Stories of Faith

Compiled by
Ogden Kraut

May 1996


To my son, Kevin,
whose inspiration and personal request
for the compiling of these stories of faith,
pleasurably brought this book into existence.


Jesus was the Master Teacher. He spoke in parables, allegories, and similitudes, presenting meaningful and picturesque ideals. Sometimes His teachings were simple–other times, confusing or seemingly contradictory. Many of His words were misunderstood–and still are; but there is little misunderstanding or confusion about what He did. The living examples and events of His life have provided mankind with the means of better understanding His divine mission.

We have similar teachings and stories about the lives of Joseph Smith and other prominent players in the Restoration of the Gospel. There were also miraculous and faith-promoting events in the latter days as in former ones. Since the teaching and living of the same Gospel was involved, the same gifts and blessings were bestowed upon the faithful.


The stories related in this book are only a small portion of the many volumes that could be compiled about the faith of the men and women who lived during the formative years of the LDS Church. Nevertheless, their messages and testimonies weave the same pattern–they all testify of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.


It is hoped that the reading and re-reading of the accounts collected here will serve to reaffirm and increase our faith in the Savior–in a world where faith seems to be a dwindling commodity.


Ogden Kraut, Compiler







Section 1. The Late 1820’s


Heavenly Messenger Ordains Joseph and Oliver

to the Holy Priesthood  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7

Peter, James and John Ordain Joseph and Oliver

to the Apostleship  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10

David Whitmer Testifies of the Plates and of

Seeing Moroni . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11

The Chase Seerstone Fails to Reveal the Location

of the Plates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15

Joseph’s Use of a Seerstone  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17

Joseph’s Ability to Translate  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18


Section 2. The 1830’s


The Savior Appears During the First Meeting

at Kirtland, Ohio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19

The First Gift of Tongues Experience in the

Latter Days . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22

The Mob Tars and Tortures Joseph Smith in Hiram,

Ohio  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  24

Mob Persecutions Suffered in Jackson County

for the Sake of Christ  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  27

Saints Protected from the Mob at Fishing River . . . . . . . . .  30

Jedediah Grant Sees Zions Camp in Vision . . . . . . . . . . . .  33

The Faith of a Child–Helen Kimball  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  34

The Heavens Were Opened at Kirtland, Ohio  . . . . . . . . . . .  35

Majesty at Midnight in the Richmond Jail . . . . . . . . . . . .  38

Joseph Smith is Guided through the Experiences at

Liberty Jail  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  40

Joseph Smith Spared from Armed Men at Far West . . . . . . . . .  47

Brigham and Heber Sacrifice to Serve Mission in Europe . . . . .  50

Heber C. Kimball Overcomes the Power of the Adversary  . . . . .  52

Brigham Young, Ardent Supporter and Successor of

Joseph Smith  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  55

Healing of the Sick in Nauvoo  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  59

Joseph and Brigham Use their Priesthood Power

to Protect Others   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  62

Joseph Lee Robinson Testifies of the Gifts of the Spirit . . . .  64


Section 3. The 1840’s


Edwin Rushton Experiences a Unique Reception . . . . . . . . . .  66

A Gentile’s Testimony of Joseph Smith  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  68

Mary Lightner’s Testimony of Plural Marriage . . . . . . . . . .  70

Bishop Knight Learns to Trust in God–not Money  . . . . . . . .  74

William D. Huntington–Restored to Life  . . . . . . . . . . . .  76

Heber C. Kimball’s Loyalty to the Prophet Joseph . . . . . . . .  78

Heber’s Close Relationship with the Lord . . . . . . . . . . . .  85

Joseph’s Dream Identifying His Enemies . . . . . . . . . . . . .  87

“Bogus Brigham” Fools the Enemy in Nauvoo  . . . . . . . . . . .  89

The Miracle of the Quail in Iowa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  92

A Young Girl Speaks in Tongues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  94

Brigham Young’s Dream of Joseph Smith  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  96

The Miracle of the Seagulls  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  98

Heber’s Prophecy: Goods Will Be Cheaper Here

than in the East  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101


Section 4. 1850’s to 1899


Existence of Good and Evil Spirits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104

Brigham’s Dream of Joseph’s Strange Flock  . . . . . . . . . . . 108

Major Lot Smith and the Echo Canyon War  . . . . . . . . . . . . 110

The Vision of Chief Arapeen  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121

Brigham Speaks in Tongues to the Indians . . . . . . . . . . . . 123

Jacob Hamblin Makes Peace with the Indians . . . . . . . . . . . 126

George Q. Cannon’s Interpretation of Tongues . . . . . . . . . . 130

The Treasures of the Earth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132

Wilford Woodruff’s Life of Troubles: God’s Ultimate

Goodness  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137

Deceased Prominent Men Baptized by Wilford Woodruff  . . . . . . 145

Spiritual Experiences in the St. George Temple . . . . . . . . . 146

The Healing of a Crushed Arm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149

Special Missionary Work by a Mysterious Preacher

in Tennessee  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150

Ella Jensen–Raised from the Dead  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154

Matthias F. Cowley Experiences Gifts of God  . . . . . . . . . . 161


Section 5. Early 20th Century


A Patriarchal Blessing Given in Tongues  . . . . . . . . . . . . 165

Jesse Knight’s Dream of Helpful Riches . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169

Vision in St. George of Departed Spirits . . . . . . . . . . . . 171

Canadian Indians Seek and Find the Book of Mormon  . . . . . . . 173

A “Three Nephite” Prophecy and Blessing in

Bountiful, Utah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177

Mormon Mexican Colonies Saved by “Flames”  . . . . . . . . . . . 180

Lucifer Tries to Hinder Logan Temple Work  . . . . . . . . . . . 185

Matthew Cowley–Man of Faith and Miracles  . . . . . . . . . . . 187


* * * * *



[7]                               Section 1

The Late 1820’s


Heavenly Messenger Ordains

Joseph and Oliver to the Holy Priesthood

New York — 1829

(Letter to W. W. Phelps from Oliver Cowdery

September 7, 1834)


These were days never to be forgotten–to sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven, awakened the utmost gratitude of this bosom! Day after day I continued, uninterrupted to write from his mouth, as he translated with the Urim and Thummim, or, as the Nephites would have said, “Interpreters,” the history or record called “The Book of Mormon.”

To notice, in even few words, the interesting account given by Mormon and his faithful son, Moroni, of a people once beloved and favored of heaven, would supersede my present design; I shall therefore defer this to a future period, and, as I said in the introduction, pass more directly to some few incidents immediately connected with the rise of this Church, which may be entertaining to some thousands who have stepped forward amid the frowns of bigots and the calumny of hypocrites, and embraced the Gospel of Christ.

After writing the account given of the Savior’s ministry to the remnant of the seed of Jacob, upon this continent, it was easy to be seen, as the prophet said would be, that darkness covered the earth and gross darkness the minds of the people. On reflecting further, it was easy to be seen that amid the great strife and noise concerning religion, none had authority from God to administer the ordinances of the Gospel. For the [8] question might be asked, have men authority to administer in the name of Christ, who deny revelations, when His testimony is no less than the spirit of prophecy, and His religion based, built, and sustained by immediate revelations, in all ages of the world when He has had a people on earth? If these facts were buried, and carefully concealed by men whose craft would have been in danger if once permitted to shine in the faces of men, they were no longer to us; and we only waited for the commandment to be given “Arise and be baptized.”

This was not long desired before it was realized. The Lord who is rich in mercy and ever willing to answer the consistent prayer of the humble, after we had called upon him in a fervent manner, aside from the abodes of men, condescended to manifest to us his will. On a sudden, as from the midst of eternity, the voice of the Redeemer spake peace to us, while the veil was parted and the angel of god came down clothed with glory and delivered the anxiously looked for message, and the keys of the gospel of repentance. What joy! What wonder! What amazement! While the world was racked and distracted–while millions were groping as the blind for the wall, and while all men were resting upon uncertainty, as a general mass, our eyes beheld–our ears heard. As in the “blaze of day”; yes, more–above the glitter of the May sunbeam, which then shed its brilliancy over the face of nature! Then his voice, though mild, pierced to the center, and his words, “I am thy fellow-servant,” dispelled every fear. We listened, we gazed, we admired! ‘Twas the voice of the angel from glory–’twas a message from the Most High, and as we heard we rejoiced, while his love enkindled upon our souls, and we were rapt in the vision of the Almighty! Where was room for doubt? Nowhere; uncertainty had fled, doubt had sunk, no more to rise, while fiction and deception had fled forever.

But, dear brother, think further, think for a moment what joy filled our hearts and with what surprise we must have bowed, (for who could not have bowed the knee for such a [9] blessing?) when we received under his hands the Holy Priesthood as he said, “Upon you my fellow-servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer this Priesthood and this authority, which shall remain upon the earth, that the Sons of Levi may yet offer an offering unto the Lord in righteousness!”

I shall not attempt to paint to you the feelings of this heart, nor the majestic beauty and glory which surrounded us on this occasion; but you will believe me when I say, that earth, nor men, with the eloquence of time, cannot begin to clothe language in as interesting and sublime a manner as this holy personage. No; nor has this earth power to give the joy, to bestow the peace, or comprehend the wisdom which was contained in each sentence as it was delivered by the power of the Holy Spirit! Man may deceive his fellow man; deception may follow deception, and the children of the Wicked One may have power to seduce the foolish and untaught, till naught but fiction feeds the many, and the fruit of falsehood carries in its current the giddy to the grave; but one touch with the finger of his love, yes, one ray of glory from the upper world, or one word from the mouth of the Savior, from the bosom of eternity, strikes it all into insignificance, and blots it forever from the mind! The assurance that we were in the presence of an angel; the certainty that we heard the voice of Jesus, and the truth unsullied as it flowed from a pure personage, dictated by the will of God, is to me, past description, and I shall ever look upon this expression of the Savior’s goodness with wonder and thanksgiving while I am permitted to tarry, and in those mansions where perfection dwells and sin never comes, I hope to adore in that day which shall never cease. (Times and Seasons, vol. 2, p. 201) (Mess. and Adv., vol. 1, no. 1, Oct. 1834, pp. 15-16)

* * *



[10]                     Peter, James and John Ordain

Joseph and Oliver to the Apostleship

Colesville, New York — 1829


I [Oliver B. Huntington] copy the following portion of a letter that I received from Brother Addison Everett giving me information upon the circumstances connected with Joseph Smith’s ordination to the Apostleship by “Peter, James, and John,” in front of the Nauvoo Mansion House a few days before Joseph was martyred:

“[Joseph said] that while they were teaching the people at Colesville, he was prosecuted, and arrested for being a false prophet and deceiving the people. * * *

“His attorney John Reid arrived about this time and told the court that he wished to see Mr. Smith in a private room a few minutes, as he was Mr. Smith’s attorney and when in the private room, Mr. Reid told Brother Joseph and Oliver that a mob was outside in front of the house preparing to mob them, and so he hoisted the window in the back of the house, and in a few rods they entered the woods; they traveled all night in a dense forest, some of the time deep mud and water and in the afterpart of the night Oliver became exhausted, and he (Joseph) had to almost carry him. Just at the break of day Oliver gave out and exclaimed, `How long, O Lord? How long, Brother Joseph, have we got to endure this thing?’ `There,’ said Brother Joseph, `At that very time, Peter, James, and John came to us and ordained us to the Apostleship.’

“They had 16 or 17 miles to travel to get back to his father-in-law’s, Mr. Hale’s, but Oliver did not complain any more of fatigue.

“Now, Brother O.B., I have given you Brother Joseph’s words as near as I can recollect, and I have thought of them a great deal as they were almost the last words I ever heard him speak. Your humble servant, A. Everett.” (Oliver B. Huntington Journal, Pioneer Press, Feb. 17, 1883, pp. 17-18)



[11]                       David Whitmer Testifies

of the Plates and of Seeing Moroni

Pennsylvania and New York — 1829


(Note: The following are excerpts of an interview held with David Whitmer by President Joseph F. Smith and Apostle Orson Pratt which was first published in the Deseret News and later in the Millennial Star under date of December, 1878. The report was written from New York City, September 17, 1878, and addressed to President John Taylor and the Council of the Twelve.)


Elder Orson Pratt: Do you remember what time you saw the plates?

David Whitmer: It was in June, 1829–the latter part of the month and the eight witnesses saw them, I think, the next day or the day after (that is, one or two days later). Joseph showed them the plates, as I suppose, to fulfill the word of the book itself. Martin Harris was not with us at the time; he obtained a view of them afterwards (the same day). Joseph, Oliver, and myself were together when I saw them. We not only saw the plates of the Book of Mormon, but also the brass plates, the plates of the book of Ether, the plates containing the record of the wickedness and secret combinations of the people of the world down to the time of their being engraved, and many other plates. 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 [12] saw them just as plain as I see this bed (striking the 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 I had stopped the first night, how I read the sign at the tavern, where I 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 [13] 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. We 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 Vancleave 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)

Soon after our arrival home, I saw something which led me to the belief that the plates were placed or concealed in my father’s barn. I frankly asked Joseph if my supposition was right, and he told me it was. Some time after this my mother was going to milk the cows, when she was met out near the yard, by the same man (judging by her description of him), who said to her: “You have been very faithful and diligent in your labors, but you are tired because of the increase of your toil; it is proper, therefore, that you should receive a witness that your faith may be strengthened.” Thereupon he showed her the plates.

[14]  My father and mother had a large family of their own; the addition to it, therefore, of Joseph, his wife Emma, and Oliver, very greatly increased the toil and anxiety of my mother. And although she had never complained, she had sometimes felt that her labor was too much, or at least she was perhaps beginning to feel so. This circumstance, however, completely removed all such feeling and nerved her up for her increased responsibilities. (Elders Journal, vol. 4, no. 16, May 15, 1907)

* * *



[15]                 The Chase Seerstone Fails to Reveal

the Location of the Plates

Palmyra, New York — 1827


The sacred things were now collected, it would seem, and secure under lock and key. But not so. As the Prophet states in his own narrative, “the house was frequently beset by mobs and evil designing persons, * * * and every device was made use of to get the plates away from me.” (Wentworth Letter)

One instance of this kind is related by Lucy Smith. A few days after the breast-plate was deposited with the record, Joseph came hurriedly into the house, apparently in some alarm, and inquired if a company of men had recently called at the house. Being answered in the negative, he informed his mother that a mob would be at the house by night-fall or sooner, and that the chest containing the sacred record must be immediately removed from its present place of concealment. At this moment a trusted friend of the family, a Mr. Braman, of Livonia–a village some twenty-five miles distant from Palmyra, in the adjoining county of Livingston–came in, and with his help Joseph took up the hearthstones, in the kitchen, dug a hole sufficiently large to receive the chest and relaid the hearthstones over it. Scarcely had this been done when the expected mob arrived with arms in their hands, and rushed upon the house. Joseph, however, feigned a counter-attack upon the mob, and throwing open the doors and giving command as to a large following, himself and father, Mr. Braman, and his brothers, rushed out of the house as if determined to attack the mob, whereupon they took to flight and dispersed. (see Hist. of Prophet J.S., by Lucy Mack Smith, chap. xxiv)

Again, and only a short time after the foregoing incident, the Prophet received premonitions of another assault by the mob. The chest was taken from under the hearthstones and the sacred record and the associated articles were wrapped in [16] cloths and hidden in a quantity of flax that had been stored away in the loft of a cooper’s shop that at the time stood across the road from the Smith home. The chest was then nailed up and hidden under the floor of the cooper’s shop. At night-fall the mob came and ransacked the premises, but did not enter the house. In the morning the family found the cooper’s shop door broken down, the floor torn up and the chest shivered to splinters, but the record was secure in its place of concealment.

In these several movements the mob claimed to have been guided by the directions of Miss Chase, the psychic before alluded to, who, in her “crystal-gazing,” claimed to be able to see where “Joe” Smith had hidden his “gold bible.” And notwithstanding the many disappointments they met with, the mob’s faith in her occult powers seems not to have been shaken.

The constant apprehension for the safety of the record entrusted to him, and these frequently recurring attacks upon the house by his enemies, rendered the work of translation under these circumstances impossible, and the young Prophet resolved upon removing to the home of his wife’s parents where he hoped for a more peaceful environment, suitable for the great undertaking. (CHC 1:93-95)

* * *



[17]                     Joseph’s Use of a Seerstone

Late 1920’s


Martin said that after continued translation they would become weary, and would go down to the river and exercise by throwing stones out on the river, etc. While so doing, on one occasion, Martin Harris found a stone very much resembling the one used for translating, and on resuming their labor of translation, he put in place the stone he had found. He said that the Prophet remained silent, unusually and intently gazing in darkness, no traces of the usual sentences appearing. Much surprised, Joseph exclaimed, “Martin! What is the matter? All is as dark as Egypt!” Martin’s countenance betrayed him, and the Prophet asked Martin why he had done so. Martin said, to stop the mouths of fools, who had told him that the Prophet had learned those sentences and was merely repeating them, etc. (Historical Record, p. 216)

In the first place, he told me [M. Harris] of this stone, and proposed to bind it on his eyes, and run a race with me in the woods. A few days after this, I was at the house of his father in Manchester, two miles south of Palmyra village, and was picking my teeth with a pin while sitting on the bars. The pin caught in my teeth, and dropped from my fingers into the shavings and straw. I jumped from the bars and looked for it. Joseph and Northrop Sweet also did the same. We could not find it. I then took Joseph on surprise, and said to him–I said, “Take your stone;” I had never seen it, and did not know that he had it with him. He had it in his pocket. He took it and placed it in his hat–the old white hat–and placed his face in his hat. I watched him closely to see that he did not look to one side; he reached out his hand beyond me on the right, and moved a little stick, and there I saw the pin, which he picked up and gave to me. I know he did not look out of the hat until after he had picked up the pin. (Interview with Martin Harris, Tiffany’s Monthly, 1859, p. 165)



[18]                    Joseph’s Ability to Translate

Late 1820’s


In a statement to Wm. H. Kelley and G. A. Blakeslee, the latter of Gallen, Michigan, under date of September 15th, 1882, David Whitmer said of Joseph Smith and the necessity of his humility and faithfulness while translating the Book of Mormon:

“He was a religious and straightforward man. He had to be; for he was illiterate and he could do nothing himself. He had to trust in God. He could not translate unless he was humble and possessed the right feelings towards everyone. To illustrate so you can see: One morning when he was getting ready to continue the translation, something went wrong about the house and he was put out about it. Something that Emma, his wife, had done. Oliver and I went upstairs and Joseph came up soon after to continue the translation but he could not do anything. He could not translate a single syllable. He went downstairs, out into the orchard, and made supplication to the Lord; was gone about an hour–came back to the house, and asked Emma’s forgiveness and then came upstairs where we were and then the translation went on all right. He could do nothing save he was humble and faithful.” (Braden-Kelley Debate, p. 186, as quoted in CHC 1:131)

* * *



[19]                              Section 2

The 1830’s


The Savior Appears During

the First Meeting at Kirtland, Ohio — 1831

(as related by Mary Lightner)


Well, my young brethren, I can say I never was more surprised in my life than to be called upon to speak to you young men who are called upon to go into the mission field to preach the gospel to the nations of the earth. It is true I have been in the church from its beginning. Just six months after it was organized I joined it. I have been acquainted with all of those who were first members of this church, with all of those who saw the plates and handled them. I am well acquainted with every one of them, and I have known them from the time that they came to Ohio until their death, and I am the only living witness who was at the first meeting that the Prophet held in Kirtland.

The Smith family were driven from New York, and a small church had been organized. Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer, and Zeba Peterson were members. Well, I being anxious, though young, to learn about the plates from those who knew all about it, my mother and I went up to the Smith family, from the old gentleman and his wife to all the sons and daughters. As we stood there talking to them, Joseph and Martin Harris came in. Joseph looked around very solemnly. It was the first time some of them had ever seen him. Said he, “There are enough here to hold a little meeting.” They got a board and put it across two chairs to make seats. Martin Harris sat on a little box at Joseph’s feet. They sang and prayed. Joseph got up and began to speak to us.

[20]  As he began to speak very solemnly and very earnestly, all at once his countenance changed and he stood mute. Those who looked at him that day said there was a searchlight within him, over every part of his body. I never saw anything like it on the earth. I could not take my eyes off him. He got so white that anyone who saw him would have thought he was transparent. I remember I thought I could almost see the cheek bones through the flesh. I have been through many changes since, but that is photographed on my brain. I shall remember it and see it in my mind’s eye as long as I remain upon the earth. He stood some moments. He looked over the congregation as if to pierce every heart, and said, “Do you know who has been in your midst?” One of the Smiths said an angel of the Lord. Martin Harris said, “It was our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Joseph put his hand down on Martin and said, “God revealed that to you.”

Brothers and Sisters, the Spirit of God has been here. The Savior has been in your midst this night, and I want you to remember it. There is a veil over your eyes; you could not endure to look upon Him. You must be fed with milk, not with strong meat. I want you to remember this as if it were the last thing that escapes my lips. He has given all of you to me and has sealed you up to everlasting life that where He is, there you may be also. And if you are tempted of Satan, say, “get behind me, Satan.”

These words are figured upon my brain and I never took my eyes off his countenance. Then he knelt down and prayed. I have never heard anything like it before or since. I felt that he was talking to the Lord and that power rested down upon the congregation. Every soul felt it. The spirit rested upon us in every fiber of our bodies, and we received a sermon from the lips of the representative of God.

Much has come to and gone from me through the power and vicissitudes of this Church. I have been in almost every mob. I have been driven about and told I would be shot and [21] had a gun pointed at me, but I stayed with the Church until it was driven from Nauvoo.

The words of the Prophet that had been revealed to him have always been with me from the beginning to the end of the Gospel. Every principle that has been given in the church by the Prophet is true. I know whereon I stand, I know what I believe, I know what I know, and I know what I testify to you in the living truth. As I expect to meet it at the bar of the eternal Jehovah it is true. And when you stand before His bar, you will know. (The Life and Testimony of Mary Lightner, pub. by Pioneer Press, pp. 55-57)

* * *



[22]                 The First Gift of Tongues Experience

in the Latter Days

Kirtland, Ohio — 1832


At one of our interviews, Brother Brigham Young and John P. Greene spoke in tongues, which was the first time I had heard this gift among the brethren; others also spoke, and I received the gift myself. (Joseph Smith, DHC 1:1296-297)

Referring to this same event, Brigham Young wrote:

“A few weeks after my baptism I was at Brother Kimball’s house one morning, and while family prayer was being offered up, Brother Alpheus Gifford commenced speaking in tongues. Soon the Spirit came on me, and I spoke in tongues, and we thought only of the day of Pentecost, when the Apostles were clothed upon with cloven tongues of fire.

“In September, 1832, Brother Heber C. Kimball took his horse and wagon, Brother Joseph Young and myself accompanying him, and started for Kirtland to see the Prophet Joseph. We visited many friends on the way, and some branches of the Church. We exhorted them and prayed with them, and I spoke in tongues. Some pronounced it genuine and from the Lord, and others pronounced it of the Devil.

“We proceeded to Kirtland and stopped at John P. Greene’s, who had just arrived there with his family. We rested a few minutes, took some refreshment, and started to see the Prophet. We went to his father’s house and learned that he was in the woods, chopping. We immediately repaired to the woods, where we found the Prophet, and two or three of his brothers, chopping and hauling wood. Here my joy was full at the privilege of shaking the hand of the Prophet of God, and I received the sure testimony, by the Spirit of prophecy, that he was all that any man could believe him to be, as a true Prophet. He was happy to see us, and bid us welcome. We soon returned to his house, he accompanying us.

[23]  In the evening a few of the brethren came in, and we conversed together upon the things of the kingdom. He called upon me to pray; in my prayer I spoke in tongues. As soon as we arose from our knees, the brethren flocked around him, and asked his opinion concerning the gift of tongues that was upon me. He told them it was the pure Adamic language. Some said to him they expected he would condemn the gift Brother Brigham had, but he said, `No, it is of God, and the time will come when Brother Brigham Young will preside over this Church.’ The latter part of this conversation was in my absence.” (Mill. Star 25:439)

Brigham Young’s brother related the same incident:

“The congregation was at the time in a kneeling posture. As soon as Brother Brigham had concluded his prayer, the Prophet rose to his feet and invited them to rise and be seated. Joseph then addressed them, and said:

“`Brethren, this tongue that was heard is the gift of God, for He has made it known unto me, and I shall never oppose anything that comes from Him. I feel the spirit that Brother Brigham has manifested in this gift of tongues, and I wish to speak myself in the tongue that it will please the Lord to give me.’

“He accordingly spoke in what may be called an open and fluent language; more so than was commonly heard. He occupied some minutes in the exercise of the gift. After he had concluded he said, `Brethren, this is the language of our Father Adam while he dwelt in Eden; and the time will again come, that when the Lord brings again Zion, the Zion of Enoch, this people will then all speak the language which I have just spoken.'” (Joseph Young, Historical Items, Nov. 1, 1878)

* * *



[24]                The Mob Tars and Tortures Joseph Smith

in Hiram, Ohio

March 1832


On the 24th of March, the twins before mentioned, which had been sick of the measles for some time, caused us to be broken of our rest in taking care of them, especially my wife. In the evening I told her she had better retire to rest with one of the children, and I would watch with the sicker child. In the night she told me I had better lie down on the trundle bed, and I did so and was soon awakened by her screaming murder, when I found myself going out of the door, in the hands of about a dozen men; some of whose hands were in my hair, and some had hold of my shirt, drawers and limbs. The foot of the trundle bed was towards the door, leaving only room enough for the door to swing open.

My wife had heard a gentle tapping on the windows which she then took no particular notice of, (but which was unquestionably designed for ascertaining whether or not we were all asleep), and soon after the mob burst open the door, and surrounded the bed in an instant, and as I said, the first I knew I was going out of the door in the hands of an infuriated mob. I made a desperate struggle, as I was forced out, to extricate myself, but only cleared one leg, with which I made a pass at one man, and he fell on the door steps. I was immediately overpowered again; and they swore by G __, they would kill me if I did not be still, which quieted me.

They then seized me by the throat and held on till I lost my breath. After I came to, as they passed along with me, about thirty rods from the house, I saw Elder Rigdon stretched out on the ground, whither they had dragged him by the heels. I supposed he was dead. I began to plead with them saying, “You will have mercy and spare my life, I hope?” To which they replied, “. . . call on yer God for help, we’ll show ye no mercy,” and the people began to show themselves in every direction; [25] one coming from the orchard had a plank. They then turned to the right and went on about thirty rods farther. . . .

They held a council, and as I could occasionally overhear a word, I supposed it was to know whether or not it was best to kill me. They returned after a while, when I learned that they had concluded not to kill me, but beat and scratch me well, tear off my shirt and drawers, and leave me naked.

One cried, “Simonds, Simonds, where’s the tar bucket?”

“I don’t know where ’tis,” answered one. “Eli’s left it.”

They ran back and fetched the bucket of tar, when one exclaimed, with an oath, “Let’s tar up his mouth,” and they tried to force the tar paddle into my mouth. . . . They then tried to force a vial into my mouth, and broke it in my teeth. All my clothes were torn off me except my shirt collar, and one man fell on me and scratched my body like a mad cat, and then muttered out, . . . “that’s the way the Holy Ghost falls on folks.”

They then left me and I attempted to rise, but fell again. I pulled the tar away from my lips so that I could breathe more freely, and after a while I began to recover and raised myself up, whereupon I saw two lights. I made my way towards one of them and found it was Father Johnson’s. When I came to the door, I was naked, and the tar made me look as if I were covered with blood and when my wife saw me she thought I was all crushed to pieces and fainted. During the affray abroad, the sisters of the neighborhood had collected at my room. I called for a blanket; they threw me one and shut the door; I wrapped it around me and went in . . . .

My friends spent the night in scraping and removing the tar, and washing and cleansing my body; so that by morning I was ready to be clothed again. This being the Sabbath morning, the people assembled for worship at the usual hour, and among them came also the mobbers; viz., Simonds Ryder, a Campbellite preacher and leader of the mob; one McClentic, who had his hands in my hair; one Streeter, son of a [26] Campbellite minister; and Felatiah Allen, Esq., who gave the mob a barrel of whisky to raise their spirits. Besides these named there were many others in the mob.

With my flesh all scarified and defaced, I preached to the congregation as usual, and in the afternoon of the same day baptized three individuals. (DHC 1:see pp. 261-264)

* * *



[27]             Mob Persecutions Suffered in Jackson County

for the Sake of Christ

July 1833


The committee called upon Edward Partridge, A. S. Gilbert, John Corrill, Isaac Morley, John Whitmer, and W. W. Phelps, and demanded that they cease publishing the Star and close the printing office; and that, as the presiding elders of the “Mormon” church, they agree to move out of the county forthwith. Three months were asked for by these brethren in which to consider the proposition, and to give them time to counsel with the church authorities in Ohio; as closing a printing office and removing twelve hundred people from their homes was a work of no small moment. But this time was denied them. They asked for ten days; but that was not granted; fifteen minutes only was allowed them in which to decide. At this the conference broke up, and the mob returned to the courthouse and reported to the meeting that they had called upon the “Mormon” leaders and that they refused to give a direct answer, but asked for time to consider the propositions and to counsel with their brethren in Ohio. The meeting then resolved that the printing office be razed to the ground, and the type and press destroyed.

With demonic yells the mob surrounded the printing office and house of W. W. Phelps. Mrs. Phelps, with a sick infant in her arms, and the rest of the children, were forced out of their home, the furniture was thrown into the street and garden, the press was broken, the type pied; the revelations, bookwork and papers were nearly all destroyed or kept by the mob; and the printing office and house of W. W. Phelps were both razed to the ground. Having reduced these buildings to a mass of ruins, the mob proceeded to demolish the mercantile establishment of Gilbert, Whitney & Co., and destroy the goods; but when Mr. Gilbert assured them that the goods would be packed by the twenty-third, they desisted from their work of destruction.

[28]  The fiendish hate of the mob, however, had not yet spent its force. With horrible yells and cursings loud, they sought for the leading elders. Men, women and children ran in all directions, not knowing what would befall them. The mob caught Bishop Edward Partridge and Charles Allen, and dragged them through the maddened crowd, which insulted and abused them along the road to the public square. Here two alternatives were presented them; either they must renounce their faith in the Book of Mormon or leave the county. The Book of Mormon they would not deny, nor consent to leave the county.

Bishop Partridge, being permitted to speak, said that the saints had to suffer persecution in all ages of the world, and that he was willing to suffer for the sake of Christ, as the saints in former ages had done; that he had done nothing which ought to offend anyone, and that if they abused him, they would injure an innocent man.

Here his voice was drowned by the tumult of the crowd, many of whom were shouting: “Call upon your God to deliver you–pretty Jesus you worship!” The two brethren, Partridge and Allen, were stripped of their clothing, and bedaubed with tar, mixed with lime, or pearl-ash, or some other flesh-eating acid, and a quantity of feathers scattered over them. They bore this cruel indignity and abuse with so much resignation and meekness that the crowd grew still, and appeared astonished at what they witnessed. The brethren were permitted to retire in silence.

The outrages of this day were the more reprehensible because of the character of the leaders of the mob. In the main they were county officers–the county judge, the constables, clerks of the court, and justices of the peace; while Lilburn W. Boggs, the lieutenant-governor–who resided in Jackson County–the second officer in the state, was there quietly looking on and secretly aiding every measure of the mob–and who, walking among the ruins of the printing office and house [29] of W. W. Phelps, remarked to some of the brethren, “You now know what our Jackson boys can do, and you must leave the county!” (CHC 1:332-334)

* * *



[30]                    Saints Protected from the Mob

at Fishing River

June 1834

(As related by Joseph Smith)


It was near noon (Thursday, June 19th) when we finished our breakfast, and we passed on in fine spirits, determined to go through and meet the brethren in Clay County. We traveled but a short distance when one wagon broke down, and the wheels ran off from the others; and there seemed to be many things to hinder our progress, although we strove with all diligence to speed our way forward. This night we camped on an elevated piece of land between Little Fishing and Big Fishing Rivers, which streams were formed by seven small streams or branches.

As we halted and were making preparations for the night, five men armed with guns rode into camp and told us we should “see hell before morning,” and their accompanying oaths partook of all the malice of demons. They told us that sixty men were coming from Richmond, Ray County, and seventy more from Clay County, to join the Jackson County mob, who had sworn our utter destruction.

During this day, the Jackson County mob, to the number of about two hundred, made arrangements to cross the Missouri River, above the mouth of Fishing River, at Williams Ferry, into Clay County, and be ready to meet the Richmond mob, near Fishing River ford, for our utter destruction; but after the first scow load of about forty had been sent over the river, the scow in returning was met by a squall and had great difficulty in reaching the Jackson side by dark.

When these five men were in our camp, swearing vengeance, the wind, thunder, and rising cloud indicated an approaching storm, and in a short time after they left, the rain and hail began to fall. * [See note at end of article.] The storm was tremendous; wind and rain, hail and thunder, met them in [31] great wrath and soon softened their direful courage and frustrated all their designs “to kill Joe Smith and his army.” Instead of continuing a cannonading, which they commenced when the sun was about one hour high, they crawled under wagons, into hollow trees, and filled one old shanty till the storm was over, when their ammunition was soaked, and the forty in Clay County were extremely anxious in the morning to return to Jackson, having experienced the pitiless pelting of the storm all night; and as soon as arrangements could be made, this “forlorn hope” took the “back track” for Independence, to join the main body of the mob, fully satisfied, as were those survivors of the company who were drowned, that when Jehovah fights they would rather be absent. The gratification is too terrible.

Very little hail fell in our camp, but from half a mile to a mile around, the stones or lumps of ice cut down the crops of corn and vegetation generally, even cutting limbs from trees, while the trees themselves were twisted into withes by the wind. The lightning flashed incessantly, which caused it to be so light in our camp through the night that we could discern the most minute objects; and the roaring of the thunder was tremendous. The earth trembled and quaked, the rain fell in torrents, and united, it seemed as if the mandate of vengeance had gone forth from the God of battles to protect His servants from the destruction of their enemies, for the hail fell on them and not on us, and we suffered no harm, except the blowing down of some of our tents, and getting wet; while our enemies had holes made in their hats and otherwise received damage, even the breaking of their rifle stocks and the fleeing of their horses through fear and pain.

Many of my little band sheltered in an old meeting house through this night, and in the morning the water in Big Fishing River was about forty feet deep, where, the previous evening, it was no more than to our ankles, and our enemies swore that the water rose thirty feet in thirty minutes in the [32] Little Fishing River. They reported that one of their men was killed by lightning, and that another had his hand torn off by his horse drawing his hand between the logs of a corn crib while he was holding him on the inside. They declared that if that was the way God fought for the Mormons, they might as well go about their business.


* Note: Wilford Woodruff says that when the five men entered the camp, there was not a cloud to be seen in the whole heavens, but as the men left the camp, there was a small cloud like a black spot appeared in the north west, and it began to unroll itself like a scroll, and in a few minutes the whole heavens were covered with a pall as black as ink. This indicated a sudden storm which soon broke upon us with wind, rain, thunder and lightning and hail. Our beds were soon afloat and our tents blown down over our heads. We all fled into a Baptist meetinghouse. As the Prophet Joseph came in shaking the water from his hat and clothing, he said, “Boys, there is some meaning to this. God is in this storm.” We sang praises to God, and lay all night on benches under cover while our enemies were in the pelting storm. It was reported that the mob cavalry who fled into the schoolhouse had to hold their horses by the bridles between the logs, but when the heavy hail storm struck them, they broke away, skinning the fingers of those who were holding them. The horses fled before the storm and were not found for several days. It was reported that the captain of the company in the schoolhouse said it was a strange thing that they could do nothing against the Mormons but what there must be some hail storm or some other things to hinder their doing anything, but they did not feel disposed to acknowledge that God was fighting our battles.

(DHC 2:103-105)

* * *



[33]                            Jedediah Grant

Sees Zions Camp in Vision



In the year 1834, when Zion’s camp was moving from Kirtland to Missouri, one day I left the camp and went out to hunt in the woods of Ohio, and strayed away from the camp some 10 or 11 miles. The camp kept moving on all the time, and I entirely lost the track, and having no compass, I knew not towards what point I should travel. I kept travelling on till the after part of the day; I then concluded I would pray, but I could not get any impression where the camp was.

However, I soon after received an impression from the Spirit, the same Spirit we had in Kirtland, and the same spirit we enjoy in this place; and immediately after receiving the impression, I looked before me, and there was the camp moving on in regular order. I could see it just as clear as I did in the morning; there were the people, the wagons and horses, all in their places as I left them in the fore part of the day, and I supposed they were not more than 80 rods off.

But after turning away for a moment, I again looked in the same direction, but all was gone. Still the Spirit told me to travel on in the same direction I had seen the camp; I did so, and after travelling some 8 or 10 miles, came up with them, and when they first came in sight, they looked just as I saw them in the vision. (JD 3:9)

* * *



[34]                The Faith of a Child — Helen Kimball


(as related by Heber C. Kimball)


In the winter of 1834-35, a theological school was held in Kirtland, Ohio. It was attended by the Prophet Joseph Smith and the leading men of the Church. It was the practice at the gatherings of the members of the school for the leader to call upon certain ones to speak upon doctrinal subjects. Upon one occasion Heber C. Kimball was invited to speak upon the subject of faith. Previous speakers on the subject had discussed every phase of it from a scriptural standpoint and not wishing to repeat what had already been said, Elder Kimball related this incident as a practical illustration of faith.

“My wife, one day, when going out on a visit, gave my daughter Helen charge not to touch the dishes, for if she broke any during her absence, she would give her a whipping when she returned. While my wife was absent, my daughter broke a number of dishes by letting the table leaf fall; and then she went out under an apple tree and prayed that her mother’s heart might be softened, that when she returned she might not whip her. Her mother was very punctual, when she made a promise to her children, to fulfil it; and when she returned, she undertook, as a duty, to carry this promise into effect.

“She retired with her into her room, but found herself powerless to chastise her; her heart was so softened that it was impossible for her to raise her hand against the child. Afterwards, Helen told her mother she had prayed to the Lord that she might not whip her.”

The speaker paused in his simple narrative. Tears glistened in the eyes of his hearers; the Prophet Joseph was weeping like a child. He told the brethren that that was the kind of faith they needed; the faith of a little child. (taken from Life of Heber C. Kimball, O. F. Whitney, and recorded in Stories of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, Edwin F. Parry, pp. 69-71)



[35]                       The Heavens Were Opened

Kirtland, Ohio

January 21, 1836

(as related by Joseph Smith)


The Presidency then took the seat in their turn, according to their age, beginning at the oldest, and received their anointing and blessing under the hands of Father Smith. And in my turn, my father anointed my head, and sealed upon me the blessings of Moses, to lead Israel in the latter days, even as Moses led him in days of old; also the blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. All of the Presidency laid their hands upon me, and pronounced upon my head many prophecies and blessings, many of which I shall not notice at this time.

The heavens were opened before us, and I beheld the celestial kingdom of God, and the glory thereof, whether in the body or out I cannot tell. I saw the transcendent beauty of the gate through which the heirs of that kingdom will enter, which was like unto circling flames of fire; also the blazing throne of God, whereon were seated the Father and the Son. I saw the beautiful streets of that kingdom, which had the appearance of being paved with gold. I saw Fathers Adam and Abraham, and my father and mother, my brother, Alvin, that has long since slept, and marveled how it was that he had obtained an inheritance in that kingdom, seeing that he had departed this life before the Lord had set His hand to gather Israel the second time, and had not been baptized for the remission of sins. Thus came the voice of the Lord unto me, saying:

“All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God; also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom, for I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desires of their hearts.”

[36]  And I also beheld that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability, are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven. I saw the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb, who are now upon the earth, who hold the keys of this last ministry, in foreign lands, standing together in a circle, much fatigued, with their clothes tattered and feet swollen, with their eyes cast downward, and Jesus standing in their midst, and they did not behold Him. The Savior looked upon them and wept.

I also beheld Elder M’Lellin in the south, standing upon a hill, surrounded by a vast multitude, preaching to them, and a lame man standing before him supported by his crutches; he threw them down at his word and leaped as a hart, by the mighty power of God.

Also, I saw Elder Brigham Young standing in a strange land, in the far south and west, in a desert place, upon a rock in the midst of about a dozen men of color, who appeared hostile. He was preaching to them in their own tongue, and the angel of God standing above his head, with a drawn sword in his hand, protecting him, but he did not see it. And I finally saw the Twelve in the celestial kingdom of God. I also beheld the redemption of Zion, and many things which the tongue of man cannot describe in full.

Many of my brethren who received the ordinance with me saw glorious visions also. Angels ministered unto them as well as to myself, and the power of the Highest rested upon us, the house was filled with the glory of God, and we shouted Hosanna to God and the Lamb. My scribe also received his anointing with us, and saw, in a vision, the armies of heaven protecting the Saints in their return to Zion, and many things which I saw.

The Bishop of Kirtland with his Counselors, and the Bishop of Zion with his Counselors, were present with us, and received their anointings under the hands of Father Smith, and this was confirmed by the Presidency, and the glories of heaven were unfolded to them.

[37]  We then invited the High Councilors of Kirtland and Zion into our room, and President Hyrum Smith anointed the head of the President of the Councilors in Kirtland, and President David Whitmer, the head of the President of the Councilors of Zion. The President of each quorum then anointed the heads of his colleagues each in his turn, beginning at the oldest. The visions of heaven were opened to them also. Some of them saw the face of the Savior, and others were ministered unto by holy angels, and the spirit of prophecy and revelation was poured out in mighty power; and loud Hosannas, and glory to God in the highest, saluted the heavens, for we all communed with the heavenly hosts. And I saw in my vision all of the Presidency in the celestial kingdom of God and many others that were present. Our meeting was opened by singing, and prayer was offered by the head of each quorum; and closed by singing, and invoking the benediction of heaven, with uplifted hands. Retired between one and two o’clock in the morning. (DHC 2:380-382)

* * *



[38]                         Majesty at Midnight

in the Richmond Jail

November 1838

(as related by Parley P. Pratt)


It may not be out of place to give Parley P. Pratt’s vivid description of a night’s experience in jail with the Prophet. It occurred in Richmond, Missouri, in November, 1838. The prisoners, seven in number, were chained together and guarded by “the most noisy, foul-mouthed, vulgar, disgraceful rabble that ever defiled the earth.”

“In one of those tedious nights,” writes Elder Pratt, “we had lain as if in sleep till the hour of midnight had passed and our ears and hearts had been pained, while we had listened for hours to the obscene jests, the horrid oaths, the dreadful blasphemous and filthy language of our guards, Colonel Price at their head, as they recounted to each other their deeds of murder, robbery, etc., which they had committed among the `Mormons’ while at Far West and vicinity. . . .

“I had listened till I became so disgusted, shocked, horrified and so filled with the spirit of indignant justice that I could scarcely refrain from rising upon my feet and rebuking the guards; but had said nothing to Joseph, or anyone else, although I lay next to him and knew he was awake. On a sudden he arose to his feet, and spoke in a voice of thunder, or as the roaring lion, uttering, as near as I can recollect, the following words:

“`SILENCE, ye fiends of the infernal pit! In the name of Jesus Christ I rebuke you, and command you to be still; I will not live another minute and hear such language. Cease such talk or you or I die this INSTANT!’


“He ceased to speak. He stood erect in terrible majesty. Chained and without a weapon; calm, unruffled and dignified as an angel, he looked upon the quailing guards, whose weapons were lowered or dropped to the ground; whose knees [39] smote together, and who, shrinking into a corner, or crouching at his feet, begged his pardon, and remained quiet till a change of guards.

“I have seen the ministers of justice, clothed in magisterial robes and criminals arraigned before them, while life was suspended on a breath, in the courts of England; I have witnessed a congress in solemn session to give laws to nations; I have tried to conceive of kings, or royal courts, or thrones and crowns; and of emperors, assembled to decide the fate of kingdoms; but dignity and majesty have I seen but once, as it stood in chains at midnight, in a dungeon in an obscure village of Missouri.” (Stories about Joseph Smith, Parry, pp. 83-86)

* * *



[40]                    Joseph Smith Is Guided Through

the Experiences at Liberty Jail

Missouri — 1839

(Two Letters from Alexander McRae)


Oct. 9, 1854

Mr. Editor:

In reading the History of Joseph Smith as published in the News last winter, and especially that part of it which relates to his imprisonment in Liberty Jail, Missouri, I see there are many interesting facts which are omitted; and as I had the honor of being a fellow prisoner with him, I thought I would write some of those incidents for the satisfaction of any of your readers who may feel interested in them.

During our imprisonment, we had many visitors, both friends and enemies. Among the latter, many were angry with Brother Joseph, and accused him of killing a son, a brother, or some relative of theirs, at what was called the Crooked River Battle. This looked rather strange to me, that so many should claim a son, or a brother killed there, when they reported only one man killed.

Among our friends who visited us, were Presidents Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball [now–i.e., at the time this letter was written, 1854], of the First Presidency–the latter several times; George A. Smith, of the quorum of the Twelve; Don C. Smith, brother of Joseph, came several times, and brought some of our families to see us. Benjamin Covey, Bishop of the Twelfth Ward of this city, brought each of us a new pair of boots, and made us a present of them. James Sloan, his wife and daughter, came several times. Alanson Ripley also visited us, and many others, whom to name would be too tedious. Orin P. Rockwell brought us refreshments many times; and Jane Bleven and her daughter brought cakes, pies, etc., and handed them in at the window. These things [41] helped us much, as our food was very coarse, and so filthy that we could not eat it until we were driven to it by hunger.

After we had been there some time, and had tried every means we could to obtain our liberty by the law, without effect (except Sidney Rigdon who was bailed out), and also having heard, from a reliable source, that it had been stated in the public street, by the most influential men in that part of the country, that “the Mormon prisoners would have to be condemned or the character of the state would have to go down,” we came to the conclusion that we would try other means to effect it.

Accordingly, on the 7th day of February, 1839, after counseling together on the subject we concluded to try to go that evening when the jailor came with our supper; but Brother Hyrum, before deciding fully, and to make it more sure, asked Brother Joseph to inquire of the Lord as to the propriety of the move. He did so, and received answer to this effect–that if we were all agreed, we could go clear that evening; and if we would ask, we should have a testimony for ourselves. I immediately asked, and had not no more than asked, until I received as clear a testimony as ever I did of anything in my life, that it was true. Brother Hyrum Smith and Caleb Baldwin bore testimony to the same; but Lyman Wight said we might go if we chose, but he would not. After talking with him for some time, he said, “if we would wait until the next day, he would go with us.” Without thinking we had no promise of success on any other day than the one above stated, we agreed to wait.

When night came, the jailer came alone with our supper, threw the door wide open, put our supper on the table, and went to the back part of the room, where a pile of books lay, took up a book, and went to reading, leaving us between him and the door, thereby giving us every chance to go if we had been ready. As the next day was agreed upon, we made no attempt to go that evening.

[42]  When the next evening came, the case was very different; the jailer brought a double guard with him, and with them six of our brethren, to-wit: Erastus Snow, William D. Huntington, Cyrus Daniels, David Holeman, Alanson Ripley and Watson Barlow. I was afterwards informed that they were sent by the Church. The jailer seemed to be badly scared; he had the door locked and everything made secure. It looked like a bad chance to get away, but we were determined to try it; so when the jailer started out, we started too. Brother Hyrum took hold of the door, and the rest followed; but before we were able to render him the assistance he needed, the jailer and guard succeeded in closing the door, shutting the brethren in with us, except Cyrus Daniels, who was on the outside.

As soon as the attempt was made inside, he took two of the guards, one under each arm, and ran down the stairs that led to the door, it being in the second story. When he reached the ground, they got away from him; and seeing we had failed to get out, he started to run, but put his foot in a hole and fell, a bullet from one of the guards passed very close to his head, and he thinks the fall saved his life.

The scene that followed this defies description. I should judge, from the number, that all the town, and many from the country, gathered around the jail, and every mode of torture and death that their imagination could fancy, was proposed for us, such as blowing up the jail, taking us out and whipping us to death, shooting us, burning us to death, tearing us to pieces with horses, etc. But they were so divided among themselves that they could not carry out any of their plans, and we escaped unhurt.

During this time, some of our brethren spoke of our being in great danger; and I confess I felt that we were. But Brother Joseph told them “not to fear, that not a hair of their heads should be hurt, and that they should not lose any of their things, even to a bridle, saddle, or blanket; that everything should be restored to them; they had offered their lives for us [43] and the Gospel; that it was necessary the Church should offer a sacrifice, and the Lord accepted the offering.”

The brethren had next to undergo a trial, but the excitement was so great that they [the officers] dare not take them out until it abated a little. While they were waiting for their trial, some of the brethren employed lawyers to defend them. Brother [Erastus] Snow asked Brother Joseph whether he had better employ a lawyer or not. Brother Joseph told him to plead his own case. “But,” said Brother Snow, “I do not understand the law.” Brother Joseph asked him if he did not understand justice; he thought he did. “Well,” said Brother Joseph, “go and plead for justice as hard as you can, and quote Blackstone and other authors now and then, and they will take it all for law.”

He did as he was told, and the result was as Joseph had said it would be; for when he got through his plea, the lawyers flocked around him, and asked him where he had studied law, and said they had never heard a better plea. When the trial was over, Brother Snow was discharged, and all the rest were held to bail, and were allowed to bail each other, by Brother Snow going bail with them; and they said they got everything that was taken from them, and nothing was lost, although no two articles were in one place. More anon. Yours respectfully,

Alexander McRae

(DHC 3:256-258)

Second Letter


Nov. 1, 1854

Mr. Editor:

Sometime during our stay in Liberty Jail an attempt was made to destroy us by poison. I supposed it was administered in either tea or coffee, but as I did not use either, I escaped unhurt, while all who did were sorely afflicted, some being blind two or three days, and it was only by much faith and prayer that the effect was overcome.

[44]  We never suffered ourselves to go into any important measure without asking Brother Joseph to inquire of the Lord in relation to it. Such was our confidence in him as a Prophet, that when he said, “Thus saith the Lord,” we were confident it would be as he said; and the more we tried it, the more confidence we had, for we never found his word fail in a SINGLE instance.

A short time before we were to go to Daviess County for trial, word came to us that either General Atchison or Doniphan would raise a military force, and go with us to protect us from the wrath of that people. The matter was discussed by the brethren (except Brother Joseph), and they naturally enough concluded it would be best; and although I had nothing to say, I concurred with them in my feelings. Brother Hyrum asked Brother Joseph what he thought of it. Brother Joseph hung his head a few moments, and seemed in a deep study, and then raised up and said, “Brother Hyrum, it will not do; we must trust in the Lord; if we take a guard with us, we shall be destroyed.”

This was very unexpected to us, but Brother Hyrum remarked, “If you say it in the name of the Lord, we will rely on it.” Said Brother Joseph, “In the name of the Lord, if we take a guard with us, we will be destroyed; but if we put our trust in the Lord, we shall be safe, and no harm shall befall us, and we shall be better treated than we have ever been since we have been prisoners.”

This settled the question, and all seemed satisfied, and it was decided that we should have no extra guard, and they had only such a guard as they chose for our safe keeping. When we arrived at the place where the court was held, I began to think he was mistaken for once, for the people rushed upon us en masse, crying, “Kill them; ___ ___ them, kill them!” I could see no chance for escape, unless we could fight our way through, and we had nothing to do it with. At this, Brother Joseph, at whom all seemed to rush, rose up and said, “We are [45] in your hands; if we are guilty, we refuse not to be punished by the law.” Hearing these words, two of the most bitter mobocrats in the country–one by the name of William Peniston and the other Kinney, or McKinney, I do not remember which–got up on benches and began to speak to the people, saying, “Yes, gentlemen, these men are in our hands; let us not use violence, but let the law have its course; the law will condemn them, and they will be punished by it. We do not want the disgrace of taking the law into our own hands.”

In a very few minutes they were quieted, and they seemed now as friendly as they had a few minutes before been enraged. Liquor was procured, and we all had to drink in token of friendship. This took place in the court-room (a small log cabin about twelve feet square), during the adjournment of the court; and from that time until we got away, they could not put a guard over us who would not become so friendly that they dare not trust them, and the guard was very frequently changed. We were seated at the first table with the judge, lawyers, etc., and had the best the country afforded, with feather beds to sleep on–a privilege we had not before enjoyed in all our imprisonment.

On one occasion, while we were there, the above-named William Peniston, partly in joke and partly in earnest, threw out a rather hard insinuation against some of the brethren. This touched Joseph’s feelings, and he retorted a good deal in the same way, only with such power that the earth seemed to tremble under his feet, and said, “Your heart is as black as your whiskers,” which were as black as any crow. He seemed to quake under it and left the room.

The guards, who had become friendly, were alarmed for our safety, and exclaimed, “O, Mr. Smith, do not talk so; you will bring trouble upon yourself and companions.” Brother Joseph replied, “Do not be alarmed; I know what I am about.” He always took up for the brethren, when their characters were [46] assailed, sooner than for himself, no matter how unpopular it was to speak in their favor. Yours as ever,

Alexander McRae

(DHC 3:258-259)

* * *



[47]                       Joseph Smith Spared from

Armed Men at Far West

Far West, Missouri — Late 1830’s

(as related by Lucy Mack Smith)


This story, told by the mother of the Prophet in her History of the Prophet Joseph, confirms what his friends have said–that whenever he had an opportunity of conversing with his enemies, he could generally win them over and make them friendly.

The scene is in Far West, Missouri, shortly after Joseph’s parents moved to that ill-fated town. Some trouble had occurred at an election in Gallatin, Daviess County, during which several of the mob were hurt. At once assistance was called for to punish the “Mormons” and especially their leader, the Prophet, whom it was falsely reported had killed seven men on election day. The remainder of the story is given as related by his mother:

“A few days subsequent to this, Joseph was at our house writing a letter. While he was thus engaged, I stepped to the door, and looking towards the prairie, I beheld a large company of armed men advancing towards the city, but as I supposed it to be training day, said nothing about it. “Presently the main body came to a halt. The officers dismounting, eight of them came into the house. Thinking they had come for some refreshment, I offered them chairs, but they refused to be seated, and placing themselves in a line across the floor, continued standing. I again requested them to sit, but they replied, `We do not choose to sit down; we have come here to kill Joe Smith and all the Mormons.’

“`Ah,’ said I, `what has Joseph Smith done, that you should want to kill him?’

“`He has killed seven men in Daviess County,’ replied the foremost, `and we have come to kill him and all his Church.’

[48]  “`He has not been in Daviess County,’ I answered. `Consequently the report must be false. Furthermore, if you should see him, you would not want to kill him.’

“`There is no doubt but that the report is perfectly correct,’ rejoined the officer; `it came straight to us, and I believe it; and we were sent to kill the Prophet and all who believe in him, and I’ll be d___d if I don’t execute my orders.’

“`I suppose,’ said I, `you intend to kill me with the rest?’

“`Yes, we do,’ returned the officer.

“`Very well,’ I continued, `I want you to act the gentleman about it, and do the job quick. Just shoot me down at once, then I shall be at rest; but I should not like to be murdered by inches.’

“`There it is again,’ said he. `You tell a Mormon that you will kill him, and they will always tell you, `that is nothing–if you kill us, we shall be happy.'”

“Joseph, just at this moment finished his letter, and, seeing that he was at liberty, I said, `Gentlemen, suffer me to make you acquainted with Joseph Smith the Prophet.’ They stared at him as if he were a spectre. He smiled, and stepping towards them, gave each of them his hand, in a manner which convinced them that he was neither a guilty criminal nor yet a hypocrite.

“Joseph then sat down and explained to them the views, feelings, etc., of the Church, and what their course had been; besides the treatment which they had received from their enemies since the first. He also argued, that if any of the brethren had broken the law, they ought to be tried by the law, before anyone else was molested. After talking with them some time in this way, he said, `Mother, I believe I will go home now–Emma will be expecting me.’ At this, two of the men sprang to their feet, and declared that he should not go alone, as it would be unsafe–that they would go with him in order to protect him. Accordingly the three left together, and, during [49] their absence, I overheard the following conversation among the officers who remained at the door:

“First Officer: `Did you not feel strangely when Smith took you by the hand? I never felt so in my life.’

“Second Officer: `I could not move. I would not harm a hair of that man’s head for the whole world.’

“Third Officer: `This is the last time you will catch me coming to kill Joe Smith, or the Mormons either.’

“First Officer: `I guess this is about my last expedition against this place. I never saw a more harmless, innocent appearing man than the Mormon Prophet.’

“Second Officer: `That story about his killing them men is all a d___d lie–there is no doubt of it; and we have had all this trouble for nothing; but they will never fool me in this way again, I’ll warrant them.’

“The men who went home with my son promised to disband the militia under them and go home, which they accordingly did, and we supposed that peace was again restored. After they were gone, Joseph and Hyrum went to Daviess County, and, receiving the strongest assurances from the civil officers of the county that equal rights should be administered to all parties, they returned, hoping that all would be well.” (Stories about Joseph Smith, Parry, pp. 75-80)

* * *



[50]                     Brigham and Heber Sacrifice

to Serve Mission in Europe

Nauvoo, Illinois — 1839


August 4th [1839], being Sunday, the Saints met to partake of the sacrament, and received an exhortation from the Prophet Joseph, impressing upon them the necessity of being righteous and clean of heart before the Lord. He also commanded the Twelve to go forth without purse or scrip, according to the revelations of Jesus Christ. * * *

September came, and the Apostles prepared to take leave of their families and friends and depart on their mission to Europe. Again the evil one laid his plans to circumvent them. As he once afflicted righteous Job, striving to overthrow his trust in God, he now sought by similar means to undermine the faith and integrity of these latter-day servants of the Lord. but his efforts were unavailing; he had the same class of spirits to contend with as in days of old; men who could say with the patient man of Uz, though bowed in sorrow and humiliation: “I know that my Redeemer liveth,” and “though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.”

“September 14th,” says Heber, “President Brigham Young left his home at Montrose to start on the mission to England. He was so sick that he was unable to go to the Mississippi, a distance of thirty rods, without assistance. After he had crossed the river, he rode behind Israel Barlow on his horse to my house, where he continued sick until the 18th. He left his wife sick with a babe only three weeks old, and all his other children were sick and unable to wait upon each other. Not one soul of them was able to go to the well for a pail of water, and they were without a second suit to their backs, for the mob in Missouri had taken nearly all he had. On the 17th, Sister Mary Ann Young got a boy to carry her up in his wagon to my house, that she might nurse and comfort Brother Brigham to the hour of starting.

[51]  “September 18th, Charles Hubbard sent his boy with a wagon and span of horses to my house; our trunks were put into the wagon by some brethren; I went to my bed and shook hands with my wife who was then shaking with a chill, having two children lying sick by her side; I embraced her and my children, and bade them farewell. My only well child was little Heber P., and it was with difficulty he could carry a couple of quarts of water at a time, to assist in quenching their thirst.

“It was with difficulty we got into the wagon, and started down the hill about ten rods; it appeared to me as though my very inmost parts would melt within me at leaving my family in such a condition, as it were almost in the arms of death. I felt as though I could not endure it. I asked the teamster to stop, and said to Brother Brigham, `This is pretty tough, isn’t it; let’s rise up and give them a cheer.’ We arose, and swinging our hats three times over our heads, shouted: `Hurrah, hurrah for Israel.’ Vilate, hearing the noise, arose from her bed and came to the door. She had a smile on her face. Vilate and Mary Ann Young cried out to us: `Goodbye, God bless you.’ We returned the compliment, and then told the driver to go ahead.

“After this I felt a spirit of joy and gratitude, having had the satisfaction of seeing my wife standing upon her feet, instead of leaving her in bed, knowing well that I should not see them again for two or three years.” (Life of Heber C. Kimball, Orson F. Whitney, pp. 264-266)

* * *



[52]                      Heber C. Kimball Overcomes

the Power of the Adversary

Preston, England — July 1837

(as related by Heber C. Kimball)


Sunday, July 30th (1837), about daybreak, Elder Isaac Russell (who had been appointed to preach on the obelisk in Preston Square that day), who slept with Elder Richards in Wilfred Street, came up to the third story, where Elder Hyde and myself were sleeping, and called out, `Brother Kimball, I want you should get up and pray for me that I may be delivered from the evil spirits that are tormenting me to such a degree that I feel I cannot live long, unless I obtain relief.’

I had been sleeping on the back of the bed. I immediately arose, slipped off at the foot of the bed, and passed around to where he was. Elder Hyde threw his feet out, and sat up in the bed, and we laid hands on him, I being mouth, and prayed that the Lord would have mercy on him, and rebuked the devil.

“While thus engaged, I was struck with great force by some invisible power, and fell senseless on the floor. The first thing I recollected was being supported by Elders Hyde and Richards, who were praying for me; Elder Richards having followed Russell up to my room. Elder Hyde and Richards then assisted me to get on the bed, but my agony was so great I could not endure it, and I arose, bowed my knees and prayed. I then arose and sat up on the bed, when a vision was opened to our minds, and we could distinctly see the evil spirits, who foamed and gnashed their teeth at us.

We gazed upon them about an hour and a half (by Willard’s watch). We were not looking towards the window, but towards the wall. Space appeared before us, and we saw the devils coming in legions, with their leaders, who came within a few feet of us. They came towards us like armies rushing to battle. They appeared to be men of full stature, possessing every form and feature of men in the flesh, who were angry and desperate; and I shall never forget the [53] vindictive malignity depicted on their countenances as they looked me in the eye; and any attempt to paint the scene which then presented itself, or portray their malice and enmity, would be vain. I perspired exceedingly, my clothes becoming as wet as if I had been taken out of the river. I felt excessive pain, and was in the greatest distress for some time. I cannot even look back on the scene without feelings of horror; yet by it I learned the power of the adversary, his enmity against the servants of God, and got some understanding of the invisible world. We distinctly heard those spirits talk and express their wrath and hellish designs against us. However, the Lord delivered us from them, and blessed us exceedingly that day.”

Elder Hyde’s supplemental description of that fearful scene is as follows, taken from a letter addressed to President Kimball:

“Every circumstance that occurred at that scene of devils is just as fresh in my recollection at this moment as it was at the moment of its occurrence, and will ever remain so. After you were overcome by them and had fallen, their awful rush upon me with knives, threats, imprecations and hellish grins, amply convinced me that they were no friends of mine. While you were apparently senseless and lifeless on the floor and upon the bed (after we had laid you there), I stood between you and the devils and fought them and contended with them face to face, until they began to diminish in number and to retreat from the room. The last imp that left turned `round to me as he was going out and said, as if to apologize, and appease my determined opposition to them, `I never said anything against you!’ I replied to him thus: `It matters not to me whether you have or have not; you are a liar from the beginning! In the name of Jesus Christ, depart!’ He immediately left, and the room was clear. That closed the scene of devils for that time.”

Years later, narrating the experience of that awful morning to the Prophet Joseph, Heber asked him what it all meant, and whether there was anything wrong with him that he should have such a manifestation.

[54]  “No, Brother Heber,” he replied, “at that time you were nigh unto the Lord; there was only a veil between you and Him, but you could not see Him. When I heard of it, it gave me great joy, for I then knew that the work of God had taken root in that land. It was this that caused the devil to make a struggle to kill you.”

Joseph then related some of his own experience, in many contests he had had with the evil one, and said: “The nearer a person approaches the Lord, a greater power will be manifested by the adversary to prevent the accomplishment of His purposes.”

An answer this, for the unbelieving and sophistical, who argue, with the shallow reasoning of Job’s comforters, that they have sinned most who suffer most, and are ever ready to ascribe spiritual manifestations, good or evil, to madness, drunkenness or imbecility. It is needful, we are told, to experience opposites, to be enabled to choose intelligently between them; and to those who have this experience, and who “take the Holy Spirit for their guide,” the way to judge is as plain “as the daylight from the dark night.” * * *

So was it with the Apostles and Elders in Preston, after their terrible encounter with the powers of evil, at Sunday day-break, July 30, 1837. The Spirit of the Lord, with peace and joy that “passeth understanding,” dawned with the Sabbath sun upon their souls. They had tasted of the bitter, and would thenceforth more fully know the sweet; encompassed about by “the horror of darkness,” they hailed with ecstacy till then unknown, the glory of the golden morn. (Life of Heber C. Kimball, Orson F. Whitney, pp. 129-132)

* * *



[55]                            Brigham Young,

Ardent Supporter and Successor of Joseph Smith



Of all the men who were raised up as friends to the Prophet Joseph Smith, there was none more ardent, nor constant in his friendship for him, than the man who became his successor–President Brigham Young.

President Young was baptized April 14th, 1832; and, the same month, in company with Heber C. Kimball, and his brother, Joseph Young, he started for Kirtland, to see the Prophet. On arriving at Kirtland, they found him and several of his brothers, in the woods, chopping and hauling wood.

Of this meeting, President Young says:

“Here my joy was full, at the privilege of shaking hands with the Prophet of God, and receiving the sure testimony by the Spirit of prophesy, that he was all that any man could believe him to be, as a true Prophet. He was happy to see us, and bade us welcome. In the evening, a few of the brethren came in, and we conversed together upon the things of the kingdom. He called upon me to pray. In my prayer, I spoke in tongues. As soon as we arose from our knees, the brethren flocked around him, and asked him his opinion concerning the gift of tongues that was upon me. He told them it was the Adamic language. Some said to him, they expected he would condemn the gift, but he said `no, it is of God; and the time will come when Brother Brigham Young will preside over this Church.’ The latter part of this conversation was in my absence.”

In the Fall and Winter of 1832, there was a terrible spirit of apostasy manifested at Kirtland; and on one occasion several of the Twelve, the witnesses of the Book of Mormon and other leading Elders in the Church met in council, in one of the upper rooms of the Temple, and discussed the question of how the Prophet Joseph could be deposed and David Whitmer, one of the three special witnesses to the Book of Mormon, be [56] chosen President of the Church. President Young was at that council, but remained steadfast in his loyalty to the absent prophet. He thus describes the part he took on that occasion:

“I arose and told them in a plain and forcible manner that Joseph was a prophet, and I knew it; and that they might rail at and slander him as they pleased, they could not destroy the appointment of the prophet of God; they could only destroy their own authority, cut the thread which bound them to the prophet and to God, and sink themselves to hell. Many were highly enraged at my decided opposition to their measures, and Jacob Bump, an old pugilist, was so exasperated that he could not be still. Some of the brethren near him put their hands on him, and requested him to be quiet; but he writhed and twisted his arms and body, saying, `how can I keep my hands off that man?’ I told him if he thought it would give him any relief, he might lay them on. The meeting was broken up without the apostates being able to unite on any decided measure of opposition.”

“This was a crisis when earth and hell seemed leagued to overthrow the prophet and Church of God. The knees of many of the strongest men in the Church faltered.

“During this siege of darkness, I stood close by Joseph, and with all the wisdom and power God bestowed upon me, put forth my utmost energies to sustain the servant of God, and unite the quorums of the Church.

“Ascertaining that a plot was laid to waylay Joseph for the purpose of taking his life, on his return from Monroe, Michigan, to Kirtland, I procured a horse and buggy, and took brother William Smith along to meet Joseph, whom we met returning in the stage coach. Joseph requested William to take his seat in the stage, and he rode with me in the buggy. We arrived in Kirtland in safety.”

The spirit of apostasy continued to rage in and around Kirtland, however, until President Young, as well as the prophet Joseph and Sidney Rigdon, had to flee for their lives.

[57]  “On the morning of December 22nd (1837),” says President Young, “I left Kirtland, in consequence of the fury of the mob, and the spirit that prevailed in the apostates, who threatened to destroy me because I would proclaim, publicly and privately, that I knew, by the power of the Holy Ghost, that Joseph Smith was a prophet of the Most High God, and had not transgressed and fallen as apostates declared.”

At Dublin, Indiana, the prophet Joseph and Sidney Rigdon came up to him. They were without means, and Joseph sought employment at cutting and sawing wood. Failing in that he went to President Young and said: “Brother Brigham, I am destitute of means to pursue my journey, and as you are one of the Twelve Apostles, who hold the keys of the Kingdom in all the world, I believe I shall throw myself upon you, and look to you for counsel in this case.”

“At first I could hardly believe Joseph was in earnest,” says President Young, “but on his assuring me he was, I said, `If you will take my counsel it will be that you rest yourself, and be assured, brother Joseph, you shall have plenty of money to pursue your journey.'”

A few days after this a brother Tomlinson sold a tavern, and out of the money he received for it, he gave the prophet three hundred dollars, which enabled him to continue his journey to Far West.

Through the trying times at Far West, in the fall of 1838, no less than in Kirtland in 1836-7, Brigham Young continued the steadfast friend of the Prophet Joseph. And of their meeting, after the escape of the Prophet from Liberty Jail, he says:

“It was one of the most joyful scenes of my life to once more strike hands with the Prophet, and behold him and his companions free from the hands of their enemies. Joseph conversed with us like a man who had just escaped from a thousand oppressions, and was now free in the midst of his children.”

[58]  After his death, no less than during his life-time, President Young continued to uphold and sustain Joseph, his prophetic and moral character, as the valiant servant of God, and the honored instrument chosen of Him to open up a glorious dispensation of the Gospel to the children of men; the keys of which, President Young always represented the Prophet as still holding, though laboring, for the time being, in another sphere:

“You may say Joseph was a devil, if you like, but he is at home, and still holds the keys of the kingdom, which were committed to him by heavenly messengers, and always will. Do you ask who brother Brigham is? He is an humble instrument in the hands of God, to keep His people in the path he has marked out through the instrumentality of his servant Joseph; and to travel in which is all I ask of them. * * * I wish to see this people [the Latter-day Saints] fulfil in every particular what Joseph told them to do, and build up the kingdom of God. And this they are doing.”

“Joseph Smith, the honored instrument in the hands of God to lay the foundation of this work, commenced with nothing; he had neither the wisdom nor the riches of this world.” (Contributor X:I, Nov. 1888, pp. 1-2)

* * *



[59]                    Healing of the Sick in Nauvoo

July 1839


In consequence of the persecutions of the Saints in Missouri, and the exposures to which they were subjected, many of them were taken sick soon after their arrival at Commerce, afterwards called Nauvoo; and as there was but a small number of dwellings for them to occupy, Joseph had filled his house and tent with them, and through constantly attending to their wants, he soon fell sick himself. After being confined to his house several days, and while meditating upon his situation, he had a great desire to attend to the duties of his office. On the morning of the 22nd of July, 1839, he arose from his bed and commenced to administer to the sick in his own house and door-yard, and he commanded them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to arise and be made whole; and the sick were healed upon every side of him.

Many lay sick along the bank of the river; Joseph walked along up to the lower stone house, occupied by Sidney Rigdon, and he healed all the sick that lay in his path. Among the number was Henry G. Sherwood, who was nigh unto death. Joseph stood in the door of his tent and commanded him in the name of Jesus Christ to arise and come out of his tent, and he obeyed him and was healed. Brother Benjamin Brown and his family also lay sick, the former appearing to be in a dying condition. Joseph healed them in the name of the Lord. After healing all that lay sick upon the bank of the river as far as the stone house, he called upon Elder Kimball and some others to accompany him across the river to visit the sick at Montrose. Many of the Saints were living at the old military barracks. Among the number were several of the Twelve. On his arrival the first house he visited was that occupied by Elder Brigham Young, the President of the Quorum of the Twelve, who lay sick. Joseph healed him, then he arose and accompanied the Prophet on his visit to others who were in the same condition. They visited Elder Wilford [60] Woodruff, also Elders Orson Pratt, and John Taylor, all of whom were living in Montrose. They also accompanied him.

The next place they visited was the home of Elijah Fordham, who was supposed to be about breathing his last. When the company entered the room, the Prophet of God walked up to the dying man and took hold of his right hand and spoke to him; but Brother Fordham was unable to speak, his eyes were set in his head like glass, and he seemed entirely unconscious of all around him. Joseph held his hand and looked into his eyes in silence for a length of time. A change in the countenance of Brother Fordham was soon perceptible to all present. His sight returned, and upon Joseph asking him if he knew him, he, in a low whisper, answered, `Yes.’ Joseph asked him if he had faith to be healed. He answered, `I fear it is too late; if you had come sooner I think I would have been healed.’ The Prophet said, `Do you believe in Jesus Christ?’ He answered in a feeble voice, `I do.’ Joseph then stood erect, still holding his hand in silence several moments. Then he spoke in a very loud voice, saying, `Brother Fordham, I command you, in the name of Jesus Christ, to arise from this bed and be made whole.’ His voice was like the voice of God, and not of man. It seemed as though the house shook to its very foundations. Brother Fordham arose from his bed, and was immediately made whole. His feet were bound in poultices which he kicked off; then putting on his clothes he ate a bowl of bread and milk and followed the Prophet into the street.

The company next visited Brother Joseph Bates Noble, who lay very sick. He also was healed by the Prophet. By this time the wicked became alarmed and followed the company into Brother Noble’s house. After Noble was healed, all kneeled down to pray. Brother Fordham was mouth, and while praying he fell to the floor. The Prophet arose, and on looking around he saw quite a number of unbelievers in the house, whom he ordered out. When the room was cleared of the wicked, Brother Fordham came to and finished his prayer.

[61]  After healing the sick in Montrose, all the company followed Joseph to the bank of the river, where he was going to take the boat to return home. While waiting for the boat, a man from the West, who had seen that the sick and dying were healed, asked Joseph if he would not go to his house and heal two of his children who were very sick. They were twins and were three months old. Joseph told the man he could not go, but he would send someone to heal them. He told Elder Woodruff to go with the man and heal his children. At the same time he took from his pocket a silk bandanna hand-kerchief, and gave to Brother Woodruff, telling him to wipe the faces of the children with it, and they should be healed; and remarked at the same time: “As long as you keep that handkerchief, it shall remain a league between you and me.” Elder Woodruff did as he was commanded, and the children were healed, and he keeps the handkerchief to this day.

There were many sick whom Joseph could not visit, so he counseled the Twelve to go and visit and heal them, and many were healed under their hands. On the day following that upon which the above-described events took place, Joseph sent Elders George A. and Don Carlos Smith up the river to heal the sick. They went up as far as Ebenezer Robinson’s–one or two miles–and did as they were commanded, and the sick were healed. (Leaves from my Journal, Wilford Woodruff, Chap. XIX, as recorded in DHC 4:3-5, footnote)

* * *



[62]            Joseph and Brigham Use Their Priesthood Power

to Protect Others

November 1839


Tuesday, 26–At one in the afternoon, Elder Brigham Young and company went on board the steamer Columbus, at Fairport, and went on towards Buffalo.

Wednesday, 27–About 1 o’clock this morning the wind arose, when Elder Brigham Young went on deck, prayed to the Father in the name of Jesus, when he felt to command the wind and the waves to cease, and permit them to proceed on their journey in safety. The winds abated, and he gave glory, honor, and praise to the God who rules all things. Arriving in Buffalo in the morning, they took the stage for Batavia.

While on the mountains some distance from Washington, our coachman stepped into a public house to take his grog, when the horses took fright and ran down the hill at full speed. I [Joseph Smith] persuaded my fellow travelers to be quiet and retain their seats, but had to hold one woman to prevent her throwing her infant out of the coach. The passengers were exceedingly agitated, but I used every persuasion to calm their feelings; and opening the door, I secured my hold on the side of the coach the best way I could, and succeeded in placing myself in the coachman’s seat, and reining up the horses, after they had run some two or three miles, and neither coach, horses, or passengers received any injury. My course was spoken of in the highest terms of commendation, as being one of the most daring and heroic deeds, and no language could express the gratitude of the passengers, when they found themselves safe, and the horses quiet. There were some members of Congress with us, who proposed naming the incident to that body, believing they would reward such conduct by some public act; but on inquiring my name, to mention as the author of their safety, and finding it to be [63] Joseph Smith the “Mormon Prophet,” as they called me, I heard no more of their praise, gratitude, or reward. (DHC 4:23-24)

* * *



[64]                   Joseph Lee Robinson Testifies of

the Gifts of the Spirit

New York — 1839


I remarked that I had prayed earnestly to the Lord, and that I had received a testimony that God would pour out his Spirit and cause a reformation in this place, which came to pass a few years after. Also I saw the Lord in a bright vision soon after I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ. It seemed to be just as I knew Him as soon as I saw Him. He turned and came to the house. He was a man as he was when He was upon the earth. He was a beautiful, heavenly man. He had a new book, white and clean. He held some argument with some of the family. His appearance, questions and answers were well worthy the Son of God. After He had been there awhile, I met Him in the door and embraced and kissed Him. He did me also. I asked Him some questions. He answered them very wisely and then He was gone. I was the only one that knew Him, but I knew I had seen my Saviour, Jesus, and I was glad I defended the truth which they called Mormonism boldly and manfully and was faithful and very much devoted to the cause of God. * * *

(Fall and Winter, 1839) Soon there was a small branch organized in the neighborhood where I resided and presently he ordained me an Elder and at his request the Saints there in our neighborhood chose myself to preside over them, which office and appointment I received very reluctantly for I felt my weakness. It was so great I felt it was almost more than I could bear, but the Lord strengthened me, the Holy Ghost helped me so that the burden was lightened and the task made easier. Now I realized and saw the spirit of God poured out upon the people. The reformation which I had so anxiously prayed for and received a testimony that I should soon see in my neighborhood, [65] for that was the kind of reformation that the Lord would get up that will count, the gospel in its purity preached by man or men having authority, people believing their testimony and yielding obedience by going down into the waters and being baptized for the remission of their sins and their receiving the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, which we did certainly receive, for some received the gift of tongues and some prophesied, for I your humble servant did receive the gift of tongues which I covet very much, particularly the gift to sing in tongues which I did receive in a remarkable manner. We many times sang in our congregations for the Lord did pour out his spirit abundantly upon me not only in singing in tongues for we have seen strong men sit and tremble like a poppy leaf to the great edification and comforting of the Saints; not only that but we’ve seen the sick healed in preaching the gospel, expounding the scriptures, in bearing our testimony and in prophesying as well as the healing of the sick and casting out devils and also of visions and dreams and seeing also all which blessings we testify in the name and in the fear of God was poured out upon and enjoyed by the Latter-day Saints or Mormons, in that neighborhood which proves to us without a shadow of doubt the truth of God and His power attending His Gospel and His servants on the earth. (Joseph Lee Robinson Journal, pp. 3-5)

* * *



[66]                              Section 3

The 1840’s


Edwin Rushton Experiences

a Unique Reception

Nauvoo, Illinois



They [the Rushton family] arrived in St. Louis on April 10, and here exchanged their English money for American money, getting a little more than $5.00 for an English sovereign. They continued on in the same boat, passed the beautiful city of Quincy and arrived at Nauvoo the evening of April 13. Father was naturally very anxious to find the members of his family already established there, and hurried towards the town in search of them. He had gone only a short distance when he met a man riding a beautiful black horse. The man accosted him, saying: “Hey, Bub, is that a company of Mormons just landed?” In much surprise father answered, “Yes, sir.”

“Are you a Mormon?” the stranger continued. “Yes, sir,” father again answered.

“What do you know about old Joe Smith?” the mounted stranger asked. “I know that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God,” said father.

“I suppose you are looking for an old man with a long, gray beard. What would you think if I told you I was Joseph Smith?” the man continued. “If you,” said father, “are Joseph Smith, I know you are a Prophet of God.”

In a gentle voice the man explained: “I am Joseph Smith. I came to meet these people, dressed as I am in rough clothes and speaking in this manner, to see if their faith is strong enough to stand the things they must meet. If not, they should [67] turn back right now.” This was father’s introduction to the Prophet.

Father then inquired of and was directed by the Prophet how to find his people. Father was at once initiated into the hardships and trials of life in Nauvoo. His acquaintance with and admiration for the Prophet grew rapidly, and there developed an intimate friendship between them. Father spent many hours later in life recounting his conversations with this great man and describing his physique and personality. (Diary of Edwin Rushton, as quoted in Assorted Gems of Priceless Value, compiled by N. B. Lundwall, 1957 ed., pp. 312-313)

* * *



[68]                A Gentile’s Testimony of Joseph Smith


(as related by Oliver B. Huntington)


I will relate a testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet, which was born by a gentile as witnessed by Brother Packard and told to us that evening, or night. He said that he was in a saloon in the Sweet Water, when gold was first found there, and a very tall lank westerner came in finally dressed in the best of broadcloth and everything on him corresponding. He looked rather out of place among a lot of rough miners, and one of his old comrades meeting him asked where he got such fine clothes, or how he could afford to wear such?

The tall man replied that it was because they cost him nothing. His comrade asked how that happened.

The reply was “because Joseph Smith was a true prophet.”

“What has that to do with your getting that suit of clothes?”

The tall man said, “I will tell you. I went into a store in Carson, an old friend of mine kept it. I was dead broke and had on next to nothing, and the storekeeper asked me why I didn’t wear better clothes? I told him, “I’d like to.”

He said for me to “pick out the best suit I could find in the store and pay him when Stephen A. Douglas was elected President.” Now that occurred when Douglas was running for President of the U.S.

A little before the election I told the storekeeper I’d take two suits on them terms, but he said one was all he proposed to let me have.

The interlocuter asked how he dare take them on that condition. “Well, you see, Joe Smith told Douglas before he thought of trying to be President, that he would try it some day, and that if he used his influence against the Mormons, he should never sit in the President’s chair; and I kept watch and kept thinking of that prophecy, just to see if Joe was a true [69] Prophet. When I see Douglas trying to be President, I knew Joe Smith was a true prophet and that Douglas would not be elected because he had turned against the Mormons. I have watched Joe’s prophecies and never have seen one of them fail. (Oliver B. Huntington Journal, Feb. 10, 1883)

* * *



[70]                      Mary Lightner’s Testimony

of Plural Marriage

Jackson County, Missouri — 1841


He [Joseph Smith] preached polygamy and he not only preached it, but he practiced it. I am a living witness to it. It was given to him before he gave it to the Church. An angel came to him and the last time he came with a drawn sword in his hand and told Joseph if he did not go into that principle, he would slay him. Joseph said he talked to him soberly about it, and told him it was an abomination and quoted scripture to him. He said in the Book of Mormon it was an abomination in the eyes of the Lord, and they were to adhere to these things except the Lord speak.

I am the first being that the revelation was given to from him and I was one thousand miles away in Missouri, for he went up to Jackson County in `41. I was there in all the tribulations and trials. I have been in houses that have been stoned. The rocks have been thrown crisscross in every direction; I have seen the brethren shot and ruined for life. I saw the first martyr dead and a more heavenly corpse I never saw or expect to see on the face of the earth. His face was so happy.

I have seen our Bishop tarred and feathered, in the streets of Missouri. They took off his shirt and covered him with tar and then took a pillow and turned the feathers over him. I looked at him and I thought if ever man was counted worthy to be a martyr he was. His life proved it for he lived an upright honorable life and was beloved by the Prophet while he lived and after he died the Prophet honored him. Two of his sisters [daughters] were Joseph’s wives. Emma took them by the hand and gave them to Joseph.

I asked him if Emma knew about me and he said, “Emma thinks the world of you.” I was not sealed to him until I had a witness. I had been dreaming for a number of years I was his wife. I thought I was a great sinner. I prayed to God to take it [71] from me for I felt it was a sin, but when Joseph sent for me he told me all of these things. “Well,” said I, “Don’t you think it was an angel of the Devil that told you these things?” Said he, “No, it was an angel of God. God almighty showed me the difference between an angel of Light and Satan’s angels. The angel came to me three times between the years of `34 and `42 and said I was to obey that principle or he would slay me. But,” said he, “they call me a false and fallen prophet, but I am more in favor with my God this day than I ever was in all my life before. I know that I shall be saved in the Kingdom of God. I have the oath of God upon me and God cannot lie. All that He gives me I shall take with me, for I have that authority and that power conferred upon me.”

Well, I talked with him for a long time and finally I told him I would never be sealed to him until I had a witness. Said he, “You shall have a witness.” Said I, “If God told you that, why does he not tell me?” He asked me if I was going to be a traitor. “I have never told a mortal and shall never tell a mortal I had such a talk from a married man,” said I.

“Well,” said he, “pray earnestly, for the angel said to me you should have a witness.” Well, Brigham Young was with me. He said if I had a witness he wanted to know it. “Why should I tell you?” said I. “Well,” said he, “I want to know for myself.” Said he, “Do you know what Joseph said? Since we left the office, the angel appeared to him and told him he was well pleased with him and that you should have a witness.”

I made it a subject of prayer and I worried about it because I did not dare to speak to a living being except Brigham Young. I went out and got between three haystacks where no one could see me. As I knelt down I thought, “Why not pray as Moses did? He prayed with his hands raised. When his hands were raised, Israel was victorious, but when they were not raised the Philistines were victorious.” I lifted my hands and I have heard Joseph say the angels covered their faces. I knelt down and if ever a poor mortal prayed, I did.

[72]  A few nights after that an angel of the Lord came to me and if ever a thrill went through a mortal, it went through me. I gazed upon the clothes and figure but the eyes were like lightning. They pierced me from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet. I was frightened almost to death for a moment. I tried to waken my Aunt but I could not. The angel leaned over me and the light was very great although it was night. When my Aunt woke up, she said she had seen a figure in white robes pass from our bed to my mother’s bed and pass out of the window.

Joseph came up the next Sabbath. He said, “Have you had a witness yet?” “No.” “Well,” said he, “the angel expressly told me you should have.” Said I, “I have not had a witness, but I have seen something I have never seen before. I saw an angel, and I was frightened almost to death. I did not speak.” He studied a while and put his elbows on his knees and his face in his hands. He looked up and said, “How could you have been such a coward?” Said I, “I was weak.” “Did you think to say, `Father, help me?'” “No.” “Well, if you had just said that your mouth would have been opened for that was the angel of the living God. He came to you with more knowledge, intelligence, and light than I ever dared to reveal.” I said, “If that was an angel of light, why did he not speak to me?” “You covered your face and for this reason the angel was insulted.” Said I, “Will it ever come again?” He thought for a moment and said, “No, not the same one, but if you are faithful you shall see greater things than that.”

And then he gave me three signs of what would take place in my own family. Although my husband was far away from me at the time, every word came true. I went forward and was sealed to him. Brigham Young performed the sealing and Heber C. Kimball the blessing.

I knew he had six wives, and I have known some of them from childhood up. I know he had three children. They told me. I think two of them are living today; they are not known as [73] his children as they go by other names. (The Life and Testimony of Mary Lightner, pub. by Pioneer Press, pp. 58-62)

* * *



[74]                       Bishop Knight Learns to

Trust in God–not Money

Nauvoo, Illinois — 1840’s

(as related by Philo Dibble)


Philo Dibble, who joined the Latter-day Saints in the fall of 1830–six months after the Church was organized–and became well acquainted with the Prophet, tells this incident:


“When Joseph Smith first came to Nauvoo, then called Commerce, a Mr. White, living there, offered to sell him his farm for twenty-five hundred dollars, five hundred dollars of the amount to be paid down and the balance one year from that time. Joseph and the brethren were talking about this offer when some of them said: `We can’t buy it, for we lack the money.’ Joseph took out his purse and emptying out its contents offered a half dollar to one of the brethren, which he declined accepting, but Joseph urged him to take it and then gave each of the other brethren a similar amount, which left him without any. Addressing the brethren he then said: `Now you all have money and I have none; but the time will come when I will have money and you will have none!’ He then said to Bishop Knight: `You go back and buy the farm!’

“Brother Knight went to White, but learned from him that he had raised the price one hundred dollars and returned to Joseph without closing the bargain. Joseph again sent him with positive orders to purchase, but Brother Knight, finding that White had raised the price still another hundred dollars, returned again without purchasing. For the third time Joseph commanded him to go and buy the farm and charged him not to come back till he had done so.

“When Bishop Knight got back to White, he had raised another hundred on the place, making the whole amount twenty-eight hundred dollars. However, the bargain was closed and the obligation drawn up; but how the money was going to [75] be raised neither Brother Knight nor the other brethren could see.

The next morning Joseph and several of the brethren went down to Mr. White’s to sign the agreement and make the first payment on the land. A table was brought out with the papers upon it and Joseph signed them, moved back from the table and sat with his head down as if in thought for a moment. Just then a man drove up in a carriage and asked if Mr. Smith was there. Joseph hearing it, got up and went to the door. The man said, `Good morning, Mr. Smith, I am on a speculation today, I want to buy some land and thought I would come and see you.’ Joseph then pointed round where his land lay, but the man said: `I can’t go with you today to see the land. Do you want any money this morning?’

“Joseph replied that he would like some and when the stranger asked `How much?’ he told him `Five hundred dollars.’

“The man walked into the house with Joseph, emptied a small sack of gold on the table and counted out that amount. He then handed to Joseph another hundred dollars, saying: `Mr. Smith, I make you a present of this!’

“After this transpired, Joseph laughed at the brethren and said: `You trusted in money; but I trusted in God. Now I have the money and you have none.'” (Stories about Joseph Smith, Parry, pp. 102-105)

* * *



[76]                       William D. Huntington–

Restored to Life

Nauvoo, Illinois — 1840’s

(as related by Levi Carter)


Levi Carter, whose home in Utah was at Springville, gave a detailed account of the sickness, death and restoration to life of William D. Huntington as related to him by the man himself, as follows:


“William D. Huntington, when in Nauvoo, lived with and worked for Joseph Smith and at the time the Prophet had such a wonderful success in administering to the sick, when nearly everybody was stricken down, he was among the afflicted and was one of those who were healed by divine power manifested through the Prophet and his brethren.

“He said he had been sick some weeks and kept getting weaker, until he became so helpless that he could not move. Finally he got so low he could not speak but had perfect consciousness of all that was passing in the room. He saw friends come to the bedside, look at him a moment and commence weeping, then turn away.

“He further stated that he presently felt easy and observing his situation found that he was in the upper part of the room, near the ceiling and could see the body he had occupied lying in the bed with weeping friends standing around, as he had witnessed in many cases where persons had died under his own observation.

“About this time Joseph Smith and two other brethren came into the room. Joseph turned to his wife, Emma, and asked her to get him a dish of clean water. This she did, the Prophet with the two brothers accompanying him, washed their hands and carefully dried them. Then they stepped to the bed and laid their hands upon the head of his body, which at that time looked loathsome to him; and as the three stretched out their hands to place them upon the head, he by some [77] means became aware that he must go back into that body and started to do so. The process of getting in he could not remember, but when Joseph said `Amen,’ he heard and could see and feel with his body. The feeling for a moment was most excruciating, as though his body was pierced in every part with some sharp instruments.

“As soon as the brethren had taken their hands from his head, he raised up in bed, sitting erect and in a moment turned his feet off the bed.

“Joseph asked him if he had not better be careful for he was very weak. He replied, `I never felt better in my life,’ almost immediately adding, `I want my pants.’

“His pants were found and given him, which he drew on, Joseph assisting him, although he said that he needed no help. Then he signified his intention to sit in a chair near the fireplace, Joseph took hold of his arm to help him along safely, but William declared his ability to walk alone, notwithstanding which the help continued.

“Astonishment had taken the place of weeping throughout the room. Every looker-on was ready to weep for joy; but none were able to felt inclined to talk.

“Presently William said he wanted something to eat. Joseph asked him what he would like and he replied that he wanted a dish of bread and milk.

“Emma immediately brought what he called for. As one may easily comprehend, every hand was anxious to supply the wants of a man who, a few moments before was dead, really and truly dead! Brother Huntington ate the bowl of bread and milk with as good a relish as he ever ate.

“In a short time all felt more familiar and conversation upon the scene that transpired followed. William related his experience and the friends theirs. Joseph listened to the conversation and in his turn remarked that they had just witnessed a great miracle–they had seen the dead brought to life.” (Stories about Joseph Smith, Parry, pp. 108-112)

* * *



[78]                      Heber C. Kimall’s Loyalty

to the Prophet Joseph

Nauvoo, Illinois — 1840’s


A startling innovation, a test designed to try, as never before, the faith and integrity of God’s people now came upon them. Not in the shape of fire and sword, nor toilsome pilgrimage, nor pestilence, nor wealth, nor poverty. Ah! no; something far different from these, and far more difficult to bear.

A grand and glorious principle had been revealed, and for years had slumbered in the breast of God’s Prophet, awaiting the time when, with safety to himself and the Church, it might be confided to the sacred keeping of a chosen few. That time had now come. An angel with a flaming sword descended from the courts of glory and, confronting the Prophet, commanded him in the name of the Lord to establish the principle so long concealed from the knowledge of the Saints and of the world–that of plural marriage.

Well knew the youthful Prophet the danger of his task. Well knew he the peril and penalty of disobedience. Fearing God, not man, he bowed to the inevitable, and laid his life–aye, was it not so?–upon the altar of duty and devotion.

Among those to whom Joseph confided this great secret, even before it was committed to writing, was his bosom friend, Heber C. Kimball. Well knowing the integrity of his heart, so many times tested and found true, he felt that he ran no risk in opening to Heber’s eyes the treasured mysteries of his mighty soul.

But why careful, among so many friends, to select only a few as the recipients of such a favor? Would not the Saints have died to a man in defense of their Prophet–God’s seer and revelator? Alas, none knew so well as Joseph the frailty of man, the inherent weakness and wickedness of the human heart.

[79]  “Many men,” said he, “will say, `I will never forsake you, but will stand by you at all times.’ But the moment you teach them some of the mysteries of the kingdom of God that are retained in the heavens, and are to be revealed to the children of men when they are prepared for them, they will be the first to stone you and put you to death.

“It was this same principle that crucified the Lord Jesus Christ, and will cause the people to kill the prophets in this generation.”

What! would even the Saints have so done? Did not some of those who were Saints then, so do?

Had not Joseph said many times–are not men now living who heard him say: “Would to God, brethren, I could tell you who I am! Would to God I could tell you what I know! But you would call it blasphemy, and there are men upon this stand who would want to take my life.”

“If the Church,” said he, “knew all the commandments, one-half they would reject through prejudice and ignorance.”

No wonder, then, that he should choose his confidants, for their sakes no less than his own. For these also are Joseph’s words:

“When God offers a blessing, or knowledge to a man, and he refuses to receive it, he will be damned.”

Revelation is ever the iconoclast of tradition, and such is the bigotry of man, his natural hatred of the new and strange, as opposed to his personal interests or private views, that the very lives of those whose mission is to introduce and establish new doctrines, though designed as a blessing to humanity, are ever in danger from those whose traditions would thus be uprooted and destroyed.

Joseph was not a coward. It was he who said that a coward could not be saved in the kingdom of God. But neither was he lacking in caution, especially when warned of the Lord of the necessity for its exercise. Therefore, was he now revealing, to a chosen few, whom God had prepared to receive what he should [80] tell them, one of the grand principles of the everlasting gospel, “unlawful to be uttered” to the multitude, yet one day to be thundered from the house-tops in the ears of all living, with many other mighty truths locked in the treasure house of future time, of which eternity still holds the key.

Before he would trust even Heber with the full secret, however, he put him to a test which few men would have been able to bear.

It was no less than a requirement for him to surrender his wife, his beloved Vilate, and give her to Joseph in marriage!

The astounding revelation well-nigh paralyzed him. He could hardly believe he had heard aright. Yet Joseph was solemnly in earnest. His next impulse was to spurn the proposition, and perhaps at that terrible moment a vague suspicion of the Prophet’s motive and the divinity of the revelation, shot like a poisoned arrow through his soul.

But only for a moment, if at all, was such a thought, such a suspicion entertained. He knew Joseph too well, as a man, a friend, a brother, a servant of God, to doubt his truth or the divine origin of the behest he had made. No, Joseph was God’s Prophet, His mouthpiece and oracle, and so long as he was so, his words were as the words of the Eternal One to Heber C. Kimball. His heart-strings might be torn, his feelings crucified and sawn asunder, but so long as his faith in God and the Priesthood remained, heaven helping him, he would try and do as he was told. Such, now, was his superhuman resolve.

Three days he fasted and wept and prayed. Then, with a broken and a bleeding heart, but with soul self-mastered for the sacrifice, he led his darling wife to the Prophet’s house and presented her to Joseph.

It was enough–the heavens accepted the sacrifice. The will for the deed was taken, and “accounted unto him for righteousness.” Joseph wept at this proof of devotion, and embracing Heber, told him that was all that the Lord required. He had proved him, as a child of Abraham, that he would “do [81] the works of Abraham,” holding back nothing, but laying all upon the altar for God’s glory.

The Prophet joined the hands of the heroic and devoted pair, and then and there, by virtue of the sealing power and authority of the Holy Priesthood, Heber and Vilate Kimball were made husband and wife for all eternity.

Heber’s crucial test was in part over. Vilate’s trial was yet to come. The principle of celestial marriage was now known to them, so far as their own eternal covenant was concerned, but the doctrine of plurality of wives which it involves, was yet to be revealed. How Heber and Vilate received and embraced this feature of the principle is thus tenderly told by their daughter Helen:

“My mother often told me that she could not doubt the plural order of marriage was of God, for the Lord had revealed it to her in answer to prayer.

“In Nauvoo, shortly after his return from England, my father, among others of his brethren, was taught the plural wife doctrine, and was told by Joseph, the Prophet, three times, to go and take a certain woman as his wife; but not till he commanded him in the name of the Lord did he obey. At the same time Joseph told him not to divulge this secret, not even to my mother, for fear that she would not receive it; for his life was in constant jeopardy, not only from outside influences and enemies, who were seeking some plea to take him back to Missouri, but from false brethren who had crept like snakes into his bosom and then betrayed him.

“My father realized the situation fully, and the love and reverence he bore for the Prophet were so great that he would sooner have laid down his life than have betrayed him. This was one of the greatest tests of his faith he had ever experienced. The thought of deceiving the kind and faithful wife of his youth, whom he loved with all his heart, and who with him had borne so patiently their separations, and all the [82] trials and sacrifices they had been called to endure, was more than he felt able to bear.

“He realized not only the addition of trouble and perplexity that such a step must bring upon him, but his sorrow and misery were increased by the thought of my mother hearing of it from some other source, which would no doubt separate them, and he shrank from the thought of such a thing, or of causing her any unhappiness. Finally he was so tried that he went to Joseph and told him how he felt–that he was fearful if he took such a step, he could not stand, but would be overcome. The Prophet, full of sympathy for him, went and inquired of the Lord. His answer was, “Tell him to go and do as he has been commanded, and if I see that there is any danger of his apostatizing, I will take him to myself.’

“The fact that he had to be commanded three times to do this thing shows that the trial must have been extraordinary, for he was a man who, from the first, had yielded implicit obedience to every requirement of the Prophet.

“When first hearing the principle taught, believing that he would be called upon to enter into it, he had thought of two elderly ladies named Pitkin, great friends of my mother’s who, he believed, would cause her little, if any, unhappiness. But the woman he was commanded to take was an English lady named Sarah Noon, nearer my mother’s age, who came over with the company of Saints in the same ship in which father and Brother Brigham returned from Europe. She had been married and was the mother of two little girls, but left her husband on account of his drunken and dissolute habits. Father was told to take her as his wife and provide for her and her children, and he did so. (Note: Heber was told by Joseph that if he did not do this, he would lose his Apostleship and be damned.)

“My mother had noticed a change in his manner and appearance, and when she inquired the cause, he tried to evade her questions. At last he promised he would tell her after a while, if she would only wait. This trouble so worked upon his [83] mind that his anxious and haggard looks betrayed him daily and hourly, and finally his misery became so unbearable that it was impossible to control his feelings. He became sick in body, but his mental wretchedness was too great to allow of his retiring, and he would walk the floor till nearly morning, and sometimes the agony of his mind was so terrible that he would wring his hands and weep like a child, and beseech the Lord to be merciful and reveal to her this principle, for he himself could not break his vow of secrecy.

“The anguish of their hearts was indescribable, and when she found it was useless to beseech him longer, she retired to her room and bowed before the Lord and poured out her soul in prayer to Him who hath said: `If any lack wisdom let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not.’ My father’s heart was raised at the same time in supplication. While pleading as one would plead for life, the vision of her mind was opened, and, as darkness flees before the morning sun, so did her sorrow and the groveling things of earth vanish away.

“Before her was illustrated the order of celestial marriage, in all its beauty and glory, together with the great exaltation and honor it would confer upon her in that immortal and celestial sphere, if she would accept it and stand in her place by her husband’s side. She also saw the woman he had taken to wife, and contemplated with joy the vast and boundless love and union which this order would bring about, as well as the increase of her husband’s kingdoms, and the power and glory extending throughout the eternities, worlds without end.

“With a countenance beaming with joy, for she was filled with the Spirit of God, she returned to my father, saying: `Heber, what you kept from me the Lord has shown me.’ She told me she never saw so happy a man as father was when she described the vision and told him she was satisfied and knew it was from God.

[84]  “She covenanted to stand by him and honor the principle, which covenant she faithfully kept, and though her trials were often heavy and grievious to bear, she knew that father was also being tried, and her integrity was unflinching to the end. She gave my father many wives, and they always found in my mother a faithful friend.”

Helen also refers in her narrative to the sensation caused in Nauvoo, one Sabbath morning, prior to the return of the Twelve from England, by a sermon of the Prophet’s on “the restoration of all things,” in which it was hinted that the patriarchal or plural order of marriage, as practiced by the ancients, would some day again be established. The excitement created by the bare suggestion was such that Joseph deemed it wisdom, in the afternoon, to modify his statement by saying that possibly the Spirit had made the time seem nearer than it really was, when such things would be restored.

These facts serve to show something of the nature and extent of the sacrifice made by the Saints, in accepting this principle, and likewise the pure, lofty, religious motives actuating both men and women who could thus heroically embrace a doctrine against which–as is generally the case with the gospel’s higher principles–their traditions and preconceived notions instinctively rebelled.

Soon after the revelation was given a golden link was forged whereby the houses of Heber and Joseph were indissolubly and forever joined. (Note: The Prophet Joseph, I am informed, in blessing Heber C. Kimball, told him that his inheritance in Zion should adjoin his on the north.) Helen Mar, the eldest daughter of Heber Chase and Vilate Murray Kimball, was given to the Prophet in the holy bonds of celestial marriage. (Life of Heber C. Kimball, Whitney, pp. 321-328)

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[85]               Heber’s Close Relationship with the Lord



Family prayer was an institution in the Kimball household. Morning and evening the members were called in to surround the family altar and offer up praise and petitions to the Throne of Grace. It is a common remark to this day that such prayers are seldom heard as were wont to issue from the heart and lips of Heber C. Kimball. Reverence for Deity was one of the cardinal qualities of his nature. Nevertheless, it was noticeable that the God to whom he prayed was a being “near at hand and not afar off.” He worshipped not as “a worm of the dust,” hypocritically meek and lowly, or as one conscious of naught but the meanness of his nature, and the absence of merit in his cause. But in a spirit truly humble, confessing his sins, yet knowing something of the nobility of his soul, he talked with God “as one man talketh with another;” and often with the ease and familiarity of an old-time friend.

On one occasion, while offering up an earnest appeal in behalf of certain of his fellow creatures, he startled the kneeling circle by bursting into a loud laugh in the very midst of his prayer. Quickly regaining his composure and solemn address, he remarked apologetically: “Lord, it makes me laugh to pray about some people.” * * *


One day President Young made a call upon father (Heber C. Kimball) for $1,000, for some public purpose, and not having the ready cash, he was at a loss to know where to get it. At his suggestion we went down in the garden and bowed ourselves in prayer, father calling upon the Lord to direct him in the matter. We then arose and started down the street, and he remarked that the Lord would answer our prayer and direct him aright. When even with Godbe’s corner, William Godbe came out of his store and told him that, in looking through his safe, he had come across about $1,000 in gold dust, belonging [86] to him, which his son Heber P. had left there for him some time before, though father until then knew nothing about it. (Life of Heber C. Kimball, Orson F. Whitney, pp. 426-27, 428)

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[87]                Joseph’s Dream Identifying His Enemies

Nauvoo, Illinois — June 13, 1844


In the evening I attended meeting in the Seventies’ Hall. George J. Adams preached and I made some observations afterwards, and related a dream which I had a short time since. I thought I was riding out in my carriage, and my guardian angel was along with me. We went past the Temple and had not gone much further before we espied two large snakes so fast locked together that neither of them had any power. I inquired of my guide what I was to understand by that. He answered, “Those snakes represent Dr. Foster and Chauncey L. Higbee. They are your enemies and desire to destroy you; but you see they are so fast locked together that they have no power of themselves to hurt you.”

I then thought I was riding up Mulholland Street, but my guardian angel was not along with me. On arriving at the prairie, I was overtaken and seized by William and Wilson Law and others, saying, “Ah, ah! we have got you at last! We shall secure you and put you in a safe place!” And, without any ceremony dragged me out of my carriage, tied my hands behind me, and threw me into a deep, dry pit, where I remained in a perfectly helpless condition, and they went away.

While struggling to get out, I heard Wilson Law screaming for help near by. I managed to unloose myself so as to make a spring, when I caught hold of some grass which grew at the edge of the pit. I looked out of the pit and saw Wilson Law at a little distance attacked by ferocious wild beasts, and heard him cry out, “Oh, Brother Joseph, come and save me!” I replied, “I cannot, for you have put me into this deep pit.”

On looking out another way, I saw William Law with outstretched tongue, blue in the face, and the green poison forced out of his mouth caused by the coiling of a large snake around his body. It had also grabbed him by the arm, a little above the elbow, ready to devour him. He cried out in the [88] intensity of his agony, “Oh, Brother Joseph, Brother Joseph, come and save me, or I die!” I also replied to him, “I cannot, William; I would willingly, but you have tied me and put me in this pit, and I am powerless to help you or liberate myself.”

In a short time after my guide came and said aloud, “Joseph, Joseph, what are you doing there?” I replied, “My enemies fell upon me, bound me and threw me in.” He then took me by the hand, and drew me out of the pit, set me free, and we went away rejoicing. (DHC 6:461-462)

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The editor of the Millennial Star also made mention of this dream by the Prophet Joseph Smith:


“This dream would seem to have had its fulfillment in the actions of those two men, for all who are acquainted with their proceedings know that they plotted against the Prophet, and did all they could to overthrow his authority; and, finally, by apostatizing, they put themselves where it was no longer possible for him to help them to their salvation. I have given this dream as near as my recollection serves me, it being now several years since I read it.” (Mill. Star 26:293)

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[89]              “Bogus Brigham” Fools the Enemy in Nauvoo


(as related by Brigham Young)


I do not profess to be much of a joker, but I do think this to be one of the best jokes ever perpetrated. By the time we were at work in the Nauvoo Temple, officiating in the ordinances, the mob had learned that “Mormonism” was not dead, as they had supposed. We had completed the walls of the Temple, and the attic story from about half way up of the first windows, in about fifteen months. It went up like magic, and we commenced officiating in the ordinances. Then the mob commenced to hunt for other victims; they had already killed the Prophets Joseph and Hyrum in Carthage Jail, while under the pledge of the State for their safety, and now they wanted Brigham, the President of the Twelve Apostles, who were then acting as the Presidency of the Church.

I was in my room in the Temple; it was in the southeast corner of the upper story. I learned that a posse was lurking around the Temple, and that the United States Marshal was waiting for me to come down, whereupon I knelt down and asked my Father in heaven, in the name of Jesus, to guide and protect me that I might live to prove advantageous to the Saints. Just as I arose from my knees and sat down in my chair, there came a rap at my door. I said, “Come in,” and Brother George D. Grant, who was then engaged driving my carriage and doing chores for me, entered the room. Said he, “Brother Young, do you know that a posse and the United States Marshal are here?” I told him I had heard so. On entering the room Brother Grant left the door open. Nothing came into my mind what to do, until looking directly across the hall I saw Brother William Miller leaning against the wall. As I stepped towards the door, I beckoned to him; he came. Said I to him, “Brother William, the Marshal is here for me; will you go and do just as I tell you? If you will, I will serve them a trick.”

[90]  I knew that Brother Miller was an excellent man, perfectly reliable and capable of carrying out my project. Said I, “Here, take my cloak;” but it happened to be Brother Heber C. Kimball’s; our cloaks were alike in color, fashion and size. I threw it around his shoulders, and told him to wear my hat and accompany Brother George D. Grant. He did so. I said to Brother Grant, “George, you step into the carriage and look towards Brother Miller, and say to him, as though you were addressing me, `Are you ready to ride?’ You can do this, and they will suppose Brother Miller to be me, and proceed accordingly,” which they did.

Just as Brother Miller was entering the carriage, the Marshal stepped up to him, and, placing his hand upon his shoulder, said, “You are my prisoner.” Brother William entered the carriage and said to the Marshal, “I am going to the Mansion House; won’t you ride with me?” They both went to the Mansion House. There were my sons Joseph A., Brigham, jun., and Brother Heber C. Kimball’s boys, and others who were looking on, and all seemed at once to understand and partake of the joke. They followed the carriage to the Mansion House and gathered around Brother Miller, with tears in their eyes, saying, “Father, or President Young, where are you going?” Brother Miller looked at them kindly, but made no reply; and the Marshal really thought he had got “Brother Brigham.”

Lawyer Edmonds, who was then staying at the Mansion House, appreciating the joke, volunteered to Brother Miller to go to Carthage with him and see him safe through. When they arrived within two or three miles of Carthage, the Marshal with his posse stopped. They arose in their carriages, buggies and wagons, and, like a tribe of Indians going into battle, or as if they were a pack of demons, yelling and shouting, they exclaimed, “We’ve got him! we’ve got him! we’ve got him!”

When they reached Carthage the Marshal took the supposed Brigham into an upper room of the hotel, and placed [91] a guard over him, at the same time telling those around that he had got him. Brother Miller remained in the room until they bid him come to supper. While there, parties came in, one after the other, and asked for Brigham. Brother Miller was pointed out to them.

So it continued, until an apostate Mormon, by the name of Thatcher, who had lived in Nauvoo, came in, sat down and asked the landlord where Brigham Young was. The landlord, pointing across the table to Brother Miller, said, “That is Mr. Young.” Thatcher replied, “Where? I can’t see anyone that looks like Brigham.” The landlord told him it was that fat, fleshy man eating. “Oh, hell!” exclaimed Thatcher, “that’s not Brigham; that is William Miller, one of my old neighbors.” Upon hearing this the landlord went, and, tapping the Sheriff on the shoulder, took him a few steps to one side, and said, “You have made a mistake, that is not Brigham Young; it is William Miller, of Nauvoo.” The Marshal, very much astonished, exclaimed, “Good heavens! and he passed for Brigham.” He then took Brother Miller into a room, and, turning to him, said, “What in hell is the reason you did not tell me your name?” Brother Miller replied, “You have not asked me my name.” “Well,” said the Sheriff, with another oath, “What is your name?” “My name,” he replied, “is William Miller.”

Said the Marshal, “I thought your name was Brigham Young. Do you say this for a fact?” “Certainly I do,” said Brother Miller. “Then,” said the Marshal, “why did you not tell me this before?” “I was under no obligations to tell you,” replied Brother Miller, “as you did not ask me.”

Then the Marshal, in a rage, walked out of the room, followed by Brother Miller, who walked off in company with Lawyer Edmonds, Sheriff Backenstos, and others, who took him across lots to a place of safety; and this is the real pith of the story of “Bogus” Brigham, as far as I can recollect. (JD 14:218-19; remarks given July 23, 1871)

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[92]                   The Miracle of the Quail in Iowa

Montrose, Iowa — Winter 1846


The remnant expelled from Nauvoo under circumstances of such great cruelty, was made up of those who were either too poor to purchase an outfit with which to leave the city, or else of those who could not dispose of property to buy teams with which to remove. When driven from their homes by the mob, they took refuge on the Iowa side of the Mississippi, where they bivouacked as best they could on the river bottoms. They numbered about six hundred and forty, all told. An encampment was improvised of such materials as were at hand. There were a few old wagons with covers: tents were constructed by stretching quilts and blankets over frames made of small poles; other shelters still were made by weaving brush between stakes driven into the ground; and here were huddled women and children destitute of both food and adequate clothing. It was the latter part of September, and the cold fall rains frequently drenched them. It was the sickly season of the year and most of the camp suffered from alternating chills and fever. Such as were able to leave camp went into neighboring towns up and down the river and applied to farmers and settlers about them for work and relief from starvation. Their camp from the general destitution that prevailed is called in the church annals “the poor camp.”

In the midst of their greatest distress for want of food, a most remarkable circumstance, yet well attested, happened. This was no other than the falling into their camp–and for several miles up and down the river–of immense numbers of quails. The birds are quite common in that country, but these flocks were so exhausted, evidently from a long flight, that the women and children and even the sick, since they came tumbling into the tents or bowers, could take them up with their hands. Thousands were so caught, and the sick and the destitute were fed upon daintiest food.

[93]  No sooner was the news of the results of the Battle of Nauvoo carried to the headquarters of Brigham Young, on the Missouri, and the destitute condition of the expelled saints made known, than a relief company was organized consisting of teams with tents and provisions to make the journey back to the Mississippi, to gather up the victims of the mob’s hate and violence. This relief company started eastward under the direction of O. M. Allen. In due time the saints of “the poor camp”–as these helpless refugees were called–were brought away from the scenes of their afflictions, and found refuge among their friends in the camps on the Missouri. (CHC 3:134-136)

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[94]                    A Young Girl Speaks in Tongues

Council Bluffs, Iowa — 1846


As the Saints traveled out west, an interesting episode occurred with the Indians, near Council Bluffs, as written by a 17-year-old girl by the name of Jane Grover. She wrote in her journal:


“One morning we thought we would go and gather gooseberries. Father Tanner (as we familiarly called the good patriarchal Elder Nathan Tanner), harnessed a span of horses to a light wagon, and, with two sisters by the name of Lyman, his little granddaughter, and me, started out. When we reached the woods, we told the old gentleman to go to a house in sight and rest himself while we picked the berries.

It was not long before the little girl and I strayed some distance from the rest, when suddenly we heard shouts. The little girl thought it was her grandfather, and was about to answer, but I restrained her, thinking it might be Indians. We walked forward until within sight of Father Tanner, when we saw he was running his team around. We thought nothing strange at first, but as we approached we saw Indians gathering around the wagon, whooping and yelling as others came and joined them.

We got into the wagon to start when four of the Indians took hold of the wagon wheels to stop the wagon, and two others held the horses by the bits, and another came to take me out of the wagon. I then began to be afraid as well as vexed, and asked Father Tanner to let me get out of the wagon and run for assistance. He said, “No, poor child; it is too late?” I told him they should not take me alive. His face was as white as a sheet. The Indians had commenced to strip him–had taken his watch and handkerchief–and while stripping him, were trying to pull me out of the wagon.

I began silently to appeal to my Heavenly Father. While praying and struggling, the spirit of the Almighty fell upon me [95] and I arose with great power; and no tongue can tell my feelings. I was happy as I could be. A few moments before I saw worse than death staring me in the face, and now my hand was raised by the power of God, and I talked to those Indians in their own language. They let go the horses and wagon, and all stood in front of me while I talked to them by the power of God. They bowed their heads and answered, “yes,” in a way that made me know what they meant. The little girl and Father Tanner looked on in speechless amazement. I realized our situation; their calculation was to kill Father Tanner, burn the wagon, and take us women prisoners. This was plainly shown me.

When I stopped talking, they shook hands with all three of us, and returned all they had taken from Father Tanner, who gave them back the handkerchief, and I gave them berries and crackers. By this time the other two women came up, and we hastened home.

The Lord gave me a portion of the interpretation of what I had said, which was as follows:

“I suppose you Indian warriors think you are going to kill us? Don’t you know the Great Spirit is watching you and knows everything in your heart? We have come out here to gather some of our Father’s fruit. We have not come to injure you; and if you harm us, or injure one hair of our head, the Great Spirit shall smite you to the earth, and you shall not have power to breathe another breath. We have been driven from our homes, and so have you; we have come out here to do you good, and not to injure you. We are the Lord’s people and so are you; but you must cease your murders and wickedness; the Lord is displeased with it and will not prosper you if you continue in it. You think you own all this land, this timber, this water, all the horses. Why, you do not own one thing on earth, not even the air you breathe–it all belongs to the Great Spirit.” (Truth, 10:138)

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[96]                Brigham Young’s Dream of Joseph Smith

Winter Quarters, Iowa — February 1847


While at Winter Quarters, on the 17th of February, 1847, President Young had a very interesting dream which he related to the brethren. He dreamed that he went to see Joseph, the Prophet, and when he met him he looked perfectly natural. He appeared to be sitting in a chair at the time. President Young took hold of his right hand and kissed him many times, and said to him:

“Why is it we cannot be together as we used to be? You have been from us a long time; we want your society and do not like to be separated from you.”

Joseph rose from his chair, and looked at him with his usual earnest, expressive and pleasing countenance, and said, “It is all right.”

President Young repeated that he did not like to be away from him. Joseph said:

“It is all right. We cannot be together yet; we shall be by and by, but you will have to do without me for awhile; then we shall be together again.”

President Young discovered there was a handrail between Joseph and himself. Joseph stood by a window, and at the southwest of him it was very light, but President Young was in the twilight, and to the north of him it was very dark. President Young said:

“The brethren you know well, better than I do; you raised them up and brought the priesthood to us. They have a great anxiety to understand the law of adoption or the sealing principle, and if you have a word of counsel for me I shall be glad to receive it.”

Joseph stepped toward him, looked very earnestly yet pleasantly, and said:

“Tell the brethren to be humble and faithful and be sure to keep the Spirit of the Lord, and it will lead them aright. Be [97] careful and not turn away the small, still voice; it will teach them what to do and where to go; it will yield the fruits of the kingdom. Tell the brethren to keep their hearts open to conviction, so that when the Holy Ghost comes to them their hearts will be ready to receive it. They can tell the Spirit of the Lord from all other spirits–it will whisper peace and joy to their souls; it will take malice, hatred, strife and all evil from their hearts, and their whole desire will be to do good, bring forth righteousness and build up the kingdom of god. Tell the brethren if they will follow the Spirit of the Lord, they will go right. Be sure to tell the brethren to keep the Spirit of the Lord; and if they will, they will find themselves just as they were organized by our Father in heaven before they came into the world. Our Father in heaven organized the human family, but they are all disorganized and in great confusion.”

Joseph then showed President Young the pattern how the human family were in the beginning. He saw where the priesthood had been taken from the earth, and how it had to be joined together so that there would be a perfect chain from Father Adam to his latest posterity.

Joseph again said to him, “Tell the people to be sure to keep the Spirit of the Lord and follow it, and it will lead them just right.”

Such a dream was very consoling to President Young and instructive to the people. From it we can learn how important it is to keep the Spirit of the Lord. No man or people can prosper who do not have it as their guide. (Juvenile Instructor 8:114; also recorded in Oliver B. Huntington Journal, July 7, 1887)

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[98]                     The Miracle of the Seagulls

Salt Lake Valley — Spring 1848


Meantime March and April passed, and May came on. The colonists noted with joy that their grain which sprouted early promised a strong and healthy growth. Its color was rich, it stooled well, and barring frosts, late and early, the harvest would be a bounteous one. But before May passes an unlooked for pest makes its appearance.

The Pioneers when entering the valley, it will be remembered, noted that in the foot hills there were great numbers of large, black crickets, which then excited but a passing remark. Now, however, in this month of May, they came swarming from the foothills literally by millions, and descended upon the new-made fields of grain. They devoured all before them as they came to it. Their appetite never abated. They were cutting and grinding day and night, leaving the fields bare and brown behind them. There seemed to be no end to their numbers.

They could not fly; their only means of locomotion was by clumsily hopping a scant foot at a time–hence, once in the fields, the difficulty of getting them out; and they came in myriads, increasing daily. Holes were dug and for the radius of a rod the pests were surrounded by women and children, and driven into them and buried–bushels of them at a time; and this was repeated again and again; but what was the use? This method seemed not to affect the numbers of the pests.

Then the men plowed ditches around the wheat fields, turned in the water and drove the black vermin into the running streams and thus carried them from the fields and destroyed them by hundreds of thousands–all to no purpose; as many as ever seemed to remain, and more were daily swarming from the hills. Fire was tried, but to no better purpose. Man’s ingenuity was baffled. He might as well try to sweep back the rising tide of the ocean with a broom as prevail [99] against these swarming pests by the methods tried. Insignificant, these inch or inch and a half long insects separately, but in millions, terrible. The incident illustrates the formidableness of mere numbers. Since the days of Egypt’s curse of locusts there was probably nothing like it.

The failure to destroy these pests spelled famine to these first settlers of Salt Lake valley. It meant starvation to the companies of thousands of women and children then en route across the plains. Small wonder if the hearts of the colonists failed them. They looked at each other in helpless astonishment. They were beaten. That is something awful for strong men to admit, especially when beaten by units so insignificant.

Meantime the ceaseless gnawing of the ruthless and insatiable invader went on. The brown patches of the wheat fields grew larger. Soon all would be bare and brown, and hope of food and life would disappear with the recently green wheat fields.

Then the miraculous happened. I say it deliberately, the miraculous happened, as men commonly view the miraculous. There was heard the shrill, half-scream, half-plaintive cry of some seagulls hovering over the wheat fields. Presently they light and begin devouring the crickets. Others come–thousands of them–from over the lake. The upper feathers of the gull’s wings are tinted with a delicate grey, and some of the flight feathers, primaries, to be exact, are marked with black, but the prevailin color is white; and as they came upon the new wheat fields, stretched upward and then gracefully folded their wings and began devouring the devourers, to the cricket-vexed colonists they seemed like white-winged angels of deliverance–these gulls. They were tireless in their destructive–nay, their saving work.

It was noted that when they were glutted with crickets they would go to the streams, drink, vomit and return again to [100] the slaughter. And so it continued, day after day, until the plague was stayed, and the crops of the Pioneers saved.

Is it a matter for wonder that the lake seagulls were held as sacred by the early Utah settlers, and that later they were protected by legislative enactments. (CHC 3:331-333)

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[101]                         Heber’s Prophecy:

Goods Will Be Cheaper Here than in the East

Salt Lake Valley — September 1848

(as related by Benjamin Brown)


The Pioneers started for the mountains to seek out a resting place for the Saints, and the body of those that remained began to raise corn. I, and many others left our families, went down into Missouri, and hired ourselves out to obtain means to buy teams, clothes, flour, etc., so that we might follow the Pioneers’ camp.

When the time arrived, the Saints moved out promiscuously, and, after crossing the Elk Horn River, they were organized into two large divisions called Brigham’s and Heber’s companies. These were sub-divided into smaller companies of hundreds, fifties and tens, and in this way the Saints proceeded across the plains.

In September, 1848, we found that the Pioneers and others of the Saints that had gone into the Valley shortly after them, had been hard at work sowing all the winter, for every wagon had taken about two bushels of grain, consequently, most of the wheat that the crickets had not harvested on their own account, the inhabitants had, and they had raised a considerable quantity of vegetables also. And, as it is well known, after we had been in the Valley about a fortnight, they prepared a splendid feast, composed mostly of the fruits of their labor, to which feat all the Saints and strangers in the valley were invited.

Such numbers, however, had arrived in the Valley, that the vegetables raised by our brethren went but a little way, and after the feast at their expense, it was a rarity to get any vegetables until the following June, fourteen months from the time we left Winter Quarters, when we partook of vegetables raised by ourselves.

[102] Our bread also became very scarce before the wheat put in by the Saints generally was ready to harvest. Some persons lived for three months on their cattle, which they had to kill for food, and on roots which they dug up. Of course, after a time, our clothes and farming implements began to wear out, and we had the delightful prospect of wearing sheep skins, etc.

Our wagons were becoming scarce, many having been broken in the canyons, and we had no timber suitable for making more, and if there had been, from where were we to get the iron work necessary for making them, or for making plows, shovels, etc., for cultivating the ground, without which, of course, food would cease and starvation ensue? In fact, naturally speaking, things looked alarming, and just calculated to dry up our hopes and fill us with fears.

Matters were at this crisis, when one day Elder Heber C. Kimball stood up in the congregation of the Saints, and prophesied that “in a short time” we should be able to buy articles of clothing and utensils cheaper in the Valley than we could purchase them in the States.

I was present on the occasion, and with others there, only hoped the case might be so, for many of the Saints felt like the man spoken of in the scriptures, who heard Elisha prophesy at the time of a hard famine in Samaria, “that before tomorrow, a measure of fine flour should be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel.” We thought that “if the Lord would make windows in heaven, might this thing be,” but without an absolute miracle there seemed no human probability of its fulfillment.

However, Elder Kimball’s prophecy was fulfilled in a few months. Information of the great discovery of gold in California had reached the States, and large companies were formed for the purpose of supplying the gold diggers with food and clothing, and implements of every kind for digging, etc. Numbers of substantial wagons were prepared, stored with wholesale quantities of clothing of every kind, spades, picks, [103] shovels, chests of carpenters’ tools, tea, coffee, sugar, flour, fruits, etc.

When these companies arrived within a short distance of Salt Lake City, news reached them that ships had been dispatched from many parts of the world, fitted out with goods for California. This threatened to flood the market. So these companies brought their goods into the Valley, and disposed of them for just what could be got–provisions, wagons, clothes, tools, almost for the taking away, at least at half the price for which the goods could have been purchased in the States.

Many disposed of their wagons because the teams gave out, and could not get on any farther. Some sold almost all they had to purchase a mule or a horse to pack through with.

Thus were the Saints amply provided, even to overflowing, with every one of the necessaries and many of the luxuries of which they had been so destitute, and thus was the prediction of the servant of the Lord fulfilled.

This was a miraculous Providence, but not more so than those which it has been my lot to see the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints experience ever since my connection with it. (Gems for the Young Folks, No. 4, pp. 86-88)

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[104]                             Section 4

1850’s to 1899


Existence of Good and Evil Spirits

Salt Lake Valley — March 1856

(as related by Heber C. Kimball)


Some may think that the Almighty does not see their doings, but if He does not, the angels and ministering spirits do. They see you and your works, and I have no doubt but they occasionally communicate your conduct to the Father, or to the Son, or to Joseph, or to Peter, or to someone who holds the keys in connection with them. Perhaps there are some who do not believe in spirits, but I know that they exist and visit the earth, and I will tell you how and why I know it.

When I was in England, Brother George D. Watt was the first man baptized, and his mother was baptized directly after he was. The night previous to my going forward to baptize Brother Watt and eight others, I had a vision, as old Father Baker used to say, “Of the infernal world.” I saw legions of wicked spirits that night, as plain as I now see you, and they came as near to me as you now are, and company after company of them rushed towards me; and Brother Hyde and Brother Richards also saw them. It was near the break of day, and I looked upon them as I now look upon you. They came when I was laying hands upon Brother Russell. The wicked spirits got him to the door of the room. I did not see them till after that took place and soon afterwards I lay prostrate upon the floor. That was in England, pious England, in the little town of Preston, at the corner of Wilford Street, and they struggled and exerted all their power and influence.

[105] That was the first introduction of the gospel into England, and I was shown those spirits as plainly as ever I saw anything. I was thinking of that circumstance while Brother Brigham was speaking this morning, and I was thinking that those spirits were just as much on hand to perplex this people as they were on hand there. I saw their hands, their eyes, and every feature of their faces, the hair on their heads, and their ears; in short, they had full-formed bodies.

If evil spirits could come to me, cannot ministering spirits and angels also come from God? Of course they can, and there are thousands of them, and I wish you to understand this, and that they can rush as an army going to battle, for the evil spirits came upon me and Brother Hyde in that way. There is one circumstance in the visit of those evil spirits, that I would not tell if Brother Hyde had not often told it himself: they spoke and said to Brother Hyde, “We have nothing against you.” No, but I was the lad they were after. I mention this to show you that the devil is an enemy to me; he is also an enemy to Brother Brigham, to Brother Jedediah, to the Twelve, and to every righteous man.

When Brother Benson goes to the old country, he will find hosts of evil spirits, and he will know more about the devil than he ever did before. The spirits of the wicked, who have died thousands of years past, are at war with the Saints of God upon the earth. Do I ever pray that I may see them again? No, I do not. We had prayed all day and almost all night, that we might have power to establish the Gospel in England. Previous to this, Mr. Fielding, a clergyman, came and forbid my baptizing those persons who had come forward. Said I, “Sir, they are of age, and I shall baptize them, if they wish for it,” and I baptized nine. The next morning I was so weak that I could scarcely stand, so great was the effect that those spirits had upon me. I wrote a few words to my wife about the matter and Brother Joseph called upon her for the letter and said: [106] “It was a choice jewel, and a testimony that the Gospel was planted in a strange land.”

When I returned home, I called upon Brother Joseph, and we walked down the bank of the river. He told me what contests he had had with the devil; he told me that he had contests with the devil, face to face. He also told me how he was handled, and afflicted by the devil, and said he had known circumstances where Elder Rigdon was pulled out of bed three times in one night. After all this some persons will say to me, that there are no evil spirits. I tell you they are thicker than the “Mormons” are in this country, but the Lord has said that there are more for us than there can be against us. “Who are they?” says one. Righteous men who have been upon the earth. but do you suppose that angels will pay friendly visits to those who do not live up to their privileges? Would you? No, you would not like to visit with the persons who lie, and steal your goods, and borrow and never pay. Would not you forsake such persons? No. It is written that where the Holy Ghost takes up its abode, the Father and Son will come and abide. That is the God whom I serve, one who has millions of angels at His command. Do you suppose that there are any angels here today? I would not wonder if there were ten times more angels here than people. We do not see them, but they are here watching us, and are anxious for our salvation. * * *

If men and women do not qualify themselves and become sanctified and purified in this life, they will go into a world of spirits where they will have a greater contest with the devils than ever you had with them here. It will not be fifty years, perhaps, before all of us here today will leave this state of existence, and then you will prove whether Brother Brigham and the rest of the brethren have told you truth or not. You know that the world has made a great deal of fuss, and told many lies about the devil pitching onto Joseph Smith when he went to get the plates, but they will get to a place where the devils will handle them worse than they did Joseph when he [107] got the plates; if they do not embrace the Gospel it will be so. Let us repent and forsake our sins and turn our hearts to our God, every one of us. I have said a thousand times if I was to die today, I could not do better than I have done, still I have my weaknesses. (JD 3:228-230)

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[108]             Brigham’s Dream of Joseph’s Strange Flock

Salt Lake Valley — April 20, 1856

(as related by Brigham Young)


This fact was very clearly exemplified to me in a dream which I had while so many were going to California, at a time when many of the brethren were under quite an excitement about the Saints going there to dig gold. * * *

Several supposed that . . . they would be able to so sanctify themselves, that in one year they could take Great Salt Lake Valley and the regions round about up to Enoch, or have him come here. I did not so view the matter, and did not give any special instructions upon it. At that time I dreamed that while I was a little below the road and just north of the Hot Springs, about four miles from here, I saw Brother Joseph coming and walked up to the road to see him, and asked him where he was going? He replied, “I am going north.”

There were two or three horsemen along, and some men were riding with him upon a few boards placed loosely upon the running gears of a wagon, upon which were also a tent and camp utensils. I wished to talk with him, but he did not seem inclined to conversation, and it occurred to me that he was going to Captain James Brown’s to buy all his goats.

I had been promised ten or a dozen of them, but I thought that he was going to buy every one, and that I should not get a single goat to put with my sheep, and I laughed in my sleep.

Pretty soon he came back, with a large flock of sheep and goats following the wagon, and as I looked upon them I saw some sheep that were white, pure, and clean, and as large as a two-year-old cow, with wool from ten to twenty inches in length, as fine as silk and as white as the driven snow.

With them were all lesser sizes down to the smallest goat or sheep I ever saw, and all mixed up together. I saw some sheep with hair like that of goats, and goats of all colors, red, [109] black, white, etc., mixed with the sheep; and their sizes, colors, and quality of fleeces, seemed to be almost innumerable.

I remarked to Joseph that he had got the strangest flock I ever saw, and looked at him slyly and laughed, and asked him what he was going to do with them. He looked at me in his usual shrewd manner and replied, “They are all good in their places.”

On awaking I at once understood the dream, and I then said, go to California, or where you please, for goats are as good in their places as sheep, until the time for them to mingle is over. And in striving to guide and improve the flock, we sometimes have to cry out, shoo, and at other times to draw them nigh by calling, sheep, sheep.

We are trying to train the flock, and to turn the goats into sheep, and the spotted, ring-streaked and speckled into beautiful white, and how shall we succeed? Perhaps we shall see rather a curious flock at last, but we will do the best we can. (JD 3:321-22)

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[110]                          Major Lot Smith

and the Echo Canyon War

Fall 1857


Note: On September 15, 1857, President Brigham Young, as Governor, sent out the following proclamation: “We are invaded by a hostile force who are evidently assailing us to accomplish our overthrow and destruction.” The government had received false information about the Mormons and were sending the largest and best equipped armies they had ever put together to put down the Mormon people. Brigham responded that, “Our duty to ourselves, to our families, requires us not to tamely submit to be driven and slain, without an attempt to preserve ourselves.” (CHC 4:273 & 274)

The object of the Mormon “soldiers” was to stop the advancing army until the matter could be settled. It was one of the strangest wars in history; their orders were, “Take no life, but destroy their trains.” The following story is how Mormon leader Major Lot Smith accomplished that strange task.



When I (Lot Smith) returned to camp, I was invited to take dinner with the commanding general and his aids. During the meal, General Wells, looking at me as straight as possible, asked if I could take a few men and turn back the trains that were on the road or burn them. I replied that I thought I could do just what he told me to. The answer appeared to please him, and he accepted it, telling me that he could furnish only a few men, but that they would be sufficient, for they would appear many more to our enemies. As for provisions, none would be supplied, as we were expected to board at the expense of Uncle Sam.

As this seemed to be an open order, I did not complain, and at 4 o’clock, October 3d, we started, numbering forty-four [111] men, rank and file, Major Lot Smith in command, Captain H. D. Haight, Lieutenants Thomas Abbott and John Vance, officers. We rode nearly all night, and early the next morning came in sight of an ox train headed westward. I left half of my men to get breakfast, and with the others proceeded to interview the bull-whackers. On calling for the captain, a large fine-looking man stepped forward and gave his name as Rankin. I informed him that we wanted him to turn his train and go the other way, until he reached the States. He wanted to know by what authority I presumed to issue such orders. I replied, pointing to my men, that there was a part of it, and the remainder was a little further on concealed in the brush. He swore pretty strongly, and thought that was good in a free country like this; however, he faced about and started to go east, but as soon as out of sight would turn again towards the mountains. The troops met him that day and took out his lading, leaving the wagons and teams standing. I camped near these troops on that night on the banks of Green River.

Losing the opportunity to make much impression on Rankin’s train, I thought something must be done speedily to carry out the instructions received, so I sent Captain Haight with twenty men to see if he could get the mules of the tenth Regiment on any terms. With the remaining twenty-three men I started for Sandy Fork to intercept trains that might be approaching in that direction.

On the road, seeing a large cloud of dust at a distance up the river, on the old Mormon road, I sent scouts to see what caused it. They returned, overtaking me at Sandy, and reported a train of twenty-six large freight wagons. We took supper and started at dark. After traveling fourteen miles, we came up to the train, but discovered that the teamsters were drunk, and knowing that drunken men were easily excited and always ready to fight, and remembering my positive orders not to hurt anyone except in self-defense, we remained in ambush until after midnight. I then sent scouts to thoroughly examine the [112] appearance of their camp, to note the number of wagons and men and to report all they discovered. When they returned and reported twenty-six wagons in two lines a short distance apart, I concluded that counting one teamster to each wagon, and throwing in eight or ten extra men would make their force about forty. I thought we would be a match for them, and so ordered an advance to their camp.

On nearing the wagons, I found I had misunderstood the scouts, for instead of one train of twenty-six wagons, there were two, doubling the number of men, and putting quite another phase on our relative strength and situation. There was a large campfire burning, and a number of men were standing around it smoking. It was expected by my men that on finding out the real number of wagons and men, I would not go farther than to make some inquiries and passing our sortie upon the trains as a joke would go on until some more favorable time. but it seemed to me that it was no time for joking. I arranged my men, and we advanced until our horses’ heads came into the light of the fire. Then I discovered that we had the advantage, for looking back into the darkness, I could not see where my line of troops ended, and could imagine my twenty followers stringing out to a hundred or more as well as not.

I inquired for the captain of the train. Mr. Dawson stepped out and said he was the man. I told him that I had a little business with him. He inquired the nature of it, and I replied by requesting him to get all of his men and their private property as quickly as possible out of the wagons for I meant to put a little fire into them. He exclaimed: “For God’s sake, don’t burn the trains.” I said it was for His sake that I was going to burn them, and pointed out a place for his men to stack their arms, and another where they were to stand in a group, placing a guard over both. I then sent a scout down towards Little Mountaineer Fork, failing to put one out towards Ham’s Fork on the army. While I was busy with the [113] train, a messenger from the latter surprised us by coming into camp. I asked him if he had dispatches and to hand them to me. He said he had, but they were verbal. I told him if he lied to me his life was not worth a straw. He became terrified, in fact I never saw a man more frightened. The weather was a little cool but his jaws fairly clattered. I took his mule and arms and told him where to stand, at the same time placing a large Irish Gentile I had with me as guard over him, with instructions to shoot him if he moved. He pled piteously for his life; but I indicated that soldiers’ lives were not worth much; it was only the bull-whackers who could expect to get off easy. He said afterwards that he expected every moment to be killed. His orders to the train men were from the commander at Camp Winfield, and were to the effect that the Mormons were in the field and that they must not go to sleep but keep night guard on their trains, and that four companies of cavalry and two pieces of artillery would come over in the morning to escort them to camp.

While I was engaged with the first train, a guard of the second came down to see what was going on. I told him to go back and not move and that I would be up soon and attend to them. My scout said, afterwards, that when the guard returned, he squatted down by a wagon wheel and never moved until I came up. Captain Dawson and I shortly after went up to the second train. Dawson shaking the wagon in which the wagon-master slept, called loudly for Bill. “Bill” seemed considerably dazed and grumbled at being called up so early. Dawson exclaimed with peculiar emphasis, “Damn it, man, get up, or you’ll be burned to a cinder in five minutes!” Bill suddenly displayed remarkable activity. I introduced the same programme to him that we had carried out with the first train, having them come out man by man, stack their arms and huddle together under guard. By the time I had my men scattered about, guarding the different interests, they appeared to have dwindled to a very small body to me, but the sixty or [114] seventy prisoners, for with extras the teamsters numbered that many, never discovered it. Having got them disposed of, I inquired of Dawson what kind of loading he had, as I was much in need of overcoats for my boys–the season getting late and weather cold. I also asked if they had much powder on board for if so it would be convenient when I fired the wagons to take him with me.

He was much frightened at that proposition and hastily produced his bills of lading. I told him to hunt himself as I had no time. He searched diligently for powder and my boys for overcoats and clothing. Dawson announced that there were large quantities of saltpetre and sulphur in the wagons and said they were nearly as dangerous as powder. I told him we would have to take the risk of injury from them. He begged me not to make him fire the train, saying: “For the good Lord’s sake don’t take me; I’ve been sick and am not well yet, and don’t want to be hurt.”

There were many such laughable incidents connected with the adventures of the night, if we had dared to laugh. One old man, shaking with St. Anthony’s dance or something else, came up to me and wanted to know why we had driven up the oxen so early. Learning that our business was of a different nature, he tremblingly said he thought we would have come sooner and not waited until they were in bed and some of them liable to be burned up. My big Irishman told him we were so busy that we nearly left him without calling him up at all, at all.

When all was ready, I made a torch, instructing my Gentile follower, known as Big James, to do the same, as I thought it was proper for the “Gentiles to spoil the Gentiles.” At this stage of our proceedings an Indian came from the Mountaineer Fork, and seeing how the thing was going, asked for some presents. He wanted two wagon covers for a lodge, some flour and soap. I filled his order and he went away much elated. Out of respect to the candor poor Dawson had showed, I released [115] him from going with me when we fired the trains, taking Big James instead, he not being afraid of saltpetre or sulphur either.

While riding from wagon to wagon, with torch in hand and the wind blowing, the covers seemed to me to catch very slowly. I so stated it to James. He replied, swinging his long torch over his head; “By St. Patrick, ain’t it beautiful! I never saw anything go better in all my life.” About this time I had Dawson send in his men to the wagons, not yet fired, to get us some provisions, enough to thoroughly furnish us, telling him to get plenty of sugar and coffee for though I never used the latter myself, some of my men below, intimating that I had a force down there, were fond of it. On completing this task, I told him that we were going just a little way off and that if he or his men molested the trains or undertook to put the fire out, they would be instantly killed. We rode away leaving the wagons all ablaze. (Contributor 3:272-74)

* * *


After our encounter with the two trains on the old Mormon road, which we left in a blaze, we proceeded to the bluffs of Green River. From there I started an express to General Wells with details of our maneuvres up to date. I told the man selected to carry these dispatches that he must go alone as I could not spare any one to go with him, and that he must look out for the troops, which by this time would be on the alert to capture or kill any of our men they might meet. He said they were welcome to him if they caught him, and started away. He got through all right.

We camped on the banks of the Sandy that night, getting a little sleep, which, considering the night work of the previous week, was very grateful to us all. On the morning following we met another train at a place that has ever since been known as Simpson’s hollow. I asked for the captain and being told that [116] he was out after cattle, we disarmed the teamsters, and I rode out and met him about half a mile away. I told him that I came on business. He inquired the nature of it when I demanded his pistols. He replied: “By G–d, sir, no man ever took them yet, and if you think you can, without killing me, try it.” We were all the time riding towards the train, with our noses about as close together as two Scotch terriers would have held theirs–his eyes flashing fire; I couldn’t see mine–I told him that I admired a brave man, but that I didn’t like blood–you insist on my killing you, which will only take a minute, but I don’t want to do it. We had by this time reached the train. He, seeing that his men were under guard, surrendered, saying: “I see you have me at a disadvantage, my men being disarmed.” I replied that I didn’t need the advantage, and asked him what he would do if we should give them their arms. “I’ll fight you!” “Then,” says I, “we know something about that too–take up your arms!” His men exclaimed, “Not by a d—n sight! We came out here to whack bulls, not to fight.” “What do you say to that, Simpson?” I asked. “Damnation,” he replied, grinding his teeth in the most violent manner, “if I had been here before and they had refused to fight, I would have killed every man of them.”

Captain Simpson was the bravest man I met during the campaign. He was a son-in-law of Mr. Majors, a large contractor for government freighting. He was terribly exercised over the capture of his train, and wanted to know what kind of a report he could make to the commander, and what he could do with his crowd of cowardly teamsters left on the plains to starve. I told him that I would give him a wagon loaded with provisions. “You will give me two; I know it by your looks!” I told them to hurry up and get their things out, and take their two wagons for we wanted to go on. Simpson begged me not to burn the train while he was in sight, and said that it would ruin his reputation as a wagon master. I told him not to be squeamish, that the trains burned very nicely, I had seen them [117] before, and that we hadn’t time to be ceremonious. We then supplied ourselves with provisions, set the wagons afire and rode on about two miles from the stream to rest. I expected any moment to be overtaken by troops from the camps, and fired my pistol to call in our picket guard.

They hurriedly came to the place where we were resting, a place that will always be remembered as the scene of the most distressing event which occurred on the expedition. While I was reloading my pistol, and as the guards came in from picket duty, one of the guns–a United States yauger–was discharged. The heavy ball passed through Orson P. Arnold’s thigh, breaking the bone in a fearful manner, struck Philo Dibble in the side of the head, and went through Samuel Bateman’s hat just missing his head and pulling his hair. I sprang up and caught young Arnold, straightening him out, for he fell with his leg under him, the jagged points of the broken bone sticking out, while the blood streamed from the awful wound. It looked as though he would bleed to death in five minutes. We laid our hands upon him according to the order of the Church, and asked our Father to preserve him for we know that we could not.

I immediately sent two men to the Sandy for poles with which to make a litter. We calculated that the distance to a safe place on Green River was not less than thirty miles, and that we must carry our wounded comrade there as soon and as comfortably as possible. While engaged setting the broken bone, a picket guard came running into camp and reported two hundred cavalry close upon us. Under the circumstances nothing could have produced greater consternation. One of the men moved that we surrender. I told them that I would say when to do that. He then proposed that we run. I replied that I would kill the man that made that motion, myself, if he dared to try it. Then I made my first war speech. I told the men that we were not out here of our own choice, on our own business. Our people and their rights were being assailed. It was the [118] Lord’s work that they were engaged in, and we were called by Him to protect our homes and our religion. If he suffered those troops to come near us, we would trust in Him and whip them, no matter about their numbers. The boys gathered around me and said that I had spoken right, that they would stand by me if I would stand. I was well repaid for stiffening my knees, for poor Orson looked up and said he knew I wouldn’t run away and leave him to die. Poor boy! The first words he spoke were: “I shall always be a cripple, and will never be able to fight soldiers any more.”

Then came the tug of war! We took up our wounded man and carried him on poles for thirty miles. Talk about mules with sore shoulders! Ours equalled anything of that kind ever heard of. Our way lay across a trackless desert the whole distance, with no water on the road but what we carried in our canteens, and a wounded man burning with fever and inflammation constantly wants water.

A curious incident happened during the journey across this desert plain. By night we ran short of water, the men were tired out and I advised all to stop and lie down to rest until morning. But some of the men proposed, if I would consent, that they go on for water, and that the rest carry the litter until they returned and overtook us. The proposition was agreed to and they started, but the carrying party failed in less than a mile. One of the poles broke and we nearly let the other fall to the ground. Orson had slept during most of the night, and when this accident happened, made the first sign of pain. He must have suffered fearfully. I told the rest of the boys they would have to go now for water; that it was at least eight miles and to hurry back. They went and thought it fully that far, but they came back making the journey in the dark, and met us in the plain, without fire, road or any landmark to guide them. I only know of one way to account for the incident. We had to have the water or the boy would die, and a Power greater than we knew it. When we, at last, all gave out, the men lopped [119] over, one by one, and were fast asleep as soon as they touched the ground. I went around and took off the saddles, arms, etc., and watched the horses, until feeling too tired to remain awake longer, I thought of a little fellow, who being too short to carry the litter, was fresh compared to the rest of us. I woke him up, and asked him to look after the horses. In a moment I was asleep, and unable to rouse myself, though conscious that the short fellow I had called, had only turned over and had not got up. The next time I wanted him up to stand guard, I had him on his feet before leaving him.

Before daylight we were again on the march. When we came in sight of the river, the same man that had reported the two hundred cavalry, came back and said there were soldiers on the banks and advised us to make a circuit of about five miles to strike the river below. I told him that I was in no mood to prolong our journey. That all could do so who wished, but that I was going to a small grove of cottonwoods on the river bottom, to which I pointed, and that it would take a right smart lot of soldiers to get me out of it.

We left the wounded boy in charge of two men on the bluffs, but they took him down in a ravine where he came near suffocating. He begged them to take him on the hill and let him die, to leave him and look out for themselves. When we reached the river, I sent out scouts to look up the soldiers that had been seen, at the same time climbing a large tree to survey the situation myself. A man soon rushed into the grove saying that two of our men were running this way, chased by two soldiers. Without thought I sprang down, caught up my gun and run; my men following me. In a minute or two I stopped short, and asked him if he said that two of our men were being chased by two soldiers. He said “yes.” “Then I hope they will catch them; I don’t want any two men that any other two can chase.” They all laughed. We soon found out the truth. Two of our men were after a couple of mountaineers. When they overtook them, the latter slung off their canteens in double quick [120] time and offered the boys a drink. We made arrangements with these mountaineers to take charge of our helpless comrade, and they kept him ten days, doing the best they could for him, until General Wells sent a team to convey him home. He however suffered extremely, but we were told by the surgeon that no one could have set the broken leg better under the circumstances, than we had done. When we came upon the soldiers that our picket guard, who was a good man but with eyes that would magnify, had reported, we found them to consist of Captain Haight and company, and were very glad to meet friends again instead of enemies. (Contributor 4:27-29)

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[121]                    The Vision of Chief Arapeen

Territory of Deseret



Note: The early Mormon settlements had much less trouble from the Indians than any other settlers or travelling caravans. The following story is one of many that explained why they enjoyed such peace with the Indians.



In the spring of 1857 President Young with a company of 115 men, 22 women, and five boys paid a visit to Fort Limhi, the purpose being to explore the country with a view to the establishment of settlements in the future. President Young remained four days and a half at Fort Limhi, during which time he held a friendly conference with the Indian chiefs in the vicinity, smoked the pipe of peace with them at the fort, and distributed gifts of blankets, tobacco, etc., with which the Indians were delighted. Among the interesting incidents of this journey is the fact that Arapeen, the brother of Walker, the Utah chief, and who succeeded Walker as war chief of the Utahs, with a number of his braves, accompanied President Young to Fort Limhi, and was present and participated in the friendly conferences with the Bannocks.

Early in the year 1857, Chief Arapeen reported having had a visitation from the spirit of his brother Walker, of which the following is the record in President Young’s Ms. History:

“Vision of Arapeen: Arapeen, brother of Walker, Utah chief, reported to the brethren in San Pete that he had a vision, in which Walker appeared to him, and told him not to fight the `Mormons’ but cultivate peace with them. The Lord had revealed to Arapeen that the land was his [i.e., the Lord’s] and did not belong to the Indians nor the `Mormons;’ that Walker had taken sick and died a natural death; that the Indians who [122] stole should be whipped and have a ball and chain put on them; but it was not good to kill them and spill their blood on the land; that Arapeen was to relate what was communicated to him to President Welcome Chapman, and Counselor Higgins and Bishop Lowry (of Manti), and they would write it.

Arapeen was also informed that it was not good for the `Mormons’ to trade guns and ammunition to the Indians at present. The Lord said that by and by when all people were good, and at peace, he would live on the earth with them. Arapeen saw three personages whose garments were as white as snow and as brilliant as the sun, and he was informed that all good people would eventually appear as these personages did: the Lord often talked with Brigham and now would talk with Arapeen also.”

The frame of mind resulting from this “vision” led doubtless to the chief accompanying President Young on this expedition to the north.

“This expedition” is a fair sample of the manner in which President Young made such journeys. (CHC 4:8-9)

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[123]              Brigham Speaks in Tongues to the Indians

Territory of Deseret



Editor, Improvement Era

Salt Lake City, Utah


Dear Sir:

I am writing to you in relation to an incident that happened in the life of President Brigham Young, in the early settlement of Utah; and of which I find no mention in Church history. Along about 1890, Jesse W. Fox, Sr., who was in early days the principal surveyor of Utah’s settlements, both North and South, accompanied President Young on his trips and laid out the principal towns of our state. Brother Fox related to me about the time above mentioned, that he had heard President Young on two or three occasions talk to the Indians in their own tongue.

The Indians were at different times quite opposed to the Mormons settling Southern Utah. President Young often said, “It is better to feed the Indians than to fight them.” And in order to carry out this policy, a number of talks were had with the Indian Chiefs. It was in these talks that President Young had the “Gift of Tongues” made manifest.

The conversations I had with Jesse W. Fox were at the old County Court House, corner 2nd South and 1st West. At that time I was County Collector for Salt Lake County. Brother Fox often came in my office and related to me many incidents of the early settlement of Utah.

Some ten or twelve years ago these conversations were brought forcibly to my mind while reading the Church History by Roberts. In Volume 2, page 381, I find the following: The Prophet Joseph Smith says, “I saw Brigham Young standing in a strange land in the far South and West in a desert place in the midst of about a dozen men of color who appeared angry. Brother Young spoke to them in their own tongue.”

[124] In reading this vision of the Prophet, the incidents of our early history, as related to me by Brother Fox, were brought to my mind quite forcibly. Also, Jesse W. Fox, Jr., stated to me when I asked him if he had ever heard his father mention hearing of Brigham Young talk in tongues to the Indians, that he had heard his father mention that he had on several occasions.

About a year ago I got in conversation with an old-timer who was in the southern part of our state in 1870 as a missionary. This man was Caleb D. Brinton, now in his 84th year. He was at the town of Kanab. After talking with Elder Brinton about Indian affairs at that time, and finding that he was quite well-posted, I obtained the following affidavit from him, of which this is a copy:


September 15th, 1932

Salt Lake City, Utah

To Whom It May Concern:

This is to certify that the undersigned, in connection with Jacob Hamblin and Ammon Tenney, were located at Kanab, Utah, as missionaries, when President Brigham Young, in connection with Jesse W. Fox, Sr., visited the town.

Black Hawk, an Indian Chief, also some other chiefs were camped near there. Black Hawk and his followers had been on the “warpath” for some time, and President Young was desirous of meeting him with a view of coming to some understanding as to a peaceful settling of the south part of the state.

Jacob Hamblin, an Indian interpreter, was with the party, and while they were trying to parley with the chiefs, President Young commenced to talk to them in their own tongue, and continued to do so for a period of time estimated by me to be 20 or 30 minutes. This incident was quite a surprise to all of us, as we know that President Young did not know their language.

[125] At the beginning of this talk, the Indians manifested considerable anger. However, at the conclusion of this parley, the Indians seemed to be appeased; for shortly after this incident, the Black Hawk War, as it was termed, ended.


Witness:    L. G. Hardy

Caleb D. Brinton

Resident — No. 5, Bodell Apts.

155 North Main Street

Salt Lake City, Utah


The foregoing narration seems to me to be of sufficient interest to publish as a faith-promoting incident, as it verifies the vision the Prophet Joseph Smith had in relation to the “gift of tongues” being used by Brigham Young to appease the anger of men of color (the Indians) in the far south and west.

This vision was given to the Prophet in Kirtland, Ohio. Kanab would correspond to the place described.

Yours truly,

  1. G. Hardy

1984 South 7th East

Salt Lake City, Utah

(Imp. Era 37:432)

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[126]             Jacob Hamblin Makes Peace with the Indians

Territory of Deseret

(as related by Jacob Hamblin)


Note: Jacob Hamblin was promised by President Brigham Young that if he would not shed the blood of an Indian, his own life would never be taken by them. He became the greatest LDS missionary to their people.



I settled, with my father and brothers, in Tooele Valley, thirty-five miles west of Salt Lake City. The people built their houses in the form of a fort, to protect themselves from the Indians, who frequently stole their horses and cattle. Men were sent against them from Salt Lake City, but all to no purpose. The Indians would watch them during the day, and steal from them at night.

This kind of warfare was carried on for about three years, during which time there was no safety for our horses or cattle. We had a military company, of which I was first lieutenant. I went with the captain on several expeditions against the thieves, but without accomplishing much good. They would watch our movements in the canyons, and continually annoy us.

At one time, I took my wife three miles up a canyon to gather wild fruit while I got down timber from the mountain. We had intended to remain over night, but while preparing a place to sleep a feeling came over me that the Indians were watching us, with the intention of killing us during the night.

I at once yoked my oxen, put my wife and her babe on the wagon, and went home in the evening. My wife expressed surprise at my movements, and I told her that the Indians were watching us. She wished to know how I knew this, and asked if I had seen or heard them. I replied that I knew it on the same principle that I knew that the gospel was true.

[127] The following day I returned to the canyon. Three Indians had come down on the road during the night, and robbed a wagon of a gun, ammunition and other valuables. One of them, from the size of the track, must have been an Indian known as “Old Big Foot.” I thanked the Lord that He had warned me in time to save my wife and child, as well as myself.

The following winter I asked for a company of men to make another effort to hunt up the Indians. On this scout we traveled at night and watched during the day, until we discovered the location of a band of them.

One morning at daybreak, we surrounded their camp before they were aware of our presence. The chief among them sprang to his feet, and stepping towards me, said, “I never hurt you, and I do not want to. If you shoot, I will; if you do not, I will not.” I was not familiar with their language, but I knew what he said. Such an influence came over me that I would not have killed one of them for all the cattle in Tooele Valley.

The running of the women and the crying of the children aroused my sympathies, and I felt inspired to do my best to prevent the company from shooting any of them. Some shots were fired, but no one was injured, except that the legs and feet of some of the Indians were bruised by jumping among the rocks.

I wished some of the men to go with us to the settlement. They were somewhat afraid, but confided in my assurance that they should not be injured.

On my arrival home, my superior officer ignored the promise of safety I had given the Indians, and decided to have them shot.

I told him I did not care to live after I had seen the Indians whose safety I had guaranteed, murdered, and as it made but little difference with me, if there were any shot I should be the first. At the same time I placed myself in front of the Indians. This ended the matter, and they were set at liberty.

[128] From the feelings manifested by the Bishop and the people generally, I thought that I might possibly be mistaken in the whole affair. The people had long suffered from the depredations of these Indians, and they might be readily excused for their exasperated feeling, but, right or wrong, a different feeling actuated me.

After this affair, the presiding officer directed me to take another company of men, go after the Indians, to shoot all we found, and bring no more into the settlement. Again we traveled at night and watched during the day. We found the trail of a small band who had come near the valley, and then turned back on account of a light fall of snow, which would make their trail too easily discovered for thieving operations.

We surprised them near a large mountain between Tooele and Skull Valleys. They scattered in the foothills, and the company divided to the right and left to keep them from the mountains. I rode my horse as far as he could go on account of the difficulties of the ground, then left him, and secreted myself behind a rock in a narrow pass, through which I presumed some of the Indians would attempt to escape. I had not been there long before an Indian came within a few paces of me.

I leveled my rifle on him, and it missed fire. He sent an arrow at me, and it struck my gun as I was in the act of re-capping it; he sent the second, and it passed through my hat; the third barely missed my head; the fourth passed through my coat and vest. As I could not discharge my gun, I defended myself as well as I could with stones. The Indian soon left the ground to me.

I afterwards learned that as he went on, he met two others of our company and passed them safely, as their guns also missed fire. When the company gathered back to the place from which they scattered, we learned that not one was able to discharge his gun when within range of an Indian. One of the company received a slight arrow wound, which was the only injury inflicted.

[129] In my subsequent reflections, it appeared evident to me that a special providence had been over us, in this and the two previous expeditions, to prevent us from shedding the blood of the Indians. The Holy Spirit forcibly impressed me that it was not my calling to shed the blood of the scattered remnant of Israel, but to be a messenger of peace to them. It was also made manifest to me that if I would not thirst for their blood, I should never fall by their hands. The most of the men who went on this last expedition, also received an impression that it was wrong to kill these Indians.

On a 4th expedition against them, we again surprised their camp. When I saw the women and children fleeing for their lives, barefooted over the rocks and through the snow, leaving a trail of blood, I fully made up my mind that if I had anything more to do with Indians, it would be in a different way.

I did not wish to injure these women and children, but, learning that “Old Big Foot” was there, and feeling that he deserved killing, I soon found his trail and followed it. There being snow on the ground, his trail was easily seen. It passed along the highest ridges. As I approached a cedar tree with low, thick foliage, a feeling came over me not to go near it. I passed it under the brow of a steep hill. When beyond it, I saw that no trail had passed on. I circled around in sight of the Indian, but he in some way slipped off unobserved.

Afterwards, when trying to make peace with these Indians, “Big Foot” told me that himself and party had laid their plans to kill me and my wife and child the summer before when in Pine Canyon, had we remained there overnight. During the same interview he said, placing his finger on his arrow, “If, when you followed me in the cedar hills, you had come three steps nearer the tree where I was, I would have put an arrow into you up to the feather.”

I thanked the Lord, as I often felt to do, for the revelations of His Spirit. (Jacob Hamblin, J. A. Little, pp. 22-26; Jacob Hamblin, The Peacemaker, Pearson Corbett, pp. 40-42)



[130]            George Q. Cannon’s Interpretation of Tongues

Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) — 1850’s

(as related by George Q. Cannon)


My desire to learn to speak was very strong; it was present with me night and day, and I never permitted an opportunity of talking with the natives to pass without improving it. I also tried to exercise faith before the Lord to obtain the gift of talking and understanding the language.

One evening, while sitting on the mats conversing with some neighbors who had dropped in, I felt an uncommonly great desire to understand what they said. All at once, I felt a peculiar sensation in my ears; I jumped to my feet, with my hands at the sides of my head, and exclaimed to Elders Bigler and Keeler who sat at the table, that I believed I had received the gift of interpretation! And it was so.

From that time forward I had but little, if any difficulty in understanding what the people said. I might not be able at once to separate every word which they spoke from every other word in the sentence; but I could tell the general meaning of the whole. This was a great aid to me in learning to speak the language, and I felt very thankful for this gift from the Lord.

I mention this that my readers may know how willing God is to bestow gifts upon his children. If they should be called to go as missionaries to a foreign nation, whose language they do not understand, it is their privilege to exercise faith for the gifts of speaking and interpreting that language, and also for every other gift which they may need. (My First Mission, Cannon, pp. 15-16)

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I had become so accustomed to talking in the Sandwich Island language that it was hard for me to speak in my mother tongue. I well remember how difficult it was for me to pray in English, when called upon to do so, in the family circle, the evening after I got to Lahaina.

[131] I had been so anxious to learn the language that I would not read any book in English excepting the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants, and had even trained myself to think in that language. I did this so that I might be thoroughly familiar with it for I was anxious to preach the gospel in exceeding plainness unto the people. Of course it required an effort on my part to thus train myself; but I was paid for it all, in the fluency with which I used the language. I was able to speak and write it and with greater ease and correctness than my mother tongue. (Ibid., pp. 38-39)

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[132]                     The Treasures of the Earth

Farmington, Utah — June 17, 1877

(as delivered by Brigham Young)


We see many of the Elders of Israel desirous of becoming wealthy, and they adopt any course that they think will bring them riches, which to me is as unwise as anything can be–to see men of wisdom, men that seem to have an understanding of the world and of the things of God, searching after minerals throughout these mountains; they traverse the hills, and they dig here and there, and keep digging and picking and rolling the rocks from morning till night. This chain of mountains has been followed from the north to the south, and its various spurs have been prospected, and what do they find? Just enough to allure them, and to finally lead them from the faith, and at last to make them miserable and poor.

Ask the brethren why they do this, and the ready reply will be: “Is it not my privilege to find a gold mine, or a silver mine, as well as others?” As far as I am concerned I would say: “Yes, certainly it is your privilege, if you can find one.” But do you know how to find such a mine? No, you do not. These treasures that are in the earth are carefully watched, they can be removed from place to place according to the good pleasure of Him who made them and owns them. He has his messengers at his service, and it is just as easy for an angel to remove the minerals from any part of one of these mountains to another, as it is for you and me to walk up and down this hall. This, however, is not understood by the Christian world, nor by us as a people. There are certain circumstances that a number of my brethren and sisters have heard me relate, that will demonstrate this so positively, that none need doubt the truth of what I say.

I presume there are some present who have heard me narrate a circumstance with regard to the discovery of a gold mine in Little Cottonwood Canyon, and I will here say that the [133] specimens taken from it, which I have in my possession today, are as fine specimens of gold as ever were found on this continent. A man whom some of you will well know, brought to me a most beautiful nugget. I told him to let the mine alone.

When General Conner came here, he did considerable prospecting, and in hunting through the Cottonwoods, he had an inkling that there was gold there. Porter, as we generally call him, came to me one day, saying: “They have struck within four inches of my lode, what shall I do?” He was carried away with the idea that he must do something. I therefore told him to go with the other brethren interested, and make his claim. When he got through talking, I said to him: “Porter, you ought to know better; you have seen and heard things which I have not, and are a man of long experience in this Church. I want to tell you one thing; they may strike within four inches of that lode as many times as they have a mind to, and they will not find it.” They hunted and hunted, hundreds of them did; and I had the pleasure of laughing at him a little, for when he went there again, he could not find it himself.”

Sometimes I take the liberty of talking a little further with regard to such things. Orin P. Rockwell is an eye witness to some powers of removing the treasures of the earth. He was with certain parties that lived near by where the plates were found that contain the records of the Book of Mormon. There were a great many treasures hid up by the Nephites. Porter was with them one night where there were treasures, and they could find them easy enough, but they could not obtain them.

I will tell you a story which will be marvelous to most of you. It was told me by Porter, whom I would believe just as quickly as any man that lives. When he tells a thing he understands, he will tell it just as he knows it; he is a man that does not lie. He said that on this night, when they were engaged hunting for this old treasure, they dug around the end of a chest for some twenty inches. The chest was about three [134] feet square. One man who was determined to have the contents of that chest, took his pick and struck into the lid of it, and split through into the chest. The blow took off a piece of the lid, which a certain lady kept in her possession until she died. The chest of money went into the bank. Porter describes it so (making a rumbling sound); he says this is just as true as the heavens are. I have heard others tell the same story. I relate this because it is marvelous to you. But to those who understand these things, it is not marvelous.

You hear a great deal said about finding money. There is no difficulty at all in finding money, but there are a great many people who do not know what to do with it when they do find it. This is the great defect with the human family. I could relate many very singular circumstances. I lived right in the country where the plates were found from which the Book of Mormon was translated, and I know a great many things pertaining to that country.

I believe I will take the liberty to tell you of another circumstance that will be as marvelous as anything can be. This is an incident in the life of Oliver Cowdery, but he did not take the liberty of telling such things in meeting as I take. I tell these things to you, and I have a motive for doing so. I want to carry them to the ears of my brethren and sisters, and to the children also, that they may grow to an understanding of some things that seem to be entirely hidden from the human family. Oliver Cowdery went with the Prophet Joseph when he deposited these plates. Joseph did not translate all of the plates; there was a portion of them sealed, which you can learn from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. When Joseph got the plates, the angel instructed him to carry them back to the hill Cumorah, which he did. Oliver says that when Joseph and Oliver went there, the hill opened, and they walked into a cave, in which there was a large and spacious room. He says he did not think, at the time, whether they had the light of the sun or artificial light; but that it was just as light as day. They [135] laid the plates on a table; it was a large table that stood in the room. Under this table there was a pile of plates as much as two feet high, and there were altogether in this room more plates than probably many wagon loads; they were piled up in the corners and along the walls. The first time they went there the sword of Laban hung upon the wall; but when they went again, it had been taken down and laid upon the table across the gold plates; it was unsheathed, and on it was written these words: “This sword will never be sheathed again until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our God and his Christ.”

I tell you this as coming not only from Oliver Cowdery, but others who were familiar with it, and who understood it just as well as we understand coming to this meeting, enjoying the day, and by and by we separate and go away, forgetting most of what is said, but remembering some things.

So it is with other circumstances in life. I relate this to you, and I want you to understand it. I take this liberty of referring to those things so that they will not be forgotten and lost. Carlos Smith was a young man of as much veracity as any young man we had, and he was a witness to these things. Samuel Smith saw some things, Hyrum saw a good many things, but Joseph was the leader.

Now, you may think I am unwise in publicly telling these things, thinking perhaps I should preserve them in my own breast; but such is not my mind. I would like the people called Latter-day Saints to understand some little things with regard to the workings and dealings of the Lord with His people here upon the earth. I could relate to you a great many more, all of which are familiar to many of our brethren and sisters.

Now, should you go prospecting for gold or silver, you will find just enough to allure you and to destroy you. but it might be said: “Are not the earth and the treasures the property of the Lord who created them, and will He not, according to the promise, give them to His faithful disciples?” O yes, this is [136] strictly correct; but you mark this–the man who is faithful to his calling and to this Holy Priesthood, never goes hunting for gold or silver, unless he is sent. Such men are found following their legitimate pursuits, working in their fields, in their workshops and gardens, making beautiful their habitations; in other words, engaged building up and assisting to establish the Zion of God on the earth, with their minds centered on the true riches and not upon the things of this world.

People do not know it, but I know there is a seal set upon the treasures of earth; men are allowed to go so far and no farther. I have known places where there were treasures in abundance; but could men get them? No. You can read in the Book of Mormon of the ancient Nephites holding their treasures, and of their becoming slippery; so that after they had privately hid their money, on going to the place again, lo and behold it was not there, but was somewhere else, but they knew not where. The people do not understand this; I wish they did, for they would then do as I do, pay attention to the legitimate business that God has given them to perform. Do I run after mines or digging holes in the ground? No, not at all. It is like the will-o’-the-wisp, a jack o’-lantern. (JD 19:36-39)

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[137]                Wilford Woodruff’s Life of Troubles:

God’s Ultimate Goodness

(as related by Wilford Woodruff)


When three years of age, I fell into a caldron of scalding water and although instantly rescued, I was so badly burned that it was nine months before I was thought to be out of the danger of fatal consequences. My fifth and sixth years were interwoven with many accidents. On a certain day, in company with my elder brothers, I entered the barn, and chose the top of a hay mow for a place of diversion. We had not been there long before I fell from the great beam upon my face on the bare floor. I was severely hurt, but recovered in a short time, and was again at play.

One Saturday evening, with my brothers, Azmon and Thompson, while playing in the chamber of my father’s house, contrary to his instructions, I made a mis-step and fell to the bottom of the stairs, breaking one of my arms in the fall. So much for disobedience. I suffered intensely, but soon recovered, feeling that whatever I suffered in the future, it should not be for disobedience to parents. The Lord has commanded children to obey their parents; and Paul says, “This is the first commandment with promise.”

“It was only a short time after this that I narrowly escaped with my life. My father owned a number of horned cattle, among which was a surly bull. One evening I was feeding pumpkins to the cattle, and the bull leaving his own took the pumpkin I had given to a cow which I called mine. I was incensed at the selfishness of this male beast, and promptly picked up the pumpkin he had left, to give it to the cow. No sooner had I got it in my arms than the bull came plunging toward me with great fury. I ran down the hill with all my might, the bull at my heels. My father, seeing the danger I was in, called to me to throw down the pumpkin, but (forgetting to be obedient) I held on, and as the bull was approaching me [138] with the fierceness of a tiger, I made a mis-step and fell flat upon the ground. The pumpkin rolled out of my arms, the bull leaped over me, ran his horns into the pumpkin and tore it to pieces. Undoubtedly he would have done the same thing to me if I had not fallen to the ground. This escape, like all others, I attribute to the mercy and goodness of God.

During the same year, while visiting at my Uncle Eldad Woodruff’s, I fell from a porch across some timber, and broke my other arm.

Not many months passed by before I was called to endure a still greater misfortune. My father owned a saw mill in addition to his flour mill; and one morning, in company with several other boys, I went into the saw mill and got up on the headlock of the carriage to ride, not anticipating any danger; but before I was aware of it my leg was caught between the headlock and the fender post and broken in two. I was taken to the house, and lay nine hours before my bones were replaced. That time was spent in severe pain; but being young, my bones soon knitted together, and in a few weeks I was up on my feet as usual, attending to the sports of youth. During this confinement my brother Thompson was my companion. He was suffering from typhus fever.

Shortly after this, upon a dark night, I was kicked in the abdomen by an ox; but being too close to the animal to receive the full force of the blow, I was more frightened than hurt.

It was not long before I made my first effort at loading hay. I was very young, but thought I had loaded it all right. When on the way to the barn, the wheel of the wagon struck a rock, and off went the hay. I fell to the ground with the load on top of me; this was soon removed, and aside from a little smothering, I was unhurt.

When eight years of age, I accompanied my father, with several others in a one-horse wagon, about three miles from home, to attend to some work. On the way, the horse became frightened, ran down a hill, and turned over the wagon, with us [139] in it. We were in danger, but were again saved by the hand of Providence. None of us were injured.

One day I climbed an elm tree to procure some bark; while about fifteen feet from the ground, the limb upon which I stood, being dry, broke, and I fell to the ground upon my back. The accident apparently knocked the breath out of my body. A cousin ran to the house and told my parents that I was dead, but before my friends reached me I revived, rose to my feet, and met them on the way.

When twelve years old I was nearly drowned in Farmington River. I sank in thirty feet of water, and was miraculously saved by a young man named Bacon. The restoration to life caused me great suffering.

At thirteen years of age, while passing through Farmington meadows, in the depths of winter, in a blinding snowstorm, I became so chilled and overcome with cold that I could not travel. I crawled into the hollow of a large apple tree. A man in the distance saw me, and, realizing the danger I was in, hastened to where I was. Before he arrived at the spot I had fallen asleep, and was almost unconscious. He had much difficulty in arousing me to a sense of my critical condition, and promptly had me conveyed to my father’s house, where, through a kind Providence, my life was again preserved.

At fourteen years of age I split my left instep open with an axe which went almost through my foot. I suffered intensely from this injury, and my foot was nine months in getting well.

When fifteen years old, I was bitten in the hand by a mad dog in the last stages of hydrophobia. However, he did not draw blood, and through the mercy and power of God I was again preserved from an awful death.

At the age of seventeen I met with an accident which caused me much suffering, and came nearly ending my life. I was riding a very ill-tempered horse, which, while going down a very steep, rocky hill, suddenly leaped from the road and ran down the steepest part of the hill, going at full speed amid the [140] thickest of the rocks. At the same time, he commenced kicking, and was about to land me over his head among the rocks, but I lodged on the top of his head, and grabbed each of his ears with my hands, expecting every moment to be dashed to pieces against the rocks. While in this position, sitting astride the horse’s neck, with neither bridle nor other means of guiding him except his ears, he plunged down the hill among the rocks with great fury, until he struck a rock nearly breast high, which threw him to the earth. I went over his head, landing squarely upon my feet almost one rod in front of the horse. Alighting upon my feet was probably the means of saving my life; for if I had struck the ground upon any other part of my body, it would probably have killed me instantly. As it was, one of my legs was broken in two places, and both my ankles put out of place in a shocking manner. The horse almost rolled over me in his struggles to get up. My uncle saw me, and came to my assistance. I was carried to his house in an armchair. I lay from 2 o’clock in the afternoon until 10 o’clock at night without medical aid and in great pain, when my father arrived with Dr. Swift of Farmington. The doctor set my bones, boxed up my limbs, and that night conveyed me eight miles in his carriage to my father’s house. I had good attention, and although my sufferings were great, in eight weeks I was out upon my crutches, and was soon restored to a sound condition.

In 1827, while managing a flour mill for Aunt Wheeler, in Avon, Conn., I was standing upon one of the wheels, clearing away the ice. A man, not knowing I was in that position, hoisted the gate and turned upon the wheel a full head of water. The wheel started at once, my foot slipped, and I was plunged head foremost over the rim of the wheel into about three feet of water. My weight had drawn my legs out of the wheel, or I would have been drawn under a shaft and crushed to death.

[141] In 1831, while in charge of a flour mill at Collinsville, Conn., I was standing upon one of the arms inside of a breast-wheel twenty feet in diameter, clearing off the ice. A full head of water was turned on suddenly. The wheel started instantly. I dropped my ax and leaped about twenty feet to the bottom of the wheel. As I struck the bottom, I rolled out against a rugged stone, with only two feet of clearance between the stone and the wheel. The latter caught me and rolled me out into the water below, where I found myself, much frightened, but thankful to Providence that no bones were broken.

The day that I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints–December 31, 1833–my horse, with newly calked shoes, kicked the hat off my head. If he had struck two inches lower, doubtless he would have killed me instantly. Ten minutes later, while driving the same horse and another hitched to a sled with loose boards on the bottom and no box, the boards slipped forward under the pole and struck the ground. This at once threw the boards up endwise, and pitched me forward between the horses. I held on the lines; the horses, frightened, ran down the hill, dragging me under the sled behind them. The road, however, was smooth, and I escaped without injury.

In 1834, while traveling in Zion’s Camp to Missouri, a rifle was discharged accidentally. The ball passed through three tents with a dozen men in each, and lodged in the axle-tree of a wagon, without injury to anyone; it passed within a few inches of my breast. Many others escaped quite as providentially as I did.

A few months later a musket, heavily loaded with buckshot, and pointed directly at my breast, was snapped accidentally; but it misfired, and again the Lord preserved my life.

In April 1839, in Rochester, Ill., I was riding upon the running-gear of a wagon. I sat upon the front axle-tree. The bolt came out of the coupling-pole, separating the wheels, the front [142] from the rear; and my weight upon the front bolster and tongue turned the coupling-pole over on the horse’s back, turned the stakes upside down, which shut me between the bolster and tongue, but in such a manner that my head and shoulders dragged upon the ground. The horses took fright and ran into an open prairie. They dragged me for about half a mile, and notwithstanding my awkward position, I managed to guide them so as to run them into the corner of a high worm-fence, where we landed in a pile together. I was considerably bruised, but escaped without any broken bones, and after one day’s rest was able to attend to my labors again.

On the 15th day of October, 1846, while with the Camp of Israel building up Winter Quarters, on the west side of the Missouri River (then Indian country), I passed through one of the most painful and serious misfortunes of my life. I took my axe and went two and a half miles upon the bluff to cut some shingle timber to cover my cabin. I was accompanied by two men. While felling the third tree, I stepped back of it some eight feet, where I thought I was entirely out of danger. There was, however, a crook in the tree, which, when the tree fell, struck a knoll and caused the tree to bound endwise back of the stump. As it bounded backwards, the butt end of the tree hit me in the breast, and knocked me back and above the ground several feet, against a standing oak. The falling tree followed me in its bounds and severely crushed me against the standing tree. I fell to the ground, alighting upon my feet. My left thigh and hip were badly bruised, also my left arm; my breastbone and three ribs on my left side were broken. I was bruised about my lungs, vitals and left side in a serious manner. After the accident I sat upon a log while Mr. John Garrison went a quarter of a mile and got my horse. Notwithstanding I was so badly hurt, I had to mount my horse and ride two and a half miles over an exceedingly rough road. On account of severe pain I had to dismount twice on my way home. My breast and vitals were so badly injured that at each [143] step of the horse pain went through me like an arrow. I continued on horseback until I arrived at Turkey Creek, on the north side of Winter Quarters. I was then exhausted, and was taken off the horse and carried in a chair to my wagon. I was met in the street by Presidents Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, and others, who assisted in carrying me to the wagon. Before placing me upon my bed, they laid hands upon me, and in the name of the Lord rebuked the pain and distress, and said that I should live, and not die. I was then laid upon my bed in the wagon, as my cabin was not yet done. As the apostles prophesied upon my head, so it came to pass; I did not die. I employed no physician, but was administered to by the elders of Israel, and nursed by my wife. I lay upon my bed, unable to move until my breastbone began to knit together on the ninth day. In about twenty days I began to walk, and in thirty days from the time I was hurt, I returned to my laborious employment.

I have not now a lame limb about me, notwithstanding it all. I have been able to endure the hardest kind of manual labor, exposures, hardships, and journeys. I have walked forty, fifty, and on one occasion sixty miles in a single day. The only inconvenience I am now conscious of is that if I overwork, or take a severe cold, I feel it more sensibly in my breast and left side than I did before my last injury.

I have given considerable space in recounting the foregoing peculiar circumstances which I have experienced in life. A summary of what is here given may be briefly stated thus: I have broken both legs, one of them in two places; both arms, both ankles, my breastbone, and three ribs; I have been scalded, frozen, and drowned; I have been in two water wheels while turning under a full head; I have passed through a score of other hairbreadth escapes. The repeated deliverances from all these remarkable dangers I ascribe to the mercies of my Heavenly Father. In recalling them to mind I always feel impressed to render the gratitude of my heart, with thanksgiving [144] and joy, to the Lord. I pray that the remainder of my days may pass in His service, in the building up of His Kingdom.


Author’s [MFC] note: When one stops to reflect upon the character of the accidents and the manner of escape, he is impressed by the thought that they came along as part of the remarkable incidents of his life. They are marvels to be sure, but the whole life of Wilford Woodruff is a marvel. He was on the spot when the danger arrived. He never seems to have been disconcerted by it. He was so serene in his faith that he always had an assurance that all would end well, and he, consequently, is never found in a complainly mood, even when undergoing the severest pain. His patience, therefore, was a powerful factor in bringing to his life a large measure of confidence in the ultimate goodness of an overruling Providence. (Life of Wilford Woodruff, Matthias F. Cowley, pp. 5-12)

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[145]                       Deceased Prominent Men

Baptized by Wilford Woodruff

St. George, Utah

(as related by Wilford Woodruff in SLC,

Sept. 16, 1877)


I will here say, before closing, that two weeks before I left St. George, the spirits of the dead gathered around me, wanting to know why we did not redeem them. Said they, “You have had the use of the Endowment House for a number of years, and yet nothing has ever been done for us. We laid the foundation of the government you now enjoy, and we never apostatized from it, but we remained true to it and were faithful to God.”

These were the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and they waited on me for two days and two nights. I thought it very singular, that notwithstanding so much work had been done, and yet nothing had been done for them. The thought never entered my heart, from the fact, I suppose, that heretofore our minds were reaching after our more immediate friends and relatives.

I straightway went into the baptismal font and called upon Brother McAllister to baptize me for the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and fifty other eminent men, making one hundred in all, including John Wesley, Columbus, and others; I then baptized him for every President of the United States, except three; and when their cause is just, somebody will do the work for them. (JD 19:229)

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[146]                       Spiritual Experiences

in the St. George Temple

St. George, Utah — 1870’s

(as related by Oliver B. Huntington)


Brother John Cottom was baptising a young woman for a lot of her dead friends and relatives. She became tired with the weight of water she carried in her woolen clothing, the last name of the list was a girl she had quarreled with just before she died, and being so tired thought she would leave the girl she didn’t like very well. She accordingly went to dress in dry clothing and saw in the room the dead girl she had left unbaptized, weeping. The spirit of the dead said, “You are the only one on earth in the church that knows anything about me.” The young woman went back without changing her clothes, told Brother Wells of circumstances who sent her back into the water to be baptized for the weeping girl (spirit).

Sister Caroline Wright Pitts told Br. Frank Farnsworth that her husband of Nephi brought her to the Temple to work for her friends that were dead and among them was her mother who had been dead years, and for whom she was endowed. During the ceremonies of endowment, Sister Pitts saw her mother there with her and very pleasantly smiling her approbation. Features, form and appearance were natural and real as in life.

Brother Farnsworth is a clerk in the Temple and has a son and two wives working there for the dead much of the time. He told me that above circumstances and also the following with regard to himself. On several occasions while engaged at his daily business, he plainly heard names whispered in his ear. At first it only seemed very strange and that was all. After a few times, the thought occurred to him that it was for some purpose and immediately understood it. Furnished himself [147] with paper and set down the names he had thus learned and afterwards, when a name was spoken in his ear in that same familiar whisper, he could immediately set it down and in that way he gained about 25 names and had them baptized and endowed for.

Sister Lizzie Smith, wife of Bishop Charles N. Smith of Rockville, testified to Charles L. Walker, Doorkeeper in the Temple at St. George, that she was working in the Temple for the dead and while thus employed she saw the Prophet Joseph Smith plainly and distinctly. That was in 1879.

Brother Addison Everett was very sick, nigh unto death at a time when the Temple was being finished, and one night in a dream or vision he was sent to the Temple by someone who told him that Joseph the Prophet wanted to see him. He (Bro. Everett) went immediately and found there Joseph and Hyrum. Joseph shook hands with him remarking at the same time: “You have got a great many friends behind the veil.” He awoke and got well quickly.

Henry Miller of St. George, had a son killed before the Temple was done. After it was finished Brother Miller did work for his son, but the mother of the dead boy was visited by the spirit of the boy in dream or vision frequently afterwards, and always he looked miserable, dressed poorly and would say nothing. Finally the mother told him that he ought to be happy, for his father had done all the work for him in the Temple, and asked if it helped him any and made him feel better. He said, “It had not helped him any,” and that “he had not heard of it before.” From the answer the mother was satisfied there was something wrong. She began inquiring into all the manner of giving the endowment, etc., and finally into the condition and standing of the son. They knew the boy had been baptized when a boy. On strict examination of record and [148] close inquiry, she found that the son had been cut off from the Quorum or suspended from membership in the Church years before and that the matter had never been straightened, and consequently he had to be baptized first before he could be endowed. His father went into the Temple again; was baptized and endowed for the son who never came to see his mother again. They presumed that all was properly done and the son satisfied that he came back no more. I talked with the father and mother both on the matter. (Oliver B. Huntington Journal, Pioneer Press, pp. 7-8)

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[149]                    The Healing of a Crushed Arm

(as related by Eliza R. Snow

in Provo, Utah, Dec. 27, 1881)


Tuesday, Dec. 27th, 1881: Sister Eliza R. Snow related the circumstances of a miracle that was performed in some of the extreme northern out-of-the-way settlements of the Saints.

It was this: A certain brother was hauling wood and was thrown from the load by the roughness of the road. The wagon passed over his left arm between the shoulder and elbow crushing his arm bone to many pieces.

Assistance accidentally came along, by which came along an Elder of the Church with oil and anointed the crushed arm and laid his hands upon it and prayed, during which the Elder shook and trembled under the power of God.

When the ceremony was over, he asked the man if he felt anything strange while being administered to? He replied, as he raised the crushed arm above his head, “I should think I did.” His arm was healed and the bone went “bone to bone” knit and grew together sound while the ordinance was being performed. (Oliver B. Huntington Journal, Dec. 27, 1881)

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[150]                      Special Missionary Work

by a Mysterious Preacher in Tennessee

(as related by John Morgan — 1877)


One day, not long after his [“The Mysterious Preacher”] arrival, he [John Morgan] set out for Rome (Georgia) with the intent of holding a meeting. While on the way it dawned on him that he had forgotten to notify the people of his coming. Nevertheless, he trudged on feeling rather sorry for himself for being so negligent. Soon his mind was taken up with thoughts of Civil War experiences for this very road was one over which he had traveled at times as a Union soldier; it was one of the main highways which ran from Chattanooga to Rome, Georgia.

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 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 [151] 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 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 [152] 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 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 bring to pass the purposes of the almighty on the earth.

[153] 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 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. (The Life and Ministry of John Morgan, Jan. 1877, pp. 119-123)

* * *



[154]                Ella Jensen — Raised from the Dead

Brigham City, Utah — 1891


On Sunday the first of March, 1891, I [Ella Jensen] was taken severely ill with the scarlet fever, and suffered very much for a week. It was on the morning of the 9th that I awoke with a feeling that I was going to die. As soon as I opened by eyes, I could see some of my relatives from the other world. They were engaged in conversation, and when they disappeared I heard the most beautiful singing, far superior to anything I had ever heard before. I then asked my sister to assist me in getting ready to go into the spirit world. She combed my hair, washed me, and I brushed my teeth and cleaned my nails that I might be clean when going before my Maker. All this time, and for six hours, I could hear the singing still. I then bade my dear ones good-bye, and my spirit left my body.

For some time I could hear my parents and relatives weeping and mourning, which troubled me greatly. As soon, however, as I had a glimpse of the other world, my attention was drawn away from them to my relatives there, who all seemed pleased to see me. They were holding Sunday School, and Sister Eliza Snow was presiding. Everything was most lovely. Everybody was clothed in white. I saw so many of my departed friends and relatives, all of whom I have mentioned many times afterwards, and with many of them I conversed. One of my cousins told me that he was much grieved over the way some of the boys were conducting themselves on the earth. He could see them smoke, drink, and do many things that were wrong.

After having stayed with my departed friends what seemed to me but a very short time, yet it lasted several hours, I heard Apostle Lorenzo Snow administer to me, telling me that I must come back, as I had some work to do on the earth yet. I was loath to leave the heavenly place, but told my friends that I must leave them. The last I heard was the singing of the hymn, [155] “Gladly meeting, kindly greeting,” and while the beautiful strains died away, I once more opened my eyes in this world of trouble and woe, and saw my beloved ones here. But for a long time afterwards I had a great desire to go back to the place of heavenly rest, where I dwelt so short a time. (Young Woman’s Journal, vol. 4:164-65)


Confirming the above narrative, but given in greater detail, is the report of Elder Rudger Clawson: “Sister Ella Jensen, in relating to me her very remarkable experience, said that during all the morning of our visit, and going back into the night, the veil between this world and the other seemed to be growing thinner and thinner. She heard singing all through the house from the unseen world and seemed herself to be about to step into the Spirit world. And this is what actually happened, for her spirit left her body and went into the beyond.

“A guide was there to meet her and by him she was conducted into a very large building where there were many people, all of whom appeared to be extremely busy, no evidence of idleness whatever. Hans Peter Jensen, her grandfather, was one of the first persons she met. He seemed pleased to see and bid her welcome, but let her understand that he was very busy and could not give her much of his time.

“After a brief chat with her grandfather, she passed on through the building, glancing at the people as she walked along. Finally her eye rested upon the familiar face of Hans Jensen, her uncle. When she saw him, what to her and others had been an enigma was now clearly explained.

“Sometime before this advent into the spirit world her uncle Hans, who had lived in Brigham City, counseled with me as President of the Stake, as to the propriety of moving into the Snake River country, Idaho, to engage in salmon fishing. His idea was that if he was successful he could ship salmon from the north to Brigham City, at a good profit and thus [156] benefit himself financially. He needed the help that such a business would bring him.

“I said if it was his wish to engage in that business, it was all right with the Stake Presidency and a matter entirely for him to decide for himself.

“Later he left for the north and at once turned his attention to salmon fishing. One morning he went from the house where he was staying, clothed in a jumper and overalls, with gum boots to fish; but he never returned. His oldest brother, Jacob Jensen, came to me greatly alarmed, said that no word had been received from Hans for some time and nobody seemed to know where he was. He was greatly excited about it and feared that his brother had been drowned in the Snake River.

“Jacob organized a posse of men and at once instituted a search covering a period of some two or three weeks, at the Snake River, but their efforts were fruitless. No trace could be found of Hans and he was never again heard from until his niece, Ella Jensen, met him in the spirit world. . . .

“Ella passed on down through the building and met many others, some of whom we shall speak of later. Finally she came into a very large room that was completely filled with small children, all dressed in white; with Eliza R. Snow Smith presiding. She sat and listened to the Sunday School songs which they sang, being songs which are not sung in Sunday Schools among us, and she was perfectly contented and happy. It was a heavenly place, she said. She felt that she never wanted to leave it.

While sitting there a very strange thing happened. She heard a voice coming to her in commanding tones, apparently from a long distance, which said: `Come back, Ella, come back. Your work on earth is not yet completed.’

“She had no desire to come back and felt determined not to leave the beautiful place. But this voice was so authoritative in manner that it seemed to draw, yes actually did draw, her spirit out of that room. She was compelled to follow it, and so [157] she turned her face earthward on the return journey. She kept going and going, apparently a long distance–until, all at once, she found herself in the room at home, where her body was lying.

“Then she realized that her spirit must again enter the body which was lying there, to all intents and purposes, a lifeless one. Her spirit entered and the next moment her eyes opened and her lips moved. Then it was her parents realized that she was no longer dead. They spoke to her and she to them.

“She began to tell them of her wonderful experience in the other world, what she had done and seen. Her father whispered to the mother, `Do you hear what she is saying? Why, the girl is certainly delirious. She is out of her mind.’ Ella looked up and said: `Father, you think then that I am out of my mind, do you? I will very soon prove to you that I am perfectly rational.’

“She turned to her mother: `While in this large building in the spirit world, I met a woman who greeted me and said she was Aunt Mary and told me that she died while I was a baby.’ The mother asked: `Can you describe her?’ The answer was: `Yes, she was a tall woman with black hair and dark eyes and thin features.’

“`Yes,’ the mother answered, `surely you have described your Aunt Mary.’

“`I also met another woman there, who said she was my Aunt Sarah, and had died just before I was born.’ `Will you describe her?’ the mother asked. `Yes, she was rather short and somewhat fleshy, with round features, light hair and blue eyes.’ `Why, yes, Ella, that is your Aunt Sarah. You have described her perfectly.’ Ella turned to her father saying, `Do you now think that I am out of my mind?’ `No,’ he answered, `you have had a very wonderful experience.’

“It may well be thought that Ella Jensen’s work on earth was not yet completed, as indicated by President Snow, for she afterwards became president of the Young Ladies’ Mutual [158] Improvement Association in Brigham City. Afterwards she married and became a mother in Israel, and surely a woman can do no great work in the world than to become a mother of men.”

The father of Ella, Jacob Jensen, in an interview with LeRoi Snow, a son of Apostle Lorenzo Snow, gave his testimony relative to the visit of his daughter to the other world and her return to earth life through the authority of the Holy Priesthood: “Ella had been sick for several weeks. She awoke one morning with the idea that she was about to die, and told us that her Uncle Hans had appeared in her room and said he was coming for her that morning. We kind of put her off and told her we thought she must have been dreaming and not to pay much attention to it, to go to sleep and she would feel better in the morning; but she said, `No, I know I am going, because he told me he would be here for me at ten o’clock in the morning.’

“She wanted to see all the folks and bid them goodbye. All who were near came in, all but Grandma Jensen. She was in town and I sent for her. She arrived just when the others of us had said good-bye. Ella put her arms around her Grandmother’s neck and kissed her good-bye. It was not more than a minute after that when her pulse stopped and she passed away. I was holding her hand and felt her pulse stop.

“We talked the matter over and wondered what we should do. I told my wife that I would go to town, more than a mile from home, and see President Snow, tell him about her death and have him arrange for the funeral.

“I went out to the barn, hitched up, and drove to the tabernacle where your father, President Lorenzo Snow, whom we all loved so much, was in meeting. I went into the vestry, behind the main hall, wrote a note and had it sent to your father, who was speaking to the congregation. When the note was placed upon the pulpit, President Snow stopped his [159] talking, read the note and then explained to the Saints that it was a call to visit some people who were in deep sorrow and asked to be excused.

“President Snow came into the vestry and after I told him what happened, he meditated a moment or two and then said: `I will go down with you.’ Just as we were about to leave President Snow stopped me, saying: `Wait a moment. I wish you would go into the meeting and get Brother Clawson. I want him to go also.’ President Clawson was then president of the Box Elder Stake.

“I went in and got him and took both down to my home, about a mile and a half south of Brigham City. We went into the house. My wife and children were there. After standing at Ella’s bedside for a minute or two, President Snow asked if we had any consecrated oil in the house. I was greatly surprised, but told him yes and got it for him. He handed the bottle of oil to Brother Clawson and asked him to anoint Ella. Your father was then mouth in confirming the anointing.

“During the administration I was particularly impressed with some of the words which he used and can well remember them now. He said: `Dear Ella, I command you in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, to come back and live. Your mission is not ended. You shall yet live to perform a great mission.’

“He said she should live to rear a large family and be a comfort to her parents and friends. I well remember these words.” (Imp. Era, vol. 32:883-885)

President Rudger Clawson related what happened after he and Elder Snow arrived at the Jensen home: “As we entered the home, we met Sister Jensen, who was very much agitated and alarmed. We came to Ella’s bedside and were impressed by the thought that her spirit had passed out of the body and gone beyond.

“Turning to me President Snow said, `Brother Clawson, will you anoint her,’ which I did. We then laid our hands upon [160] her head and the anointing was confirmed by President Snow, who blessed her and among other things, used this very extraordinary expression, in a commanding tone of voice, `Come back, Ella, come back. Your work upon the earth is not yet completed, come back.’ Shortly afterward we left the home.”

Now continuing with the narrative of Ella’s father: “After President Snow had finished the blessing, he turned to my wife and me and said: `Now do not mourn or grieve any more. It will be all right. Brother Clawson and I are busy and must go; we cannot stay, but you just be patient and wait, and do not mourn, because it will be all right.’

“Ella remained in this condition for more than an hour after President Snow administered to her, or more than three hours in all after she died. We were sitting there watching by the bedside, her mother and myself, when all at once she opened her eyes. She looked about the room, saw us sitting there, but still looked for someone else, and the first thing she said was: `Where is he? Where is he?’ We asked, `Who?’ `Why, Brother Snow,’ she replied; `he called me back.’

“We explained that Brother Snow and Brother Clawson were very busy and could not remain, that they had gone. Ella dropped her head back on the pillow, saying, `Why did he call me back? I was so happy and did not want to come back.'” (Imp. Era, vol. 32:885-86; as recorded in Life of Lorenzo Snow, Romney, pp. 408-415)

* * *



[161]                   Matthias F. Cowley Experiences

Gifts of God

Matthias F. Cowley — 1899


Not long since the writer attended a religious meeting at a private residence in East Bountiful. The gathering was attended by a considerable number of neighbors, old and young, including both sexes. Three of the patriarchs of the Davis Stake were present and presided over the services. This meeting was but one of a great many of similar character held by the patriarchs of the Davis Stake. This particular occasion was not only as a testimony and fellowship meeting, but for the dedication of the home in which it was held. The usual opening exercises of singing and prayer being over, a few remarks were made by the presiding Patriarch of the meeting, followed by a brief talk and the dedicatory prayer by one of the Elders present. The spirit of the Lord was poured out upon the little assembly in a marked degree.

While one of the Patriarchs was speaking the gift of tongues came upon him and he sang in, to us, an unknown tongue. The language was sweet to one’s ears, the tune was melodious and the influence which accompanied, the manifestation was heavenly. When the speaker concluded, another of the Patriarchs arose and gave the interpretation. In substance the song dwelt upon the redemption of Zion, the blessings that would come to the faithful, and their posterity to the latest generation. Like the sweet psalms of David, it was truly a song of praise, containing prophecies of the future.

Following this manifestation still another bearing the sacred offices of the Patriarchal Priesthood arose, and while talking in a calm manner expressing his faith in the Lord, and his gratitude in being numbered with the Saints, the gift of tongues came to him and he spoke for some length of time in another tongue and with great influence and power, not loud and boisterous, yet with that power which is not easily [162] described, but which carries conviction to the human heart. While this brother was speaking I felt impressed that the tongue by which he spoke was Lamanitish. One of the brethren gave the interpretation, which referred to the preaching of the Gospel, the redemption of Zion, and particularly the preaching of the Gospel to the Lamanites [The American Indians]. The tongue also named one of the brethren present who should declare the Gospel to the Lamanites. Afterwards I asked the brother who rendered the interpretation if the tongue was not Lamanitish. He said it was and that a short time previous the same Elder had spoken in an Indian tongue in a most remarkable manner, so much so that the people present readily recognized the voice, gestures and intonation characteristic of the Indian race.

On this occasion one of the sisters also spoke in tongues, which was interpreted by a brother. The substance of what she said was an exhortation to the sisters to praise the Lord, and be devoted to his cause. Before the meeting concluded several who were afflicted in body came forward and received the ordinance for the healing of the sick and were benefitted thereby. Those who listened to the manifestations on this occasion, I believe without exception, felt convinced that the same were prompted by the gift and power of God, and greatly rejoiced in the testimony of having the favor and the approval of the Almighty in their efforts to serve him and keep his commandments. * * *

It may be said truly that wherever pure faith, unity, and zealous devotion exist, there is no dearth of the gifts of the Gospel. They are of frequent occurrence in the missionfields abroad. One instance came to my personal attention in East Kentucky last winter. While Elder Francis M. Lyman and myself were attending conference in Vanceburg, a young man by the name of Brannan came to be administered to for the restoration of his health. He had been sorely afflicted for many years with convulsions. The cords of his neck would draw up, [163] and twist his head in various directions. Whenever he attempted to speak there would be such contortions of the face and mouth that it was difficult for him to express clearly the shortest sentence. In this terrible condition of suffering and humiliation, he besought us to pray for him and apply in his behalf the sacred ordinance for the healing of the sick. Elders Francis M. Lyman, Newton Woodruff, myself and Geo. A. Lyman officiated in the name of the Lord, and almost immediately a striking change took place. The contortions were immediately diminished, and the next morning entirely gone. When he returned home, some miles from Vanceburg, he was a restored man. His case excited much comment among his acquaintances, and was looked upon as a remarkable miracle. More so from the fact that medical skill had utterly failed to remove the affliction.

This circumstance was only one of many reported by Elders in almost every field of labor in the Southern States. Nonetheless true of the other missions in the United States, Great Britain and throughout the world. These manifestations are outward evidences to those who see and hear them, but who are not personal recipients of the same. To those who receive them, they are more than the hearing of the ear and the seeing of the eye. They are to the souls of men and women who exercise these gifts, what a shock of electricity is to the physical man, who holds in his hands the poles of the battery while the operator turns on the current. They feel and know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that some power is there over which they have no absolute control and which is not a part of their own being. Others may look on and see some outward demonstration, which carries conviction of a limited character, but no one can tell of the current, either with tongue or pen, so that another will feel and understand the operation of electricity applied to the human body. * * *

Why should we expect a testimony when we are intellectually and spiritually idle? Have we placed ourselves in a [164] position to receive the witness? The Book of Mormon states that “ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.”

* * * If you will repent of spiritual idleness, attend to your prayers, perform the duties the Gospel enjoins and study earnestly the principles of the Gospel with a prayerful heart, the evidence and witness of the truth will be as tangible and convincing to your souls as the current of electricity is patent to human body. (Imp. Era vol. 2, no. 6, April 1899, pp. 447-450)

* * *



[165]                             Section 5

Early 20th Century


A Patriarchal Blessing

Given in Tongues

Farmington, Utah — January 1900

(as related by Douglas Todd, Jr.)


(Note: A special blessing pronounced by the gift of tongues through Patriarch Hennison was literally fulfilled upon Hyrum G. Grant.)


Well, on the first Sunday of January, 1900, (that would be the first Sunday of this century) there was a Priesthood meeting held in Farmington in the Davis Stake. John M. Hess was the President of the Stake at that time. Now at this Priesthood meeting on a Sunday morning, all six patriarchs of the stake were present there. John W. Taylor spoke at this meeting, and he said, “I want to address a few words to these six brethren who hold the office of patriarch. I want to tell them that the Lord is displeased with the way they are discharging the high calling of their offices.” He went on to say, “You have become as rusty clocks; you must repent and get the spirit of your calling, as the Lord is displeased with your attitude.” Well, that was quite a chastisement!

After the meeting these men (the patriarchs, stake presidency, and others) had dinner at Aunt Nellie’s home. After the dinner, all these brethren were sitting around the room in a sort of social gathering. Uncle John and Aunt Nellie were sitting at the south end of the room. A man by the name of John Hennison, who gave me my first patriarchal blessing when I was 11 years old, was sitting on the west side of the [166] room, and Hyrum G. Grant, a brother to Heber J. Grant, and who at that time was serving as a counselor to President Hess of the Davis Stake, was sitting on the east side of the room. They had a very remarkable meeting. I suppose all of these patriarchs spoke, and they all expressed their feelings and how very just they felt the rebuke had been–how much they wanted to repent and do as the Lord wanted them to do.

John Hennison, Patriarch, got up and walked across the room and put his hands on the head of Hyrum G. Grant and gave him a blessing, speaking in tongues; and when the blessing was concluded, he resumed his seat, and there was a moment or two of silence in the room, and then John W. Taylor nudged Aunt Nellie with his elbow and said, “Nellie, you have the interpretation.” She whispered back and said, “Yes, I know, John, but I’m just frightened to death.” And he said, “You stand on your feet, and as soon as you start to speak that fear will leave you.” So she stood up and she said (I can’t remember all that she told me), “Brother Grant has received a very remarkable blessing. The Lord has told him that He had a work for him to do–that he’s called to do–and that if he would live true and faithful to the gospel, that the Lord would preserve him and he would be able to fulfill this calling that was for him.” She said that the evil one would seek to destroy him, and that his protection would come about by living the principles of the gospel. I don’t remember any other points more than that.

Some years later, after they had established a colony in Canada, John W. Taylor has taken Aunt Nellie up there, and he took at least two of his wives down to Mexico. I was living in West Bountiful in the same ward where Hyrum G. Grant lived at that time. He had a very serious sickness–in those days it was called yellow jaundice. His body turned almost completely black. And I remember going down there and saw that they had scattered straw for about a quarter a mile on the dirt road in front of his house so that the wagons would make less noise [167] going back and forth. He was very dangerously ill. Finally the sickness reached a point where they thought that it would be impossible for him to recover. So the family sent wires out to such members as were absent. One of his brothers, Frank Grant, was up in Canada. He received the wire and had to ride a considerable distance to take the train. He thought, well, I’ll ride around by Aunt Nellie’s and see if she has any word to send down to the folks in Utah. So he went by her place and when he spoke to her, she said, “Yes, Frank, I do have something. I want you to go to your mother as soon as you arrive and tell her that her son is not going to die, but to remember the blessing that was given to him on this occasion as mentioned.” So he went to the old home; and when he arrived, all the family were there (including Heber J. Grant, who later became president), the wives, and the doctor. Frank stepped up behind his mother and put his arms around her and said, “Mother, I have a message for you from Aunt Nellie. She said to tell you that your son is not going to die, but to remember the blessing that he was given on the occasion mentioned.” About this time, the doctor who had been kneeling at the head of the bed, arose and he thought Hyrum G. Grant had expired. He got up to turn to the mother and wives that were there, but as he looked back on Hyrum G. Grant, he noticed just a little flicker of his eyelid; so he knew from that, that the spirit had not left his body. President Grant was conscious of that. (This comes from the notes of Frank Ottestrum, who was a long-time secretary to President Grant.) He had to correct me on this part of the story, because I had it wrong. But it was President Grant, who said let’s administer to him, which they did; and from that very low spark of life (the doctor had actually thought the spirit had left), he returned–he regained his health and strength. And as a boy, I lived there and knew him as the stake president. So he fulfilled that mission that was given to him by Patriarch Hennison in tongues and interpreted by Nellie E. Taylor. (Douglas Todd, Jr., [168] Interview, Nov. 1969, as recorded in The Gift of Tongues, Ogden Kraut, pp. 68-70)

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[169]               Jesse Knight’s Dream of Helpful Riches

Salt Lake Valley — early 1900’s


When he [Jesse Knight] was five years old, with his mother and her family of seven children, he arrived in Utah, a settlement three years old, one thousand miles from the nearest town. His father died a few days’ journey westward from the Missouri River.

The homes in Utah at that time were improvised shelters; there were no public and few private schools, and the needs of home were never satisfied. With these surroundings he grew to manhood and fatherhood. He tasted life from every angle that could fall to a boy and a man, under such surroundings.

He had not been an ardent Church member; while he was recognized as a Mormon, he had not been classed as a Latter-day Saint; he had not “had a testimony;” in other words, he had not been convinced as to the truth of the religion of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the truth that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.

In a dream, or vision, there was revealed to him that Utah was for the Mormons; that the doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was true; that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God; also, that if he went to a certain place (indelibly imprinted on his mind), that he would find a great vein of rich mineral, a mine. He followed the instructions given him in his dream, which took him to the now well-known Eureka mining district. There, away up on the mountain, he found the spot he had seen in his dream, and he uncovered the vein which led to a vast mineral body, which was opened up, only by much hard labor and many vicissitudes. Many times, for the lack of provisions, he would have to stop his work, but he never lost faith in his dream, and would return and continue his labor. At last the mine yielded the long sought precious mineral that made him a large fortune, which has multiplied and been added to.

[170] Before his dream came true, and while he was laboring (as only one can who has faith) to take from “Mother Earth” her treasure, he met Wilford Woodruff, then president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who prophesied that “he (Jesse Knight) would save the Church’s credit.” Not long afterward, the mine began to yield. The Church had outstanding notes upon which the interest was nearly due, the country was in a panic and money almost impossible to get. The first car of ore came from the mine and gave much greater value than was expected. When the miners and debts incidental to the production of ore had been paid, there was ten thousand dollars remaining, which amount, Mr. Knight gave to President Woodruff, who paid the interest on the Church’s notes, and its credit was saved.

From thence on, he knew the truth of dreams, visions and prophecies, that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the restoration of God’s Church on the earth.

There are many pages in the history of Mr. Knight’s life that forces one to believe that the hand of providence guides our way. (Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, Esshom, p. 8)

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[171]                        Vision in St. George

of Departed Spirits

Horatio Pickett — March 1914


While working here in the St. George Temple, I often thought of the great expense and the time and labor necessary to support the Temple, and to perform the necessary ordinances therein for the salvation of the dead; and the question often arose in my mind: do they (the dead) know what is being done for them and do they appreciate the sacrifice that is being made by their brethren and sisters in the Temples for their benefit?

I often asked the Lord to give me sufficient of His Spirit that I might have a better understanding of the Temple work than I had. One day while at the font confirming, when a large list of women were being baptized for, the thought again came into my mind: do those people for whom this work is being done, know that it is being done for them, and, if they do, do they appreciate it? While this thought was running through my mind, I happened to turn my eyes toward the southeast corner of the font room and there I saw a large group of women. The whole southeast part of the room was filled; they seemed to be standing a foot or more above the floor and were all intently watching the baptizing that was being done; and as the recorder called a name, one of them–a rather tall, very slim woman, apparently about 35 years of age, gave a sudden start and looked at the recorder. Then her eyes turned to the couple in the water, closely watching the baptism; then her eyes followed the sister that was being baptized as she came up out of the water and was confirmed, and when the ordinance was completed the happy, joyous expression that spread over her countenance was lovely to behold.

The next one called seemed to be a younger woman, a little below the average height. She was of a nervous, emotional nature, could not keep still, seemed as though she wanted to [172] jump into the water herself, and when the ordinance was finished, she seemed to be overflowing with joy, turning from one to another of her companions as though she was telling them how happy she was.

The third was a large muscular-looking woman, not fleshy but bony, masculine build, very high forehead and intelligent countenance, hair streaked with gray and combed like elderly ladies used to wear their hair when I was a lad. She seemed to be of a more quiet, stoical nature than the others; no outward demonstration of what her feelings may have been, but there was a look in her eyes that seemed to say that she appreciated what was being done fully as much as the others did; and when the ceremony was finished, she nodded her head slightly and moved her lips as though she might have said, “Amen.”

Just as the work for her was finished, there was a noise in President Cannon’s office as though a book or something might have fallen to the floor which caused me to turn my eyes in that direction; and though I turned back instantly, the vision had faded and gone, and with it also had gone all doubt and queries that may have been in mind on the subject. I was satisfied, and am still satisfied that our friends behind the veil know and realize what is being done for them and are anxiously waiting for their time to come.

I do not think it would be possible for any person to look into the faces of those women as I did and see the earnestness with which they were watching the proceedings, and the joy and happiness that shone in their faces as their names were called and the work done for them, and not feel as I do. This was not a night vision nor a dream, but was about three o’clock on a bright, sunny afternoon while I was standing at the font assisting in the ordinances thereof. (The Vision, N. B. Lundwall, pp. 142-143)

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[173]                   Canadian Indians Seek and Find

the Book of Mormon

by Edward Wood

(Alberta Stake President and

later Cardston Temple President;

related October 3, 1915)


The story is of today, an event which happened recently. A tribe of Indians came to our country, called the Kree Indians. They were headed by a man named “Yellow Face.” He said that he was a member of a council of five who lived in the eastern part of Saskatchewan, the province to the east of Alberta. They spend their time in winter in hunting and fishing. They roam around the country for that purpose and then go back again in the spring. They are the wards of the British Government and are a superior tribe. This man and his one hundred twenty-eight families came into our country, and camped in the woods by a river, right where the road led from two of our wars. We did not know anything of their business. They went about hunting and fishing.

One day this man, “Yellow Face,” sent to a ward for the “high chief” of that ward, as he called him (we call them bishops), and wanted him to come to his tent and have a visit with him. Their people visited us; we had asked them into our meetings. They had come to our entertainments and we had become interested in them. They are a very well educated people, are the Kree nation–not like the Indians here. They dress as we do and are educated. They have a written language of their own, not made by white men, according to signs and sounds, but composed of hieroglyphics, which appear to be a scientific alphabet.

This man sent for our bishop, and when he came he found a large tent with the heads of these one hundred twenty-eight families there, sitting in a circle, and “Yellow Face” was sitting right in front with one Indian woman. “Yellow Face” said to [174] this bishop, “We want you to talk to us. We have been to your meetings. We have been to your parties. You have asked us to dine with you. Now we return the compliment. We want you to come and visit us.” He was led to the center of the circle.

Bishop Parker did not know what to say. He had never been on a mission, wasn’t prepared to preach the gospel, but he was struck with the sincerity he saw in the people’s faces as they sat in the circle. They were pleased to see him, so he told them about the restoration of the gospel and about our work of colonizing in that country. They did not seem much interested in that.

After he got through, they said, “Is that all you know about your gospel?”

He thought and said, “Well, I believe I have told you all I know.”

“Well,” “Yellow Face” said, “don’t you have any books that you talk about?”

“O yes,” and Brother Parker than thought of the Book of Mormon.

“Well, tell us about that book.” Brother Parker told all he could. It did not take very long and when he got through, the chief said, “That is all,” and Brother Parker went home.

About a week later the chief sent for the bishop again. Brother Parker did not know this time what would be expected of him. But he went and found the same crowd there. This time “Yellow Face” said to Brother Parker, “When you were here before, I sat there, and you stood here. This time I’ll stand here and you sit there,” and so he related the following story to Brother Parker:

“Two years ago the High Chief of our council had a vision,” (mind you, this man never knew anything about our gospel, never knew there was such a thing as visions or heavenly manifestations). “Our High Chief, the great chief of the Kree Nation had a messenger come to him that he never knew, and he told this chief, you are going to die, but you won’t die all [175] over. When you die, I do not want you to be buried until you get cold all over. So the chief said, all right; and later he went with this messenger, so that they all thought he died. All the other chiefs thought he was dead, but he had told his nearest associates previously to watch his body when he went cold, from the extremities of his fingers to his bones, and to bury him if his body was cold all over; but if they found a warm spot over his heart not to bury him.

So he was watched for five days and only above his heart was there a small warm place. On the end of the fifth day he came to, and he called all his council together and told them he had been into a country where he saw his forefathers, walked with them, talked with them; and they told him he would not yet die, for he would come back to earth and that he was to send all over the country until he found a people who had a book in which was recorded the history of the many people he had been with in the spirit world; and he said I will give unto you four signs by which you may know the people.

“First, they will not drive you out of their country.

“Second, you can turn your horses loose; they won’t steal them.

“Third, they will go through your village and they won’t rob the virtue of your maiden women.

“Fourth, they will let you hunt and fish on their domain.”

So he said to Brother Parker.”With my family for two years we have hunted for such a people. You invited us into your meetings. We sat at the table with you in your picnic parties. You have come through our village; you have not molested our women. We are fishing and hunting today on your Church land. So I tried you; I watched you; we have watched your old men, your young men; we have watched every action of all your people.

“When I heard you speak, it sounded like good music to me, and when you said that that was all you had to tell, I thought again, I am disappointed. So I asked you if you had a [176] book. You told me you had and told me of your Book of Mormon. That is our book. That is our history, not yours; we want it.”

So Brother Parker went and got the Book of Mormon and brought it back to the Indians. The Indians took it, gave it to the interpreter and had him sit down and read it by the hour, and when he got through, the Indian Chief kept the book–to take back to the High Chief who was waiting for them–he did not think he had to buy it. He had said, “It is our book, our history,” and drew out a beautifully embroidered envelope of leather and wrapped it up and took it away.

They have visited us several times since, telling us other wonderful things. They are a very fine people, and only the Lord knows what this visit may portend. Not all that was related can be related here as it pertains to a sacred prophecy. It will come true in due time. (Relief Society Magazine 4:135-37; told at General Conference, SLC, Utah, Oct. 3, 1915)

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[177]              A “Three Nephite” Prophecy and Blessing

in Bountiful, Utah

by John E. Fisher — May 1921


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 a 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 an opportunity to be by herself before allowing him to place his hands upon her [178] 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, 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 wall 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.

While this, our brother, had visited us, a gentle shower fell in the vicinity of our home, so that to reassure ourselves, we [179] 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.

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; SLC, Utah)


(*Note: 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.) (The Three Nephites, Kraut, pp. 152-155)



[180]                      Mormon Mexican Colonies

Saved by “Flames”

by V. W. Bentley — about 1911


I remember some twenty years ago when I was living down in Old Mexico. It was during the time of the Mexican Revolution when the famous bandit, Pancho Villa, was roaming the northern part of the nation, especially in the state of Chihuahua. The depredations and crimes that he had committed were too numerous to mention as it seemed he was very fond of taking human life.

At this particular time, General Villa was in a very ugly mood because the United States had just recognized his opponent, President Carranza. This made General Villa a bandit and rebel, cutting off all possibilities of supplies from the United States. This naturally embittered him towards any American people and he gave vent to his feelings in the form of hanging all Americans that he could find in the country that he rode over.

How well I remember we were living in the little town of Colonia Juarez and word came that General Villa and his whole army were passing to the west of us some thirty or thirty-five miles and were headed north. Of course, no one ever knew just what Villa’s plans were or where he was going as he was a man who did not divulge his plans to others but kept them to himself. It was particularly hazardous that he should be that close to us, as all means of escape had been cut off–the railroad had been destroyed, there were no automobiles, and all of our horses had been stolen so that we were virtually afoot. To have ventured out on any road leading toward the United States would have been suicide as the entire country was thickly infested with roving bandits and rebels, so you can imagine us as the report came that General Villa and his whole army was camped just some thirty miles away. It was no wonder that consternation came over everyone.

[181] However, General Villa did not come our way at that time, but marched straight for the American border. His men were starving and almost out of ammunition and war materials, and so he headed directly for Columbus, New Mexico, where he hoped to replenish the supplies his army so badly needed. However, when he reached Columbus, disappointment and tragedy met him. Instead of the supplies and ammunition that he had worked for and hoped to obtain, he was driven back by the American soldiers and many of his men were killed and wounded, without their securing any of the provisions and ammunition they so badly needed.

As a result of their defeat, General Villa and his entire army turned south again and headed straight for the Mormon colonies. General Villa promised his men that when they got to the Colonies, they would be turned loose to loot and rob and steal or do anything else they wanted to without any restrictions. The only requirement was that they were to leave nothing alive in any of the Colonies and were to burn everything that would burn when they got through.

How well do I remember the anxiety we all sustained, as our scouts, sent out by my father, who was the president of the stake, to watch the movements of Villa and his army, came in and made their report. An experience that I shall remember all of my life happened one Sunday morning about 2 o’clock. There were four of us boys there at home, and we were suddenly awakened by two of these scouts who came to find father and inform him that General Villa and his entire army had passed through the pass north of the colony and should be there by sun-up or before. As I said, escape was impossible and so we fully felt that it was to be our last day on this earth, as we knew that these rebels would leave no human being alive to tell the story. The panic which followed in this little Mormon Colony was very pathetic indeed. Mothers took their children down into the river bottoms and hid them in bushes, or covered them up with dead branches and then tried to cover [182] themselves up with sand to escape attention. Others hid in trees or any place that offered any shelter at all where they might not be detected.

I remember well we could not find father, and although it was 2 o’clock in the morning he was out among the Saints, trying to lend encouragement and assistance wherever possible–we had no idea where he might be. Therefore, we four boys just waited there, deciding to face whatever befell us. It was some time before any of us could go back to sleep, but I remember finally we all did accomplish this–in spite of the tenseness of the situation.

To my dying day I shall never forget the beauty and serenity of that Sunday morning as the sun came up over the eastern hills. Birds were singing, and if there was ever “Peace on Earth,” it seemed to reign on that little colony that morning. We couldn’t understand it as we had been sure we would all be dead before sun-up, but to our surprise, we could find no evidence whatever of General Villa or any of his army having entered town. We hurriedly dressed and began to investigate. Father soon came in and told us that he had been all over the colony and it was plain to see that he hadn’t slept a wink all night. He told us that to his knowledge, not a soldier had entered town. However, morning was still early and we felt that perhaps they had been only temporarily delayed, so we waited, expecting them to come at any moment. but by noon not a soldier had entered the colony, and so we decided to send out scouts to investigate.

You can well imagine the prayer of thanksgiving and grateful joy to our Father in Heaven when these scouts returned with the information that General Villa’s entire army had come to the edge of the colony and for some inexplainable reason, instead of marching through the colony, as anticipated, had turned and gone way to the east and missed the town entirely. Our scouts followed them for some little distance to make sure that they had really passed us by before returning.

[183] It was not until several years later that we learned the cause of this action on the part of General Villa. At that time, father was serving as Mission President of the Mexican Mission and was traveling with Elder Whetten throughout the mission and the state of Chihuahua. They had stopped for the evening by a spring. Hardly had they made camp when they were accosted by three soldiers. The men asked them who they were and when they were told who father was, they told him that he was the man that General Villa would like to see and that they were sent back to take him to Villa’s headquarters. General Villa was in the company of General Filipi Angeles, who was perhaps one of the greatest military geniuses and authorities on arms and ammunitions Mexico had ever produced. Father discovered later that it was General Angeles who had requested that he and his party be brought to General Villa’s headquarters.

General Villa kept them there as his guests for nine days, during which time they were given the utmost in courteous treatment and the best of everything available in the camp. It was during this period that father had an opportunity to ask General Villa why he had not come into the colonies and destroyed them as he had promised his men he would do when they were retreating from Columbus, New Mexico, after their defeat. General Villa turned to father and in very positive language gave this explanation:

“Mr. Bentley,” he said, “That is one thing I have never been able to understand myself. It might interest you to know that when we got to the edge of those colonies a great vision opened up before me, and instead of seeing those colonies as I remembered them, I could see the houses all right, but they were all in flames. I can see that picture now–those homes burning–and I felt that the heat would be so terrific that it would be unsafe for me and my army with our wounded men to even venture near. The surprising thing was that none of the men saw the same picture that I saw, and when I gave them [184] the command to turn aside and march around the colonies, taking our wounded soldiers with us, many of them were very resentful and reminded me of my promise, but I turned to them and said, `Can’t you see the colonies are already on fire? It would be dangerous for us to go in!’ but they couldn’t see it. Because they couldn’t, it angered me and I gave the command that any man who didn’t obey orders should be shot. We marched around and it wasn’t until we had gone miles that I came to realize that perhaps I had been mistaken and maybe those colonies weren’t on fire. I turned around and looked toward them, but I could see nothing, yet I felt we were too far away to turn back, so we continued on. No, Mr. Bentley, I have never been able to understand it to this day because I have learned since that those colonies were not on fire–that not a single home was burned, and yet I saw that picture as vividly as I see you standing in front of me.”

Of course we realize why General Villa did not know or could not understand this vision which he saw. We know that it was the hand of the Lord, protecting His people when they were helpless to protect themselves. (Faith Promoting Stories, Preston Nibley, pp. 53-58)

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[185]             Lucifer Tries to Hinder Logan Temple Work

by President Rudger Clawson


On one occasion I heard the late Apostle Marriner W. Merrill, President of the Logan Temple, relate this extra-ordinary incident:

He was sitting in his office one morning, he said, when he noticed from the window a company of people coming up the hill to the Temple. As they entered the Temple grounds, they presented rather a strange appearance, not only in dress but in their mode of travel. Some were riding on horses, others were in conveyances, and still others were afoot. He wondered who they could be as he was not looking for a company of such size that particular morning. They dismounted from their horses, stepped down from their conveyances, put their animals under the shade and walked about complacently as if they had a perfect right to be there.

A little later a person unknown to Brother Merrill entered the room. Brother Merrill said to him: “Who are you and who are these people who have come up and taken possession of the Temple grounds unannounced?” He answered and said: “I am Satan and these are my people.”

Brother Merrill then said: “What do you want? Why have you come here?” Satan replied: “I don’t like the work that is going on in this Temple and feel that it should be discontinued. Will you stop it?”

Brother Merrill answered and said emphatically, “No, we will not stop it. The work must go on.” “Since you refuse to stop it, I will tell you what I propose to do,” the adversary said. “I will take these people, my followers, and distribute them throughout this Temple district, and will instruct them to whisper in the ears of people, persuading them not to go to the Temple, and thus bring about a cessation of your Temple work.” Satan then withdrew.

[186] President Merrill, commenting on this strange interview with the Evil One, said that for quite a period of time the spirit of indifference to Temple work seemed to take possession of the people and very few came to the House of the Lord. The presumption was that Satan had carried out his threat which caused a temporary lull in Temple work.

It is not to be wondered at that Satan, who is the enemy of all righteousness, is displeased with Temple work. (“Church Section,” Deseret News, Dec. 12, 1936, vol. 344, no. 61)

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[187]                          Matthew Cowley–

Man of Faith and Miracles

Missionary Experiences in New Zealand


“Dear Sister Cowley:

“We would like to extend our deepest sympathy to you and Jewell and Toni. We grieve with you because we are parted from a wonderful friend.

“We are so grateful we were privileged to know him. He gave our little son such a wonderful blessing when he could no longer see. He promised him his sight, and now he sees very well. We are so thankful that he was spared here long enough to bless our son.”


The preceding quotation is from a letter written on a Christmas card sent in 1953 by Theo and Ruth Fawson. A host of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters throughout the Church feel the same way. They likewise are grateful that Matthew Cowley was spared long enough to bless and heal their loved ones.

In no other way more than through the blessings he gave and the miracles that followed these blessings did Matthew Cowley demonstrate he was truly a man of faith. There can be no doubt but that his was the inspired touch of hands and prayer of faith that healed the sick. In the isles of the Pacific and the stakes of Zion there are many who can attest to the healing power of his blessings.

This man of faith knew whence came his power to heal. He said, “Miracles are evidence of the efficacy of the priesthood of God, to bring his power and blessing to the children of men. Everywhere you go among the people you see the blessing of the sick, making the blind to see, and the deaf to hear. Let us appreciate the priesthood we hold and magnify it so that God will magnify us. He wants us to do his work for him, and if we don’t do it, it isn’t his fault. It is our own fault.” On another [188] occasion he said, “God does work through us brethren if we are simple enough to let him.” * * *


Matthew Cowley felt that man “was at his greatest when he was on his knees.” He learned the real power of prayer as a youth on his first mission to the Maoris, and he never lost sight of this lesson. He said, “I was called to faraway New Zealand, and in that mission I was assigned, without a companion, to one of the most humble places I have ever seen in my life, one of the most poverty-stricken places, and in that little village I had to pray.”

He had been in that country but a few days when he was summoned by a native woman to the side of her husband. He found the man lying on the ground being consumed by the fire of typhoid fever. “All I could do was pray,” he said, “and I knelt down beside that suffering native, and I prayed to God, and opened up my heart to him; and I believe the channel was open; and then I placed my hands upon that good brother; and with the authority of the priesthood which I as a young boy held, I blessed him to be restored to health.”

The next morning the native wife informed the seventeen-year-old missionary he was now free to go where he wanted, for her husband was up and well again. It was his first miracle of healing. He kept the channel open, and there were many other miraculous healings during his two missions in New Zealand and his subsequent trips to other missions of the Pacific and the stakes of Zion. Not only were individuals blessed and healed but a whole native village also felt the power of his priesthood. Of his experience he said:

“I remember that on one occasion I rode horseback all day long and far into the night to arrive at a native village on the seacoast of New Zealand, and when I arrived at a bay dividing the place where I had to stop at that little village, I made a fire so that the people across in the village would send a rowboat to get me, and when that boat arrived, I was taken across the [189] bay, and walked through that village, and in every home there were cases of typhoid fever. I walked fearlessly, with my head erect, impelled by the priesthood of God which I held, and in each of these homes I left the blessings of heaven, and I laid my hands upon the sick. And then I had to go across the bay again and get on my horse and ride all night long to arrive at another native village where there was sickness.” * * *


“I was asked to administer to a baby in New Zealand. I was asked to bless it. The father came up to me with this child, fourteen months old, and he said, `Our child has not been blessed yet, so I want you to give it a name.’ I said, `All right. What is the name?’ He gave me the name of the child, and then he said in a matter-of-fact way, `While you are giving it its name, give it its sight.’ The child was born blind. He said, `We have had it to specialists in Wellington. They said it was born blind and they cannot do anything for it. So while you are giving it a name, by the same authority you use to give it a name, give it its vision.’ Just as simple as that!

“Well, I was scared. I never had that faith. The thing came to me just suddenly like lightning out of the blue. But I went on and blessed the baby with a name. It was the longest blessing, I think, I have ever given. I was using all the words I could think of and had ever thought of. I was trying to get enough inspiration–enough nerve, if you want to call it that, to bless that child with its vision. I finally did.

“Eight months later I saw the child, and the child saw me. . . . Never let this simple faith get away from your life, never let it get away from you. It is the most precious thing you have in life.” * * *


“I was called to see a young lady in the hospital. She was a native. She was about to deliver a child. The doctor had told her she shouldn’t have the child. She was shot through with TB. The people were there giving her a farewell party. They [190] don’t just let you die. They say, `When you go over there, see so and so and tell him I’m not doing so good, but will do better and fix a place for me.’ . . . We administered to that girl. The next morning we went back. . . . The farewell was still on. We blessed her and administered to her again. I was there about a year ago, and she was having her fifth child.” * * *


“Thirty-six natives came to the mission home one time. They were all relatives and said they all wanted a blessing. I said, `That is quite a job–the hardest thing I do in this Church.’ They answered, `We don’t want you to put your hands on us–just stand up in front of us,’ the spokesman said. `Many years and generations ago one of the chiefs put a curse on our family, and ever generation since someone would produce a leper, and the last one in the last few days has been taken off to the leper colony. We want you to stand up and rebuke that curse and take away that leprosy.’ There was no doubt in my mind when those people spoke. I blessed them and commanded the power of God to cleanse that family of that curse; and I know as well as I am standing here there will never be another leper in that family.” * * *


“A lady came to me in the mission home suffering from what the Samoans call mu mu–or Elephantiasis–her legs swollen all out of proportion. She said, `Brother Cowley, bless me and remove from me this dread disease.’ A month ago in Samoa she came to the mission home, and she said: `Do you remember me?’ I said, `Yes, you are Sister Purcell who was suffering from mu mu when I was here before. She showed me her ankles, and they were entirely normal. Then she said, `Now, I want the cataracts to drop from my eyes. Bless me now, that I may receive this blessing through the priesthood of God, from God who has all power to heal.'” * * *


[191] The whole Church thrilled at general conference in April, 1953 with his recitation of the story of Little Joe, the boy afflicted with polio and pneumonia, who came running to meet him two weeks after the blessing had been pronounced upon him while in an unconscious condition by this man of faith. Many such incidents can be related. * * *


He [Matthew Cowley] told of standing in line shaking hands with the people when a missionary standing next to him said, “The next lady you shake hands with, take a good look at her face.” Elder Cowley did, but couldn’t see anything wrong. When the line had passed by, he asked the missionary the purpose of his request. This was his answer:

“Two weeks ago she was a leper, confined behind barbed wire fence. Her nose was being eaten away. They fed her through barbed wire–no one could go in. They had sent tissue to a lab in Los Angeles; it was sent back labeled `positive leprosy’. The same report came back from other samples. One day two of us missionaries went down to visit her. She said, `I want you to go up and see the doctor and get permission to come in here. I want to go home.’ We knew what she wanted. So we went to the doctor and finally got permission. We put on which clothing and masks and went in with a bottle of oil. This was two weeks ago, and she doesn’t even have a scar on her nose.’

“We have to have the faith of a child in order to believe in these things,” he said. Such was the faith of this man of miracles. (Matthew Cowley, Man of Faith, Henry A. Smith, pp. 136-143)

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