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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – Healing, 1836

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood Healing, 1836.” You can view other years here.

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1836:    10 Apr.:  Administers to sick w/o oil–after Kirtland

“After meeting we went to br Sims to see Matilda Fanning [w]ho was sick with the ague and feavour we laid our hands upon her that she might receive her heldth we left br Sims and went to br Ringos to see his wife [w]ho was sick we praid for her and laid our hands upon her in the name of Jesus Christ and she recovered.”  (Jacob Gates journal, 10 Apr., 1836; LDS Archives, MS 1501; Barney)

11 Aug.:  Whenever any miracles fails.

“The fact is that the people are well assured that all their pretentions to miraculous gifts of every kind, are a sheer imposition.  But whenever any miracle fails, they have a convenient salve at hand to account for the failure; that is the want of faith: a most impudent and officious intruder, always ready at hand to nullify all their pious efforts, and to render them weak and feeble as other men.  Instances frequently occur which may serve as examples of their power of healing.  A young man lying on a bed of sickness, sent after Smith and his elders to come and heal him.  After praying over him, annointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, he commanded the disease to depart; pronounced him healed, and ordered him to rise and walk.  Stimulated by the circumstances and by high expectation, the youth rose up and attempted to walk; but presently becoming faint, by the help of bystanders he betook himself to the bed again, and grew worse.  They of course imputed his sudden relapse to the failure of his faith.  He then sent for the regular physician, and by faithful means he recovered.  Another late instance was a young woman lying at the point of death with the measles.  The elders were called to lay hands on her in like manner; and very soon afterwards she was a corpse.”  (Reverend Truman Coe, “Mormonism,” The Ohio Observer, 11 Aug., 1836; reprinted in BYU Studies 17(3):354, Spring, 1977)

ca. 1836:  Angel told mother to administer to daughter.

“There were some who had the mob spirit in so much that they they said Louisa should have a doctor.  She was then confined to her bed.  They were going to take our team to pay the doctor, so I heard, and I thought she had already taken too much medicine.  I lay pondering on our situation, thinking we should be undone if our team was taken from us, and prayed earnestly to the Lord to let us know what we should do.  There was an angel stood by my bed to answer my prayer.  He told me to call Louisa up and lay my hands upon her head and in the name of Jesus Christ, administer to her and she should recover.”  (Sarah Sturdevant Leavitt autobiographical sketch, ca. 1836; in Our Pioneer Heritage, 7:244, 1964)

1837:  11 Jan.:  Questions concerning healings.

“The Elders quorum met [as] usual Jan 11th A D 1837.  Meeting opened with singing and prayer.  2nd The Pres. [Alvah Beman] questioned the quorum in respect to their duty.

3  Elder Corking proposed the following question, is it the duty of an Elder to cast out unbelievers from the room when called to administer to the sick.

4  Father [Joseph] Smith answered as follows, if they are a company of unbelievers, cast them out but an Elder if humble shall know what is to be done.

5  Elder C. proposed again, if a priest has an appointment and an elder comes shall he take the lead of that meeting.

6  Answered in the negative.

7  Father Smith proposed, if an Elder traveling come into a church where there is a standing Elder, shall he take the lead of meetings and appoint meetings there without the solici[ta]tion of the other.

8  Answered in the negative.

9  Several of the like questions proposed, and father Smith & pres. Beman gave instruction.

10  Is it the duty of an Elder to lay hands on a sick person without solicitation.

11  Ans. in the negative.”

(Kirtland Elders’ Quorum Record, 11 Jan., 1837)

16 Jul.:  Administered to sick w/o oil–after Kirtland.

“Brethren Kimball & Hyde laid their hands on me and prayed, then E. K. took me by the hand & in the name of Jesus Christ told me to ‘arise’ which I immediately did & found myself quite comfortable Thanks be to the Lord for his special healing power which has been repeatedly manifested toward me.”  (Willard Richards, 16 Jul., 1837; Willard Richards journal, MS 2737, Bx 5, typescript, LDS Archives; Barney)

[ca. 1837]:  Woman commanded by angel to administer.

“Spiritual gifts were not confined to speaking in tongues, nor did mystical experiences occur only in the temple in Kirtland.  Sarah Leavitt, her husband, and faimly lived outside of Kirtland.  Their daughter Louisa had been ill for over a year.  As Sarah grew more concerned about her daughter’s condition, she pleaded with the Lord for help.  An angel appeared and instructed her to get Louisa out of bed, ‘lay . . . hands upon her head in the name of Jesus Christ and administer to her and she should recover.’  Unsure of her authority, but emboldened by the experience, Sarah woke her husband and told him to prepare Louisa for the blessing.  Though it was near midnight and Louisa was weak, she arose from her bed and Sarah administered to her.  Louisa was soon ‘up and about.'”  (History of Sarah Studevant Leavitt, copies from her history by Juanita Leavitt {n.p., 1919}, pp. 7, 9-10; quoted in Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery, “Sweet Counsel and Seas of Tribulation: The Religious Life of Women in Kirtland,” BYU Studies 20(2):158, Winter, 1980)

Woman blessed to bless the sick.

“That these spiritual powers among women were endorsed by the brethren is clearly emphasized by three examples:  (1) Church Patriarch Joseph Smith, Sr., in 1837 pronounced a blessing on the head of Edna Rogers: ‘In the absence of thy husband thou must pray with thy family.  When they are sick thou shall lay hands on them, and they shall recover.  Sickness shall stand back.'”  (Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery, “Sweet Counsel and Seas of Tribulation: The Religious Life of Women in Kirtland,” BYU Studies 20(2):158, Winter, 1980; quoting from Carol Lynn Pearson, Daughters of Light, p. 65)

1838:    21 Jul.:  First time I saw sick anointed with oil.

“Br. A. M. York’s infant son is very sick indeed; was anointed with oil in the name of the Lord.  This is the first time I ever witness’d this ordinance.  It was administered by Elder Donham.”  (Samuel D. Tyler, “A daily journal of the traveling of the Camp of Latter-day Saints which went out from Kirtland for Zion, July 6th, 1838,” entry for 21 Jul., 1838; JH 4 Oct., 1838)

23 Aug.:  Blessed the sick in an unknown tongue.

“Elder G. Snow observing that I was in pain & without my speaking a word he laid his hand upon my legs & spake in an unknown tongue perhaps 15 or twenty words; he then said Amen.  Is the pain gone, said he?  At that moment I first perceived that I was entirely free of the pain for the Lord had taken it from me & I noticed it not before he asked me, for my mind had soared above pain & I was thinking of the words spoken.  Now the interpretation I did not know, because I have not the gift of interpretation.  But I believe that he meekly entreated the Lord for me & the Lord heard & answered him.”  (Samuel D. Tyler, “A daily journal of the traveling of the Camp of Latter-day Saints which went out from Kirtland for Zion, July 6th, 1838,” entry for 23 Aug., 1838; JH 4 Oct., 1838)

Aug.-Sep.:  Tyler’s repeated healing.

“[25 Jul.]  And many have I seen healed by the power of God, & also I was myself healed of a heavy blow of a stone on the small of my back before I left Kirtland. . . . [He states, in his entry of 21 Jul., that the first time he ever saw the anointing of the sick with oil was on the 21 of July; his healing in Kirtland, therefore, was effected without anointing, whereas subsequent healings, quoted below, are with oil.]

[7 Aug.]  I have been troubled about three weeks with a humour on my legs, breast & hands; was anointed by Elder Donham in the name of the Lord.  He then, with a number of the Elders, laid hands upon me & it did not trouble me any more till the next day. . . .

[8 Aug.]  I was in great distress & Elder Young laid hands upon me & the pain ceased. . . .

[9 Aug.]  I was very unwell all this day till about 1/2 past 3 p.m.  Yet I kept about on the road trying to work.  Growing worse I asked Elder Gardner Snow to lay hands on me.  He called Elder Holmes & we retired to an adjacent grove north of us.  They laid hands upon me & both prayed over me & I rose up, went again to work & felt well.  Yea, I felt as I do after I have rested & taken refreshment.  And now I know that it was the power of God that wrought the cure, and once more be all the honor, glory & praise to God who giveth to those who ask Him & he upbraideth none, but he willeth that all men should repent of all their sins & that all men should have faith, that thereby they might please him. . . .

[10 Aug.]  I was mowing this afternoon with Elder Snow; we were cutting grass for our horses.  I grew sick to that degree & in such pain in my legs & back that I could not mow 6 rods without stopping & I could neither sit nor lie in peace.  I was lying on the earth & sweating intensely with pain.  Elder S. was moved with compassion; he came where I was, & without my speaking a word, he laid his hands upon my head & meekly entreated our heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ that I might be healed & I was healed in that same moment.  I was again attacked in the evening so that I could not rest.  Elders Snow & McArthur laid hands upon me & I again rose up well; & I must & will say, O give thanks unto the Lord, for His mercy endureth forever. . . .

[13 Aug.]  Being troubled with sores on my legs I call’d upon the Elders & they laid hands upon me & entreated the Lord to heal me. . . .

[20 Aug.]  I was taken with a severe pain in my legs & feet.  Elder G. Snow laid his hands upon my legs & was mouth, while J. H. Hale had his hands upon my head.  And they asked the Lord to take the pain from me as I had desired them; and Elder Snow had done speaking, he said, before I had uttered a word, ‘There Brother Tyler the pain is gone.’  This was a sure prophecy, for it was so; and I was filled with joy & gratitude to God so that I could not find language to express my feelings. . . .

[23 Aug.]  Here again let me speak of the goodness & the power of God.  I was running a wheel-barrow this forenoon & Elders Snow & Jackson were filling it for me; the sun beat hot upon me and my sore legs (See p. 31 for they have not yet got well for it is the pleasure of the Lord in this thing to try my faith, & perhaps the faith of others,) became painful.  I had sat down on the run.  Elder G. Snow observing that I was in pain & without my speaking a word he laid his hand upon my legs & spake in an unknown tongue perhaps 15 or twenty words; he then said Amen.  Is the pain gone, said he?  At that moment I first perceived that I was entirely free of the pain for the Lord had taken it from me & I noticed it not before he asked me, for my mind had soared above pain & I was thinking of the words spoken.  Now the interpretation I did not know, because I have not the gift of interpretation.  But I believe that he meekly entreated the Lord for me & the Lord heard & answered him. . . .

[26 Aug.]  Elder Joseph Young spake also in the forenoon, but I was obliged to retire to my tent for I was in such misery with my sore legs that I could neither sit nor stand, & take any comfort, & the fliee (a kind of small house-flies) are as thick for aught I know as they were in Egypt, and they bit my sores like dogs.  After the A.M. meeting closed I called Elders G. Snow & D. McArthur; they laid hands upon me & again entreated the Lord to have mercy & remove the pain, which he no sooner heard than granted their request.  Again & again I will thank the Lord, for He is a God of great compassion & he is touched with compassion when he sees us suffer, & I have had a testimony of this thing by His Spirit many times, & I have the testimony now while I write these words. . . .

[31 Aug.]  This afternoon I became so lame in my feet & legs I could not go for I could not wear my shoes on account of sores, & my feet were sore on the bottom, too, traveling on gravel & they swelled & pained me all over; the wagons had just passed on & left me in the rear.  I sat down on a log by the wayside & asked the Lord to take the pain away but I found out my weakness for my faith was not strong enough.  I implored his mercy again & again to strengthen & deliver me but the pain increased.  Immediately Elder Richard Brasier came up & his son for he had stopped to lay hands upon some sick people on the road & there was two or three wagons of them, & they were going to Zion but did not belong to our camp for they left Kirtland before us.  When he came up I could not speak for the thoughts of my weakness had overcome me.  As soon as I could speak I asked him to lay hands upon me which he did & again I witnessed the respect that the Lord had to His anointed, his authorized servants, for the pain ceased & I went on rejoicing.  When I reached the tentground I was taken down again sick with the pain which ran from my inflamed feet & legs all over me & struck into my stomach.  I was sick all night. . . .

[2 Sep.]  When we reached the encampment I was so lame I could scarcely stand or go.  Elders Foster & McArthur laid hands upon me & the Lord again took the pain away from me.  No sooner had I reached my tent perhaps 4 rods off than the pain seized me again, though not so hard as before.  Elder Snow seeing me lying on the ground, asked me, ‘dost thou believe?’  I told him I did unless I was greatly deceived, which I did not believe to be the case.  He spake a few words more, but in the meantime the Lord had set bounds to the pain for that time also and caused it to cease.  Therefore I will praise the Lord for I can never begin to be thankful enough for he has made bare his arm for my deliverance many a time in the course of my life, yea, before I received the fulness of the everlasting Gospel. . . .”  (Samuel D. Tyler, “A daily journal of the traveling of the Camp of Latter-day Saints which went out from Kirtland for Zion, July 6th, 1838,”; JH 4 Oct., 1838)

30 Oct.:  Woman ministers to man after Haun’s Mill.

“A little after sunset I saw Sister Polly Wood (formerly Miss Polly Merrill).  I motioned for her to come to me.  I could not call her neither could I stand up.  She came and tried to lead me back, but I was too weak.  She then kneeled down and placed her hands on my wounds and prayed the Lord to strengthen and heal me.  I never heard a more powerful prayer.  The Lord answered her prayer and I received strength and walked back to Haun’s house by resting three of four times.  I had bled so much that my blood would hardly stain a white handkerchief.”  (Nathan K. Knight, account of his experience at Haun’s Mill Massacre; JH 30 Oct., 1838)

1839:    12 Mar.:  Anointed the sick.

“On Tuesday the 12 [Mar., 1839] rode all day and in the evening preached on my way home to my loging I was over taken by a man that had a sick wife and as the neighbor thought was a dieing and he requested me to follow him to his house in the city I did so and when I got to her she could not speak but move her lips so that by close observation I could understand, she did not want to die I then anointed her in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, laid hands upon her and she instantly spake and said she was free from pain.”  (Jonathan Dunham, 12 Mar., 1839; Jonathan Dunham diaries, 1837-1846; MS 1387, Vol. 1, LDS Archives; Barney)

Corrill’s description.

“The Mormons believe in, and constantly practice the laying on of hands and praying for the healing of the sick; sometimes they have been healed, sometimes partly healed, and sometimes not benefitted at all.  If they are healed they say it was because of their faith, as the Savior promised, ‘According to thy faith be it unto thee; thy faith hath made thee whole,’ etc. (Matt. 8:13, and 9:22.)  If partly healed, it is still according to their faith, as it was said of some in old times, ‘And they began to amend from that very hour;’ but if they are not healed, or benefitted at all, then it is for the want of faith, as when the lunatic was brought to the disciples and they could not heal him because of their disbelief.  (Matt. 17:20; 13:58.)  But they think in this as in many other cases, practice makes perfect, and it is necessary to an increase in faith, confidence and the power of God.”  (John Corrill, History, Chapter 27)

1840:  30 Jul.:  If the Elders do not prevail.

“if the Saints are sick or have sickness in their families, and the Elders do not prevail every family should get power by fasting & prayer & anointing with oil & continue so to do their sick shall be healed this also is the voice of the Spirit.”  (Joseph Smith, 30 Jul., 1840, John Smith diary.  In Words of JS, p. 37)

Aug.:  What about administering to non-members?

“Question 3rd.–If one, who is not a member of the Church, be sick, and requests me to pray for him, if he be not willing to obey the Gospel, should I lay my hands on him, or anoint him with oil?

Answer.–If you cannot consistently administer in the name of Jesus to one who does not believe in Jesus, why should you administer to such an one? for ‘in vain do ye call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say.'”  (“Questions and Answers,” MS 1(4):94, Aug., 1840; Questions were submitted by Joseph Fielding to the Editor, Parley P. Pratt)

1842:  20 Mar.:  Healing is to be by the laying on of hands.

“What is the sign of the healing of the sick?  the laying on of hands, is the sign or way marked out by James & the custom of the ancient saints as ordered by the Lord & we should not obtain the blessing by pursuing any other course except the way which God has markd out.”  (Joseph Smith, 20 Mar., 1842, Wilford Woodruff diary)

1844:  28 Jan.:  Daughter raised from the dead?

“On the afternoon of yesterday, a child of mine, a girl, aged 8 years, was sliding on the rails of the staircase, when on a sudden she turned over, and fell from top to bottom with a most tremendous crash, falling on her head, and being completely double when picked up by her mother, so much so indeed, that her brother, who heard the noise, looked out of the kitchen, and seeing something lying in the passage motionless, concluded that his sister had thrown some dirty linen over the rails, and took no further notice; ner mother on hearing the noise occasioned by her fall, hastened out of the parlour to the fatal spot, and immediately discovered it was poor Mary Jane, who lay motionless–speechless,–senseless, yea, lifeless; she instantly took her up in her arms, and when she beheld her appearance, in an agony she cried out, my child is dead, she has fallen and killed herself.  By this time, I had hastened to the horrid scene, where I beheld my lovely girl stretched on the lap of her disconsolate mother without the slightest appearance of life; I immediately examined her, and found that she breathed not, and that her pulsation had ceased: her eyes also were wide open, and quite fixed as in death, and there appeared to be gathering over them the film of dissolution; in fact, if it be true that Eutychus (the young man mentioned in the 20th chap. of the Acts of the Apostles, who fell from an upper story) was taken up dead, it is equally true, that my daughter was taken up dead; for there was not the slightest vestige of life apparent.  At this moment, with heart uplifted to my heavenly Father, I, in mighty faith placed my hands upon her and ejaculated, ‘Lord heal my child,’ when in one moment she shewed signs of life, and attempted to speak, I immediately gave her to drink a little cold water, bathed her head with the same; she then sat up and vomited considerably, and she is now so far recovered, as this morning to sing a verse of a hymn, and walk about as usual.  During my presidency over the Liverpool Conference, which is nearly eighteen months, I have witnessed many cases of healing, but never any so very striking as the one I have just related.  If you deem the narrative worthy of a place in the pages of the Millennial Star, you are quite at liberty to insert it.”  (George Mitchelson to Thomas Ward, editor; MS 4(10):160, Feb., 1844)

ca. Spring:  My daughter, Mary, had a felon on her finger while I was very sick.  I told her to get up on my bed; taking her hand in mine, I asked the Lord to heal it.  The pain stopped and did not recur.  In this case I said nothing aloud, but my faith was as a mustard seed.”  (Sarah Sturdevant Leavitt autobiographical sketch, ca. Spring, 1844; in Our Pioneer Heritage, 7:246, 1964)

28 Jun.:  Applied oil internally and externally.

“In the evening of the 28th [of June, 1844], a native woman with a sick infant came to Elder [Addison] Pratt’s lodging, asking for medicine.  By the assistance of Mr. Hill Brother Pratt took advantage of the opportunity by explaining the principles of administering to the sick, as taught in the Bible, to a number of natives who were present.  Prior to this Elder Pratt had administered successfully to two men.  ‘One of these,’ he writes, ‘is teacher in the school; he is a batchelor, but a veryi exemplary man, and I consider him the best native I have seen yet; he is with me much of his time.  Once he was taken violently ill with a fever, and was sick thirty-six hours before I knew it.  Immediately on being informed of the condition, I took some consecrated oil and went to the house where I found that his nurse had prepared a trough full of liquor to wash his head in, as he was in great pain.  I told him that I would administer to him, which I did, applying the oil both internally and externally.  I then instructed them not to use the liquor which they had prepared. This took place about dar, and about an hour later the man came to me quite well and spent the evening in singing and conversing with the company that happened to be at my house.”  (“The Society Islands Mission,” compiled by Andrew Jenson, UGHM 5:66, Apr., 1914)

18 Jul.:  Anointed with peppermint oil.

“Had a heavy shake of ague and a bad fever which lasted all day.  I suffered much.  The Elders laid hands on me and anointed me with oil of peppermint consecrated for the purpose.”  (George A. Smith diary, 18 Jul., 1844; in Instructor 83(7):325, 1 Jul., 1948)

4 Aug.:  Cocoanut oil to anoint the sick.

“In the absence of bread Brother [Addison] Pratt used the uto or pulp-like substance found inside of the cocoanut, when it has started to grow, and the sprout gets to be some two or three feet high.  This is still (1893) generally used throughout these islands by the Latter-day Saints.  Some times they also use the cocoanut oil to anoint the sick.  Unconsciously we here in Utah do the same thing, for ship loads of the dried flesh of the cocoanut is taken to France and Germany and the oil is pressed from it and refined, and then it is shipped and sold for olive oil, and we purchase it as such.”  (James S. Brown, quoted in UGHM 5:68, Apr., 1914; follows entry for Sunday, 4 Aug., 1844, in “The Society Islands Mission,” compiled by Andrew Jenson.)

12 Nov.:  Newly-ordained Elder, age 15, heals sick.

“On Nov. 12th, 1844, while we were sitting around the fire, just after breakfast, my father [Patriarch John Smith] and brother George A. walked across the room and placed their hands upon my head and ordained me an Elder in the Church, sealing the Melchisedek Priesthood upon me, with an excellent blessing, promissing, if I would be faithful and follow the whispering of the Holy Spirit that I should never lack.  I was directed to go to the house of Brother David Smith and administer to him, his wife and sister, as they were all very sick with the chills and fever (commonly called ‘the shakes’).  Father and brother had been sent for, but as they were called to meet with the council, could not go.  They said to me if I would go I should see the power of God made manifest.  I my own heart I made a covenant that I would go and do what I could, and if the Lord would give me utterance, and show me His power, I would to do all that was required of me.

On my way, two blocks distant, I asked an elderly gentleman who was hoeing in his garden to accompany me.  The manner in which he threw his hoe from his hands made me tremble and feel sorry that I had asked him to accompany me.  Upon entering the door of the house we saw sister Lucy lying upon a bed near the passage, shaking so hard that I could hear her teeth chatter and could see the bed shake, I remarked to her that father and brother had sent us to administer to them.  I took a bottle of consecrated oil and anointed her head.  When I asked the brother to seal the same and bless her, the reply was, ‘I cannot do it, I never did such a thing in my life.’  A whisper in my hear seemed to say:  ‘Ha! Ha!  I’ve got you now; you cannot say anything, for you do not know anything.’  I stood with open mouth about a minute.  Recovering slightly I said, partly aloud, ‘Get behind me Satan,’ and sealed the anointing upon her, and commanded her to cease shaking and arise and be made whole, I felt no lack of words and know I spoke with power.  As I said ‘Amen,’ the brother sprang from the door and returned to his hoe.  Brother David lay upon a bed in one corner and his wife Phebe upon another.  She whispered, ‘Bless me.’  She was shaking harder, if possible, than sister Lucy haddone.  I never came so near saying ‘I cannot,’ during my life since.  The voice in my ear, with that sarcastic ‘Ha! Ha!,’ said ‘You can do no more, you are a fool and can do nothing.’  At this stage life and ilght seemed to enter me.  I took the oil and anointed her head and sealed it upon her and commanded her to cease shaking and be made whole.  From that moment she ceased shaking.  Upon glancing around I discovered sister Lucy dressed and building a fire in to cook some food.  I turned to Brother David.  He reached my hand and placed it upon his head.  It seemed to me that no man could shake as he did.  That voice said, ‘You need not try him for you cannot stop him.’  I took the oil in my hand and said, ‘Satan, close thy mouth.’  I gave Brother David a spoon full of oil and I fairly poured the oil over his head and anointed his neck and shoulders and sealed the same, commanding him in the authority of the Holy Priesthood to cease shaking and be made whole, and teling the adversary, in the name of the Lord, to leave the home.

How long I wrestled, I know not, but I know that most of the afternoon had slipped away and the shadows of evening were gathering around.  The family were healed and I know it was by the power of God.  From that day to this I have never had a doubt.  To the Almighty be all the honor.  Nov. 17th, 1844, was my 16th birthday I accompanied my Brother George A. to the Seventies’ hall, where I was ordained a Seventy under the hands of Zera Pulsipher and Levi W. Hancock, and was united with the twelfth quorum, with Hyrum Dayton senior president.”  (John Lyman Smith autobiography, LC Collection)

Doing battle with evil spirits.

“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 furthest 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 the second time.

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 two first 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 one 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 whom not one of us had thought of 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 knew and felt 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 corporeal 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.”  (“The Savior’s Promise to Believers,” by “H. G. B.,” JI 17:180-181, 1 Dec., 1882)

1845:  19 Jun.:  Anointing by woman.

“returned home found my wife quite sick with fowing.  Sister Whitney come in annointed hur and sung in Toungs.  I also sung the Lord blest us.”  (Heber C. Kimball diary, 19 Jun., 1845)

26 Jun.:  Consecrating oil.

“we offerd the signs, and concrated three botels of Oil 2 for me and one fore John Smith, I being mouth.  we then praid onece more B Young being mouth we had a good time and the Lord was with us.”  (Heber C. Kimball diary, 26 Jun., 1845)

27 Jun.:  Consecrating oil.

“at 4 in the after noon we clothed our selves and concecrated 9 Botles of Oil.  then gave thanks to the Lord, for his goodness to us.”  (Heber C. Kimball diary, 27 Jun., 1845)

9 Jul.:  Death of Willard Richard’s wife.

“W Richards sent for me to Lay hands on his wife she appeared as though she was diing at about 10 in the Morning I went thare again to clothe and pray for hur again present G A Smith Levi Richards John Smith J Tailyr we praied after the holy order and annointed hur.  She died in a about half an hour after[.]  this was in the fore part of the day.”  (Heber C. Kimball diary, 9 Jul., 1845)

14 Mar.:  OK to lay hands on sick horse?

“During the day William Hall left Camp with his team for the Des Moines river, to bring forward a load for Allen J. Stout, at Indian creek; one of his horses sickened with bloating and cholic.  Elders Hall and Llewellin Mantle laid hands on him and he recovered immediately and went on about two miles when he was again attacked more violently than before; they tried to give him medicine, but could not succeed; the horse lay on his side with his fore foot over his ear; but Reuben Strong said he believed there was breath in him yet and proposed to lay hands upon him.  Some present doubted whether it was right to lay hands on a horse, Elder Hall replied that the Prophet Joel has said that in the last days the Lord would pour out his spirit upon all flesh.  Thus satisfied the brethren and Elders Wm. Hall, Reuben R. Strong, Llewellen Mantle, Joseph Champlin, Martin Potter and one more laid hands on the horse and commanded the unclean and foul spirits of every name and nature to depart and to go to the Gentiles at Warsaw and trouble the saints no more, when the horse rolled twice over in great distress, sprang to his feet, squelched, vomited and purged, and the next morning he was harnessed to a load of about twelve hundred weight and performed his part as usual.”  (JH 14 Mar., 1846)

22 Apr.:  Brigham heals his snakebitten horse.

“Pres. Brigham Young rode ten miles to Pleasant Grove and selected a camp ground.  HIs horse was bitten on the nose by a rattlesnake; but the president cut the snake into pieces and applied them to the wound; they drew out the poison, leaving the horse uninjured.”  (JH 22 Apr., 1846)

7 May:  H C Kimball prays for his snakebitten horses.

“Pres. Young’s horse was bitten by a rattlesnake.  Bro. Hendricks’ horse died which was probably bitten the evening before.  Many horses have been bitten in camp and two have died.  Several of Elder [Heber C.] Kimball’s animals have been bitten; he has doctored little but has prayed for them and they have recovered.”  (JH 7 May, 1846)

1846:    28 8  Jun.:  Unsuccessful prayer circle for sick child.

“[25 Jun.]  Little Hosea was all this time on the decline and the laying on of hands seemed to do but little or no good but to day we concluded to call in all the men & women who had had their endowment and have the ordinance performed according to the Holy order & with the signs of the Priesthood Accordingly we did so in my tent Br Spencer taking the lead which seemed to do some good for the child was better afterwards & we felt incouraged that he thus seemed to appear to be under the influence of the ordinances of the Priesthood and we now had hope again that he would yet be delivered from from [sic] the power of the destroyer.  But our hopes were destined to be of short duration for in the evening there came one of the hardest rains that had been this summer.

The water came in torrents & the wind blew hard.  In a few minutes our tent was down & the water ran through the waggon covers and thus every thing we had was wet almost before we knew it.

The beds were also wet and Hosea was soon discovered by his mother to be lying in water so fast did it come in on the bed.  He was immediately taken worse and thus our last hopes for him vanished. . . .

[27 Jun.]  My child seemed strangely affected to night after laying hands on him we found him to [be] troubled with evil spirits who I knew now were determined on his destruction   He would show all signs of wrath to wards me & his mother and appearantly try to talk.  His looks were demoniac accopanied by the most frightful gestures I ever saw in a child.  His strength was greater than in the days of his health.  

At times I felt almost to cowl at his fierce ghastly & horrid look and even felt to withdraw from the painful scene for truly the powers of darkness now prevailed here.  We were shut up in the waggon with nothing to behold or contemplate but this devoted child thus writhing under the power of the destroyer  It was now late in the night & he getting worse when we came to the conclusion to lay hands on him again that the powers of darkness might be rebuked if he could not be raised up.  Thus alone my wife & me over our only and dearest son struggled in sorrow and affliction with this last determination that we would not yield with the portion of the Priesthood which we had to the evil spirits  After laying hands on him and rebuking the evil spirits he took a Different course  He ceased to manifest a desire to talk & his ghastly and frightful gestures and with a set and determined eye gazed at me as if concious of what had been done

We thus beheld him a long time until finally he became easy and went to sleep  Late at night we went to sleep also leaving a burning candle in the waggon.

[28 Jun.]  I awoke very early this morning and immediately discovered my child to be dying.  He seemed perfectly easy and now had given up to the struggle of death and lay breathing out his life sweetly.  The evil spirits had entirely left him and he now had his natural, easy, pleasant, calm and usual appearance but death was in his countenance and his little spirit now in the enjoyment of its own body only seemed loth to give it up as almost efvery one seemed involuntary to observe who was present.  He gradually and slowly declined untill forty minutes after seven when its spirit took its leave of its body without any appearant pain but seemed to go to sleep.

Thus died my only son and one too on whom I had placed my own name and was truly the dearest object of my heart.”  (Hosea Stout diary, 25-28 Jun., 1846)

4-12 Nov.:  Death of Wilford Woodruff’s son.

[Look up an earlier entry in Woodruff’s diary of the blessing he gave his son.]

“Nov 4th  Our little Joseph was taken sick this day.  Had taken cold and setteled upon his lungs. . . .

5th  Joseph is a failing.  Is dangerously sick. . . .

6th  Joseph is not any better.

7th  I am gaining daily in strength But Joseph is failing.  I Called upon the Elders to administer to him. . . .

8th  Mrs Woodruff has to spend her whole time day and night with Joseph as he is in a dangerous situation. . . .

9th  Joseph is still failing. . . .

10th  Joseph had the appearance of Dying in the afternoon and evening but revived at about 12 oclok.

11th  I spent several hours with Joseph.  Supposed each moment to be his last but again revived at midnight.

NOV 12th 1846  {JOSEPH}  We found our little boy was failing and Could not possibly hold out longer.  Evry exhertion had been made to make him comfortable And if possible to restore him to health but it seemed that He must go.  He continued to fail through the day and night.

Sister Abbot took the main Charge of him during the night as Mrs Woodruff Strength was mostly exhausted.  He had suffered much from convulsions during his sickness but He breathed his last and fell asleep this morning 15 minuts before 6 oclok.  And we took his remains to the grave at 4 oclok in the afternoon.  We truly felt that we were called to make a great sacrifice in the loss of our son Joseph.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 4-12 Nov., 1846)

20 Nov.:  It is the duty of patriarchs to minister to you.

“HONOUR EVERY MAN IN HIS CALLING.–Many of the Saints apply to us to lay our hands upon them and bless them.  We should have no objection to do this if our time and strangth would permit it, but the labours of our delegation are so great that we have little or no time to rest, day or night, and it is the duty of the patriarchs to minister in these things.  We are sent here to minister in word and in doctrine, and also to organize the church on better principles, and to direct its temporal and spiritual affairs in a safe and advantageous channel.  This is all we have strength to do, and we hope that our brethren and sisters will consider our condition, and remember that if we lay our hands upon one to bless, others will feel themselves slighted if we do not the same to them.  This would require more than all our time and strength.  Again, after we have preached a lengthy discourse and have become faith and exhausted thereby, it is not right for the people to ask us to lay our hands upon any one, for we have poured out our spirit and blessing upon the people, and just at that time we have little or no spirit left either to bless or to heal them.  We wish the Saints to have mercy upon us in this respect wherever we go, and not suffer us to be used up and worn out before the time that our required labours are performed.  We bless you always in God’s name, and we will lay our hands upon your sick and bless them also when we have faith, strength, and spirit to do it.  Buit do not call upon us directly after preaching, but call upon other elders who have not spoken.  May heaven bless and heal you all.  Amen.”  (Editorial [Orson Hyde, editor], MS 8(9):141, 20 Nov., 1846)

16 Dec.:  Anointing of leg; giving of oil internally.

“Dean Beggs who came from Fallkirk called on me about 10 oclock this morning, informed me that his right leg was so painfull that he was afraid he was going to be disabled from work & he wished me to administer to him.  I did so by anointing his leg with oil & laid my hands on him & prayed over him & rebuked the pain in the naime of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Decon Wilkie being present & having been for a week past disabled from work disired that I should administer to him, which I attended to by giving him the oil inwardley & laying my hands on him prayed over him in the naime of our Master Jesus that he might recover.”  (Andrew Sprowl diary, 16 Dec., 1846; LC Collection)