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EARLY SCENES IN CHURCH HISTORY ***




Produced by Renah Holmes and the Mormon Texts Project
(MormonTextsProject.org)








EARLY SCENES

IN

CHURCH HISTORY.

EIGHTH BOOK OF THE

FAITH-PROMOTING SERIES.

Designed for the Instruction and Encouragement of Young Latter-Day
Saints.

Juvenile Instructor Office, Salt Lake City, 1882.



Copyright applied for at the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at
Washington, D. C., by G. C. Lambert.



PREFACE.

Many deaths have occurred within the last few years among the veteran
members of our Church. Numbers of persons have recently passed away
who were connected with the Church during the early years of its
existence, and whose lives were filled with scenes and incidents of
the most interesting nature. Their wonderful experience so far as
known is appreciated by their intimate friends, in whose memories it
is embalmed, but it will hereafter only be known as tradition, for, as
a rule, they have left no written testimony or record of their lives
to show to future generations what they have seen or passed through.
We have scarcely ever heard of the death of such a person without a
feeling of regret that the important scenes of which he was a witness
while living were not better known, and that a definite and accurate
account of them had not been written before his death.

A short time since we conceived the idea of publishing a volume of the
"Faith-Promoting Series," entitled EARLY SCENES IN CHURCH HISTORY, to
be made up of such incidents of appropriate nature as we could obtain
from early members of the Church.

Of course we were aware that a single volume of the size contemplated
could not describe a tithe of the interesting scenes of a
faith-promoting nature with which the early history of the Church
abounded, but not until we had started the compilation did we realize
to the full extent the vastness of the field which we had entered upon.
We gathered the incidents contained in the present volume at random
(mostly from verbal narratives), compiled them very hastily, with too
little regard perhaps for variety, and feel that we have hardly made a
commencement at recounting the early scenes of which a record should be
perpetuated.

In compiling this volume no effort has been made at selecting scenes
of a marvelous or sensational character; the aim has rather been to
mention such incidents as would tend to show how the power of God was
manifested in behalf of the Saints in those early days, and thereby
promote faith among the young, for whose benefit this Series is
published. Nor is it to be supposed that such scenes as are herein
described have been confined to any particular period of our Church's
history. As wonderful incidents of special providence could be related
of the present age as of that which is past. The power of God is as
manifest now in shaping the destiny of His Saints, in preserving their
lives and in answering their prayers as it ever has been. The faithful
never had greater cause to rejoice nor the wicked to tremble than they
have at the present time. That the perusal of this volume may cause
those into whose hands it may come to be more faithful and devoted to
the cause of God, is the earnest desire of

THE PUBLISHER.



CONTENTS.


"SHOW US A SIGN."

My Sister's Hip Broken - No Hopes of Ever Being Able to Walk - Our
Family Embrace the Gospel - Scoffers Demand as a Sign that my Sister
be Healed - Elder Brackinbury's Designs - Caught in the Act of Robbing
the Grave - My Brother's Death - My Sister Healed-The Healing Fails to
Convince the Unbelievers.


CONTEST WITH EVIL SPIRITS.

The Savior's Promise - Sent on a Mission When a Boy - Conference in
Burke's Garden - A Girl Apparently Stricken With Death - My Fright at
Being Asked to Administer to Her - Prompted by the Spirit to Cast the
Devil Out of Her - The Evil Spirit Leaves Her and Enters Two Others - Six
Elders Contend With the Evil Spirit for Thirty-Six Hours - Its Final
Banishment.


EARLY EXPERIENCE OF A. O. SMOOT.

CHAPTER I.

Sickly Condition when Young - Healed According to Elder Patten's
Prediction - Labor as a Missionary with Elder Woodruff - Severe
Sickness - Healed Under the Administration of my Brethren - A Mission
to the Southern States - Removal to Far West - Mission to Missouri and
Arkansas - Opposed by a Baptist Deacon - Terrible Judgment upon Himself
and Family - John Houston, the Infidel - Far West Besieged - Taken
Prisoner.

CHAPTER II.

Married while a Prisoner of War - Property Confiscated - Removal
to Quincy - First Hard Work - Removal to Montrose - Mission to
Tennessee - Shot at - Camp, my Champion - A Lawyer and his Mob - Appeal to
Masons for Help - Ready Response - Camp's Vengeance on the Lawyer - News
of Martyrdom - Return to Nauvoo - Brigham Young Inspired - Another Mission
South - Blessings in the Temple - Journey to Salt Lake Valley.

CHAPTER III.

Almost Lost in the Atlantic - Narrowly Escape the _Saluda_
Disaster - Nearly Dead with the Cholera - Healed in Answer to
Prayer - Blown up with a Keg of Powder - A Sick Woman Healed - Elder
Patten's Remarkable Prediction Fulfilled - A Man Almost Dead Recovers on
Being Baptized.


SCENES IN THE BRITISH MISSION.

CHAPTER I.

Elder Halliday Applied to for Help By a Sister whose Son is Dying - Not
Able to go, he Gives the Lady his Handkerchief and Promised her
the Child Shall Live - The Child Revives from Apparent Death by the
Woman's Faith and Prayer - Preaching in Penzance - Discouragement and
Want - Strange Conduct of a Lady Attending the Meeting - Invitation to
go to St. Just - Gift of Tongues and Interpretation Given to Elder
Halliday, Through which he Receives a Revelation - Revelation Literally
Fulfilled.

CHAPTER II.

Elder Elias Morris Falls with a Scaffold a Distance of Thirty Feet
Without Being Hurt - Gift of Healing Possessed by Elder Abel Evans - A
Woman Healed who had Her Face Eaten Away by a Cancer - Storm at Sea
Rebuked - A Broken Leg Cured - A Broken Skull Mended - Fever on Shipboard
Stopped by the Prayer of Faith.

CHAPTER III.

Elder John Parry's Statement - His Brother's Testimony and Death - His
Sister's Reproof and Death - Embrace the Gospel - His Sleep Troubled - A
Remedy and Lesson - Orson Spencer Healed - Providential Help - Escape from
a Mob - Cancer in a Man's Face Cured by Laying on of Hands - Preserved
from Mobs.

CHAPTER IV.

John T. Evans' Statement - A Sick and Helpless Woman Healed on Being
Baptized - Relapse and Death after Apostasy - Saints Required to Renounce
their Religion or Lose their Situations - Cholera Epidemic - Healed
According to Faith - Private Discussion with a Malignant Preacher, who
Takes the Cholera and Begs the Elders to Cure Him - Healed and then
Baptized - Curious Manner in which Food and Lodging were Provided.

CHAPTER V.

Judgment Upon Opposers - Two Men Killed by their Horses - Horrible Death
of Another - Eight Preachers go Down After Opposing Elder Evans - A
Man Saved from Bleeding to Death by the Prayer of Faith - A Sister
Healed - Woman Cured of a Bloody Issue on Being Baptized - Escape the
Fury of a Mob by the Spirit's Warning - A Warning Through the Gift of
Tongues.

CHAPTER VI.

Thomas D. Giles' Experience - His Head Crushed and Split Open by a Ton
of Coal Falling Upon It - Healed by the Power of God - A Deaf and Dumb
Man Receives His Hearing and Speech on Being Baptized, etc.

CHAPTER VII.

Scene in the Experience of Wm. J. Smith - A Strange Prophecy and Its
Wonderful Fulfillment.


REMARKABLE HEALINGS.

Martin H. Peck's Testimony of a Number of Remarkable Cases of
Healing - A Broken Arm, a Crushed Leg, etc., Healed Immediately.


PHILO DIBBLE'S NARRATIVE.

CHAPTER I.

His Early Life - Conversion - Curious Signs - Joseph Removes to
Kirtland - Wonderful Manifestations - A Miraculous Case of Healing - Sidney
Rigdon in Darkness - Joseph Predicts that the Evil One will Handle Him,
and the Prediction is Fulfilled.

CHAPTER II.

Removal to Missouri - The Saints' Guns Purchased for Mobocrats by a
Sectarian Preacher - Attack of the Mob on the Whitmer Settlement - The
Writer Shot - Subsequent Exposure and Suffering - Critical
Condition - Healed Miraculously - How Zion's Camp was preserved on
Fishing River - A Vision.

CHAPTER III.

Militia Organized at Far West - Liberty Pole Struck by
Lightning - General Atchison Defends the Prophet in a Lawsuit - Atchison
Removed from Office for being Friendly to the Saints - Far West
Beseiged - Leaders of the Saints Betrayed for a Price - Escape to Quincy.

CHAPTER IV.

Rent a Farm - Sickness - Providential Recovery - Inspired
to Preach - Removal to Nauvoo - Death of my Wife - Second
Marriage - Premonition of Death - Warning from the Prophet - A Dream and
its Fulfillment - A Prophecy and its Fulfillment - Evil Spirits Cast out
of a Man - Joseph Smith's Trust in the Lord.



"SHOW US A SIGN."

BY B. F. JOHNSON

MY SISTER'S HIP BROKEN - NO HOPES OF EVER BEING ABLE TO WALK - OUR
FAMILY EMBRACE THE GOSPEL - SCOFFERS DEMAND AS A SIGN THAT MY SISTER
BE HEALED - ELDER BRACKINBURY'S DEATH - WARNED BY THE SPIRIT OF THE
BODY-SNATCHERS' DESIGNS - CAUGHT IN THE ACT OF ROBBING THE GRAVE - MY
BROTHER'S DEATH - MY SISTER HEALED - THE HEALING FAILS TO CONVINCE THE
UNBELIEVERS.

About the year 1830, when I was twelve years of age, Nancy, my eldest
sister, was thrown from a horse, and had her hip broken.

The bone was broken so near the socket that it could not be set,
and physicians all agreed that it would be impossible for her ever
again to walk upon that leg, or in any degree to recover its use, as
ossification had taken place without a connection of the bones and they
had slipped past each other, making the broken limb nearly an inch
shorter than the other. She walked upon two crutches, and for years was
not able to bring upon the broken limb weight sufficient to hurt the
finger of a small child, if placed under her foot.

In the year 1831, my brothers Joel H. and David received the gospel
in Amherst, Ohio, and in the fall of the same year my brother David
brought to us the Book of Mormon, near Fredonia, State of New York.

Soon afterwards my brother Joel, with A. W. Babbitt - then only a
boy, came also, and was followed by Elders Brackinbury and Durfee.
Elder Brackinbury was an earnest and powerful preacher, and all the
Elders seemed filled with the spirit of the Lord. Many received their
testimony, and my mother and Lyman R. Shearman, a brother-in-law, were
the first to be baptized.

Priest and people came out to oppose the work, and would scoffingly
ask, "Why, if miracles can be performed, do you not heal Sister Nancy?"
Many would also say: "If they would only heal Sister Nancy we would all
believe!"

My sister was a young woman of excellent mind and character. Having
a good common education, she had for some years taught our district
summer school, and, being religiously inclined, had joined the Freewill
Baptist church. Like my mother, who was also a religious woman, she was
not only respected, but was beloved by all who knew her. But, although
she had obeyed the gospel, the time had not come for her release from
her crutches by the healing power of God. The wicked were seeking it
for a sign, as in the days of our Savior, when they followed Him even
to His crucifixion, demanding that He come down from the cross, as a
sign, to prove to them that He was the Son of God; yet no sign was
given except that of their overthrow and destruction.

After a few weeks of successful preaching and baptizing, Elder
Brackinbury was taken violently sick, and, within a few days, died of
the bilious cholic.

To us, then young and inexperienced members of the Church, his death
came as a trial to our faith, as well as a very great grief. To think
that so good a man, in such a field of useful labor, and far away
from his home and family, should be permitted to die, and that too so
suddenly, was naturally a test to the faith and integrity of so young a
branch.

Although the grave had closed over his body and we were in deep sorrow,
our enemies were not satisfied, for while we were assembled in the
evening after his burial, to talk and pray and mourn together, the
spirit of revelation said to my brother David that they were then
digging up the body of Brother Brackinbury for dissection.

My brothers with others quickly started, and proceeding rapidly to the
grave about one mile away, found three men there who had unearthed the
coffin and were just dragging the corpse from under its lid. As our
party approached they sprang out of the grave and fled.

David, then a stripling of about twenty years, pursued them, and like a
young lion, grappled with, captured and brought back as a prisoner one
of the most powerful young men of the country - not only much older but
nearly double his size - a student of medicine in our native town.

The prisoner was afterwards committed by a magistrate, and put under
bonds to appear at his trial.

These, with other unhappy events, caused us to desire to leave our
native place and gather with the Saints at Kirtland, which we did in
the spring of 1833. In the summer of that same year it was proposed to
build the Kirtland Temple, and as it was designed at first to build it
of brick, my three eldest brothers, with those of us who were younger,
engaged in making the brick for that purpose; and there brother David,
who was then about twenty-two years of age, became a martyr to the
great and good cause. Through his ambition to perform more labor than
he was able to endure, and by over-exertion in procuring the wood, he
bled at the lungs and died the same fall. He bore a faithful testimony
of the gospel being again revealed, and spoke with the gift of tongues
with his latest breath, which was interpreted by Don Carlos Smith, the
Prophet's brother, who was present at the time.

About this time the Spirit of the Lord seemed to be poured out upon the
Saints in Kirtland. There families often met together to "speak of the
Lord," and the gifts of the gospel were enjoyed in rich abundance. As
yet my sister Nancy had never, since her hip had been broken, taken one
step unaided by her crutches; but the time had now come for her release.

She was commanded by Elder Jared Carter - then a man of mighty faith - to
arise, leave her crutches and walk.

She arose in faith, full of joy, and was from that hour made whole, and
never again did she walk upon crutches or lean upon a staff.

The same fall I returned on a visit to my native town, full of a desire
that our old neighbors, as well as my young associates, should embrace
the truth; for I felt sure that they would believe my testimony that my
sister was healed, and, as they had promised, accept the gospel.

I was full of hope, although I was but a boy, that they would all
be converted through my testimony; but alas! there were none to be
converted - no one to accept the great truths of the gospel. They
believed my statement that my sister had become well and was walking
unaided upon her broken limb, yet, to their understanding, "some
natural cause had produced the effect," and they were unbelievers still.

When again, as a missionary, I returned to the place of my birth
and preached to those same persons the gospel, bearing a faithful
testimony, they were glad to see me, and treated me with great
kindness, yet no one was converted to the truth, for signs had failed
to make them believe.



CONTEST WITH EVIL SPIRITS.

BY H. G. B.

THE SAVIOR'S PROMISE - SENT ON A MISSION WHEN A BOY - CONFERENCE IN
BURKE'S GARDEN - A GIRL APPARENTLY STRICKEN WITH DEATH - MY FRIGHT AT
BEING ASKED TO ADMINISTER TO HER - PROMPTED BY THE SPIRIT TO CAST THE
DEVIL OUT OF HER - THE EVIL SPIRIT LEAVES HER AND ENTERS TWO OTHERS - SIX
ELDERS CONTEND WITH THE EVIL SPIRIT FOR THIRTY-SIX HOURS - ITS FINAL
BANISHMENT.

Just a few minutes before our Savior took His leave of the twelve
apostles and ascended on high, He promised that certain gifts and
blessings should be enjoyed by the believer.

You will find this promise recorded in the 16th chapter of the gospel
according to St. Mark, 17th and 18th verses. It is of one of these
gifts that I wish to speak.

When on my first mission (in the year 1844), in the State of Virginia,
we were attending a conference in Burke's Garden, Tazewell County.
There were some ten or twelve Elders in attendance, most of whom had
just arrived a week or two previous from Nauvoo, where they had,
during the April Conference, been called and set apart for missions in
Virginia. It was Sunday evening, some time early in May. Our conference
had just closed, the last services of which were the ordinances of
baptism and confirmation administered to several persons.

The Saints and strangers had dispersed to their homes, except some of
the Saints who lived at a distance. A few of these had put up with
Colonel Peter Litz, who, with his family, were members of the Church,
and where also several of the Elders, myself included, were going to
stay over night.

The time in the evening was what would be called early twilight. Some
of the Elders had taken an evening stroll. At any rate, I was the only
Elder that was about the house, when Sister Litz came to me (I was
seated at the time out in the yard) very much excited, and said that
one of the sisters who had come to stay over night, was taken suddenly
and very severely sick, and she (Sister Litz) desired me to administer
to her.

I was only a boy, yet in my teens, and with little or no experience,
and had never been called upon, up to that time, to administer to the
sick. I naturally shrank from the task, and would have given anything
to have had some one to take it off my shoulders.

However, there was no escape for me - no other Elders were present, and
she insisted that I should attend to the ordinance.

I followed Sister Litz into the house, and there lay the girl,
stretched upon a bed, apparently lifeless, without breath or motion.

I asked Sister Litz what was the matter with the girl, but she could
not tell.

"What can I do?" I thought. What could any one do? Nevertheless, I
placed my hands upon her head, knowing full well if the Lord did not
help me, that I would utterly fail in being able to say the first
appropriate word, or exercise the least power.

As soon as I opened my mouth, I began to cast a devil out of her, which
was farthest from my thoughts before I commenced. I commanded it, in
the name of Jesus Christ, to come out of her, and not to return again.
The evil spirit immediately departed from her, she being restored to
her normal condition, seemingly as well as ever.

Not ten minutes after, the same evil spirit entered another girl. But
during this interval Elder Robert Hamilton had returned from a walk,
and was present at the time of the second attack, and was mouth with
myself in casting it out.

In about the same time it would take a person to walk from one room to
another, a third young sister was attacked, and in the same way exactly
that the two first had been taken; and our administration had the same
effect in relieving her as in the first two cases.

This third one was no sooner rid of the evil spirit, than it returned
and took possession the second time of the one last before relieved of
its power; and when it was cast out from this one, it took possession
of the third one again, and so on, alternately, as well as I can
remember, for three or four times. But the spirit never returned the
second time to the first sister that was attacked that evening.

However, at the end of three or four hours, we separated the two girls,
by taking one of them up stairs and into a room at the west end of the
house, leaving the other in a room on the first floor at the east end,
making the distance between as far as we could for both to occupy the
same house, which was a large one.

In the meantime one of the Elders from the house of one of the nearest
neighbors had come in, so there were six of us in attendance, the names
of whom were as follows: Robert Hamilton, James Park, Richard Kinnamon,
Chapman Duncan, Alfred B. Lambson and myself.

A. B. Lambson, James Park and Richard Kinnamon, with the father of the
two girls (for they were sisters), watched with the one in the room on
the first floor, while Robert Hamilton, Chapman Duncan and myself, with
the mother, watched with the other in the upper room.

While possessed with this evil spirit, the girls would sometimes lay in
a trance, motionless, and apparently without breathing, till we were
ready to conclude they were dead, then they would come to and speak
and sing in tongues, and talk about Priesthood and the endowments. At
other times, they would choke up, ceasing to breathe until they were
black in the face, and we thought they would surely die. Sometimes they
would froth at the mouth and act like they were in a fit. If standing
upon their feet when taken, they would fall to the floor and act like
they were struggling for life with some unseen power. Altogether, these
cases reminded us of the one recorded in Mark, 8th chapter, 14th to
29th verse, and other cases recorded in the New Testament.

We never made a failure when attempting to cast out this evil spirit
from either of the girls. But invariably as soon as one of them was
dispossessed, in the length of time it would take a person to walk from
one room to the other, the spirit would take possession of the other,
but never both at the same time, and both were operated upon alike,
so we knew there was but one evil spirit to deal with; yet it seemed
impossible to get rid of it, for the girls were possessed with it
alternately for some thirty-six hours.

However, we took advantage of the Savior's explanation in the 9th
chapter of Mark, before referred to, and fasted and prayed. After
which, while the three of us up stairs were administering (Robert
Hamilton being mouth) and commanding the devil (for such we were from
the first convinced it was) to come out of her and return to its
own place, Elder Duncan immediately interrupted, and said to Elder
Hamilton, "Name the place; name the place!" (See Matthew, 8th chapter
and 31st verse.)

This somewhat confused Elder Hamilton, who hesitated, when Elder Duncan
called the name of a family who were near neighbors, and of whom not
one us had thought in connection with these cases. Elder Hamilton
repeated this name, and immediately the evil spirit departed, not only
from the girl it then had possession of, but from the house. And in a
moment all in the house felt and knew that they were rid of its power
and influence and that it would not again return.

We all, by this time, knew something of the power of the adversary, for
we had had an actual experience, indeed, a contest, that had left us
weak and nearly worn out, to an extent that an actual corporal struggle
with flesh and blood would not have so reduced us.

Why was the key to its departure given to Elder Duncan and not to Elder
Hamilton, who was acting as mouthpiece at the time? is a question my
young readers are ready to ask, as we asked one another at the time,
and were not able to answer, and which I am unable to answer to this
day.

And why was it necessary to give this demon the privilege to return to
torment some other family?

This also I am unable to answer to my own satisfaction; but this much I
can say: the family referred to was bitterly opposed to the gospel and
its blessings, and to all those who taught, practiced, or enjoyed the
same. A daughter of this family had been afflicted in a very singular
way from her childhood. This girl had, in company with her parents and
all the family (as they never left her alone), attended our baptismal
meeting on Sunday evening, and her family spoke of her being and acting
like a new person for two days after attending that meeting, often
speaking of the good effect the witnessing of the ordinance of baptism
had had upon her.

To all I have said in the foregoing, I was an eye and ear witness. All
those who are living, who were present at the time this occurred, will
remember the truth of what I have inscribed, though at the time we kept
it from the world. I have written this experience for the benefit of
the young Elders who are now abroad on missions, and for the benefit
of the boys who may hereafter be called on to take missions, and any
others who may glean any good from its perusal; and also as an evidence
of the truth of the promise of Jesus to believers.



EARLY EXPERIENCE OF A. O. SMOOT.



CHAPTER I.

SICKLY CONDITION WHEN YOUNG - HEALED ACCORDING TO ELDER PATTEN'S
PREDICTION - LABOR AS A MISSIONARY WITH ELDER WOODRUFF - SEVERE
SICKNESS - HEALED UNDER THE ADMINISTRATION OF MY BRETHREN - A MISSION


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