Early Scenes in Church History online

. (page 7 of 8)
Online LibraryVariousEarly Scenes in Church History → online text (page 7 of 8)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

thought I was too hasty, and said if I would wait awhile perhaps she
would go along with me. She was a Baptist by persuasion. I paid no
heed to her, but went forthwith and was baptized by Parley P. Pratt.
This was on the 16th of October, 1830. When I came out of the water, I
knew that I had been born of water and of the spirit, for my mind was
illuminated with the Holy Ghost.

I spent that evening at Dr. F. G. Williams'. While in bed that night I
felt what appeared to be a hand upon my left shoulder and a sensation
like fibers of fire immediately enveloped my body. It passed from my
right shoulder across my breast to my left shoulder, it then struck me
on my collar bone and went to the pit of my stomach, after which it
left me. I was enveloped in a heavenly influence, and could not sleep
for joy.

The next morning I started home a happy man. All my neighbors were
anxious to know the result of my visit to Kirtland, and I was visited
by two Campbellite preachers, named respectively Scott and Williams,
one of whom remarked, "Mr. Dibble, I understand you have joined the
'Mormons.' What reason have you to believe they have the truth?"

I told them, "The scriptures point to such a work, which should come

He then asked me where I found it. I took the Bible and opened it
where it speaks of truth springing out of the earth, and righteousness
looking down from above. He read it and handed it to the other
preacher. They made no comments.

I bore my testimony to them of what I had received, and Mr. Scott said,
"I don't doubt, Mr. Dibble, that you have received all you say, because
you are honest, but they are impostors."

I then asked Mr. Scott if he believed the Lord would bless the labors
of a false prophet, to which they did not stop to reply but left, and
told the people it was no use talking to me.

One of my neighbors came to me and said, "We have sent a man down to
York State to find out the truth of this work, and he is a man who will
not lie. If he returns and says it is false, will you believe him?"

I told him I would believe the truth, and asked him if that man (whose
name was Edward Partridge) should come back and say it was false if he
would believe him.

He replied, "Yes; for he is a man who would not lie for his right arm!"

I then added, "If he says it is true, will you then believe him?" to
which he reluctantly replied that he would.

Shortly after this, however, when Brother Partridge wrote back and said
that he had been baptized, and was then preaching the gospel, this
man shunned me, and for a long time afterwards gave me no chance to
talk with him. But when we met, I asked him what he thought of Brother
Partridge, and he replied that he was honest, but had been deceived.

The four missionaries who had visited Kirtland proceeded on westward
to the borders of the Lamanites, in Jackson County, Missouri, on the
mission to which they had been called by revelation through Joseph the
Prophet, leaving the few converts they had made to themselves. Meetings
were held occasionally by the members of the Church in Kirtland, all
of which I attended. All manner of spirits were there made manifest,
and no one to detect them. Many persons were operated upon in a very
strange manner, and I was impressed that the spirits which inspired
them were from the evil one.

At a meeting held one evening at Brother Whitney's, the heavens were
opened and the Spirit of God filled the house and rested upon all the
congregation to overflowing, little children not excepted. Prophesying
and singing the songs of Zion were indulged in until morning. Brother
Whitney, who had not then yielded obedience to the gospel, was
convinced of the truth, and shortly after was baptized.

I will here observe that about the time of which I write, there were
many signs and wonders seen in the heavens above and in the earth
beneath in the region of Kirtland, both by Saints and strangers. A
pillar of light was seen every evening for more than a month hovering
over the place where we did our baptizing. One evening also, as Brother
William Blakesley and I were returning home from meeting, we observed
that it was unusually light, even for moonlight; but, on reflection, we
found the moon was not to be seen that night. Although it was cloudy,
it was as light as noonday, and we could seemingly see a tree farther
that night than we could in the day time.

Soon after this Joseph with his father's family came to Kirtland, and
said the Lord had sent him there, and he or the devil would have to

This was the first time I had beheld Joseph. After he arrived the false
spirits which had been operating through the members of the Church
ceased for awhile.

I held myself in readiness to assist the Smith family with my means or
my personal services as they might require, as they were financially
poor. They were living on a farm owned by F. G. Williams, in Kirtland,
upon which there was a debt of four hundred dollars due, which had to
be paid within a stated time or the farm would revert to its former

Joseph Coe, who was required to raise this amount to save the farm,
said he could not do so, for his wife held the money and she did not
belong to the Church. Being present with Joseph when the subject came
up, I said to him, "I can raise the money!" and he replied that if I
would, I should be blessed.

I explained to him how I would have to raise the money. I owned twelve
hundred acres of land lying twenty miles south of Elyria, which was
worth three dollars per acre. In order to raise the money then I would
have to sell a portion of it for one dollar and twenty-five cents per
acre, and I accordingly did so and paid Joseph the four hundred dollars.

When Joseph came to Kirtland his fame spread far and wide. There was a
woman living in the town of Hiram, forty miles from Kirtland, who had a
crooked arm, which she had not been able to use for a long period. She
persuaded her husband, whose name was Johnson, to take her to Kirtland
to get her arm healed.

I saw them as they passed my house on their way. She went to Joseph and
requested him to heal her. Joseph asked her if she believed the Lord
was able to make him an instrument in healing her arm. She said she
believed the Lord was able to heal her arm.

Joseph put her off till the next morning, when he met her at Brother
Whitney's house. There were eight persons present, one a Methodist
preacher, and one a doctor. Joseph took her by the hand, prayed in
silence a moment, pronounced her arm whole, in the name of Jesus
Christ, and turned and left the room.

The preacher asked her if her arm was whole, and she straightened it
out and replied: "It is as good as the other." The question was then
asked if it would remain whole. Joseph hearing this, answered and said:
"It is as good as the other, and as liable to accident as the other."

The doctor who witnessed this miracle came to my house the next morning
and related the circumstance to me. He attempted to account for it by
his false philosophy, saying that Joseph took her by the hand, and
seemed to be in prayer, and pronounced her arm whole in the name of
Jesus Christ, which excited her and started perspiration, and that
relaxed the cords of her arm.

I subsequently rented my farm and devoted all my time to the interest
of the Church, holding myself in readiness to take Joseph wherever he
wished to go.

On invitation of Father Johnson, of Hiram, Joseph removed his family to
his home, to translate the New Testament. This was in the year 1831.

At this time Sidney Rigdon was left to preside at Kirtland and
frequently preached to us. Upon one occasion he said the keys of the
kingdom were taken from us. On hearing this, many of his hearers wept,
and when some one undertook to dismiss the meeting by prayer he said
praying would do them no good, and the meeting broke up in confusion.

Brother Hyrum came to my house the next morning and told me all about
it, and said it was false, and that the keys of the kingdom were still
with us. He wanted my carriage and horses to go to the town of Hiram
and bring Joseph. The word went abroad among the people immediately
that Sidney was going to expose "Mormonism."

Joseph came up to Kirtland a few days afterwards and held a meeting in
a large barn. Nearly all the inhabitants of Kirtland turned out to hear
him. The barn was filled with people, and others, unable to get inside,
stood around the door as far as they could hear.

Joseph arose in our midst and spoke in mighty power, saying: "I can
contend with wicked men and devils - yes with angels. No power can pluck
those keys from me, except the power that gave them to me; that was
Peter; James and John. But for what Sidney has done, the devil shall
handle him as one man handles another."

Thomas B. Marsh's wife went from the meeting and told Sidney what
Joseph had said, and he replied: "Is it possible that I have been so
deceived? But if Joseph says so, it is so."

About three weeks after this, Sidney was lying on his bed alone. An
unseen power lifted him from his bed, thew him across the room, and
tossed him from one side of the room to the other. The noise being
heard in the adjoining room, his family went in to see what was the
matter, and found him going from one side of the room to the other,
from the effects of which Sidney was laid up for five or six weeks.
Thus was Joseph's prediction in regard to him verified.

When Joseph was ready to go back to Hyrum, I took him in my carriage.
Soon afterwards I had occasion to visit Hyrum again. On my way there
I was persuaded to stop at the Hulet settlement and attend a meeting.
When I arrived at Father Johnson's the next morning, Joseph and Sidney
had just finished washing up from being tared and feathered the night
before. Joseph said to Sidney: "We can now go on our mission to
Jackson County" (alluding to a commandment given them while they were
translating, but which they concluded not to attend to until they had
finished that work). I felt to regret very much that I had not been
with them the evening before, but it was perhaps providential that I
was not. On a subsequent visit to Hiram, I arrived at Father Johnson's
just as Joseph and Sidney were coming out of the vision alluded to in
the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, in which mention is made of the
three glories. Joseph wore black clothes, but at this time seemed to be
dressed in an element of glorious white, and his face shone as if it
were transparent, but I did not see the same glory attending Sidney.
Joseph appeared as strong as a lion, but Sidney seemed as weak as
water, and Joseph, noticing his condition smiled and said, "Brother
Sidney is not as used to it as I am."



In 1832 I sold my possessions in Ohio, and, we being called upon by
Joseph to advance monies to purchase the land in Jackson County, I paid
fifty dollars for that purpose and also gave Brother Parley P. Pratt
fifty dollars to assist him as a pioneer. I was then called on for
money to be placed in the hands of Brothers Whitney and Gilbert, who
were going to New York to purchase goods to take up to Jackson County,
and gave them three hundred dollars.

I joined in with a company led by Brother Thomas B. Marsh, and arrived
in Independence, Jackson County, on the 10th of November. I remained in
Independence until spring and then removed to the Whitmer settlement,
farther west, where I built a house, fenced twenty acres of land and
put in a garden.

In the fall of 1833, a sectarian preacher by the name of M'Coy came to
the Whitmer settlement where I was living to buy up all the guns he
could, representing that he wanted them for the Indians. We suspected
no trouble, and quite a number of us sold our guns to him. The sequel
of his action was, however, soon apparent to us, for rumors soon
reached us of mobs assembling and threats being made to drive us from
the County.

When the mob first began to gather and threaten us, I was selected to
go to another County and buy powder and lead. The brethren gave me the
privilege of choosing a man to go with me. I took with me a man by the
name of John Poorman. We thought we were good for four of the mob. We
went to the town of Liberty, Clay County, and purchased the ammunition,
and returned safely.

Soon after I returned a mob of about one hundred and fifty came upon us
in the dead hour of night, tore down a number of our houses and whipped
and abused several of our brethren. I was aroused from my sleep by
the noise caused by the falling houses, and had barely time to escape
to the woods with my wife and two children when they reached my house
and proceeded to break in the door and tear the roof off. I was some
distance away from where the whipping occurred, but I heard the blows
of heavy ox goads upon the backs of my brethren distinctly. The mob
also swore they would tear down our grist mill, which was situated
at the Colesville branch, about three miles from the settlement, and
lest they should really do so, and as it was the only means we had of
getting our grain ground, we were counseled to gather there and defend
it. We accordingly proceeded there the next morning. The following
night two men came into our camp, pretending they wanted to hire
some men to work for them. Brother Parley ordered them to be taken
prisoners, when one of them struck him a glancing blow on the head with
his gun, inflicting a severe wound. We then disarmed them and kept them
as prisoners until morning when we gave them back their arms and let
them go.

The next day we heard firing down in the Whitmer settlement, and
seventeen of our brethren volunteered to go down and see what it meant.
Brother George Beebe was one of these volunteers and also one of the
men who was whipped the night previous. [A] When these seventeen men
arrived at the Whitmer settlement, the mob came against them and took
some prisoners. Brother David Whitmer brought us the news of this and
said: "Every man go, and every man take a man!"

[Footnote A: Brother Beebe carried the marks of this whipping to his
grave, as the brethren who laid him out at the time of his death, in
December, 1881, at Provo, Utah County, can testify.]

We all responded and met the mob in battle, in which I was wounded
with an ounce ball and two buck shot, all entering my body just at the
right side of my navel. The mob were finally routed, and the brethren
chased them a mile away Several others of the brethren were also shot,
and one, named Barber, was mortally wounded. After the battle was over,
some of the brethren went to administer to him, but he objected to
their praying that he might live, and asked them if they could not see
the angels present. He said the room was full of them, and his greatest
anxiety was for his friends to see what he saw, until he breathed his
last, which occurred at three o'clock in the morning.

A young lawyer named Bazill, who came into Independence and wanted to
make himself conspicuous, joined the mob, and swore he would wade in
blood up to his chin.

He was shot with two balls through his head, and never spoke. There was
another man, whose name I fail to remember, that lived on the Big Blue,
who made a similar boast. He was also taken at his word. His chin was
shot off, or so badly fractured by a ball that he was forced to have
it amputated, but lived and recovered, though he was a horrible sight

After the battle I took my gun and powder horn and started for home.
When I got about half way I became faint and thirsty. I wanted to stop
at Brother Whitmer's to lay down. The house, however, was full of women
and children, and they were so frightened that they objected to my
entering, as the mob had threatened that wherever they found a wounded
man they would kill men, women and children.

I continued on and arrived home, or rather at a house in the field that
the mob had not torn down, which was near my own home. There I found my
wife and two children and a number of other women who had assembled. I
told them I was shot and wanted to lay down.

They got me on the bed, but on thinking of what the mob had said,
became frightened, and assisted me up stairs. I told them, however,
that I could not stay there, my pain was so great. They then got me
down stairs again, and my wife went out to see if she could find any
of the brethren. In searching for them she got lost in the woods and
was gone two hours, but learned that all the brethren had gone to the
Colesville branch, three miles distant, taking all the wounded with
them save myself.

The next morning I was taken farther off from the road, that I might be
concealed from the mob. I bled inwardly until my body was filled with
blood, and remained in this condition until the next day at five p. m.
I was then examined by a surgeon who was in the Black Hawk war, and
who said that he had seen a great many men wounded, but never saw one
wounded as I was that ever lived. He pronounced me a dead man.

David Whitmer, however, sent me word that I should live and not die,
but I could see no possible chance to recover. After the surgeon had
left me, Brother Newell Knight came to see me, and sat down on the side
of my bed. He laid his right hand on my head, but never spoke. I felt
the Spirit resting upon me at the crown of my head before his hand
touched me, and I knew immediately that I was going to be healed. It
seemed to form like a ring under the skin, and followed down my body.
When the ring came to the wound, another ring formed around the first
bullet hole, also the second and third. Then a ring formed on each
shoulder and on each hip, and followed down to the ends of my fingers
and toes and left me. I immediately arose and discharged three quarts
of blood or more, with some pieces of my clothes that had been driven
into my body by the bullets. I then dressed myself and went out doors
and saw the falling of the stars, which so encouraged the Saints and
frightened their enemies. It was one of the grandest sights I ever
beheld. From that time not a drop of blood came from me and I never
afterwards felt the slightest pain or inconvenience from my wounds,
except that I was somewhat weak from the loss of blood.

The next day I walked around the field, and the day following I mounted
a horse and rode eight miles, and went three miles on foot.

The night of the battle many of the women and children ran into the
woods. One sister, not being able to take all of her children with her,
left her little boy four years old in a corn shock, where he remained
until morning. Some went out on the burnt prairie. The mob gathered and
swore they would go and massacre them. When they got ready to go, the
heavens were lit up with the falling of stars. This brought to us a
perfect redemption at that time.

The night of the battle, the mob took all my household furniture, and
after my recovery I crossed the river to Clay County, leaving behind me
a drove of hogs, three cows and all of my crop, which I never recovered.

In Clay County I enjoyed some rest from persecution, and had two
children born to me, Emma and Philo, Jun. I was there when Zion's camp
came up. I met them on Fishing river. There the power of the Lord was
manifested by His sending a thunder storm, which raised Fishing river
ten feet higher than it was ever known to rise before. I saw the cloud
coming up in the west when I was ten miles from Fishing river in the
middle of the afternoon. As it moved on eastwardly it increased in size
and in blackness, and when it got over the camp it stopped, and in the
night the rain and hail poured down in torrents, and the lightning
flashed from the cloud continuously for three hours.

Just before night, two men came into camp and asked where Mr. Smith
was. Joseph said, "I am the man." They then advised him to disband his
camp, "for," said they, "the mob are gathering, and there won't be one
of you left to-morrow morning!"

Joseph smiled, and said: "I guess not." Seeing that Joseph did not
believe what they came to tell him, they went off vexed.

We learned afterwards that the hail was so heavy on the mob, that they
were forced to seek shelter, and the leader of them swore he would
never go against the "Mormons" again.

Zion's camp was disbanded on Fishing river. The leading men of Liberty
being desirous for peace, called a meeting and invited our leading men
to meet with them, which they did. They told our committee that if they
could have peace, we should have a County to ourselves, and if we had
not money enough to buy out the old settlers of Caldwell County they
would lend us money to buy them out.

This settled our difficulties at that time.

In the meantime a conference was held in Liberty, Clay County, at which
I was ordained a Teacher under the hands of David Whitmer.

We then commenced settling Caldwell County, to which I removed, built
a house, entered seven hundred and twenty acres of land and bought a
lot in town. I also entered land for many of the brethren, and for this
purpose had to go the distance of eighty miles, where the land office
was located.

On my return home, when I got to Liberty, midway between Lexington and
Far West, I concluded I would travel from there home by night, as it
was very warm during the day. The road led through a strip of timber
for four miles, and after that across a prairie for twenty miles.

When I had traveled about two-thirds of the way across the prairie,
riding on horseback, I heard the cooing of the prairie hens. I looked
northward and saw, apparently with my natural vision, a beautiful
city, the streets of which ran north and south. I also knew there were
streets running east and west, but could not trace them with my eye
for the buildings. The walks on each side of the streets were as white
as marble, and the trees on the outer side of the marble walks had the
appearance of locust trees in autumn. This city was in view for about
one hour-and-a-half, as near as I could judge, as I traveled along.
When I began to descend towards the Crooked river the timber through
which I passed hid the city from my view. Every block in this mighty
city had sixteen spires, four on each corner, each block being built
in the form of a hollow square, within which I seemed to know that
the gardens of the inhabitants were situated. The corner buildings on
which the spires rested were larger and higher than the others, and the
several blocks were uniformly alike. The beauty and grandeur of the
scene I cannot describe. While viewing the city the buildings appeared
to be transparent. I could not discern the inmates, but I appeared to
understand that they could discern whatever passed outside.

Whether this was a city that has been or is to be I cannot tell.
It extended as far north as Adam-ondi-Ahman, a distance of about
twenty-eight miles. Whatever is revealed to us by the Holy Ghost will
never be forgotten.



Part of Zion's camp went back to Kirtland, and also Brother Joseph, but
in consequence of the mobs and apostates the Church organization in
Kirtland was broken up. Some of the apostates left Kirtland and came
up to Far West. They called meetings and told the people that Joseph
was a fallen prophet, and they were determined to put David Whitmer in
his place. Some of the brethren, including the president of the branch
I lived in, fell in with the views of the apostates. I being a Teacher
in the branch, took up a labor with them, first going to our president
and taking with me a Deacon. Our president said if he had got to become
an enemy to David to be a friend to Joseph, he could not be a friend to
Joseph. He then called the branch together in order to put me out of
office as a Teacher, but the branch sustained me. He afterwards cited
me to appear for trial before Bishop Partridge, who gave me two weeks
to make satisfaction, and I appealed my case to the High Council, who
decided there was no cause of action.

Joseph and family soon arrived at Far West. Soon after a regiment was

1 2 3 4 5 7

Online LibraryVariousEarly Scenes in Church History → online text (page 7 of 8)