Early Scenes in Church History online

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within a little over a year; and it really seemed to me that Satan was
bent upon my destruction. The fact that my life was preserved through
them was an evidence to me of the power of God and that He had a
purpose in allowing me to live.

I have witnessed the power of God displayed in the healing of persons
who were sick in hundreds of instances, in some cases that would
probably be considered by the world as very wonderful, but to which
the Saints, whose experience has been similar to my own, had become
accustomed. I think Elder David W. Patten possessed the gift of healing
to a greater degree than any man I ever associated with. I remember on
one occasion when I was laboring with him as a missionary in Tennessee,
he was sent for to administer to a woman who had been sick for five
years and bed-ridden for one year and not able to help herself. Brother
Patten stepped to her bedside and asked her if she believed in the Lord
Jesus Christ. She replied that she did. He then took her by the hand
and said, "In the name of Jesus Christ, arise!"

She immediately sat up in bed, when he placed his hands upon her
head and rebuked her disease, pronounced blessings upon her head and
promised that she should bear children. She had been married for seven
years and had never had any children, and this promise seemed very
unlikely ever to be fulfilled. But she arose from her bed immediately,
walked half a mile to be baptized and back again in her wet clothes.
She was healed from that time, and within one year became a mother, and
afterwards bore several children.

I was myself healed under his administration in a manner which appeared
to me very remarkable at that time. While traveling I was taken very
sick and was forced to seek entertainment at the house of an infidel.
Elder Patten was desirous of administering to me and, by way of a
pretext, asked the privilege of praying. His request was granted and he
knelt beside the bed upon which I was lying, and, without the family
noticing it, placed his hand upon my head. While his hand was upon
me, I felt the disease pass off from my system as palpably as I ever
experienced anything in my life, and before he arose from his knees I
was as well as I ever had been, and able to arise and eat my supper.

I remember a rather remarkable instance of healing that occurred at
Winter Quarters, which I think worth relating:

During the winter of 1846-7 while the Saints were encamped on the
banks of the Missouri there was a great deal of sickness among them,
and many died. Among others who were afflicted was a man by the name
of Collins, who had followed up the Church for some time on account of
his wife being a member, but who never felt quite satisfied to embrace
the gospel, although he never opposed the work. When he was taken sick
it was not thought by his friends that he could recover, as he had
appeared to be sinking rapidly under the effects of the disease, and
for some time he lay in a semi-unconscious state, from which it was
feared he would never rally.

However, he finally regained consciousness and looked around, when I
asked him if he had any message to leave before he died. He immediately
replied that it would not do for him to die then, as he had not been
baptized, and urged very strongly to be taken right down to the river
to receive this ordinance.

Yielding to his solicitations, some of the brethren brought the running
gear of a wagon with a few boards on it, up to the door of the cabin in
which he was living, and his bed, with him lying upon it, was carried
out and placed on the wagon. When we had proceeded part way down to
the river the wagon tire commenced running off one of the wheels and
a halt was made to hammer it on again. On noticing the wagon stop and
hearing the hammering, he inquired what was the matter, and when he was
informed that the tire was running off, he replied impatiently, "Oh,
never mind the tire; go on, or I'll die and go to hell yet before I'm

We proceeded on with him till we reached the river, which at that time
was frozen over, but the ice had been cut away near the shore in order
that our animals might drink. There he was lifted from his bed, carried
into the water and I baptized him for the remission of his sins and his
restoration to health. After being taken out of the water a blanket was
wrapped around him and he was seated for a moment to rest upon a block
of ice upon the shore. Seeing the brethren turning the wagon around, he
inquired what they were going to do. They replied that they were going
to put him on the bed and haul him back home, when he arose to his feet
and assured them that they need not go to that trouble, for he could
walk back, and he did so, and from that time became a healthy man.




The various gifts of the gospel were perhaps enjoyed to as great
an extent by the Elders who labored in England in an early day as
they have been by any people and in any place, at least in this
dispensation. Nor were the manifestations of these gifts confined
to the Elders who were engaged in the ministry, for their converts
also enjoyed them to a very great extent. Many of them through their
extraordinary faith and humility called forth the blessings and power
of God in various ways. The gift of healing was very manifest, and
scores of instances might be related wherein persons were healed in a
most miraculous manner.

Bishop George Halliday, of Santaquin, who labored extensively as a
missionary in his native country in an early day, relates an incident
of this kind. Upon a warm Sunday evening, after he had been preaching
to an audience in Bristol, he was accosted by a Mrs. Ware, a sister
in the Church, who told him she had a son extremely sick and thought
to be dying. She begged him to go home with her and administer to it.
She lived three miles distant, on Durham Down. It was quite late in
the evening and he was so extremely tired that he scarcely felt able
to comply with her request; and yet he did not like to decline. All
at once he felt impressed to say: "Here, Sister Ware, you take my
handkerchief and go home to your child and lay it on him wherever he
seems to be affected, praying to the Lord to heal him. If you do this I
will promise you that he will recover."

With full faith the good lady took the handkerchief and departed. On
reaching her home she was met at the door by her daughters and friends,
who informed her that her son was dead.

"No," said she, "I cannot believe it! Brother Halliday has promised me
that he shall live, and I have his handkerchief to lay upon him."

She hastened to the boy and did as she had been directed to, and the
child, which a few minutes before had been inanimate, began to show
signs of life. The next morning he was able to come down to breakfast,
and soon regained his wonted health. He afterwards emigrated to Utah.

Brother Halliday also relates another instance in which the power of
God was displayed in a rather remarkable manner, near the same time:

He and Elder John Chislett were sent to Penzance, Cornwall,
to introduce the gospel to the inhabitants. They met with no
encouragement, yet they did not feel justified in leaving the place
until they had given the people a thorough warning. Their funds were
so low that the two of them were forced to live on a penny's worth of
bread and a penny's worth of soup per day; yet their faith was strong,
and they spent much of their time in prayer. Finally, as a last resort,
in the effort to awaken an interest in the message they had to bear to
the people, they decided to give a course of public lectures. Elder
Halliday pawned his watch to raise the necessary money to rent a hall
and publish some placards announcing their meetings, and on the first
evening appointed they were gratified at seeing a few come to hear
them. Among the audience they noticed particularly a well-dressed
gentleman and lady, the latter of whom commenced weeping almost as
soon as she entered the hall and continued to do so as long as the
meeting lasted. The Elders, of course, could assign no reason for this
peculiar conduct while the meeting was in progress, nor were they any
more enlightened when, at the close of the services, the lady came
forward with her husband and invited them to visit her at her home at
St. Just, about six miles distant. This was the first invitation they
had received from anyone in the place, and they accepted it joyfully,
and would willingly have gone home with her that night, but, to their
disappointment, she named the following Wednesday as the time when
she would be pleased to receive them. Nothing further passed between
them, but it was evident that a favorable impression had been made upon
her, and that she was a woman of intelligence and refinement. While
anticipating the pleasure of visiting her and waiting for the day to
arrive, the Elders continued to subsist upon their scanty fare, and
spent their time in vainly endeavoring to proselyte among the citizens
of Penzance.

Wednesday morning came and with it a drenching rain storm, through
which the Elders tramped the whole six miles, hungry and penniless.
Shortly before arriving at St. Just, and while they were crossing
a plowed field, with the mud clinging to their boots so they could
scarcely walk, the Lord deigned to comfort them by giving Elder
Halliday the gift of tongues and the interpretation of the same, in
which it was made known to him that the lady whom they were going to
visit had been favored with a vision in which she had seen himself and
Elder Chislett; also that she was the owner of several houses, one of
which she was going to allow them to use to hold meetings in, and that
he was going to baptize her that very night.

As soon as this had passed through his mind, for he had not spoken
aloud, but to himself, he joyfully slapped his companion on the
shoulder and exclaimed, "Cheer up, John! I have had a revelation!" He
then proceeded to relate all that had been revealed to him.

When they arrived at the house they were drenched as badly as if they
had been in a river. Even their boots were full of water, so that when
they pulled them off and turned the tops downward it ran out of them in
a stream. Their friend, however, had been anxiously looking for them,
and had prepared a blazing fire to warm them and spread the table with
tempting food. She also proposed for them to change their clothes as
far as she could supply them with dry ones to put on from her husband's
wardrobe. "But," said she, "I can hardly wait for you to change your
clothes, I am so anxious to talk to you."

"Oh, you need not be in such a hurry," remarked Elder Halliday, "for I
know what you are going to say!"

She looked at him in surprise and inquired how he knew.

"Why," he said, "I have had it revealed to me on the way here." He then
related to her every particular as it had been made known to him, until
he got to that part relating to her baptism, when she interrupted him
by exclaiming in surprise to her husband:

"There, now, is that not just as it occurred? How could he have learned
that? for you know I have not talked with anyone but you about it!" She
then admitted that the week previous, while lying awake in bed, she saw
a bright light in the room and awoke her husband and pointed it out to
him. He also saw it, and it passed around the room in the direction of
Penzance, to which place it led her in her mind, and there she saw two
men trying to raise a standard, in which labor the people who looked on
seemed unwilling to lend a helping hand. She reproached them for their
lack of interest, and took hold herself to assist. This vision was so
plain that she afterwards related the whole of it to her husband and
even described the appearance of the men. Then she could not rest until
she had, in company with her husband, visited Penzance and attended
the lecture she there saw announced. As soon as she entered the hall
and saw the two Elders she recognized them and could not refrain from
crying. As to the other part of what had been revealed to him, she
said it was true that she was the owner of a row of houses, which she
pointed out to the Elders, and that the last one was a school-house in
which her husband taught school, and which they were welcome to use as
a meeting house as long as they wanted to free of charge.

"But," said Elder Halliday, "that is not all that the Lord revealed to
me. He told me that I was going to baptize you before I went to bed
to-night, and now I want your husband to go and find some water for
that purpose."

Brother Halliday, in telling what had been revealed to him, felt a good
deal as he imagined the prophet Jonah must have felt when the Lord
commanded him to go to Nineveh and declare the destruction of that
city. He had before him the fear of being declared a false prophet,
and it required a great deal of faith in him to tell it, especially
that part relating to her baptism. However, he was soon relieved on
that score, for the good lady expressed her readiness and anxiety to
go immediately and be baptized. But her husband declared there was not
a stream or pond in that region deep enough to baptize a person in,
and it would be no use for them to think of doing such a thing that
day. "Is there not a ditch or hollow anywhere around here that is deep
enough?" said Elder Halliday, "Please go and see."

The husband complied with a dubious look on his face, while the Elders
proceeded to change and dry their clothes, and soon he returned and
reported that the heavy shower which had fallen had so filled all the
ditches and low places that they would have no difficulty in finding
water deep enough.

Within two hours from the arrival of the Elders the lady was baptized
and confirmed, she being the first one to embrace the gospel in the
region known as "Land's End."

The Elders ever found a home at her house and enjoyed the privilege
of holding meetings in her school-house for years, and she remained
faithful, but her husband, although he was kind to the Elders and
willing to entertain them, never joined the Church. He was an infidel
and an astrologer.



Elder Elias Morris, now a resident of Salt Lake City, labored
extensively as a local and traveling Elder in the Welch mission in an
early day. In illustration of the manner in which the Lord's power was
often manifested in preserving the lives of His servants, he relates an
instance from his experience:

While acting as a local Elder in his native place, laboring at his
trade during the week and preaching in the surrounding villages on
Sundays, he once had occasion to speak of the signs which the Savior
had promised should follow believers: "In my name they shall cast out
devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents;
and if they drink any deadly, thing it shall not hurt them; they shall
lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." He argued that the
enjoyment of those promised blessings was not limited to the believers
who lived when the Savior was upon the earth, but that the faithful
Latter-day Saints also shared the same. The sectarian preachers of
the neighborhood who listened to or heard of Elder Morris' remarks on
that occasion ridiculed them, and one especially, a Methodist deacon,
had a great deal to say about them. In repeating those remarks and
commenting on them to others, he also exaggerated what had been said,
even asserting falsely that Elder Morris had claimed that if he were to
fall from the top of a quarry it would not hurt him. Elder Morris heard
of this deacon's exaggerated stories and flippant comments, but did not
deign to notice them, although he was well acquainted with the man, in
fact he was at that very time in his employ.

A few days afterwards Elder Morris happened to be engaged upon a
three-story building, pointing the front, and for that purpose was
sitting on a hanging scaffold near the top of the wall. All at once
he felt the scaffold giving way, the planks upon which it rested,
and which projected from the inside of the building, having become
loosened. He called immediately to a fellow workman engaged inside the
building to come to his relief, but before the man reached the window
to grasp the plank, the scaffold fell and Brother Morris with it. With
a silent prayer to God for help, and fully realizing his danger, he
dropped the distance of thirty feet or more, alighting on his thigh on
the stone pavement. In an instant he was upon his feet, and placing his
hand on a window sill, he sprang lightly into the lower room of the
building and escaped the falling planks, which did not reach the ground
until after he had, and came forth the next minute unharmed. He did not
even feel the slightest pain from the fall.

It happened that the Methodist deacon, one of the owners of the
building, and Elder Morris' father were in the street in front of
the building at the time of the accident, and the latter was almost
paralyzed with fear at the sight of his boy falling down, and no less
surprised and overjoyed at seeing him walk forth the next moment
unscathed. The deacon, too, seemed very much astonished and hardly able
to believe the evidence of his own sight when he saw the man whose
religious pretentions he had ridiculed so much pass through such an
ordeal and appear unhurt. Elder Morris noticed his surprised look as
he approached him, and thought it a fitting opportunity to tax him
with the slander and ridicule which he had been indulging in at his
expense. He accordingly did so, and then asked ironically, hinting at
the story which the deacon had circulated about him, "Isn't that almost
equal to falling off a quarry?" The deacon acknowledged that it was,
and declared that some supernatural power must have saved him in that
instance at least.

Many anecdotes are related of Elder Abel Evans, formerly of Lehi, in
this Territory, who died while on a mission in Wales some years since.
He was a man of wonderful faith, and possessed the gift of healing in a
remarkable degree. While laboring as a missionary in Wales in an early
day he met a sister who was a member of the Church and was afflicted
with a terrible cancer in her face which had eaten away her upper lip
and the greater portion of her nose. She had tried all the doctors
she could find who pretended to cure cancers and they had one after
another given her case up as hopeless. When Brother Evans met her she
was mourning over her affliction and recounting her suffering and the
efforts she had made to get relief. He listened to her story and then
asked: "Why do you not apply to the Great Physician to cure you?"

"Do you think it would be of any use?" she asked, brightening up.

"Why," he replied "with the Lord all things are possible! If you have
faith you can be healed!"

She expressed her anxiety to be administered to, and he forthwith
purchased a bottle of olive oil, consecrated it and anointed her face,
applying the oil with a feather to the worst part. He also rebuked the
disease and prayed for her recovery, and from that hour the cancer was
killed and her face began to heal. He repeated the operation two or
three times, and, strange as it may appear, the flesh and skin actually
grew again upon that part of her face which had been eaten away and a
new nose in time developed - not a perfect one it is true, but one that
was a great improvement upon none at all. Notwithstanding this great
manifestation of God's goodness to her, however, this woman afterwards

On one occasion Brother Evans was sailing from Liverpool to Bangor,
at which place he had an appointment to preach, when a terrible storm
arose, which threatened the destruction of the vessel. When the
officers and crew were all ready to give up hope, Elder Evans retired
to a secluded part of the vessel, called upon the Lord in prayer,
reminding Him of the appointment to be filled and that he was upon His
business, and, in mighty faith, rebuked the storm, when it calmed so
suddenly that all hands on board were as much surprised as delighted,
and quite at a loss to account for the sudden change in their prospects.

In the year 1846, a man living in Merthyr Tydvil, who was a member of
the Church, happened accidentally to break his leg between the knee and
ankle. A surgeon was called in, who set the broken bones, bound the
limb up with bandages and splints and cautioned the patient to keep
perfectly quiet until the fracture could have time to knit. Three days
afterwards Elders Abel Evans and Thomas D. Giles called to see him, and
the former questioned him as to his faith. "Do you believe," said he,
"that the Lord has power to heal your broken limb?"

The man acknowledged that he did.

"Do you believe," he again, asked, "that we, as the servants of God,
holding the Priesthood, have authority to call upon the Almighty and
claim a blessing for you at His hands?"

The man assured him that he did.

"Then," said he, "If you wish it we will take the bandages off your
broken leg and anoint it."

The man consented, the bandages and splints were removed and his leg
was anointed with consecrated oil. The brethren then placed their hands
upon his head, and Elder Evans rebuked the power of the evil one,
commanded the bones to come together and knit, and, finally, that the
man should arise from his bed and walk. He got out of bed immediately
and walked about the house, and from that time had no occasion to use a
bandage on the injured limb or even walk with a stick.

While crossing the sea in 1850, emigrating to Utah, a number of
remarkable cases of healing occurred under his administration. One was
that of a young girl who was terribly afflicted with evil spirits,
and who was entirely relieved when he placed his hands upon her head.
Another was that of a little boy who fell through the hatchway of the
vessel, alighting upon his head on the ring and bolt of the lower
hatchway. When he was picked up it was found that the force of the fall
had driven the iron upon which he struck into his head, and within a
minute afterwards the injured place puffed up like a distended bladder.
Of course, he was knocked insensible and apparently lifeless, but
Brother Evans and one or two other Elders immediately administered to
him, and while their hands were upon his head the swelling entirely
disappeared and he was restored to consciousness and to health. This
was witnessed and marveled at by a number of persons who were not in
the Church as well as a great many of the Saints who were on board.

When Elder Evans was crossing the Atlantic in charge of a company of
Saints emigrating to Utah, a terrible epidemic in the nature of a
fever broke out on the ship, and threatened the destruction of all on
board. He felt that their only hope lay in securing the favor of the
Almighty, and determined to muster all the faith he could in appealing
to the Lord. He called together four Elders of experience who were on
board, and asked them to retire with him to the hold of the vessel
and unite in prayer. They did so again and again without any apparent
good result, and Brother Evans marveled at the cause. It was such an
unusual thing for him to fail to have his prayers answered, that he
was surprised that it should be so in that instance, and he could
only account for it by lack of union or worthiness on the part of the
Elders. He therefore called the four Elders again to retire with him
to the hold of the ship, and took with him a basin of clean water.
When they had reached a secluded place where they were not likely to
be overheard or disturbed by others, he talked to the Elders about the
necessity of their being united in faith and clear of sin before God if
they desired to call upon Him and receive a blessing. "Now," he said,

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