seed know concerning us, how that we came out from Jerusalem, and that they are descendants of the Jews. And the gospel of Jesus Christ shall be declared among them; [100] wherefore they shall be restored unto the knowledge of their fathers, and also to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, which was had among their fathers. And then shall they rejoice, for they shall know that it is a blessing unto them from the hand of God, and their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a white and delightsome people.”

Let us see whether this prediction of the great prophet is beginning to be fulfilled. The following dispatch was published in the Deseret Evening News on the 2nd of June last:

“Deep Creek, Utah; June 2, 1874

One hundred Indians were submerged and confirmed into the `Mormon’ faith here yesterday, by Indian Interpreter Lee, from Grantsville, and three others whom he deputized as assistants; sixty minutes were consumed in the operation, a heavy rain prevailing at the time.”

The interpreter mentioned in the foregoing is Elder William Lee, of Grantsville, and the assistants alluded to were Elders William H. Lee, of Tooele (not a relative of the other), Edwin Tadlock, President of the Deep Creek Branch of the Church, and James Worthington, of the latter place.

The circumstances which led to the sending of that dispatch to the News should be interesting to every Latter-day Saint, as showing plainly that the Lord is working visibly among the remnant of His people, in fulfillment of the predictions concerning them, and in confirmation of His promises to their fathers. The writer will give them, as accurately as his memory will serve him, as he received them from the lips of Elder William Lee, and as he assured him he had received them from the lips of Torbuka, a leading chief of the Goshutes. [101] The narration has also been confirmed to the writer by other parties more or less acquainted with the incidents.

It appears that some time last spring Torbuka and the greater portion of his band were encamped some distance west of Deep Creek, and that one night he had a singular and very pleasant dream, in which he thought he saw a beautiful meadow, through which flowed a fine stream of clear water. He thought he saw Elder Lee, who told him that himself and people must wash in that stream. In the morning when he awoke, he had very pleasant feelings. He arose, and, as there was a creek nearby, he told his people they must go and wash themselves in it, and they did so, he doing the same himself.

Subsequently Torbuka was sitting alone in his tent, when a man entered, whom he afterwards described as having a white or rather a grey beard, and a very handsome countenance. As may be imagined, he had peculiar feelings on seeing this stranger enter so suddenly. He gazed at this personage for a few moments, when he, the stranger, addressed Torbuka, the substance of his words being that the time had come for the Indians to be buried in water, baptized; that the “Mormons” were their friends; that they had a book which told about their fathers, that Brigham held communion with God, and they must hear him. He also told Torbuka that the enemies of the Indians had driven, robbed, plundered and abused them, but that the time when their enemies could do that was nearly past, that the time had almost arrived when those who had wronged them would be like the “dry wood upon the mountains, that would be consumed, and they,” the Indians, “would walk over the ashes.”

The stranger then left, and Torbuka, being curious to know in what direction he had gone, [102] walked towards the corner of a bluff, around which the Personage had turned, but when he reached that point, so that he could see the open country, the stranger had disappeared, but in what manner Torbuka did not know.

After this two Personages together visited Torbuka in the same manner, and, after repeating what the first visitor had said, word for word, departed in the same manner. Torbuka said that one of the two was considerably taller. than the other.

Subsequently one of the Personages appeared again to Torbuka, making the third visitation, and the things that had been uttered at the two previous visits were exactly repeated.

The writer understood from Brother Lee that the most of the foregoing was related by Torbuka himself, in the vestry of the Grantsville Meeting House, in the presence of several brethren, Brother Lee interpreting.

Those were the incidents that led to the subsequent circumstances which caused the sending of the dispatch to the News; for after those plain manifestations Torbuka soon made up his mind as to how he would act. He gathered as many of his people together as he could reach and started for Deep Creek. On arriving there, about the latter end of May, he caused a dispatch to be sent to Interpreter William Lee, at Grantsville, asking him to come to him, as himself and people were waiting to hear what he had to say, and to do as he should advise.

By counsel of Bishop John Rowberry, Brother William H. Lee took his team and wagon and went with Brother William Lee, interpreter, to Deep Creek, where they found Torbuka and his people awaiting their arrival.

Interpreter Lee preached the gospel to them, explaining the principles thereof in as simple a manner as he could, to meet their [103] capacities. At the conclusion of his remarks he said to them: “All you who wish to do as I have told you, according to the commands of the Great Spirit,” or words to that effect, “follow me!” and he walked off towards a stream about half a mile distant, and was followed by all the members of the tribe present, men, women, and children.

On arriving at the stream one of the brethren went into the water, while the others stood on the bank, and while he in the water baptized the Lamanites in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, by authority from Jesus Christ, as they went forward, those who stood on the bank confirmed them by the ordinance of the laying on of hands, those confirmed being seated on a chair, which had been taken there for the purpose, while the ordinance was attended to.

So much in earnest were these poor Lamanites that the women actually held out their little children to the Elder who was in the water that he might baptize them also, and were only satisfied when they were informed that children were not baptized until they were eight years old, but that they could be blessed by the servants of God, and afterwards the little ones were taken in the arms of those Elders and blessed.

While the baptisms and confirmations were proceeding, as stated in the dispatch, the rain commenced to pour down, but this was not heeded, and the good work went on until all had been brought into the fold by the door of baptism, after the likeness of the burial of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and coming up out of the water after the likeness of His resurrection.

Those Lamanites rejoiced, as did also the brethren who administered to them the sacred [104] ordinance of the gospel, a spirit of peaceful solemnity resting upon all.

Besides the baptizing and confirming of over a hundred of those people, as above described, seven of the most intelligent of the men were ordained Elders, and instructed in the duties of the calling of that office, and subsequent events give every indication that they have been very industrious and zealous in telling their brethren in various parts of the things they had received.

As Elders William Lee and William H. Lee were passing through Skull Valley on their return home on the 7th of June, they met with fifteen others of the tribe, whom they then baptized and confirmed, administered the sacrament of the Lord’s supper to them, and blessed their children. (Juvenile Instructor, 9:224+)


In another instance, an Indian leader and his people were converted by the “convincing power of God” that rested upon those Three Ancient Apostles. G.W. Hill reported:

In a former article I gave an account of my first day’s work at baptizing the Indians on Bear River, after they had applied to me so many times to do so. I then promised to give the readers of The Instructor something more on the Indian question, and I shall now tell the reason those Lamanites were impelled to ask for baptism.

Four years ago last summer some of those indians were encamped on the south side of Salt Lake, west of Skull Valley, when one day three strange men came into the lodge of the chief, whose name was Ech-up-wy, and after seating themselves commenced talking to him on religious matters. This seemed so strange to him that he turned and scrutinized them closely. The [105] visitors were evidently Indians, as they had the Indian complexion. One of them was a very large, broad shouldered man, quite good looking; the other two were rather below the medium size. The large one was spokesman. They told him that the “Mormons'” God was the true God, and that He and the Indian’s Father were one; that he must go to the “Mormons,” and they would tell him what to do, and that he must do it; that he must be baptized, with all his Indians; that the time was at hand for the Indians to gather, and stop their Indian life, and learn to cultivate the earth and build houses, and live in them. They then said to him, “Look” He turned his head, and, although he was sitting in his lodge, he saw all this northern country about Bear River and Malad. He saw also that these were Indians’ houses, and that there were a great many Indians at work, and apparently feeling first rate. He noticed also a few white men there showing the Indians how to work, one of whom he recognized as myself. What seemed more strange than anything else was that he could see down the canyons on both sides of the mountains, as he might do if he occupied a position in the air above them. After viewing this scene for some time, he turned his eyes in another direction, but not being satisfied he looked around to see more of it, when, to his surprise there was nothing visible before him but the bare side of the lodge. The visitors then told him that when he got his house built and got to living in it, they would come again to see him; they also said something he did not understand, when he turned to ask them an explanation, but lo! they were gone. His buffalo robes were lying just as they had been, but no visitors were there.

The Indians immediately broke camp and came after me, and wanted me to baptize them, [106] saying that their women and children wanted to be baptized as well as the men, and that it was not good for them to come to Ogden to have the ordinance attended to. They kept importuning for baptism, coming after me as often as once in every week or fortnight until the following spring, when I went and did my first day’s work.

Ech-up-wy did not tell me at the first about this vision. nor in fact, any one else; nor could he be made to believe that the place where they are now located was the proper place for them to make farms, although President Young directed that they should locate there, until, when work on the irrigating canal was commenced, he viewed from an eminence the very scene that was shown him in his vision. After that he was satisfied that he was at work in the right place, and told me of his vision, and his reason for demanding baptism.

As to whom the men were who visited Ech-up-wy, the readers can form their own conjecture; but one thing I can say, he has tried as hard to carry out the instructions given him as any man I ever saw. He has now got his house built, as have quite a number of others, and they feel like getting up out of the dirt. (Juvenile Instructor 12:11)


In Montana other Indians were converted to the Gospel by one of these Nephites. According to Apostle Ballard, he had visited and baptized many of the Lamanites who had seen them:

Through the modern educational advancement of these people, our elders can proselyte among these native sons of America and deliver the message of the Book of Mormon and the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Indians can read and understand it; years ago they could not. With no [107] written language it would have been difficult to explain the principles of the gospel, without a thorough knowledge of the Indian tongues.

When Elder Melvin J. Ballard visited the Ft. Peck and Blackfoot reservations, he said he met many who knew him as soon as they saw him and asked for the “Book” which he was to bring them. They said they had seen him in dreams, bringing to them a “Book.” When he handed them the Book of Mormon, they adopted it gladly, and could read and understand it. He declared that it was his belief that one of the “Three Nephites” had been laboring among them for years teaching them the gospel and preparing them for our missionaries when they should come. (Improvement Era, 27:420)


One of these Nephites, while preaching repentance to the residents of Augusta, Georgia, uttered a prophecy–the fulfillment of which can be seen standing today.

The Pillar of Prophecy

The predictions of the servants of the Lord never fail, although at the time of their utterance the fulfillment, in the eyes of men, may appear utterly impossible. This truth is attested by a silent witness which stands on the corner of Broad and Fifth Streets of Augusta, Georgia. It is locally known as the Pillar of Prophecy.

An interesting story is attached to this old landmark, and it is often recalled from the dusty recesses of memory to impress one with the fundamental truth that God lives and never forgets the utterances of his authorized servants.

The Pillar of Prophecy is a white, concrete shaft, perhaps twelve feet in height. It stands in the center of the sidewalk, the pavement having been laid around it, leaving the Pillar undisturbed. This fact is very significant in that [108] Broad Street is the principal thoroughfare of the city, and space is, therefore, valuable. The significance becomes plain when the story of the Pillar is told.

It is a story that dates back more than thirty years, when Augusta was first catching the glimpse of her present greatness, when she was undergoing the process of transition from a city of the Old South to one of the New. The incident was known then to Augustans, first hand, the old-timers handing it down to their posterity, as a thing worth remembering.

And now for the story. There appeared on the streets of Augusta about thirty years ago a stranger. He was a man of mystery. No one knew whence he came, nor whither he departed. He was a preacher who. like the prophets of old, cried repentance unto the city. He is described as a man of average height, with hair of pure white and neatly trimmed, stately in appearance, and possessing a voice clear and pleasing. yet incisive, even to the piercing of the human heart.

This unknown evangelist usually spoke in the Market Place. This was composed of two large sheds, extending about one hundred feet across the street (the street is one hundred and eighty feet from curb to curb), and about two hundred feet long. The sheds were supported by pillars. One shed was known as the “Upper Market,” the other the “Lower Market.” Here the people of the city gathered each morning to purchase their daily supply of produce from the farmers coming in from the surrounding country.

A remarkable prophecy was made by the Preacher. He predicted that the “Lower Market” would be destroyed by a storm, but that the southwest corner post would remain as a testimony to the people that. he was a prophet of God, and that his warning message was true. He [109] further solemnly averred that if anyone attempted to move the Pillar that person would die.

Shortly after the utterance of this strange prophecy, a devastating electrical storm swept over the city of Augusta, destroying the “Lower Market” but leaving, as the Prophet had said, the southwest pillar.

The Pillar of Prophecy still stands. No one has ventured to move it. Neither white nor colored exhibit any willingness to take the risk. The Pillar also survived the fury of the great fire of 1916, which practically obliterated the business district of Augusta. The Pillar escaped unscathed, although buildings around it are still lying in ruins.

The mysterious Prophet was later entertained at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Mack Little, of Groveland, Georgia, which is located about fifteen miles west of Augusta. In conversation with Mr. Little, the Prophet reiterated the direful prediction made on the streets of the city. The Little family still reside in Richmond County, and vouch for the truth of the story. They testify that the stranger never divulged his identity, and that he was never seen again.

Who was this Prophet? Oldtime Augustans believe him to be John the Baptist, or some other of the Biblical prophets. But Latter-day Saints are of the belief that the stranger may have been one of the Three Nephite apostles who were graciously permitted by the Christ to tarry on the earth until He should return in glory. * * *

Additional testimony that this prophet may have been one of the Three Nephite apostles was furnished the writer by Patriarch David F. Fawns, of Raymond, Canada. Elder Fawns fulfilled a mission in Georgia, over twenty years ago. On this mission much of his time was spent (continued on [111])


[110]                        (picture of pillar)




This twelve-foot white shaft in Augusta, Georgia, is a silent witness to a strange prophecy by one of the Three Nephites. The white-haired preacher prophesied that the market place would be destroyed but this pillar would remain as witness that he was a prophet of God. After a destructive storm and later after a furious fire, the pillar still remained unscathed.



in Augusta, He testifies that while standing beside the Pillar, a personage approached and stood before him. Twice this manifestation appeared, and so vividly impressed was he that he can to this day minutely describe the person and his garb. His glorious, radiant countenance is one that will bless Elder Fawn’s memory forever, he declares. . . .

It (the pillar) is an object of wonder and curiosity to the people of Atlanta in general. To the Latter-day Saints it is especially significant, for it indicates to them that the three ancient American apostles are engaged in ministering among us as the Savior commissioned them to do centuries ago. (Raymond, Alberta, Canada) (by Charles F. Steele, Improvement Era, 23:247)


In a letter to President Heber J. Grant, Wesley Ziegler relates another possible appearance of one of the Three Nephites.

Wesley Ziegler says that he was born of parents who had left the ministry and who had taught him to believe in Christ without sending him to any particular church. When he was about twelve years old, he states that the Lord spoke to him in a dream. He saw an old man coming towards him who was dressed in a long sack-cloth robe and who carried a staff in his hand. Calling the young man by his first name, he told him that he was Peter, and then led him away to the city of Rome and showed him the Emperor Nero who he states, was a very corrupt man. And he saw the family tree of Nero with its five branches and the three children of this Emperor: the first born without a face, the second without a head, and the third born with two heads. This dream frightened the boy very much for he could not make out what it meant. The young man states that he continued to receive visions and revelations until eventually he [112] came to understand his original dream and many other spiritual things. The city of Rome, he says, represents the Catholic Church, and the corrupt Emperor its corruption. The five branches of his family tree represent the five branches into which that church has been split, i.e., Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic, etc. The children represented the Protestant churches, some of which lack a face, some a head, and others of which have two heads. Some lack this truth, some that, and some of them lay too much stress on certain things. He had received a testimony of the great apostasy although he says that he had never known that such an apostasy had ever taken place.

The young man states that it was through these wonderful experiences that he was brought to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, long before he had had any contact with this church, and long before he had heard anything more than passing mention of it. He had not even known that the Mormons were Christians. Being thus. converted, he went over to the public library to learn something about the Mormons. He found nothing but bitter and prejudiced books which told mostly lies about the Mormons, but in which he eagerly searched for the truth. At first he conducted this investigation without the knowledge of his parents. He had been told that the library did not contain a copy of the Book of Mormon but after about a year’s study in this library, he ran across a copy and took it home to his parents, who by this time were aware of their son’s interest in Mormonism.

Having finished reading the Book of Mormon, he returned it to the library but could not bear to leave it there. He went over and got it a second time, and as he was walking home with the book under his arm, he was suddenly accosted by one of the most distressed of men he had [113] ever seen. He was clothed in rags, held together with big safety pins. His beard was grizzled–he was poverty personified. When he asked the youth for charity and was offered the only penny that the boy had, he refused to take it. He wanted not money, he said, so much as a place to sleep. When he was asked if he had a home, he replied that he had no definite one–that he was just a tramp he guessed. Then he corrected himself and said that he was not exactly a tramp either, but rather a wanderer. The boy told him that he might go to the Salvation Army or to the City Welfare Department. He asked where the Salvation Army was. When the boy tried to explain its approximate location, the wanderer asked him if he really knew where it was and the boy was forced to admit that he did not. Then the wanderer told him that he should always remember never to give directions to anyone on any matter unless he was certain that those directions were correct. Then he reached down and took the Book of Mormon from under the boy’s arm, opened it, and started a sermon. The things which he explained were most wonderful, and many of them were beyond the boy’s comprehension. As he spoke he would leaf through the book, turning over whole groups of pages at a time, and always he would turn to the very words he wanted to illustrate what he was saying. “My,” he said, “isn’t this a wonderful book! If people would only read it, it would do them so much good.”

For a long time he talked and explained wonderful things and finally he concluded by saying, “Yes, my boy, you are undertaking a very deep study.” Next he looked at the boy’s identification card and read his name and address aloud. Then he closed the Book of Mormon, gave it back to the boy, and extended his [114] hand saying, “Well, goodbye, my friend. You are my friend, aren’t you?” The boy took his hand and said that he was.

As the stranger started to walk away, the boy turned to watch him. He could have gone only a few steps when he suddenly disappeared. The boy was bewildered by the situation and looked for him in every direction, but there was no mistaking it; he was gone. Having read the Book of Mormon, the boy quite naturally thought of the Three Nephites who were to tarry until Jesus came. Since that time, he says, he has heard the testimonies of other people who have seen one of them, and he finds that his experience corresponds closely to theirs. He says he has no doubt that this man was one of them, although he could have been St. John. This wanderer was the first Mormon that he had ever seen. (Letter dated Sept. 1, 1931)


One of the more unique stories of Nephite assistance to the missionaries is the following story. It portrays the comfort and aid given to both a missionary in the field and also to his wife at home. It illustrates the profound knowledge, speed, and scope of these three disciples in accomplishing their missionary labors.

At the time of the first settlement of Payson, Utah, a man . . . was sent on a mission to Germany, while the wife was left in Payson to manage their rather isolated farm land. One winter morning . . . a tall elderly gentleman knocked at her door. Not a little surprised at seeing a stranger in this sparsely populated region, she invited him in. He told her he had traveled far and was very hungry. Food was never plentiful in that household, and the fact that it was midwinter caused a greater scarcity than ever. However, the good woman, wrapping part of a loaf of bread in an old bit of peculiarly patterned cloth, offered it to the stranger. [115] The old man thanked her and went his way. The woman followed him to the door and found he had disappeared without leaving a single track in the snow. This incident took place one day before Christmas, and that fact, together with the strangeness of the whole proceeding, caused the young woman to remember the date.

Several years later, the day after her husband’s return, she was helping him to unpack his belongings when she found, carefully folded in a corner of his trunk, the same odd piece of cloth in which she had wrapped the stranger’s bread. Her husband related to her this story:

“It was on the day before Christmas. . . . The money which was to pay my expenses was many days overdue, and I was alone and penniless in a strange city. I had not eaten for two days. . . . Upon looking up I perceived a tall, elderly gentleman walking toward me. I turned aside to allow him to pass, but he took me by the arm, and removing a package from his pocket, wrapped in this piece of cloth, placed it in my hand. He then said, `Go to the post office. Even now your money awaits you there.’ Without another word he turned and disappeared around a nearby corner. . . . I opened the package and found it contained a half loaf of fresh bread. Later I went to the post office and found the money, just as he had said.” (Taken from an anonymous manuscript in the files of the WPA Writers’ Project, Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah)


The missionary labors of these three disciples is one of the greatest of all chapters in the grand missionary story of God’s work among men. Every man who has or will labor in the vineyard of the Lord should look to these three valiant ones who have sacrificed so much to save souls in a fallen world. Their lives are an example of the thoughtfulness, kindness, and the goodness of God. In mortality and immortality they labor with the love and mercy of their Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.



[116]                             Chapter 5




The following collection of stories is only a small representative portion of many which are told and retold about the mission and work of these Three Disciples. These stories are grouped according to the general purpose for their appearances: (1) Protection and Help; (2) Knowledge and Information; (3) Healing; and (4) Blessings.


  1. Protection and Help


A Wonderful Testimony

by Maud May Babcock


During the summer of 1900, I spent my vacation at Brighton, Silver Lake, Utah. It was the first opportunity I had had to spend any length of time in the mountains and I was so enthusiastic and ambitious that I wanted to climb every peak. Each day I explored some wonderful point around Brighton, on foot and on horseback. Carrie Helen Lamson, a school teacher, some years older than I, was my companion on most of the trips. With each trip we grew more venturesome and went farther from camp.


On one ride we explored the canyon beyond Alta, in Little Cottonwood, and finding ourselves on the pass between there and American Fork Canyon, we pressed on, hoping to climb a high peak we could see at the head of the canyon. Suddenly, we realized that the daylight would not permit us to reach our goal. So we were forced to content ourselves with climbing the mountain upon which we then were. The miners called it North Pole Peak. It [117] was much higher than we thought, and as we gained each height, we found yet a higher point ahead, so that when the top was finally reached, to our astonishment we were on the very top of the world, higher than any point around us. Before us was spread the finest view we had ever seen.


Since then I have revisited this mountaintop a number of times and I am always overcome by the grandeur and extent of the panorama. To the north and west, over the mountains, lay Salt Lake and Ogden like toy cities with the Great Salt Lake stretching between like a great mirror. To the west, between the ridges, was American Fork Canyon, and Provo Canyon farther south, while behind to the east was the Provo Valley like a huge checkerboard. Near us, nestling in the very tops of the mountain range, we could count thirteen lakes, while to the east, range upon range of blue mountains, like great billows of the ocean, seemed to roll on and on into space.


With this view before us, and with the spirit of adventure within us, I then made a plan to go further and make a two days trip over the trail we had come and on into American Fork Canyon, through its south fork into Provo Canyon, and to spend a night at the south fork of the Provo. The second day we could go up the canyon to Midway and the Hot Pots, and over the mountains back to Brighton.


When we came down North Pole Peak to where we had been forced to leave our horses, it was near supper time and we were very hungry. We stopped on the slope at the Albion Mine, and were more than glad to accept the supper which the superintendent of the mine so kindly offered us when we passed on our way up the mountain. Being too late for the regular supper and while the Chinese cook, who took Miss Lamson for a Salvation Army lassie because of her blue poke bonnet, prepared the meal, I used an empty nail keg on the dump for a stage and in the twilight, told stories and read Riley to the miners. It [118] was a great enthusiastic audience in that magnificent amphitheater. The journey back to camp was thrilling, the ride through the pines above twin Lakes in the moonlight, awesome. A memorable day indeed!


We discussed our plan with those around camp and were told it was feasible. So a week later we started out on horseback. We were directed to take a shorter trail above Dog Lake to Lake Catherine, and to take that divide rather than the longer way over the Alta Pass by the Twin Lakes. It is a trail I now know well, but it was new to me then. We reached, as we thought, the trail near a deserted mine dump over Dog Lake about seven o’clock in the morning, but soon could get no farther, get back without crossing a crevice filled with shale. I tried to force my horse across, but when the shale began to slide, he would not move. Miss Lamson’s horse would not make the attempt, and they were farther down the side of the mountain than I was.


Seeing that both my horse and I were in danger of sliding down the mountain a thousand or more feet, I dismounted as carefully as I could, in fear for my own life, and that of my horse. I climbed slowly and carefully around the shale bed up to the top of the mountain to look for help, hoping that I might see some stray prospector. But no; although the top was like a lawn sloping in every direction, no one was in sight. Not a living thing to be seen; only the grandeur of the mountains spread before me in the stillness of the early morning. Disappointed, I cautiously climbed over the jagged peak above my horse, and half holding to a small bush with my hands, and half holding by my feet in that sliding shale, I reached down to my horse, almost under me, and touched him with a small willow, trying to coax him across the shale. He would not move.


At this crucial moment, fearing the horse would any moment slide down the mountain and I would be dashed to death after him if the shale began to move, I prayed to my [119] Heavenly Father for help. As I raised my head a voice above me said, “How did you come here, my daughter?” I jabbered in my relief and excitement, trying to explain our predicament, and before my explanation was finished, I was standing on the top, with Miss Lamson and both our horses in a circle facing the stranger. We had no recollection of how we or the horses got there.


The man had a gray Vandyke beard, a cap on his head and was dressed in very new blue overalls. He was very clean and I was surprised to notice his white hands as if unused to manual labor. He addressed me as “my daughter” but although Miss Lamson asked him several questions he directed his answers always to me instead of to her. I inquired about the road and the way and he said, “Go right on, my daughter, the way you are going, and you will be all right.”


While talking to him, unconsciously we got on our horses. Before we had gone twenty feet, it came to me I had failed to thank the man who had saved our lives. I turned to atone for my neglect and ingratitude, but although we could see at least a mile in every direction, the stranger had vanished. We seemed to have been in a daze from the wonder and marvel of our experience, which had seemed perfectly natural, when it rushed over me and as inspired, I said, “He was one of the Three Nephites.”


Miss Lamson was not in the Church. She did not even believe in God. In our discussions and arguments and during our readings of Matthew Arnold and Walter Pater, I had explained the Gospel restored, but she could not understand me, nor was she at all interested. She asked who was a Nephite? And as we rode along that early morning with the spirit of the stranger with us, I explained the Book of Mormon, and told how the Savior, when visiting His people on the American Continent, had granted three Nephite Apostles the blessing bestowed upon John the Beloved, to tarry and preach the Gospel until He should come again.


[120] During the next three days, I explained the principles of the Gospel–indeed, we talked of nothing else. As I was talking of the stranger, I suddenly was aware of peculiar hob-nail footprints pointing toward us on the trail. We had met the stranger about seven o’clock in the morning, and we followed the footprints always coming to meet us, until we reached the American Fork Canyon, after one o’clock that afternoon. Whenever I thought I could make a short cut, I would be forced to come back to the footprints, for the way would be impassable.


When we came down the mountain into the canyon, we met some miners, the first persons we had seen since the stranger left us. They advised us not to go through the South Fork into the North Fork of the Provo, because of deep snow, but to go instead through Deer Creek into Provo Canyon. I should have trusted my stranger, for we found the journey long and tiresome and did not reach camp until after midnight. We lost the footprints when we left American Fork Canyon. I have always believed we would have found the way passable, and that the footprints would have led us over the mountain, and we would have seen the glacier behind Timpanogos, which we had planned to see.


After our night’s rest, on very hard beds, we started up the Provo River to the. Hot Pots. Because of our clothes (bloomers and trousers were very noticeable on women in those days), we decided to take the north side of the Provo Valley and avoid the towns on the south side. For a mile or so after we came out of the canyon all was well, when suddenly the good road ran out into an irrigation ditch, with large willow trees on either side so dense that we had to lie flat on our horses to avoid the trees, and were forced to drive our horses through the ditch.


After going a half a mile or so, my horse suddenly wheeled around, nearly tearing my clothes off by overhanging limbs of the trees. He did the same thing the second time, when Miss Lamson suggested rattlers. [121] Frightened, I got off my horse and peeping around a huge willow trunk, I saw my first rattlesnake, a large one curled up with his head ready to strike. But we decided it would be easier to brave the rattler rather than go back through the awful willows. So gathering up stones, we whipped our horses, throwing stones where the snake was as we passed. We didn’t stop to see if they hit.


Our horses were so afraid that Miss Lamson’s dashed down into the willows, while mine went in the opposite direction up the mountainside into the shale. When the horse began to go up the mountain sliding with the shale, I slid off his back and I found myself in a hot bed of baby rattlers from six inches to a foot long, hissing and rattling in every direction. I did a realistic snake dance, rushing over the shale to get away from the snakes. Finally I went around and met the horse beyond the rattlers, and then I discovered my watch and chain were gone. They were dear to me being a gift from a friend who was dead. I had promised not to part with them.


I concluded that when the horse was turning in the ditch, the willows had torn my jacket open, and broken the heavy chain, and the watch was back in the ditch near the big rattler. I must have that watch. I prayed and thereby gained courage to go back over the shale where the little rattlers had been, to the tree where we saw the big one. Not a rattler large or small did I see on my way! The horses had muddied the ditch so it was impossible to see anything in the water. I poked about with a stick hoping to catch the chain and drag it out. After a few terrified minutes in fear of rattlers, I gave up in despair. Again I prayed and as I opened my eyes, on a low bush, over which I had been standing dragging the ditch, was the watch and chain. The watch cases were open, filled with mud, and the chain was muddy. With a prayer of gratitude I hurried back to my horse. After cleaning the mud from the watch, it started to go and kept as good time as before the accident.


[122] When Miss Lamson and I got through the willows and shale, we were soon at the Hot Pots Hotel. After a bath in the pool, in that hot water from the springs, and a fine chicken and trout dinner, we felt like new beings. I told Miss Lamson my experience with the watch, and we were both deeply humbled through our experiences and deep testimony of the efficacy of prayer.


The next day’s journey over the mountains back to Brighton was spent with joy, talking of the things of the gospel, and God’s wonderful manifestations to his children in these last days. Our friends welcomed us, as the whole camp were ready to take up a hunt for us, fearing we were lost in the mountains.


The spirit, influence and testimony of these three days in the mountains has remained with me all these years, to strengthen my faith, the knowledge of God, His works, and conviction that God answers prayer. Miss Lamson was so affected by our experience, that there came to her a testimony that we have a Heavenly Father, that He lives and answers individual prayer. She soon after received a testimony of the Gospel and joined the Church. (Juvenile Instructor, 56:584)


A Mysterious but Helpful Stranger

by Leon A. Robins; Hobart, Tasmania


In the hope that it may help the reader to realize that God is ever watchful of his children and that it will give them a greater desire to forge ahead in the cause of truth, I relate this incident which happened here a few weeks ago. If anyone who reads this feels that it does not amount to much, and that it was only imagined by those who were there, I beg him to stop and consider the effect this would have on his life if he were placed in similar circumstances. Remember the words of Paul. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever.” and ask yourself this question, Which is the greater danger, to be lashed [123] behind the prison walls, as was Paul, or to be overcome with fear which would keep you from performing your duty and from learning what will lead you to eternal life, and from which of the two would be the greater deliverance?


In the Huon Valley of Tasmania the wilderness of the natural growth mingles with the orchards and cleared land of civilization. As you pass along the narrow, winding road you see here a clear patch and there again the brush fringes the road. The valley is narrow and full of gullies covered with brush and trees which are remnants of the past forest. Winding down the center runs the Huon River.


In this place live several families of good Latter-day Saints. These the elders visit fortnightly and hold Sunday School and meetings with them. In one of these families all of the children of age are members, but the father and mother have not become members, although they have been very good friends for years.


As the elders started out, for some unknown reason they became frightened. The night was dark and as they approached the more lonely part of the road, they were about to give way to fear when a person appeared in front of them, walking naturally before them part of the time, then at the side. Immediately on his appearance all fear left them, and they walked on in peace. When asked why they didn’t speak to him, they answered that they seemed to feel as if they shouldn’t. So they walked on quietly till they reached the main road. There they met one of the Saints. and as they did so the personage left them.


The house of the family with which this story deals is located on the side of one of the many gullies about three quarters of a mile back from the main road on one of those lonely, winding roads. It is the habit of these people to traverse this road at any time, and being used to it, had very little fear, if any, day or night. On the occasion of one of the elders visiting the village to hold meetings, this remarkable event occurred. After Sunday [124] School this family divided, only part of them returning home. So when night came and they were desirous of attending the cottage meeting to be held some two miles distant, two of the small girls started down the road, parts of which passed through places which are very rugged and lonely.


On their return the smallest of the two that left together was with another of her sisters. As they started up the road again, this same personage appeared again and escorted them to their home.


This event has left a deep impression on the family and all the people here who have heard it related. And it stands as a testimony of the watchfulness of our Heavenly Father over our actions, and should help us to trust in him. (Improvement Era 28:369, Oct. 31, 1924)


Famishing on an American Desert

by Orson and Elizabeth Barney


On the 8th day of December, 1895, my husband and I left Mexico enroute to St. George, Utah, for the purpose of performing temple work. We arrived at Ohajaca, Mexico, on the night of the 24th of December. At this place we were invited by friends to be their guests on Christmas Day, but we were anxious to be on our way, so instead of spending Christmas Day with our friends, we spent Christmas Eve with them, staying up until the wee small hours of the morning, and on the morning of the twenty-fifth (Christmas Day) we started for Mesa City, Arizona, arriving there the latter part of January, 1896, where my first child was born–a girl–April 28, 1896, being its natal day.


We left Mesa on the 8th day of June, 1896, in company with mother (Eliza M.R. Prows), and her four children–Lodeskey Prows, father’s first wife, and two orphan children–Parley and Perry Miller, grandchildren of [125] Lodeskey’s. Also with us were Brother Bigelow, his daughter and son and his son’s wife and their two children, and my husband (Orson Barney), and I.


After traveling some time, we were anxious to get to a place called at that time “the Hole in the Rocks,” a watering place on the desert which was located many miles from other watering places. On arriving at this place, it was found that there was very little water to be had. My husband said: “We will have to go on but will fill the five gallon keg for drinking purpose, and one bucket each for the horses,” which we did. “We will have to travel tonight while it is cool as it will be forty miles before we can get more water.” We traveled until a late hour that night and pitched camp. We got up the next morning just at the break of day and traveled until about nine o’clock, and then prepared something to eat. Everyone was famished for want of water. The horses were so thirsty that they frothed at the mouth. The little children cried for water. We had to place pebbles in the children’s mouths and have them drink but a swallow of water at a time.


We started on after partaking of the meal just prepared, but had not gone but a few miles when the horses got so bad for the want of water that it was necessary to give them a half a bucket of water each. At first a little water was placed in the bottom of the bucket, but they were so thirsty that it was a great effort to get their heads from the bucket. A small baby became so sick that it had convulsions. It was administered to by my husband and Brother Bigelow and it revived as soon as they took their hands off its head.


We started on again, but had not gone over five or ten miles when, all of a sudden, a man was seen in the road ahead not over three hundred feet. Upon arriving at our side my husband stopped the team and inquired of the stranger where we could find water, stating to the stranger that the horses and all needed water so badly. At [126] this time, night was fast approaching. The stranger replied: “Yes, do you see that clump of green on that mountain? (pointing to a green spot on a mountain some two miles distant). My husband said, “Yes.” Continuing, the stranger said: “You drive just as close to it as you can but you will not be able to get very close to it. Make camp for the night at that place, for you will not be able to get any more water for forty miles. You must take every available utensil you have and fill it. Fill all your vessels.” (In our wagon we had one forty-gallon barrel on one side and a twenty-five gallon barrel on the other and one five-gallon keg, and Brother Bigelow had the same kind and number of containers.) “It may not be deep enough to put a bucket in but take something to dip the spring out.”


When we arrived there, we found the prettiest spring I have ever seen, the water bubbling up, cool and delightfully refreshing. The men dug it out so that a bucket could be used in dipping the water to the barrels and kegs which were all filled. The stranger also said before leaving us, “Be sure and water your horses in the morning before you leave and give them all they can drink.”


My husband stated to the stranger, “You had better not go on; there isn’t a drop of water, not even in The Hole in the Rocks’ watering place. I have been over the road before.” But the stranger replied, “I must be going.” Saying this, he raised his cap and walked briskly away, passing our wagon by the side of which this conversation had taken place, and then he passed Brother Bigelow’s wagon. My husband looked backward to see the stranger pass Brother Bigelow’s wagon, and then handed me the lines and he stood up on the spring seat so that he could get a good view of the stranger, but he could not see him. When he could not see him, we stopped our team and Brother Bigelow did the same. My husband got off the wagon and walked past the next wagon but there was no sign of the stranger.


[127] When we arrived at St. George, we found the temple closed for the summer, so we went on to Kanosh, our birthplace and home town; but later we went to Manti and did our temple work.


My husband and I both certify to the absolute truthfulness of this narrative, which we will remember as long as mortality shall last with us. (Assorted Gems of Priceless Value, N.B. Lundwall, pp. 26-28)


  1. Knowledge and Information


A Nephite’s Special Message


(As related by Bishop C.N. Christensen, who, with his counselor, K.N. White of Salt Lake City, and George Schow of Lehi, Utah, went to Lehi to see Mrs. Charles Edwards, who had this remarkable experience.)


We found Sister Edwards with her husband living in a small cottage in Lehi. They had two children: a girl and a boy. We told her that we had heard that she had been visited by an immortal being and asked her to tell us the story. She was a nice unassuming young lady; she must have been less than thirty years old. Her husband was a fireman on the San Pedro Railroad.


The lady told her story in a simple, quiet way, emphasizing nothing but just giving the narrative in a matter-of-fact way. She said, in effect, that on the morning of November 28, 1908, while she was in her kitchen with her little baby girl, there came a rattle at her door like the shaking of the door knob. This was repeated, so she went to the door and opened it. There stood an old man, rather under medium height. His hair was very gray, but not white. His features were clear and as pure as wax. His voice sounded strangely clear and his words echoed.


[128] She invited him to come in and warm himself. And he came in and sat by the stove. She asked him if he would have a cup of tea or coffee.


He replied, “No tea nor coffee, lady, just a little bread and warm water.”


She got a pie out of the pantry, but he said, “No pie, lady, just bread and water.”


She was about to cut the bread, but he said, “Don’t cut the bread.”


Whereupon she asked, “How shall I do it, then?”


He answered, “I will just break it.”


He ate a little piece, about as much as one slice of bread, and drank a cup of water. All this time Sister Edwards was very frightened. He asked if she objected to his taking off his shoes. When she said that she did not object, he took off his shoes and socks. She suggested that his socks were very thin for the time of year, and got him a pair of her husband’s. But he told her that his socks were warm enough, and just hung the proffered ones over the chair back. She noticed that his feet were almost transparent, in fact, he looked all over as if he did not have any blood at all.


He left without bearing any special message, and she watched for him to pass by the windows as he went out. Glancing down she noticed a piece of white lace, similar to the Russian lace worn by girls around their necks. Picking it up she ran out and, although there was nothing at all to obscure the view, she could see nothing at all of the old gentleman. She was still very frightened, so much that she laid the lace down outside, fearing to take it back into the house. She went in again, but was very unsettled in her mind. A few minutes later she looked out, but the lace was gone. She presumed that as it was very light, perhaps it had blown away.


[129] She told her parents all about the visit and asked them what they thought about it. Her grandfather suggested that perhaps he was one of the Three Nephites, who were given permission by the Savior to remain until His second coming. He also said that if he were, he would come again and deliver his message. Sister Edwards’ relatives encouraged her not to be afraid if he returned, but to give him a chance to bear his message.


On the 23rd day of December, 1908, a month save three days from the time of his first visit, he came again. The door knob rattled in the same manner as before, and she was again very frightened. However, she mustered up courage and went to the door, and when she opened it, the old man walked into the center of the room. (K. N. White pointed out that this date was the Prophet Joseph Smith’s birthday.)


Mrs. Edwards asked the old man why he had come to see her. He replied by asking her, “Does your husband think as much of you as you do of him?”


She said she thought he did, that he was a good husband. The old man pointed out, “You have not been sealed in the temple.”


She asked him how he knew, and he went on to say, “You were too frightened for me to bear my message the last time I came, but now I want to say that there is someone on the other side waiting for this work to be done.”


Mrs. Edwards replied, “I don’t know who it could be, unless it is my husband’s father.”


“You are right, it is Brother Edwards, your husband’s father. Will you promise to have it done within three years?”


She promised, and he said, “Bless you and your child unborn.”


[130] She asked why he had taken off his shoes on his last visit, and he told her it was so that she could see that he was an immortal being. “I am one of the Three.”


She asked him to eat, but he replied, “No. I have not eaten since I was here before, and I do not need to eat for a long time.”


She stood in front of him with her hands clasped, and at this juncture she asked him to let her touch him so that she could tell whether he was like us or not; but he said, no, that she could not touch him! And at that moment she felt powerless to reach out her hands. It seemed as though her fingers had slipped up through the flesh in her arms and were bound.


She could ask no more questions, and the interview was apparently over. The old man then left. She thought of watching him pass the windows, but she did not bother to look out after all, realizing that it was no use now that she knew who he was.


Her baby was born on the 9th of March, 1909. He was named Charles Alma, that being a Book of Mormon name. Some time after that, when she was bathing him and he was somewhat cross, and she herself was gloomy and despondent because of financial stress, she heard what was unmistakably the voice of the old man calling with the names reversed, “Alma Charles, Alma Charles, Alma Charles!” three times. She picked up the baby in her apron and ran into the bedroom from whence the voice seemed to come, but could see no one.


Talking to Brother Edwards at the gate afterwards, he said that he and his wife had not been to the temple yet, but that they had had the father’s work done by a relative. We urged him to get in a condition to go and felt sorry that he had not already done so. We were all deeply impressed with the narrative and accepted the story with all our hearts.


[131]                History of “The Nephite Lamentation”


(The melody of “The Nephite Lamentation” has a very interesting and impressive history. It was given to Thomas Durham of Parowan, Utah, in a dream. Because of its connection with Book of Mormon history, it is of special interest to Latter-day Saints. This history of the melody and the story of the dream were given to the publisher by President Canute Peterson of Sanpete Stake.)


A promise had been made to Thomas Durham that he should be visited by heavenly beings. In fulfillment of the promise a young man, who proved to be one of the twenty-four Nephites surviving the last great battle between the Nephites and Lamanites at the Hill Cumorah, came to his room and played this melody on a brass horn. Apparently for the purpose of impressing the tune upon Brother Durham’s memory, it was repeated three times. In its rendition it seems that the high note in the second strain of the melody was beyond the range of the instrument but by the expression on the face of the young Nephite, it was apparent that he was trying to reach a higher note. Brother Durham, being a musician, readily placed the missing note to complete the melody. The rendition so impressed him that he was awakened and immediately arose and wrote the music of the tune to preserve it.


The history of the melody, as given to Brother Durham, connects it with the battle of the Hill Cumorah, as related in the Book of Mormon, Mormon, sixth chapter, eleventh verse: “And when they had gone through and hewn down all my people, save it were twenty and four of us (among whom was my own Moroni, and we have survived the dead of our people, did behold on the morrow, when the Lamanites had returned unto their camps, from the top of the Hill Cumorah, the ten thousand of my people who were hewn down, being led in the front by me.”


[132] Fifteenth verse: “And it came to pass that there were ten more who did fall by the sword, with their ten thousand each; yea, even all my people, save it were those twenty and four who were with me, and also a few who had escaped into the south countries, and a few who had dissented over unto the Lamanites, had fallen, and their flesh, and bones, and blood lay upon the face of the earth.” (There were 230,000 slain.)


When the twenty-four had gathered at the Hill Cumorah the morning after the battle, the young man who appeared to Brother Durham played this same melody as a lamentation for the dead. As he played, he was sitting on the bank of a stream, facing the west, probably overlooking the battlefield of the previous day.


The melody, having been preserved by Brother Durham after the dream, he later adapted it to the words of the favorite “Mormon” hymn, “O My Father,” and frequently sang it in public. When the melody was given to the writer who, on one occasion at Cedar City. heard it sung by Brother Durham, he arranged it in its present form and has frequently used it as an organ solo for sacrament music. It has created a deep impression whenever played, and is now very frequently requested.


The melody is now published as choir music for the first time, and it is hoped and believed that it will be widely used throughout the Church. (Adapted to the tune of “The Nephite Lamentation” as arranged by Professor Henry E. Giles, Relief Society Magazine, 1909, p. 369)


A Special Spiritual Message

by Joseph Wood, 82; August 13, 1939

Woods Cross, Utah


I prayed for six years that I might have the privilege of a visit with one of those men (i.e., one of the Three Nephites), if not more. That’s a long time, isn’t it? We usually get pretty tired and give up before then. But my faith was that strong that that was possible.


[133] On one winter evening just forty-nine years ago this winter (i.e., 1890), I was chopping wood out in the snow-snow about eighteen or twenty inches deep-and I saw that man coming up the street, and the impression come to me that that’s one of the Three Nephites, so I watched him all up the street–kept on chopping but kept watching him. He come on up and come up to me and said, “Young man, I’ve come to have a talk with you. Come on in the house. I’ve got something to show you, and to have a talk with you.” I didn’t invite him in at all–he come right in my own home and opened the door for me. The house has been torn down, but that’s a picture of it. (He showed us a picture of the house, and pointed out the room where he sat with the Nephite.)


I mustn’t tell you all he told me; it would hit you too hard. I had around half an hour’s conversation with that man. He talked about our temples. He talked about the disturbances that’ve come up in the Church, and he give me to understand that fact that the Almighty God, the Eternal Father, would never give us anything any more that surpassed or excelled that Book of Mormon. That was the greatest thing ever to come to the people of this dispensation for our guide.


I pressed him hard to know what his name was. I didn’t know then that prediction in the Book of Mormon that their names would never be known. (III Nephi 28:25) so when I asked him what his name was so I’d know which one he was, he didn’t tell me.


He was a fine looking man–the set of his eyes, so sweet and pretty–a fine head of hair–his nose, even and perfect–the finest complexion I ever saw on a human being. No child ever born had as fine a complexion as that man.


It wouldn’t do for me to give you all our conversation. It would be too hard for you. I was never asked to make it known. Strange to say, you are the only people ever asked me that question (meaning, if he had ever seen one of the Three Nephites.)


[134] The disturbances I went through was outlined–the troubles which we went through. It wasn’t long before this people was confronted with this question: “What shall we do about polygamy?” He outlined those troubles then, the troubles coming to this people. I was wonderfully disturbed at that time. Things had taken place in this ward because I stood on an injustice when I was in the bishopric–I was out then–and consolation came through which I was reconciled fully, and also confirmed my conviction that I already had, that the Book of Mormon came actually from the only God and was a guide to these people.


When that man left me I questioned him hard where he was from. He was very pointed in not answering me or my questions. He didn’t tell me his name, he didn’t tell me just where he was going. He give me to understand he was from the north. When he left me, he left me as sudden–he opened the door and shut it, and that’s all. I opened the door but could not see my visitor. How he went and where he went I don’t know. Perhaps he moved quicker than my eye–I couldn’t say. It could be compared to slight of hand.


He was the finest looking character there could possibly be. He was dressed like an ordinary man. Clothes of dark nature. His beard was just as white as–as the driven snow. And his hair–just as white as it could be. I said to him, “You have the appearance actually of being a young person, but your hair says that you are aged.” All I got was a good big smile from that; he didn’t say nothing at all. I can’t give you all that conversation because I feet that it shouldn’t go out. I witnessed it and I saw it all the way through–all he said about the troubles to come to us, and disturbances. He didn’t give me any time for certain changes to take place.


He was well proportioned. He stood as straight as an Indian. In all his actions be was so pleasant, so nice looking, so young–in every way just as white as could be, his beard and hair. The prettiest hair I ever saw in my life [135] was on that man’s head. Such a lovely complexion. He fulfilled the “white and delightsome people” in every way. He told me of things relative to my own home. (Printed in Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 53:23)


  1. Healing


Was He One of Them?

(Millennial Star editorial; Dec. 15, 1921)


Every reader of the Book of Mormon is familiar with the story of the Three Nephites, and the wonderful promise made to them by the Saviour that they should remain on earth superior to death, and bring souls to him: a promise similar to that given to the Apostle John. . . . (See John 21:20-23; D & C 7.)

There have been various instances of the fulfillment of the Saviour’s promise to the Three Nephites in the experience of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One of especial interest at the present time is a personal reminiscence of Sister Mary Wells Whitney, who is now connected with the European Mission. Here it is, as related by Sister Whitney to the present writer:


“The incident happened many years ago, at our home in Salt Lake City. My husband was away, and the only other members of the family in the house besides myself were three of our little boys. It was early spring and I was busy house cleaning. Hearing the doorbell ring, I went to the door, opened it, and there stood an elderly man, with white hair and beard, neatly dressed, straight as an arrow, and altogether respectable in appearance and respectful in manner. He asked me if I could help him. I told him I had no money, but if he needed food I would gladly give him some. He answered: `I would be very grateful.’


[136] “The unusual answer somewhat surprised me, but being very much occupied at the time, I paid but little attention. I showed him down into the kitchen, on the basement floor, spread what I had before him, and left him sitting at the table. The little boys were playing there at the time, and I told them to stay with the stranger and wait on him, while I returned to my work on the floor above.


“After awhile I heard the clatter of feet running up the stairs; and here came the boys, all breathless and excited, the oldest exclaiming: `Mama, I bet that was one of the Three Nephites!’ `What makes you think so?’ I inquired. Here spoke up the second boy, who had had the toothache when the visitor arrived: `I was holding my hand to my face, and he said, Son, what is troubling you? I said, I’ve got the toothache, and then he said, It will ache no more. And it stopped aching right then, and hasn’t ached since.’ The boys also told me that when the stranger departed, he said: `Peace be unto you and your house.’ They likewise related how they rushed out after him, and looked up and down the street, and through the backyard, but could not see him anywhere. My youngest son said: `Mama, I even looked into the furnace room, and he wasn’t there.’


“I do not think I am over-credulous in regard to such things, but the impression made upon my mind by that venerable stranger and his pleasing address, coupled with the excitement of the boys and their expressed conviction as to who he was, caused me to marvel. I have never been able to entirely banish the thought that possibly the boys were right.” (p. 792)


A Child Is Healed

(Journal of American Folklore)


This was in Provo. Old David John was Stake President there one time–lived in a big two-story house on [137] Third South. It happened in the wintertime. The snow was very deep on the ground, especially so, and for days the family hadn’t gone outside for anything. It was in the–I don’t know just why they were so isolated–think they were quarantined for a contagious disease-one of the children was very ill. They didn’t have telephones, and the mother had no way of summoning help.


In the night a knock came on the door and she went to the door, and a very benevolent-looking man was standing there. She described him as kind-looking with a snow-white beard. He said he had been sent and he understood there was sickness and they needed help. Her first thought was that he was one of the brethren in the ward. Then a little later she thought, “He isn’t anyone I know–he isn’t anyone that lives in Provo.” He placed his hands on the child’s head and blessed the child, and she immediately went to sleep.


It was so cold and the snow was so deep that she asked him to sit up to the fire and dry his feet, and then she looked at his feet and there was no snow on them and they were dry. She immediately thought he had left his overshoes outside by the door, and she asked him if he had. He looked at her and smiled. When he did speak his voice was very mellow and musical. He said he must go. She tried to prevail on him to stay, but he said he must go. She went out with him to the door, and then came in. Then she thought how strange it was how he got to the door, there was such a narrow space between the house and fence. It seemed to her that it would be impossible for him to walk around, the snow was so deep. The door was one that they didn’t use at all. Out of curiosity she took a lantern, but she couldn’t see any tracks in the snow, either coming or going. Only then it flashed across her mind that he was one of the Three Nephites.


[138]                   A Translated Being Prescribes

by Orson and Elizabeth Barney


My father’s name was William Cooke Prows and my mother’s name was Louisa M.R. James. I was born in Kanosh, Millard County, Utah, on the 17th of June, 1877. I was the 5th child of a family of eight of my father’s second wife. In the spring of 1893, my father, with my mother and children and one of the first wife’s grandchildren, were going from Mesa, Arizona, to Juarez, Mexico, for the purpose of establishing a home. We had lived in Mesa but a few months prior to this. In the company were J. Orson Barney (who later became my husband), Isaac Miller, Mrs. Osborne. Colley and family, and the members of the family as before mentioned. We had passed through El Paso, Texas, and had traveled several days out into the desert. There were three wagons and one buggy in this caravan.


The trip from Mesa to Mexico took about a month. After several days journey from Tucson, my mother became very sick which continued to increase in intensity as time went on. She had hemorrage after hemorrage. Her hands had been cold and blue for two days. It was then my father desired to get out of the sand belt into a country where gravel could be located, for the purpose, as he later stated, to find a suitable place to bury mother, as he feared that she would pass on any minute, and as he went about that morning tears were seen in his eyes, but he never revealed why he felt sorrowful.


On this certain day, he started very early in the morning in order to make as much distance as possible, but, after travelling a few hours, my mother stated that she could not stand the jarring any longer, in her weakened and desperately sick condition. So camp was made and preparations were started for making breakfast. While thus preparing things for breakfast, a man suddenly appeared in camp not more than ten or twenty feet away and upon coming up he stated: “Good morning.” To which [139] my father answered: “Good morning.” The stranger said: “How are you?” To which my father replied: “I have a mighty sick wife.” The stranger enquired: “Where is she?” Father said: “She is over here in the wagon,” at the same time both of them started toward the wagon, which upon reaching, father raised the wagon cover and both looked in, father introducing the stranger with: “Eliza, here is a man who has come to see you.” The stranger extended his hand and placed it on her forehead and gently rubbed her head, saying: “How are you feeling, sister?” To which my mother replied: “I sure don’t feel very good.”


While at the wagon, they all three had a short conversation. I was standing on the wagon wheel all this time, paying careful attention to all that was said and done. After talking but a few minutes, he said: “Come out here and I will show you something to give your wife and she will be all right and you can be on your way within an hour.” A short scrubby tree with some green berries on it was near, which the stranger called “Juniper Berries.” After taking a few of these he went a short distance and told father to gather the leaves from a small shrub growing in the desert at this particular place but which was not noticed at other places along the road. He told my father to “take some of the Juniper berries and the leaves from the bush,” he showed him, “and mix them together, steep them and give them to your wife and you can be on your way within an hour.” After making this statement the stranger said: “I must be going.”


My father replied: “Man, you must stay and have breakfast with us. There will be many miles before you can get a drink of water or a bite to eat. I have been over this road many times and know it.” Father insisted that he stay and have breakfast but he raised his cap and said: “I must be on my way. Your wife will be all right, and at saying this he smiled and said, “Good day.”


At the time he placed his hand upon my mother’s forehead, she felt like a new person, the touch of his hand [140] was soothing and healing. One of the children at the breakfast fire did something which drew our attention to them and upon looking up, the stranger had suddenly vanished and father said: “Where did he go?” They all walked out to see if he could be seen but no trace of him was visible. My father exclaimed: “Gracious! Golly! where could that man have gone?” Nothing but the desert road was before them and small scrubby desert growth extended all around as far as the eye could see.


The tea was made and given to my mother who soon revived. She ate breakfast and helped to prepare supper that evening for the group, assisted by me.


The stranger was of medium size, dressed in a grayish blue suit, and wore a grayish beard, some three or four inches long. He looked very intelligent and clean cut. His voice was soft and mild and his eyes penetrating but beautiful to behold. There was something about his personality that caused us to look at him with intent and earnestness.


Upon arriving in Mexico, we rented a lot with a small house on it from a Brother Thompson whose wife and two sons had been killed by the Indians but a short time before. My father put in a garden but died within two months after arriving, but before passing he said to my mother one day: “Eliza, I want you to go back to Utah and see that my father is sealed to my mother and their children sealed to their parents,” for they had all been sealed to President Brigham Young.


This sealing was attended to by President Lorenzo Snow. (Assorted Gems of Priceless Value, Lundwall, pp. 29-31)


[141]            The Miraculous Healing of William H. Dickson

by Asa L. Dickson


. . . My small companion and I were playing on a haystack; because of the strong winds that blow there, the stack had been propped and held in place by poles propped up with two-tined pitchforks, of which the handles were resting on the ground, and the tines pointing upward. After playing some time, we tired and decided to get down. I, boylike, thought I would jump off, but in so doing I fell directly on one of the upturned tines. It pierced my body just above the left hip. I hung suspended until my companion ran for help. . . .


Of course I was very ill for several days, and nothing, it seemed, could be done for me. . . . Everyone said that it was impossible for me to live. One day turning on my bed, l saw a man standing in the middle of the room. He was talking to mother, and asking the privilege of administering to me. . . . He came over and knelt down by my bed, and placed his hands on my head and blessed me. Though the words he used have gone from my memory, I shall never forget the feeling that came over me. It was the most blessed, holy feeling I have ever experienced. When he took his hands from my head, I was instantly healed. There were no days or even hours of waiting, for I was entirely well from that time on. . . . . (Heart Throbs of the West, 3:354)


Uncle Hube and the Nephite

by Juanita Brooks


His name was Hubert A. Leavitt, but we all called him “Uncle Hube.” He was my father’s half-brother, and came often to our place.


One particular day he held out his hand and said, “Do you see that scar?” He pointed to a white seam a little raised that ran from above the thumb, around it, and down to the wrist. “I’ll tell you how I got it.” he went on.


[142] “I was just a kid, and Ma had sent me to take lunch to Father down at the flour mill. After dinner, Father went about his work, and I started to explore a little, when I caught that thumb in the machinery. I screamed bloody murder, and by the time the machinery was stopped and I got free, it looked like that thumb was about cut and pulled from the socket.


“Father had come running, but hardly knew what to do, when suddenly this man was there. `Here, let me see,’ he said. He pushed the thumb back into place and pressed the torn flesh together. Then with his right hand reached over and opened the flour bin. He took out a handful of flour and clapped it over the wound, and another, until the bleeding stopped. Then to Father he said, `Tear up that sack into strips and give them to me.’ He bound them on tight, around and around until my hand was a big wad. Then he tied it on solid and said, `Don’t you open this for three weeks.’


“Something took Father’s and my attention away for a minute or two, and when we looked again, the man was gone. We looked around outside and couldn’t even see any tracks.


“When the outside of the bandage got too dirty, I took off just the top round; but I didn’t open it up until the time came–it was all healed. We both knew it was one of the Three Nephites. It had to be!” (Statement by Juanita Brooks, October 1969)


  1. Blessings


The Influence of a Stranger

by Clarissa Young Spencer,

daughter of Brigham Young


Aunt Eliza’s home in Provo stood on the northeast corner of one of the main streets. The front of the house [143] faced east. Just opposite, across the street, stood Bishop Smoot’s house. Just across the street on the north side stood the tabernacle as it is today. Aunt Eliza’s lot was surrounded by a picket fence and a path led from the front door to the main street on the east. On the north side was a porch possibly fifteen feet long in front of the dining room window and door. This room was where we usually sat, as the parlor on the northeast corner of the house was heated and opened only when we had company.


The front hall opened into the dining room and in this hall was the broad staircase which went to the upper floor. This particular winter was very cold with a great deal of snow on the ground. The north door in the dining room we always kept locked and used only the front door on the east. The purpose of this was to get the full benefit of the fire in the stove in the dining room and to keep out as much cold as possible. This is where we studied and practically lived. When I say we, I mean Aunt Eliza, Johnnie Walton, a young man from Alpine who worked for his board and went to Brother Maeser’s school, and myself.


This day it had been snowing heavily for several hours, but it had cleared up and the sun was shining when I returned from school. I had to break a path from the east gate to the door through six or seven inches of snow. Johnny had remained at school this particular day and consequently not a path had been swept when I returned. It must have been along about four-thirty, for I remember the sun shining through the trees, making the fence, where the snow had piled high, look like it was covered with diamonds.


Aunt Eliza and I were sitting by the fire when a gentle knock came on the north door. We were surprised, as no one ever came to that door. Aunt Eliza motioned me to answer the knock and I got up, feeling perfectly safe as our big watch dog, Rover, lay on the floor beside me. I unlocked the door and opened it and there stood a rather [144] tall man, very pale, wearing a straw hat, blue jacket and spotless blue overalls. “Will you give me something to eat?” he asked. I turned to Aunt Eliza and repeated his question, as he had spoken in a low voice. She invited him to come in and sit down, which he did, placing his hat on the wide window sill. I laid the cloth and we set out a lunch of cold meat, apple sauce, good homemade bread and butter and a pitcher of milk. As the man came to the chair placed for him, we went to the other side of the room. Aunt Eliza to her knitting and I to my books. Old Rover raised his head, looked at the stranger peacefully and then dozed of again. This was something unusual for Rover to do for as a rule he was not friendly to strangers.


After a while the man arose and thanking us in the same subdued voice, picked up his hat and departed, quietly, closing the door behind him. There was something so unusual about the man that I jumped up and ran to the window to have a peek at him. As I passed the table I glanced down and remember distinctly saying breathlessly, “Aunt Eliza, he hasn’t eaten anything at all.” The food was untouched, aside from a small piece of broken bread. We hurriedly opened the door. The man was nowhere in sight and neither was there a sign of footprints in the newly fallen snow on the porch, or the path leading to the gate or around the house. I ran to the front gate to see if I could see him on the street but he had completely disappeared.


We came back into the house wondering who he was, where he had come from and where he had gone. He was dressed immaculately and his face, with the serene peaceful expression, will remain with me always. Later we made inquiries of our neighbors but none of them had seen or heard of him. Time went on but no explanation developed.


When Father returned, Aunt Eliza related our experience with the stranger and asked, “President Young, what do you think it means?” Father sat for some time [145] twirling his thumbs as was his habit while thinking seriously. I was standing beside him, with his arm around me, waiting anxiously for his reply. As he drew me closer to him. he said very seriously and very quietly, “I believe this house has been visited by one of the Three Nephites.” He paused a moment and then said, “We will all kneel and have our evening prayers.”


Now just a few more lines to say that I am not trying to convince my readers of the truth of this experience, which came to me when I was a child, but had I doubted the correctness of my memory, an incident occurred just a few months ago that has firmly convinced me of the fact that I have neither forgotten nor exaggerated the incident set down in the foregoing statement.


In June of this year, 1930, the telephone operator in the apartment where I live called me to say that there was a gentleman in the lobby to see me. When I went down I immediately recognized, although I had not seen him for fifty years, John Walton, the boy who was living in Aunt Eliza’s home the winter the above events took place. We had a very interesting visit talking over old times in Provo, and as he was leaving he asked me if I remembered the visit of the strange personage while we were living in Aunt Eliza’s home in Provo. When I replied that I remembered it very distinctly, he asked me to repeat it to him just as I remembered it and as I have told it here. He told me he had related it to his family many times and it was a great satisfaction to me to know that I had neither added to nor taken away from his recollection of a most interesting occurrence of so many, many years ago.


A picture will always remain in my memory of that peaceful home in Provo; the great big comfortable house, the kindness and thoughtfulness of Aunt Eliza, the unbroken paths of snow surrounding the home on the day of the eventful visit of the stranger and the beautiful influence which I took with me when my dear father terminated my unusual visit. (Improvement Era 34:232)


[146]                       Never a Want for Bread


In the early evening one day of the autumn of 1927 or 1928, an old man came to the corral gate and begged a night’s lodging for himself and his team.


“Why yes, sure you can stay here . . . was the reply of Mr. Niels Joseph Nielson. . . The two men went together into Mr. Nielson’s humble home. . . .


The stranger seated himself by the fireplace and told them how he had asked at several places for a night’s lodging and that in each instance he had been refused. Then he went on to tell what would become of people who were so self-centered that they would not help a man who was in need. Moreover, this man made several prophecies which later came true.


When this stranger had eaten a supper consisting of bread and milk with the family, the chairs were moved beck near the fireplace, and the visitor told of the cities which he had visited all over the world and of the hundreds of miles which he had travelled. As Mrs. Nielson listened to the stories, she thought, “What a blowhard!” Finally she asked, “Have you been in Kansas?” The stranger said that he had, so Mrs. Nielson thought that she would find out how things looked at her old home town. She asked him several specific questions about it and to each the stranger was able to give the correct answer, and able to tell her all that she wanted to know. She was certain that he had really been there.


Having assured herself that this was no ordinary stranger, she started to get up from her chair when she was seized by a severe pain. As she got up and started out of the room, the stranger asked her if she was in great pain.


“Yes, I am and have been for quite a while. They seem to think that I have a cancer.”


[147] When he had heard this, the stranger addressed her saying, “You will never have pain there any more.” Later when Mrs. Nielson went to the toilet, much to her surprise she passed something which looked like the cancers which are removed by doctors today.


When it came time to go to bed, the twelve-year-old son, who was to sleep at the neighbor’s, called his father into another room and said, “Have I got to give up my bed for an old tramp, and maybe he will leave crumbs in it to boot.” As the father went back to consult with his wife, he met the stranger who told him to inform his son that he needn’t be afraid of crumbs being left in his bed, for, said the stranger, “I am a clean man and I do not want to take his bed.”


When everything had been arranged, they settled down and had a good night’s rest. An early breakfast was served, but it was noticed that the stranger ate little. When they had finished the meal, Mrs. Nielson asked if he wanted a lunch put up for him and he replied, “That might be all right.” The lunch was soon ready and as he took it, he said, “You will never want for bread.” Then he pronounced a blessing on the family and, leading his team, started away down the road.


It was not long before relatives came for a visit, approaching along the same road on which the stranger had departed. Mrs. Nielson asked if they had seen a man leading two horses south on the road they had just come over. They said that they had seen nothing. Then Mrs. Nielson gasped, “For goodness sake! There was no other place for him to go.”


When the events of the previous evening were enumerated and the whole matter had been discussed, it dawned upon them that this stranger might have been one of the Three Nephites. “How dense of us; we have been kept from seeing. He healed Mother, promised we would never want for bread, said he had travelled a great distance in one day–farther than would be possible for him [148] and his team to go–and made several prophecies, and nothing had impressed us with the fact that he was one of God’s travelling messengers.” The family affirms that all of the prophecies which he made have come true and that his promise to them has certainly been fulfilled, for since that time they have always had more than they ever did before. (Federal Writers Project, Ms.)


Indians Comforted by the Three


William Jex was told some time in 1873 by the Indian guide, Tabiona, a circumstance that happened when he and other Indian chiefs went to Washington, D.C., to talk with the “Big Chief.” He said that while they were talking to the President of the U.S. and some of the officials, that they–the Indians–said three persons of fine appearance, dressed in white robes entered the room. The “white men” did not see them, but the Indians saw them and were convinced that the heavenly messengers were friends of the Indians. (William Jex, Pioneer, pg. 46)


A Visit in the Desert


. . . Late one afternoon while my father was just outside their tent home chopping wood, he was approached by a rather distinguished-looking person of Jewish type, having a large Roman nose, who accosted father in the German language. Father’s parents being German, that language, as well as English, was familiar to him. The visitor asked for something to eat to take along in his bag that he carried across his shoulder, and also for some patches of cloth with which to mend his clothes.


Father told the man they had not yet eaten their evening meal and for him to come in the tent and rest and mother would prepare supper and they would all eat together. To this the man replied he did not have time to stop and would prefer to have some food just to take [149] along with him…. Father then warned him not to go in that direction as it was barren desert and no water within sixty miles. To this the man replied, “I have traveled in the north, south, east and west, in heat and in cold, and I have no fear of suffering from thirst.” Father then asked him his name, to which he replied, “They call me the Wandering Jew.”


The stranger was given the things he asked for and father stepped into the tent. Mother said, “Don’t let that man start over the desert this late in the day.” So father hurried out to call him back to spend the night with them. The road stretched out for miles without obstruction, but the man could not be seen. A neighbor, Brother Fairbanks, had also seen the man as he approached my parents’ tent, but had no conversation with him.


Father and mother always thought their visitor was John the Beloved, or one of the Three Nephites, who had been promised by the Savior to tarry upon the earth until He returns again. (Heart Throbs of the West, 3:351)


Suffering Relieved


The following circumstance transpired at my home in the Seventeenth Ward, one-half block north of where now stands President George Q. Cannon’s house, in April, 1852:


I had been to the morning meeting at the Bowery with Sister Dunsdon; she and her little daughter were living with me at this time. My husband was sick at home and in bed. Little Jane, for this was the girl’s name, had been left at home to look after my husband’s welfare until I should return. As soon as the service was over, I and Sister Dunsdon hastened home. We had scarcely removed our shawls when a knock came at the door. I said, “Come in.” The door opened, and to my surprise there stepped in an aged looking gentleman, tall and grave, his hair as white as wool and combed behind his ears so as to hang down over this shoulders. He wore a felt hat. His pants [150] and coat were dark and considerably worn. His shoes were new, but I noticed that he wore no stockings. His thin features were lit up with a very pleasant smile. When he had entered he said, “Oh, can I have a dinner here today?”


I said, “Yes, indeed! If you can make a dinner of such as I have, you are welcome to it, but I have nothing but bread that I can give you.”


I then remembered I had some few onions, and I asked him if he would like some. He answered, “I would.”


I had previously asked him to take a seat. I placed a white cloth on the table, a plate, knife and fork, a glass of water, a plate of bread and a little white dish with four onions. This was the best I could do.


When I had laid the table, he turned round to face the table and proceeded to eat. I thought by the way he ate that he must be very hungry.


When he was through, he arose from the table, and putting his hand into his pockets said, “What do you charge me for my dinner today?”


I could but smile at the thought of charging for so meager a fare, and said, “Nothing. I am only sorry that I have nothing better to set before you.”


With this he took two or three steps in a measured way towards me, and said, “Well, if you charge me nothing for my dinner, may God bless you, and peace be with you.”


There was a power in the voice that I never felt before. I was so overcome by it that my very limbs gave way, and I dropped into my chair. He left, and I told Sister Dunsdon to look after him, to see where he was going. In a minute he had disappeared, as though he had left the earth, and not a trace of him could be seen. In those early days there were no houses, not even an outhouse, nor fence of any kind to intercept the eye, and this made us marvel.


[151] I arose myself as soon as my strength returned, but not a thing of him could I see, nor have I seen him since, so far as I know.


But now comes a part of my great surprise, for on turning to clear the table so that we might have a little food ourselves, lo it was all there as I had put it.


This visit of the stranger made a very deep impression on my heart, that has never left me to this day. Some time after this Brothers C.C. Rich and Carlington came to us, as my husband was so very sick. I told them of this visit, and Brother C.C. Rich said, “Sister Edwards, do you know who he was?”


I said, “I do not.”


“Well,” said Brother Rich, “this was one of the ancient Nephites come to help you in your trouble.” Brother Rich knew that I had already seen some trouble.


Afterwards, I met the Prophet Heber C. Kimball and he said the same as Brother Rich had said. Then I enquired no longer in my mind as to who the stranger was. The disguise had been torn away, and my poor heart was made to rejoice exceedingly in that a messenger of God had condescended to grace my humble home with his presence and to bless me there.


All who were here at the time of the famine and are now living remember but too well how I suffered. I had neighbors all around me who passed three and four weeks without a mouthful of bread. I have administered food to mothers whose babes nursed nothing but blood from their breasts. And to many I gave a little flour and bread, and fed many at my table, yet the Lord in all the famine provided for my family.


I gave in the day of my poverty, of the scanty store I had to the man of God, and it seems that ever after, my meal sack never went empty. The stranger said: “May God bless you, and peace be with you.” (C.E., Juvenile Instructor, 28:312)


[152]                     A Prophecy and a Blessing

by John E. Fisher


When a boy of nine years, I received the following testimony:


During most of her life, my mother had but little voice and spoke in a subdued whisper, and for which medical treatment gave no relief. Great-grandmother was 88 years of age, lived with us in Bountiful and continued to pray that Mother would get her voice again.


One day there came to our home an elderly gentleman of medium height, light in complexion, with gray hair, blue impressive eyes and a voice most angelic. I was playing at the side of the house when I noticed this gentleman’s sudden appearance. I went quickly to my mother and told her that a sweet old gentleman wanted to see her at the front door. Just then he knocked and the sudden impression came to Mother–he is a Nephite, let him in quickly or he will be gone. He came in, upon invitation, saying, “Sister, I have come to bless you.” My mother assured him that she was blessed and in need of no blessing that she did not have. All this time she was whispering near his ear in order to make herself heard, which was a habit. The thought of overcoming her affliction seemed impossible, as for years she had been administered to by the Priesthood, and physicians, to no avail. “Yes,” he said, “You have need of blessings you are not aware of.”


Mother asked him who he was. “I am a Mormon,” he replied. She then asked where he lived. “Away down south,” was his answer in a sweet, calm voice, with a most peaceful smile illuminating his countenance, both of which I shall never forget.


After the first impulse that he was a Nephite, came feeling of fear and doubt, and Mother was weak and pale. She asked the gentleman if he would eat. He said, “Yes, sister, if it is not too much work.” Mother wanted [153] an opportunity to be by herself before allowing him to place his hands upon her head, so she prepared him a quick lunch, and while he ate she prayed upon her knees in the pantry for the discernment of truth of the spirit of the visitor. The feeling came back that all was all right and with much force the thought that she would be able to discern his influence as soon as he laid his hands upon her head.


After finishing a fairly hearty lunch, he sat a chair in the middle of the room and asked my mother to be seated. He stood at the back of the chair, laid his hands upon her head and said, “Sister, the prayer I pray no earthly ears may hear.” So saying, he went on, “O God, the Eternal Father,” and then remained quiet for a minute or so and said, “Amen.”


He then told us that he traveled the whole earth over, administering and bringing comfort to Saints in need. He told us many other things of interest to our family, of our people, our Church, etc., causes of certain atmospheric conditions, and stated in effect, in effect  that the full choiceness of this land was being withheld because the people of the world would desire it and get it away from us if it were to be permitted to blossom in fullness and that this was God’s way of protecting the land for His work and His people.


He spent an hour or an hour and a half with us. Then he prepared to leave, and as he did he asked God to bless us, our home and surroundings. Placing his hands upon the heads of our children, he said, “These are tokens of God’s love entrusted for a time to your care.”


Mother and I followed this brother out upon the front porch to watch him depart. He went for about a hundred steps or so and then actually disappeared before our eyes, in the open road. Mother turned pale and had to lean upon the well of the house for support. She asked me if I saw what happened, this time using a rich, full voice, and I called her attention to that fact, which added to her alarm.


[154] While this, our brother, had visited us, a gentle shower fell in the vicinity of our home, so that to reassure ourselves, we traveled his steps. They went to the spot where he disappeared, but no further. Inquiry of the neighbors along the road failed to show that he had been seen after leaving our home.


When we went back into the house, great-grandmother, who sat quietly rocking all the while in an adjoining room watching what happened through an open door, said, “I have lived to be 88 years of age and this day have had the privilege of seeing a Nephite.”


We were all very much concerned over this matter and in relating our experience later to our neighbors, we were informed that on the previous Sunday in Sacrament Meeting, Apostle John W. Taylor had spoken with much spirit* and bore a fervent testimony, and then prophesied that before the week was over a Nephite should visit a home in East Bountiful and leave a blessing and that this testimony of the Gospel and the Gospel itself was true.


It was unfortunate that none of our family were present at Sacrament Meeting upon the occasion, but we feel it a great privilege to bear witness of these things. My mother’s voice has served her these seventeen years since, and for these things we are all thankful unto our Heavenly Father.


* Apostle Taylor was in attendance at a Priesthood conference meeting at Bountiful. He bore testimony of all the principles of the Gospel and said that one-half of the people under the sound of his voice would apostatize from some of the principles; and as testimony of the truth of this prediction, one of the Nephites would visit a home in the settlement and in consequence of such a visit some person would receive a great blessing.

One of Joseph Smith’s wives was the mother of Josephine Clark Fisher, the above mentioned woman, proxy daughter of Joseph Smith.


[155] I bear testimony and am a witness that the above is a brief account of the truth as I know it to be the truth. I pray it may help others as not a few of our people have had such visitations, but perhaps not all so impressive as this which we have had. (Signed: John E. Fisher, May 15, 1921; Salt Lake City, Utah)

*  *  *  *  *


The stories of the Three Nephites are many and varied. Some experiences seem to be too amazing to believe–others are so unimpressive as to discourage their telling. In a few instances the description of the Three will vary, or perhaps the same story will have two variable illustrations. In all of these discrepancies the human element is expressed, but the comfort, the aid, or the blessing given by these messengers served to increase the faith of the individuals involved.


Variations in stories demonstrate the necessity for men to record in writing their spiritual experiences at the time they occur. If men would immediately record them as they happen, then the original exactness of the stories would remain and the testimony of the experiences would have greater effect and benefit upon those who hear them.


It is a sad commentary to note that of the many thousands of spiritual experiences that have occurred in Church history, we have but only a few that have been preserved in writing.


In a time when spiritual occurrences are dwindling in number, these few experiences become more precious and sacred as time passes. It is the scarcity of the written word of God that gives it dearness–so also should the words and appearances of God’s angels be revered.



[156]                             Chapter 6




At the time of the restoration of the Gospel, there came a special need for a tried and proved people. To establish and promulgate the Gospel, the Saints would have to face mobs, jails, and death for the principles of their religion. Miracles became a necessity, and the Mormon people found the intervention of angels and revelations from God a common experience. In the settling of a barren wasteland, struggling with savage Indians, facing famine and poverty while devoting a lifetime in missionary work, these special people required more than just a belief in their sacrifices. Under such circumstances the Saints needed an outstanding courage, supreme faith, and a positive assurance that all of their sufferings and sacrifices were acceptable to God.


It is through such stress and among such a people that God can and will send His angels. It was during those trying and crucial years of Church history that these Three Disciples made the greatest number of appearances. On the other hand, within the past fifty or more years these disciples have visited mankind relatively few times. It is the increase of iniquity and the decrease of faith that cause the angels and messengers of God to cease their blessings and visitations.


When men trust in God, alloy their faith in the heavens, and obey the principles of the Gospel, then miracles, angels and gifts of the spirit are manifest.


These disciples are laboring just as they did centuries ago–administering relief to the sick, comforting the discouraged, and blessing the poor. And one of the special [157] marks of the divine calling of the disciples of Christ is their method of performing their ministry: they travel as all of the Apostles of old traveled–without purse or scrip! (See Matt. 10:9-10.) These Three Disciples still honor that commandment and travel as they did anciently.


This commandment was reiterated in our own time when the Lord commanded every elder to obey that rule in this dispensation. Said He:


Therefore, let no man among you, for this commandment is unto all the faithful who are called of God in the Church unto the ministry, from this hour take purse or scrip, that goeth forth to proclaim this gospel of the kingdom. * * * And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up. Whoso receiveth you, receiveth me; and the same will feed you, and clothe you, and give you money. And he who feeds you, or clothes you, or gives you money shall in nowise lose his reward. And he that doeth not these things is not my disciple; by this you may know my disciples. (D & C 84:86, 89-91)


Early pioneers left their families and friends to traverse the globe. For years they traveled without purse or scrip among the nations. They left blessings upon all who helped and believed in their heavenly message–while those who belligerently rejected them and their message were sealed up to judgment. The labor of the Three Nephites is the same today as it was anciently. They are yet traveling without purse or scrip among all people asking for a little food or water and then leave their blessing.


[158] A greater portion of the work of the Lord has always been among the poor and the needy. However, the Prophet Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and others had prophesied that the Lord would some day pour untold wealth into the hands of His people. In the statement of Mr. Fisher, he quotes a part of a Nephite message which indicates that wealth would become a great part of God’s final work among His people.

The full choiceness of this land was being withheld because the people of the world would desire it and get it away from us if it were to be permitted to blossom in fullness and that this was God’s way of protecting the land for His work and His people. (John E. Fisher Statement, May 15, 1921)


This Nephite message may be part of one of the most famous of all Nephite stories: their appearance to a Mormon Bishop in Leland, Utah, in the year 1894. This bishop said they had appointed to him a special work, not in the ecclesiastical realm of the Church, but rather with a special mining project. Bishop John H. Koyle was reluctant to accept the appointment and responsibility. His account of the Nephites has been the most controversial, receiving the most publicity pro and con of any other Nephite story.


His account has been the basis for some Church authorities buying stock while others became vigorously opposed to the entire project. Many family members have been divided in their support of the mine; and yet both Mormons and non-Mormons alike own stock in this Koyle Relief Mine.


John H. Koyle was told by the messengers not to put anything into writing or to sign any statements concerning the mine. However, the essence of what he told concerning the mine is about as follows:



When I was taken through the mine for the first time in 1894 after being shown the body of rich ore beneath the capstone, I was told that the ancient inhabitants of this land had at one time discovered these riches, and had mined out these nine large caverns which form the southwest portion of this great body of gold ore. Then the values had been shut off from them, and would be shut off from us, too, if we also became lifted up in pride and hardhearted, using this wealth for self-gratification.

Then I was taken southwest through a steep tunnel, that had been made by this ancient people, coming out in Water Canyon. It is there now. Some of our men have been up there and have seen where the caved-in entrance is located. And some have been able to crawl in it a ways with a long stick and judge the diameter to be about ten feet. They made better tunnels than we make.

There is another old caved-in mine just across the canyon from it with some ancient petroglyphs or hieroglyphs by the entrance depicting a string of peculiar pack animals coming out of the mine with packs on their backs, and another string of them going down into the mine without any loads. Some day you will see that there is an underground connection between these two mines. and how both hold unusual treasures that will be of great benefit to us.

Then there is an ancient Nephite highway, built like a railroad grade, running from the mouth of Water Canyon over to Payson mountain where there is an old slag dump where it looks like they refined their ore. Some say this old grade was made by the ancient Lake Bonneville, but no one is able to explain how this old lake could have made a borrow pit along the upper side of this grade.



The really important objectives are those which the messenger showed to me, and they were impressed so vividly on my mind it was as though I had spent a lifetime then and there working tunnels through them. Yes. I know them off by heart. That is why I have been able to tell the men about places before we get to them.

The messenger showed me those great strata breaks inside the mountain that tip back to the west. These large strata breaks were to mark just about the end of a long tunnel that we were to make to connect with our deep shaft from the top where we started. And near these breaks we would also find two natural walls which would be in line with the walls of our long straight tunnel, and these walls would also be near the turn-down place leading to the capstone where the formation would be so soft that we might have to square-set the shaft for the 90 or 100 feet leading to the caprock. This caprock would be so hard, that even though it was only three or four feet thick it would require a month or two to drill through it, and there would be almost a continuous chain of sharp drills coming in to replace the dull ones going out.

Under this caprock, we will find a very rich chimney of white quartz containing leaf gold, dipping down about 175 feet and coming out into the nine large caverns that contain these great Nephite treasures that are beyond your belief to imagine.

This messenger talked to me freely, and answered my questions as one man would talk to another. He was exceedingly anxious that all the details of the mine be fixed clearly in my mind, [161] and as we went along he pointed out all of these ore bodies so plainly that I can never forget them, nor where they are located. (The Dream Mine Story, H.C. Pierce, p. 6-8)


The story, along with many prophecies, began to create a profound impact over the years. Dr. Lowry Nelson, prominent BYU and USU and government sociologist, called this mining operation “the largest social group movement within the Church, in the entire history of the Church, and yet independent of the Church organization itself.”


On one occasion Bishop Koyle described two of the messengers and the visit which he experienced with them:

It was on the Saturday following the Tuesday on which the tunnel was begun, being about five o’clock in the morning, January 10, 1914, Bishop John H. Koyle was lying awake in his bed at the mine, contemplating a very remarkable dream he had just had, when all of a sudden a powerful vibrating influence came over him, lasting several minutes. No sooner had it left than it re-occurred stranger than ever. And when it came back for the third time, he raised up in his bed, when to his amazement, two men dressed in grey clothes having white hair and beards, one taller than the other, came walking up to his bedside.

The shorter one did all of the talking, and declared that he and his companion were two of the Three Nephite Apostles of old who had divine custody of this mine. He informed Bishop Koyle that he had started the tunnel in the correct place, and that he would get everything he had been shown in his first dream or spiritual entry into the mountain. However, false rumors [162] and stories of the most malicious and unwholesome character about him and the mine would soon arise through the activity of the Adversary, who because he had been unable to influence the workers at the mine, would now concentrate his efforts on the people in the valley below.

Then after carefully outlining the future in a conversation that lasted fully two hours, they departed, promising him that both men and money would always come to his assistance until all the great objectives had been reached and he had been fully vindicated. He was not to be too much concerned about the ridicule and persecution that would be heaped upon him, because in the end he and his companions would occupy a position of honor in the eyes of the Church, while those who had opposed and ridiculed him would be fully discredited and brought to account for their actions.

Before his two heavenly visitors departed, they gave him a final warning in addition to the charge that he must not reveal the hour and a half portion of their two-hour conversation. First: He must never at any time write anything, nor make any written statements about the nature of this mining operations. And second: he was not to allow brothers to be on the Board of Directors at the same time.

As they departed, the end of the cabin faded from view and they passed through it and continued on to the brow of the hill where they turned and waved a final goodbye to the mortal man whom they had charged with such great responsibilities. (The Dream Mine Story, pp. 14-15)


[163] The mine was to experience some serious difficulties before it was to bring forth the desired gold. In a dream, Bishop Koyle was shown that black clouds would cover the mine and weigh so heavily that there appeared to be no hope for it to come forth. The mine would appear to be finished and abandoned.

When it seemed as if all was lost and the Dream Mine had come to complete failure, he looked from the mine, while standing on Knob Hill over to the northwest toward the Point-of-the-Mountain, and beheld a small rift in the dark clouds revealing a little spot of blue about the size of a man’s hand. As he watched it, this rift suddenly expanded, and with a majestic sweep, the heavens were cleared of these dark, black, oppressive clouds and the mine and surroundings were restored to the brilliant sunshine of a fine, glorious day with all oppressiveness having vanished.

Bishop Koyle occasionally spoke of a long shut down and also a short shut down that the mine must experience. Most of us, including the Bishop himself, thought that the long shut down must be the one in the past from 1914 to 1920; but history was to prove that it was yet in the future. He saw that the miners would leave the hill; even he would not be there. The stock holders would be at bitter loggerheads with each other, and some who had been the best of friends, now would be enemies. Two of the directors would turn their backs on the mine, while the others would not be of much use to it. Some of the stock would change hands for as little as ten cents a share, while others would even regard it as worthless. In fact, it would appear as though this whole project was at long last finished and dead, once and for all. For that matter, mining elsewhere in Utah would be [164] dead or in a very dilapidated condition. He would point to the Tintic/Eureka district and to Bingham Canyon while saying this, and years later when Geneva Steel was built, he included that, too, saying it would also be shut down.

One day back in the twenties, he called Otto Lohmoelder, one of the miners, aside and told him: “Otto, towards the end there’s going to be a group of men take over this mine, and try to bring it in before it is time for it to come in. But they will not have the proper guidance and inspiration, and they will fail.”

He spoke of a short shut down at the very end, following which a couple of old timers, properly inspired, would come up and put in just a round or two of holes and strike the rich ore. He said that the first shipment out of this tunnel would return every dollar invested. When pressed to tell how much the first shipment would run, he declared that it would be around $12,000 a ton on the low grade, while the high grade that would come a little later, would be worth much more, almost beyond belief. The ore would come just in the nick-of-time to provide very much needed relief. In fact, there would be some who said that it had come in too late to do any good, but such would not be the case, for the stockholders would rally together and things would move swiftly on every side to accomplish all that was supposed to be accomplished.

The first shipment, he said, would not cause much of a stir, but the second one which would come right on the heels of the first one, would cause great excitement. The people would rush to the mine waving the money in their hands, wanting to buy stock, but the company had none [165] for sale to them. They had come too late. So many of them came that there would be a traffic jam for some distance back. Nevertheless, we would offer them relief in their distress from our bank and from our food supplies.

When it was time for the mine to turn out, he said, there was a light complexioned man with white hair who would come from north of the mine with a big check to finance the first shipment of ore. The stockholders would rally with him and bring about many wonderful changes around the mine, and soon a beautiful “White City” would be built there for the people to live in who were associated with this great project. There would be a radio station, power plants, and an airport arise in swiftly moving events at the mine.

Leading up to all this, he declared, there would be an inflation. He was shown in a dream how the prices of everything became greatly inflated. They were raised up way out of proportion to actual values, as if they were up on high stilts or props, growing ever higher. Then after a time some of the props began to give way causing minor setbacks, and then the government would try desperately to restore these props. Then all of a sudden it was as if something overnight kicked the props out from under the entire price structure, and the whole thing came down with a terrific crash. Values dropped to something like twenty cents on the dollar, and wheat, which we would be buying for our grain bins on the hill, could be purchased for fifty and sixty cents a bushel, and other things in proportion.

We would have our gold and be able to buy our wheat supplies barely in the nick-of-time, [166] he said, because in a short time the situation would grow so bad that all of the automobiles and trains would stop running, and manufacturing would ease because of a complete breakdown in our economy.

. . . About this time transportation would stop all over the country, and manufacturing would cease, and the people would have to return to their horses, if they had any, or go on foot. Then we could no longer buy any wheat because there was no way to get to where the big supplies were located, nor could it be brought to us; and those who did have any wheat on hand would not sell it for a bushel of gold. Then the really big troubles began with famine, warfare, plagues and judgments, and we would have to make White City and the Dream Mine into a fortress to protect ourselves from ravaging mobs. In many places, he said, the dead would outnumber the living, while in others there would not even be enough living to bury the dead.


This mine was to come forth in a time of national and international peril, when a world economic crisis had occurred and the people would need relief. The mine was to be called the Relief Mine. At the time when famine and financial collapse would occur in this land and all others, great spiritual and temporal strength of the Saints would be necessary. Thousands and even millions, said Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, would pour into these valleys for relief and protection. The mine, Bishop Koyle was told, was for that purpose.


Some have referred to the Book of Mormon prophecy dealing with a special work of the Nephites, which is to come forth in the last days:



Therefore, great and marvelous works shall be wrought by them, (the Three Nephites) before the great and coming day when all people must surely stand before the judgment seat of Christ; Yea even among the Gentiles shall there be a great and marvelous work wrought by them, before that judgment day. (III Nephi 28:31-32)


To many, only time itself will establish the truth of this famous Nephite story, as well as many of the others.


It would be a grand and glorious experience for us if we, too, might enjoy the society of these messengers. As Orson Pratt described:

How pleasant–how glorious it would be, if we had proved ourselves in all things; if we had become pure in heart, with no unbelief, no evil, no abominations, but our hearts perfectly pure before God; if we could behold His smiling face, and look upon Him, and hear the words of His mouth, pronouncing blessings upon our heads. Would not this be worth sacrificing all things? Yes; how pleasing–how glorious it would be, could we see those three old Nephites whose prayers have ascended up, for something like 1800 years, in behalf of the children of men in the last days, and have them return to their old native land, and find the kingdom of God prepared and pure to receive them, and could we hear their teachings, and their voices lifted up in our midst.

Should not this be cheering to our hearts? Yes. Is there anything too great for us to suffer or endure, or any sacrifice too great for us to make to be prepared to receive blessings of this description? No. Then let us wake up, and be assured that just as soon as we prepare ourselves for these blessings, so soon they will be [168] upon our heads. Do you suppose that these three Nephites have any knowledge of what is going on in this land? They know all about it; they are filled with the spirit of prophecy. Why do they not come into our midst? Because the time has not come. Why do they not lift up their voices in the midst of our congregations? Because there is a week for us to do preparatory to their reception, and when that is accomplished, they will accomplish their work, unto whomsoever they desire to minister. If they shall pray to the Father, says the Book of Mormon, in the name of Jesus, they can show themselves unto whatsoever person or people they choose. The very reason they do not come amongst us is because we have a work to do preparatory to their coming; and just as soon as that is accomplished, they are on hand, and also many other good old worthy ancients that would rejoice our hearts could we behold their countenances, and hear them recite over the scenes they have passed through, and the history of past events, as well as prophecy of the events to come. How great and how precious are the promises of the Lord contained in ancient revelation! (J.D. 2:264)


Though the Paradise of God is filled with magnificent beauty, and great rewards awaited them there and in the resurrection, these three valiant men chose to remain in the ministry of their Lord in this fallen and depraved world. These messengers have seen every form of suffering and sorrow among men, and they feel great sorrow themselves when they see such suffering. Only their love of God could induce them to continue laboring in such a thankless and sorrowful world.


These three messengers of God have witnessed the Dark Ages, the Crusades, the Reformation and the Restoration. They are acquainted with the torturing of men by men, and the destruction of men through all his wars.


[169] They again look with remorse upon the rapid deterioration and the evident destruction of mankind, just as they saw it happen to their own nation, their efforts to warn and prevent having seemingly little effect upon mankind.


For nearly 2,000 years these servants of Christ have borne an unusual burden in the ministry of the Gospel. In view of such an unprecedented labor of love, how much more we should honor their efforts to help us! No one really knows how much influence they have had in our own lives, or in those of our neighbors. Because of their noble example of service and love of Christ, we should greatly respect the message and mission of these angels of God–the Three Nephites.


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