This video discusses a number of amazing miracles that took place in early church history.
Okay. So, in this Evidences video, I want to talk about miracles in early church history. There’s a lot of it, so I’m excited to go through this, but I do want to mention first, miracles to come. The Prophet, President Nelson’s first talk as prophet, he said, “Our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ, will perform some of his mightiest works between now and when He comes again. We will see miraculous indications that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, preside over this church in majesty and glory.” But then he gives a warning. “But in coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost. My beloved brothers and sisters, I plead with you to increase your spiritual capacity to receive revelation.” So will we see these miracles as miracles? I just saw this Pew Research Study that said over the last decade in the United States, the percentage of people declaring themselves as Christians went from 77% to 65% in a decade.
We’re living in the last days. The secular trends are continuing to intensify. But obviously I have to say the Book of Mormon, the Book of Mormon is the miracle of the Restoration, so that is the greatest witness of all and the greatest miracle. One of the recent videos I did, it was called Match It, and just the statistics, it’s hard to wrap your mind around it. It’s 65 days, third grade education, and straight dictation with no notes? It’s hard to even comprehend. Then if you were to truly match it, you’d have to match the sacrifice people have made as a result of that book, which are all these Evidences videos I’m doing, talking about all these statistics of people serving, their time, they’re tithing, the welfare and the missionaries, a million missionaries in the Church full time, paying their own way, all those kinds of things. It’s just amazing.
Now let’s talk about Joseph Smith’s visions. I did a video on the people who experienced visions, not Joseph Smith. One of the first videos I did, sorry for the poor production quality on some of those early ones, but it was called How Could They All Have Lied? It was about divine manifestations or visions that others had outside of Joseph. But let’s look at Joseph’s that he had. Look at the number of individuals that have appeared to Joseph Smith. This is a great piece put together by Brian Smith, published in BYU Religious Study Center. Look at the names on here. It’s a great resource too for the references and maybe why with what the purpose was or the keys restored. God the Father, Jesus Christ, Moroni, John the Baptist, Peter, James and John, Moses, Elias, Elijah, Adam, Noah, Raphael, various angels, Lehi, Nephi, Mormon, and three different unnamed angels.
Then he went on with a kind of a second list of others that are acknowledged to have appeared to Joseph. Not necessarily maybe related to restoring keys or purposes that we know of, but Abel, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Eve, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph son of Jacob, 12 Jewish apostles, 12 Nephite apostles, Alvin Smith (Joseph’s deceased brother), Paul, Alma and Satan and his associates. Several miracles from Joseph’s parents and grandparents. His mother, three years before Joseph was born, his mother Lucy was dying from consumption when they were living in Vermont and she records this. “My husband came to my bed and caught my hand and explained as well as he could amidst sobs and tears. ‘Oh, Lucy, my wife, you must die. The doctors have given you up and all say you cannot live.’ I then looked to the Lord and begged and pled that he would spare my life, that I might bring in my children and comfort the heart of my husband.”
“Thus I lay all night, sometimes gazing gradually away to heaven and then reverting back again to my babies and my companion at my side and I covenanted with God that if he would let me live, I would endeavor to get that religion that would enable me to serve Him right, whether it was in the Bible or wherever it might be found, even if it was to be obtained from heaven by prayer and faith. At last a voice spoke to me and said, ‘seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be open unto you. Let your heart be comforted. Ye believe in God, believe also in me.'” That was very cool. Then you may know about Joseph’s grandfather on his paternal side, Asael Smith, and a prophecy. You can read the whole thing if you want to here. I’m just going to read the underlined part there.
It says, “It has been born in upon my soul that one of my descendants will promulgate a work to revolutionize the world of religious faith.” And then right before his death in 1830, he says that “Joseph was indeed the prophet he had long known would be born into his family.” Joseph’s life is preserved until his work was finished. I did a video, Divine Intervention, Joseph’s early life but just two quick things from that. His leg surgery. This was miraculous. He had this typhoid fever and it went into the bone. Osteomyelitis it’s called. The only person that could see … and amputation was the treatment for this, but there was one doctor that could do this experimental procedure. He was five miles away at Dartmouth College and he was the only one in the country. He was not supposed to be there. He was supposed to be in Yale setting up their medical school and because his family got the typhoid fever, he was staying there at that time.
He came and did this, and he was the only one for about a hundred years that could perform this operation. It’s very fascinating. Then there was an assassination attempt on Joseph’s life two months before the First Vision. That’s pretty stunning. I talk about that in that video. It’s one of the very first videos that I did on there. Then think about Joseph’s life being saved by a nonmember, Alexander Doniphan. Brigadier General Alexander Doniphan stands up to his superior, General Lucas who holds … This was in Far West. They bring in this big militia and they say they’re going to wipe everyone out and they have this court martial at midnight.
It was illegal the way they were doing all this, and gave the order for Alexander Doniphan to shoot Joseph Smith in the town square in Far West at 9:00 AM the next morning. He says, “It is cold-blooded murder. I will not obey your order.” And he says, “If you do it, I will hold you responsible before an earthly tribunal so help me God.” That’s the exact quote there. So phenomenal. Joseph stayed alive because of Alexander Doniphan. That’s what led to then Liberty Jail. They’re there waiting a fair trial even though this is just completely ridiculous. What’s happening here. Four and a half months they’re in Liberty Jail. The day that they’re essentially allowed to escape, their jailer and the guards essentially knew that this was just basically a sham. It was a venue change and they allowed them to escape. The day that that happened was April 6th. It meant nothing to anybody of the guards or anybody else.
But you know, it meant a lot. It’s a special day in church history. It meant a lot to Joseph and those people as a sign from God for them. Then how about this? Joseph knew that he had at least five years to live going into Liberty Jail. About a year before, so after about four years, Joseph was accosted, essentially, illegally by several people that came in, at gunpoint, drew guns on him to take him. They wanted to take him back to Missouri. This was stirred up by the apostate, John Bennett on trying to get treason charges in Missouri. These two that came in and pointed these guns at them … If you look on here, in fact, there’s a lot of swearing I had to pull out of this here.
But basically they kept saying, look right in the middle, Reynolds says, “If you stir a one inch, I’ll shoot you.” And Joseph says as an answer, “I am not afraid of your shooting. I’m not afraid to die. I then bared my breast and told them to shoot away. I have endured so much oppression. I am weary of life and kill me if you please.” And then down there he says, “If you say another word, I will shoot you.” He says, “Shoot away. I’m not afraid of your pistols.” And after he was accosted and started to be transported, he says he wanted counseling. He says, “You shall not have counsel. One more word and I’ll shoot you.” Then Joseph says, “‘What is the use of this so often?’, said I. ‘I repeatedly told you to shoot and I now tell you again to shoot away.'” He was that confident knowing he was going to live. The Nauvoo legion intercepted Joseph and freed him there.
Miracles introducing the Book of Mormon. David Whitmer. You probably know the famous story, this miraculous intervention in farm … So Joseph and Oliver, they needed to get out of Harmony, where they were in Pennsylvania. Oliver was friends with David up in Fayette and requested his help, but they needed him to come and get him. Well, it was right during this critical time in their farming, the dad, Peter, says, “No, we got to do this work. If we can get it done, then you can go.” Then the next morning he walks out and all his work had been done. In fact, Elder Gary Stevenson spoke at Education Week just in 2019 here and showed a new video the Church put out on this miracle. It’s really interesting.
Then as he’s coming down, the miracle with Oliver, he’s actually seeing David come in the seer stone. In fact, this is what David reported further. He says, “Oliver told me that Joseph had told 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, and then I would be there that day before dinner and this is why they had come out to meet me. All of which was exactly as Joseph had told Oliver, and which I was greatly astonished.” So miracles happening, just little things like this throughout these early stages. Remember Martin Harris. He was key. In fact, this is a fascinating book some of the Joseph Smith Papers’ editors put out, From Darkness Into Light: The Translation and Publication of the Book of Mormon.
So many miracles in bringing forth the publication. But the key was Martin Harris. His funding of the Book of Mormon, that was so critical there. One little story you may have heard of how Martin actually tricked Joseph, put in a different seer stone in his hat. And Joseph immediately didn’t know this had happened, but couldn’t translate a word and it stopped. And he said he did it to stop the mouths of fools. But I think it was really a miracle for Martin himself that he needed. You think about, Martin had the experience with the three witnesses. He had it on his own. We were out there visiting one time and this senior missionary asked me, he says, “Why do you think Martin had this by himself? It was with Joseph, but without the others.”
And he says, “Could it be possible that he needed to have the witness himself, that he had been forgiven truly from the Lord for the lost 116 pages and having that experience without riding the coattails of the other two witnesses.” That was kind of an interesting thought. Let’s keep going here. A conversion story example. There’s lots of conversion stories in the Church, Parley P. Pratt is exciting because of some of the … He became one of the most phenomenal members of the Church back in the early Church days. He had this experience. They were moving from Cleveland to Albany, New York. When they got to Buffalo, they got on the Erie Canal and they started going along. It was 360 miles. When they got to Rochester, he just had this feeling hit him that he was supposed to get off the boat and let his wife go.
They had some friends in Albany, but he just had this feeling like he didn’t know what it was for, but he had to get off and do some work there and the Spirit was just telling him to do it. So he got off and he says, “I’ll catch up to you, honey, later, but I have to go.” Then he gets off the boat. He had this feeling in Rochester. He went another 32 miles on the Canal and got off in a town called Newark. It’s the town. If you look on the map, it’s right after Palmyra. Now pick up the story right from his autobiography. It says, “It was early …”, if you go down to the middle paragraph there where it says, “It was early in the morning, just at the dawn of day. I walked 10 miles into the country and stopped to breakfast with a Mr. Wells.”
“I proposed to preach in the evening. Mr. Wells readily accompany me throughout the neighborhood to visit the people and circulate the appointment. We visited an old Baptist deacon by the name of Hamlin. After hearing of our appointment for evening, he began to tell of a book, a strange book, a very strange book in his possession which had just been published. This book, he said, purported to have been originally written on plates either of gold or brass by a branch of the tribes of Israel, and to have been discovered and translated by a young man in Palmyra in the state of New York by the aid of visions or the ministering of angels. I inquired of him how or where the book was to be obtained. He promised me the perusal of it at his house the next day if I would call. I felt a strange interest in the book.”
“I opened it with eagerness and read the title page and then read the testimony of several witnesses in relation to the manner of its being found translated. After this, I commenced its contents by course. I read all day. Eating was a burden. I had no desire for food. Sleep was a burden when the night came for I preferred reading to sleep. As I read, the Spirit of the Lord was upon me and I knew and comprehended that the book was true as plainly and manifestly as a man comprehends and knows that he exists. My joy was now full, and I rejoiced sufficiently to more than pay me for all the sorrows, sacrifices and toils of my life. I soon determined to see the young man who had been the instrument of its discovery and translation.” They didn’t have to go far to get there from where he was.
Now, some interactions with the devil, some fairly dramatic ones. The first miracle in the Church was actually casting out the devil of Newell Knight. Pretty dramatic story here. If you look here, this was printed in the Times and Seasons. “I went and found him suffering very much in mind and his body acted upon in a very strange manner. His visage and limbs distorted and twisted in every shape and appearance possible to imagine. And finally he was caught up off the floor of the apartment and tossed about most fearfully. His situation was soon made known to his neighbors and relatives, and in a short time, as many as eight or nine grown persons had got together to witness the scene. After he had thus suffered for a time, I succeeded in getting hold of him by the hand, when almost immediately he spoke to me and with great earnestness requested to me that I should cast the devil out of him saying that he knew he was in him and that he also knew that I could cast him out.”
“I replied, ‘If you know that I can can, it shall be done.’ And then almost unconsciously, I rebuked the devil and commanded him in the name of Jesus Christ to depart from him. When immediately Newell spoke out and said that he saw the devil leave him and vanish from his sight.” So if you think that’s crazy, this story is the most horrific story with interaction with the devil in church history. It was the four missionaries in England. If you think about, England was so critical for the Church. In the 1850s, there were more members in England than there were in the United States. I’m sure the devil did not want the missionary work to take hold there, but it was starting, and this is an amazing thing. I’m going to just let you, if you want to pause, you can read the whole thing.
I’m just going to read the bolded part. This is, Heber C. Kimball, and then on the next page I’ll let you read. Orson Hyde is a second witness recording this interaction. It’s just really quite stunning. But he says here, Heber says, “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 toward 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. I shall never forget the vindictive malignity depicted on their countenances as they looked me in the eye.” Pretty stunning. And here on this, if you want to pause, you can read Orson Hyde’s up at the top there, additional details.
Then listen to this experience Heber has talking with Joseph. He says, “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 had such a manifestation.” ‘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 it. 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 and 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.'”
Quite interesting. Now some healings. Several miraculous healings in the early church. You may remember Elsa Johnson’s arm in Kirtland. Her son, Lyman Johnson had joined the Church and her and her husband, John, had gone up to visit the Prophet. They had been studying the Book of Mormon, and she had this crippled arm and he said … This experience in Newell Whitney’s home, he says, “‘Woman, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I command you to be whole.’ And immediately he left the house. The company were awe struck in the infinite presumption of the man and the calm assurance with which he spoke. She raised her arm all the way up and says, ‘Just as the other.'” This was a miraculous experience. And these Johnsons were critical in Kirtland. They were very wealthy. They actually had Joseph come live with them and Sidney down there to help with the School of the Prophets, having space for that, for the inspired revisions to the Bible that Joseph was involved in.
Many revelations were received there, the famous Section 76 and Three Degrees of Glory happened there in that home. So if you go on a church history trip, go down there to Hiram, Ohio. It’s about 30 minutes outside of Kirtland. But that amazing story happened there. Then they call it The Day of God’s Power, phenomenal healing that Joseph conducted on the banks of what was Commerce that became Nauvoo, but it was a swamp when they came there. It was malaria infected mosquitoes. The mosquitoes were affecting hundreds of people there. Brigham Young wrote, so you can read the whole thing here from the history department of the Church. Look in that middle paragraph with underlying. Brigham wrote, “Joseph arose from his bed of sickness and the power of God rested upon him.”
“He commenced in his own house and door yard commanding the sick, in the name of Jesus Christ, to arise and be made whole, and they were healed according to his word.” And look what happened. Wilford Woodruff, same day while they were waiting to cross the river, a man asked Joseph for help, Wilford recalled. “A man came to Joseph and asked him if he would go about three miles and heal two of his small children who were twins, about three months old, and were sick nigh unto death. He was a man of the world. He had never heard a sermon preached by a Latter-day saint. Joseph said he could not go, but he would send a man. After hesitating a moment, he turned to me and said, ‘You go with this man and heal his children,’ at the same time giving me a red silk handkerchief. And he said, ‘After you lay your hands upon them, wipe their faces with it and they shall be healed.'”
‘”‘And as long as you will keep that handkerchief, it shall ever remain as a league between you and me.’ I went and did as I was commanded and the children were healed.” You can see this red handkerchief in the Church History Museum there. Then Don Carlos Smith and George Albert Smith were sent out by Joseph to heal. They healed about 60 other people throughout Nauvoo, so it was a phenomenal day in the history of the Church. Here’s an example, just a healing of a deaf girl by elders in early church history, just common elders.
But they put this statement here, “Be it known that on or about the 1st of December last, we, J. Shamp and Margaret Shamp of the town of Batavia, Gennesee County, New York, had a daughter that had been deaf and down for four and a half years and was restored to her hearing the time aforesaid by the laying on of the hands of the elders, Nathan Knight and Charles Thompson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly called Mormons, through the power of Almighty God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as believed and practiced by them in these last days.”
Then Amanda Smith, you may recall this famous story after the awful Haun’s Mill massacre. She lost her husband, she lost her son, but her youngest son, Alma, had had his hip blown off and she had this amazing experience of the Spirit telling her what to do. She prayed, she said she was directed just like a physician. If you read this. The third one. It says, “Having done as directed, I again prayed to the Lord and was again instructed as distinctly as though a physician had been standing by speaking to me. Nearby was a slippery-elm tree. From this I was told to make a slippery-elm poultice and fill the wound with it.”
And so she put that in her son’s wound and was told to have him lay down and he laid on his face for five weeks until literally a gristle had grown in the place of the missing joint and socket, which remains to this day as a marvel to physicians. Phenomenal story and the power of the revelation given to a mother. Another woman receiving revelation along. So let’s talk about some pioneer miracles on the trek West. Mary Fielding Smith, her ox died and she was a widow, and the captain was complaining that they were now going to have to take care of this widow. So she went and she got some anointing oil, consecrated oil, and she asked her brother Joseph and James Lawson to administer to this fallen ox, believing that the Lord could raise him, and they did, and the ox was restored to life. Quite fascinating, happened two other times, all three times the same outcome. Phenomenal.
This was interesting. Elder Nelson at the time, 1997 in a C.E.S. Fireside at BYU. He said, “The book of Exodus reports that quail were miraculously provided to feed the hungry people of ancient Israel. The pioneers had an equivalent experience. After the last of them had been driven out of Nauvoo, many were sick and some had died. Their provisions were meager. On the river bottoms near Montrose, Iowa on 9th of October, 1846, many quail miraculously flew into camp. The quail were cooked and fed to some 640 destitute people.” And he also said interesting, “God preserved ancient Israel from plagues sent upon Egypt. Similarly, God preserved the saints from the plague of the United States Civil War, which caused more American deaths than any other war because they were in Utah when it happened.” Now the Mormon Battalion, if you think about this, how humbling that must’ve been for these people that had been rejected by their country in a sense, to now be fighting for them, but it was in the Mexican-American War.
But it’s interesting. So, “Two days before the volunteers left, church leaders met privately with them. President Young and others gave them their last charge and blessing …” for these 500 that were going out. He says, “… their life should be spared and their expedition result in a great good and their names would be handed down in honorable remembrance to all generations. President Young made a declaration that must have comforted that group of non soldiers. He promised that they would have no fighting to do …”, which is exactly what happened. “Members of the battalion donated a portion of their funds to the Church to provide a central fund for the trek West.” In fact, Brigham Young said that they were the present and temporal salvation of the Saints. If you haven’t seen the movie 17 Miracles about the pioneer trek, just amazing miracles, it’s phenomenal.
Three of my favorites just really quick. There’s a book called More Than Miracles that T.C. Christensen wrote with a lot of the details behind the stories and sources and things. But Elizabeth Panting, if you remember that, if you’ve seen it, she’s collecting buffalo chips because they’re starving. A man appears and says, “How’s everything going in the camp?” And she’s like, “Where’s this guy coming from?” And he says, “Maybe I can help you with some food.” He takes her back to a cave and there’s some meat drying there in this cave. And he says, “Open up your apron.” And he gives her a bunch of this dried meat. And he says, “Go give it back to the camp.” And she turns to go back and say thanks. She realized she didn’t say thanks. She turns to go back and the guy is gone.
But the cave is gone. There’s no cave there. It’s kind of dramatic. So she tells this to Captain Willie. In her record, she says that this may have been one of the three Nephites helping them out. And then you remember the pie that … So Mary Ann Mellor felt like she couldn’t go on and her daughter said she would stay with her. The father went with the kids to the camp and said, “I’ll come back for you.” But they weren’t able to keep up with the party so she stayed there. Her daughter goes off to pray and as she’s walking back, there’s a pie sitting in the middle of the trail, just fresh pie. The Mellor family tradition says it’s a meat pie there. And then the last one, if you remember the girl that froze to death, Elizabeth Betsy Cunningham, and they couldn’t bury her because of the frozen ground and they left her there with sagebrush to try and protect her from the wolves.
Then after traveling about half a day, the mother remembers the promise she had in Scotland that all of her children, if she was faithful, all of her family would reach Zion in safety. She remembers this and they go back there. Everyone thinks she’s crazy. They go back, they carry her back to camp, they drip some hot water on her foot and get a little reaction of the limb and then they realize that they were bringing her back, and they keep working on her and she comes back to life. She ends up having 13 children in Utah, three foster children as well. Ephraim Hanks. So another movie T.C. Christensen did, Ephraim’s Rescue. He talks about this power that Ephraim had also to heal and this is amazing. I’ll just let you pause if you want to read the story, but this is phenomenal. He heals this woman that had died and walks in. He spends two hours in the room.
He heals her. He even tells her in this account that she would raise seven daughters there, which she in fact did. She did end up doing that. So quite fascinating. And then Lorenzo Snow. He raises his niece from the dead who had died. This is a pretty phenomenal story, especially when you hear her account of seeing and then being in the spirit world and coming back as … She’s called back by Elder Snow there. I’ll just let you pause and read this if you want to get the details on that story. Okay, the works succeeded against all odds. You think about in the Doctrine and Covenants, almost half of it we have today because of two brave teenage girls, the Rollins sisters, Mary Elizabeth who was 15, Caroline was 13. If you remember when they destroyed the press that they had in Jackson County there. W.W. Phelps was running that in his home.
But they threw out the papers of the Book of Commandments, which became the Doctrine and Covenants. These girls went and grabbed them all, went into the cornfields. The mob saw them and they chased them and actually for several hours looking for them and they came very, very close, but they didn’t get them. They held them, and we have those today from those. Thinking about the Kirtland Temple, the sacrifices made to build that temple. The keys were restored and that’s when the great apostasy happened. Watch the video I did on the Kirtland Safety Society. An eighth of the Church left, a third of the leaders. It was just crazy, but it continued on. The Nauvoo Temple. They got their temple blessings before they went. They finished the temple even though they were going to be leaving but they got the temple blessings before they went west.
So let’s talk about the succession crisis. Particularly it was Sidney Rigdon against … And people say Brigham Young. It was really the Twelve. Brigham was trying to say that they had the keys, Joseph had given them the keys several months before his death and said, “I roll the kingdom off to you, the burden to you guys here with the keys.” And Brigham was the President of the Twelve, so he was representing the Twelve. So in that meeting that’s become very famous, August 8, 1844 Sidney Rigdon’s there, Brigham’s there. The Saints go with Brigham. Their seceding vote is for Brigham there. So critics will sometimes say some of the most exotic descriptions of how Brigham turned into Joseph were given many decades later. And so they may have been embellished, you know, built up in their minds possibly. But I’ll tell you, there are a lot of evidences that were given very close to when this happened, and it was a lot about the mantle falling on the Twelve or on Brigham and that kind of language.
But even a little bit about this feeling that he represented the prophets through Joseph. So look at this. This is from Opening the Heavens. Historian D. Michael Quinn writes this about the immediate response: “There were contemporary references to Young’s transfiguration. The Times and Seasons reported that just before the sustaining vote at the afternoon session of the August meeting, every saint could see that Elijah’s mantle had truly fallen upon the Twelve. Although the church newspaper did not refer to Young specifically for this mantle experience, on November 15, 1844, Henry and Katherine Brooke wrote from Nauvoo that Young ‘favors Brother Joseph, both in person, manner of speaking more than any person ever you saw, looks like another.’ Five days later Arza Hinckley referred to ‘Brigham Young, on whom the mantle of the prophet has fallen.'” If you look at this December 8, 1844 this quote here, “If a man had been blinded, he would hardly have known if it were Joseph.”
This was the feeling that was going on there in Nauvoo that some of these things. Wilford Woodruff wrote to the saints in England in February 1845. He says, “It was evident to the saints that the mantel of Joseph had fallen upon him.” And I love this one: “Ezra T. Benson, who was present at the meeting, later recorded in his autobiography, that many said when they heard Brigham talk, that it was not Brigham’s voice but the voice of Joseph. Benson made no claim to having seen the transfiguration himself, but evidently heard others discussing their experience, which he seems to have accepted without question.” It’s interesting and maybe some people had quite miraculous experiences and others didn’t. I think maybe what about the Twelve. Think about the Twelve being sustained. Would they have had this? They were the ones being sustained in a sense, so there may have been a mixed experience there and those that needed to have the miraculous nature maybe had it. Now why wouldn’t they record it so closely to the event?
In this book Opening the Heavens, I’ll just let you pause it if you want to see all these different reasons possibly why. I like the last two on here. “Most of the ordinary folk did not keep records.” But particularly the last one. “Others may have not fully appreciated the pivotal importance of the meetings of that day and of the mantle experience until later in their lives. Because of the very personal nature of a spiritual experience, some saints may have been reluctant to record their impressions. In a letter to Elder George Gibbs. Benjamin F. Johnson explains, ‘So deeply was I impressed with what I saw and heard in the transfiguration, that for years I dared not tell what was given me of the Lord to see. But when in later years I did publicly bear this testimony, I found that others had testified to having seen and heard the same, but to what proportion of the congregation that were present, I could never know. But I do know this, that my testimony is true.'”
And then finishes with, “By the time they recorded their experiences, the Church’s progression under President Young’s leadership and the accounts of others who had attended the meeting had helped to validate their experience in testifying to its reality had become an honorable activity.” And then think of this, the saints voted with their feet. They followed Brigham to Utah, and the Twelve to Utah. That’s really the evidence there. With all these different fractions that started up, look at what the saints did. And that’s the miracle. The Church continued on. How about the desert blossoming as a rose? This was in Isaiah 35. He’s talking about in the millennium there, but as Isaiah often did, dual meanings in his prophecies. The saints often thought of this, “hey, this is applied to us maybe here too”, the way they experienced it.
Harriet Young, when she arrived in the valley, she said, “Weak and weary as I am, I would rather go a thousand miles farther than remain in such a forsaken place as this. Everything looked gloomy and I felt heartsick.” “Jim Bridger, longtime resident of the mountain country was so sure crops couldn’t be grown, that he offered to pay $1,000 for an ear of corn ripened in the Salt Lake Valley.” And listen to this. The U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt speaking in the Salt Lake Tabernacle in 1903 he says, “You took a state, which at the outset was called after the desert and you literally, not figuratively, you literally made the wilderness blossom as the rose.” So there’s the president quoting Isaiah. Alright. So a nonmember’s experience sculpting the angel Moroni. This is Cyrus Edwin Dallin. “Because he was not a Latter-day Saint, he originally turned down the request to sculpt the angel in 1893, when the Salt Lake Temple was completed. He later changed his mind and once wrote that his experience with the project ‘brought me nearer to God than anything I ever did.'”
“‘It seemed to me that I came to know what it means to commune with angels from heaven.'” Quite fascinating. Now, also another miracle that critics sometimes point to is Wilford Woodruff experiencing the founding fathers. This is under the category of divine help with temple work. Here there was a book actually written called Visions of Freedom from Michael De Groote. He wrote a great piece in LDS Living on what you didn’t know about the founding fathers’ temple work story. The point that he makes is that … The critics say that baptisms had already happened for these founding fathers in the endowment house. What Wilford Woodruff is pointing to is the key was they wanted their endowments done. That was really the key. And the surprising thing, as he points out, is he decided he would inaugurate their temple work by redoing their baptisms.
“It was the standard practice at the time for people to be re-baptized before they went through the temple for their endowments.” And also they had started doing endowments for the dead in the St. George Temple in that year in 1877. This experience with Wilford Woodruff happened in August 1877, and they had had these living endowments in the endowment house, you had experienced that for years as the founding fathers had said. But he says, where is the work done for us there? So it’s interesting. Now listen to this. As I flip the page here, you can again pause and read the details of this. But in April 1898 General Conference, he says, “Men are here that know of this. Brother John McAllister, David Cannon, James Bleak. Brother McAllister baptized me for all these men. And then I told these brethren that it was their duty to go into the temple and labor until they had got endowments for all of them.”
“They did it. Would those spirits have called on me as an Elder in Israel to perform that work if they had not been noble spirits before God? They would not.” I think that’s kind of cool. But also critics, like I said, they’ll say, “Oh, Wilford Woodruff was lying about this.” Well, no, no. Read the whole details and you’ll understand, but it’s a little different than you might’ve thought. It’s the endowments were the focus. July 1987 Ensign, a phenomenal story that happened back in 1884 to Elder Ballard’s family, and he verifies this. In the July ’87 Ensign, he says, “In England, I was able to verify some details in an event that has become one of the great genealogy stories in the church. As the Logan Temple was being dedicated on May 18, 1884, Bishop Henry Ballard, my great grandfather, was at home writing temple recommends. His little daughter brought him an English newspaper that had been handed to her by two strangers in the street.”
“It was the Newbury Weekly News of May 15th. A story in the paper contained names and other genealogical data for more than 60 people then deceased from Henry Ballard’s birthplace, Thatcham, England. Later, after their temple work was done, it was learned that many of these people are related to the Ballard’s. I visited the Newbury Weekly News and verified that the newspaper had never been post-dated or mailed out early. I held the issue of 15th May 1884 in my hands and photographed it. There is no mortal way that in 1884 it could have reached Logan from Newbury within three days.” England to Logan in 1884. No, in three days. Now you may have heard about the “second rescue”, they call it, that happened. This was in 1991. The president of the Riverton Wyoming Stake, Scott Lorimer, felt the Spirit guiding him, that he felt like they needed to do something, a project, for the handcart pioneers. And then he found out that they hadn’t had their work done, their temple work.
In fact it was stunning the statistics. He found that 83% of those that had died had not had their temple work done. 52% of those that arrived in the valley had not had their work done. They took it on them as a stake to do it all. Even though it was a six-hour drive to the Ogden Temple … That was the temple they had to go to then, six hours each way, and they did 4,000 total ordinances as a stake. Then it became known as the second rescue. Then the last is the restoration of the Nauvoo Temple. Oh my goodness. This is just stunning. In fact, this video is going on so long. I’m sorry, but they found these plans. It was so miraculous back in 1948. Just two missionaries tracting in the Mojave Desert, and they end up going into this house who is the grandson of William Weeks that was the architect for the … They were not members, but they had the old architectural plans.
They became friends with these missionaries and gave them and said, we want you to send these to the Church headquarters when you go home. He brought it and the Church was so grateful. Then this amazing thing, I’m going to link to this video. It’s a five-minute video that the history department put out of how two years before President Hinckley announced the temple, it’s this miraculous discovery in this museum in Cedar City of this daguerreotype, but you couldn’t see it. But he just said, what is this? And it was framed. It was by the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, and they ask if they could borrow it to try and restore it. There was this new technology to clean it, and he says, it is the most crystal clear, without blemish that you could ever imagine to help them truly see what the temple looked like back then. Just phenomenal stories. Really exciting. Sorry for how long ago that was, but don’t you think it was worth it? So I hope you enjoyed this video. Another evidences, lots of evidences of the Restoration. Thank you.
501 Fascinating Facts from Church History by Kathryn Jenkins
500 Little Known Facts in Mormon History by George W. Givens
1,001 Facts About the Prophet Joseph Smith by Alexa Erekson
The Prophecies of Joseph Smith by Duane S. Crowther
Opening The Heavens: Accounts of Divine Manifestations 1820-1844 edited by John W. Welch
The Savior in Kirtland: Personal Accounts of Divine Manifestations by Karl Ricks Anderson
LDS Church History Channel – Nauvoo Temple Daguerreotype (Miraculous Discovery) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZ7LC…
17 Miracles – T.C. Christensen
Ephraim’s Rescue – T. C. Christensen
List of angelic visitations to the Prophet Joseph Smith by Brian Smith in BYU Religious Studies Center: https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/joseph-s…
Is There Evidence for the Transfiguration of Brigham Young – article by James Stoddard IV and Aaron Halsell on LDSAnswers.org https://ldsanswers.org/evidence-trans…
Another article with details on the succession crises, published in BYU Religious Studies Center https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/firm-fou…
Article in LDS Living on better understanding of story about Founding Fathers appearing to Wilford Woodruff, by Michael de Groote: http://www.ldsliving.com/What-You-Did…
Pioneer miracles – ‘The Exodus Repeated’ (by Elder Russel M. Nelson, Sep 1997 CES Fireside, July 1999 Ensign https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/s…
Miraculous discovery of Nauvoo Temple architectural plans: http://www.ldsliving.com/The-Miraculo…
Detailed account of Ephraim Hanks raising woman from the dead: http://old.hanksplace.net/library/Hea…
Latter-day Saints’ Q&A is a video series not produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but by me, an ordinary member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an independent voice, with a passion for studying Church history and defending the faith. In this series, I provide evidences for the restoration, and address tough questions posed by critics of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, offering faithful answers based on accurate research and historical references which will be posted at the end of each video.
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