Mormon History 1830-1844

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Raising the Dead
Early Mormon emphasis on the restoration of apostolic authority and power led to the question raising the dead.
New Testament reference  
Jesus' charge to the apostles 7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Matthew 10:7–8
  8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.  
 
 
Book of Mormon references  
Christ   For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent … shall come down from heaven … and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases. Mosiah 3:5
    And it came to pass that after he had ascended into heaven—the second time that he showed himself unto them, and had gone unto the Father, after having … done all manner of cures among them, and raised a man from the dead, and had shown forth his power unto them, and had ascended unto the Father—
3 Nephi 26:15
   
 
Nephi   And in the name of Jesus did he [Nephi] cast out devils and unclean spirits; and even his brother did he raise from the dead, after he had been stoned and suffered death by the people. 3 Nephi 7:19, also 19:4.
Disciples   And there were great and marvelous works wrought by the disciples of Jesus, insomuch that they did heal the sick, and raise the dead, and cause the lame to walk, and the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear; and all manner of miracles … in the name of Jesus.
4 Nephi 1:5
   
 
Doctrine and Covenants reference  
William Law 97 Let my servant William Law also receive the keys by which he may ask and receive blessings…
D&C 124:97–100.
  98 And these signs shall follow him—he shall heal the sick, he shall cast out devils, and shall be delivered from those who would administer unto him deadly poison;  
  99 And he shall be led in paths where the poisonous serpent cannot lay hold upon his heel, and he shall mount up in the imagination of his thoughts as upon eagles’ wings.  
  100 And what if I will that he should arise the dead, let him not withhold his voice.  
   
 
1831   Early Kirtland  
Expect to raise dead
(at June meeting or in land of promise?)
  In June they are all to meet, and hold a kind of jubille [sic] in this new 'land of promise,' where they are to work diverse miracles—among others that of raising the dead. It is said there are soon to be miraculous births among them, and the number it is expected, will [be] materially increased after the general meeting. St. Louis Times, July 9, 1831, quoting Ravenna, Ohio's Western Courier of May 26. Link to source at
Uncle Dale's Readings in Early Mormon History website.
')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">UDR.
   
 
After first conference (June [3]–6, 1831)   At a meeting of the tribe on the 3d. inst. the fact was made known to them that 28 elders must be selected and ordained, to start immediately, for Missouri. Jo accordingly asked the Lord in the assembly whom he should select, and the Lord named them over to him, as he made them believe. The ceremony of endowing them with miraculous gifts, or supernatural power, was then performed, and they were commanded to take up a line of march; preaching their gospel, (Jo's Bible) raising the dead, healing the sick, casting out devils, &c. "Mormonism on the Wing,"
<I>Painesville Telegraph</I>
')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">PT, June14, 1831. Link to source at
Uncle Dale&#39;s Readings in Early Mormon History website.
')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">UDR.    
      They say that a miracle was worked in their behalf, by clearing a passage through the ice at Buffalo -- some of them affect a power even to raise the dead, and perchance, (such is the weakness of human nature), really believe that they can do it! "Mormonism," Niles Weekly Register, July 16, 1831. Link to source at Uncle Dale&#39;s Readings in Early Mormon History website.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">UDR.    
  After first conference (April [3]–6, 1831) A dead body, which had been retained above ground two or three days, under the expectation that the dead would be raised, was insensible to the voice of those who commanded it to awake into life, and is destined to sleep in the grave till the last trump shall sound, and the power of God easily accomplishes the work, which frustrated the attempts, and bid defiance to the puny efforts of the Mormonite.* ¶ Ezra Booth Letters (4-6), published Nov. 3, 1831.

Asterisk in <i>Mormonism Unvailed</i>, Eber D. Howe &#40;Painesville, Ohio: author, 1834&#41;.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">Mormonism unvailed, 190, version.
  … To add, if possible, to their mortification, a larger assembly collected on the Sabbath, in order to hear preaching. In the midst of the meeting the congregation was dismissed by Rigdon, and the people sent to their homes. He was directed to do this, he said, by the spirit. But it was generally believed, that he was directed solely by fear; and that he had mistaken the spirit of cowardice    
  Elders persuaded parents not to send for doctor

Afterwards, father leaves church
* That an attempt was made to raise the child, is denied, of course, … The parents of the deceased child, however, state, that they were prevented from procuring medical aid for the child, by the representations of the elders, that it was in no danger—that it would certainly be restored. The father had no other idea but that the child was to be raised; neither did his faith fail him till preparations were made for its interment. He then awoke from his dream of delusion, and dissolved his connexion with the imposters. <i>Mormonism Unvailed</i>, Eber D. Howe &#40;Painesville, Ohio: author, 1834&#41;.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">Mormonism unvailed, 190n. Footnote added by E. D. Howe to Booth letter.    
  At Isaac Morley's   I went to Isaac Morley's to see the dead child raised to life. I stayed till late in the afternoon without being gratified. I never saw so many people together before. “Joel Miller's Statement,” Naked Truths About Mormonism 1, no. 2 (Apr. 1888): 2, col. 6. Link to source at Uncle Dale&#39;s Readings in Early Mormon History website.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">UDR.    
  Taught in Kirtland   [A visitor to Kirtland in 1831 reports, in 1833, that the Book of Mormon enjoins:] That every distinct member, be found at the Lord's Table every Sabbath day, to commemmorate His death and sufferings,— until He come.— And, moreover, that such exercise faith in God of working miracles;— according to the attainment of the primitive disciples: viz. Of healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out devils, and of imparting the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands, &c.   Anna "Nancy" Towle, Vicissitudes Illustrated (Charleston, 1832), page 152 in 1833 edition. Link to source at Uncle Dale&#39;s Readings in Early Mormon History website.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">UDR.                           1832   Resurrection men in Pomfret     It seems these miserable fanatics have made a few converts in Pomfret, Chautauqua county. One of their number died and the night after his burial, a party of "resurrection men" were disturbed while disinterring the deceased, and one of the offenders taken and bound over for trial—The editor of the Censor gives a very flattering account of the intellectual endowments of the community in which he resides, when he says, the Mormonites have selected "a suitable field for operation, where nothing is too absurd to gain credence." "Mormonism," Buffalo Patriot, Jan. 17, 1832. Link to source at Uncle Dale&#39;s Readings in Early Mormon History website.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">UDR.

Joseph Brackenbury
 
      John Gould's two-year-old   Summer attempt

Thousands attend

Mr. Gould
  It was announced that on a certain Sunday in the summer of 1832, they would heal the sick and lame and revive the dead. Thousands came, many from a distance. I attended, and heard Rigdon say there would be no preaching to-day. He dismissed an audience of several thousand on the hill back of the house, who were greatly disappointed and expressed much indignation. I then went to see the dead child in the house now occupied by Mrs. Carroll. It was lying on a bed. I felt of its face and hands which were warm and pliable. I thought it was under the influence of opium. It did not breathe. It was about two years old and belonged to Mr. Gould, who had lately come from the East. I heard it was buried the following Wednesday. Reuben P. Harmon, Naked Truths About Mormonism 1, no. 2 (Apr. 1888):1, col. 5. Link to source at Uncle Dale&#39;s Readings in Early Mormon History website.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">UDR.    
  At Isaac Morley's

Drugged child dies
  The Mormons announced that on a certain day, at the house of my husband's uncle, Isaac Morley, they would raise the dead. Joseph, the prophet, made protracted efforts to restore to consciousness a child to whom they had administered a soporific, but the scheme failed because they had given an overdose, and the child died. "Mrs. S. W. Hanson's Statement,” Naked Truths About Mormonism 1, no. 2 (Apr. 1888): 3, col. 6. Link to source at Uncle Dale&#39;s Readings in Early Mormon History website.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">UDR.    
  John Gould's child

Drugged, dies
  I married John Gould's daughter Harriet. Her father had been thirty years a Free-will Baptist minister in New York, and knew Jo Smith there. He became a Mormon and moved to Kirtland in the spring of 1832. I have often heard my wife and her parents tell about Joseph, the prophet, attempting to restore to consciousness their child which they claimed had been drugged. The child was buried. "James Thompson's Statement," Naked Truths About Mormonism 1, no. 2 (Apr. 1888): 3, col. 7.    
      Orson Pratt   Raises corpse after three days During the same summer [of 1832], it is said, a young girl whose parents, David Rosenburger and wife, lived near Hyde Lake, not far from Theresa, [New York], apparently died after a short illness. Her parents, converts to the new faith, kept the body for three days unburied, until the arrival of Orson Pratt, who, after praying beside the corpse and anointing the brow from the strange vase of ointment asked that all leave the room, and a moment later, recalled the weeping friends to show them their daughter, restored to life. Even the adherents to the new faith doubted this miracle, it is said, and there was a falling off in attendance at the Mormon meetings. Watertown Daily Times, Dec. 10, 1898, qtd. in <i>Genealogical Journal of Jefferson County, New York</i>, Patricia R. James, editor. See NewYorkAncestry.com.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">Jefferson county genealogy 12, no. 1 (Apr. 11, 2002): 9.  
    Joseph Brackenbury   Unsuccessful attempts in Vermont   The Wayne Sentinel reports a "Mormon Preacher" from Ohio, Joseph H. Brackenbury, and one or two companions, "with great zeal and apparent humility, attempted to propogate their doctrines" in Pomfret, Vermont. "[T]hey professed to have power to heal the sick, and raise the dead," but they failed on two occasions to heal Nancy Johnson, who had been crippled in a fall from a horse. Nevertheless, she started for Ohio with the missionaries, when Elder Brackenbury fell ill and his companions administered to him. He died on April 7 and they then tried, apparently unsuccessful, to raise him from the dead.   "Death of A Mormon Preacher," Wayne Sentinel, Apr. 11, 1832. Link to source at Uncle Dale&#39;s Readings in Early Mormon History website.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">UDR.  
  1834   John P. Greene     Evidence of the kingdom of Christ   In the Mt. Pleasant area of Upper Canada, John's teachings are deounced by a Baptist elder who declares, "the kingdom of Christ has not been on the earth since the apostles! if it is so, let them raise the dead, and then we will believe on them!"   "Communications," <i>Latter Day Saints&#39; Messenger and Advocate<i>')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">MA 1, no. 1 (Oct. 1834): 8.    
    1835   Massachusetts newspaper     Mormonites assert as fact   They assert it as a fact that among them the dead have been raised and the sick healed.   "The Mormonites," Farmer's Gazette, Feb. 6, 1835. Link to source at Uncle Dale&#39;s Readings in Early Mormon History website.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">UDR.    
  1836    Wilford Woodruff     Dare to raise the dead in northwest Tennessee
  Elder [David W.] Patten (h) Preached three discourses … After the close of the last discours Mr Rose rejected the testimony given & called on Br Patten to rase the dead that he might believe. Br Patten rebuked him sharply for his infidelity & unbelief. We then communed with the Saints.   ¶ Feet Washing  
  1838   Wilford and Phebe Woodruff   Introduction Wilford Woodruff's wife Phebe became deathly ill on their journey from the Fox Islands to Missouri.Wilford's daily journal entries detail her ups and downs, but it was not until 1881 that Wilford included Phebe's recollection of actually dying and being restored by his administration made its way into print.         1838 journal   Leaves from My Journal   December 2, 1838

Move from inn
Dec 2d Sunday Our Circumstances were of such a nature we were oblieged to remove from the Inn whare we spent the night. In the morning the circumstances were such that I was under the necessity of removing my wife from the inn, <i>Wilford Woodruff&#39;s Journal</i>, 9 vols., compiled by Scott G. Kenney &#40;Midvale: Signature Books, 1981&#45;1984&#41;.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">WWJ 1:305–306, , 54. Noisy     as there was so much noise and confusion at the place that she could not endure it.   Phebe feels end near Phebe feels as though she had but a breath of life left in her body.       Remain at house until she recovers or dies I carried her into the waggon & drove 2 miles at the house of Mr Makinzie & put up for the present at least untill Phebe recovers her health in some degree or departs this life.   I carried her out to her bed in the wagon and drove two miles, when I alighted at a house and carried my wife and her bed into it, with a determination to tarry there until she either recovered her health or passed away. This was on Sunday morning, December 2nd.       We went into a house by ourselves which was much better than to be crouded by other families. How long we shall tarry here the Lord ownly knows.         Brother Thomas passed us again to day. Brother Townsend was quite sick.       Gate of death After geting my wife & things into the house & my horses put out I confined myself to the taking Care of my wife which to human appearance is at the gate of death. After getting my wife and things into the house and wood provided to keep up a fire, I employed my time in taking care of her. It looked as though she had but a short time to live.   Phebe expresses faith She Called me to her bedside in the evening & said she felt as though a few moments more would end her existance in this life & manifested great confidence in the cause she had embraced & exhorted us to confidence & in God & to keep his commandments She called me to her bedside in the evening and said she felt as though a few moments more would end her existence in this life. She manifested great confidence in the cause she had embraced, and exhorted me to have confidence in God and to keep His commandments.   Seems to be dying & to appearance was a dying   To all appearances, she was dying.   Ralllies   but she again revived as on the day before.       Wilford lays on hands

Phebe rallies, sleeps
  I prayed with her & lade hands upon her & commended [her] unto God. She revived & slept some during the night. 2.   I laid hands upon her and prayed for her, and she soon revived and slept some during the night. 2.: Wilford routinely ends each day's entry with the number of miles traveled that day. December 3, 1838 3rd I spent the day taking Care of my companion who is still alive. December 3rd found my wife very low. I spent the day in taking care of her,       These are days of trial but [306] may the Lord sanctify them to my good I pray.       December 4, 1838

Very low
4th Phebe is still vary feeble & low.         I returned to Eaton to get some necessarys for her.   and the following day I returned to Eaton to get some things for her.   Wilford depressed   I felt the power of the destroyer resting upon me in the fore part of the day.       Phebe sinking       She seemed to be gradually sinking     In the evening   and in the evening   Phebe dies     her spirit apparently left her body, and she was dead.   Sisters weep   The sisters gathered around her body, weeping, while I stood looking at her in sorrow.   Wilford's first hope     The spirit and power of God began to rest upon me until, for the first time during her sickness, faith filled my soul, although she lay before me as one dead.   Phebe's first hope Phebe for the first time during her sickness began to lay hold on faith for her recovery.       Faith, repent, confess, covenant Her faith was strong in God. We laid hold on faith together repented of all our sins & confessed them befor God & covenanted to keep his Commandments.       Wilford anoints, blesses Phebe I had some oil that was Consecrated for my anointing while in kirtland. I again Consecrated it before God for anointing the sick. I bowed myself down before the Lord & prayed with my companion & anointed her [with] oil in the name of the Lord. I laid my hands upon her in the name of JESUS CHRIST and rebuked the fever the destroyier the deadly malidy that was praying upon her system I had some oil that was consecrated for my anointing while in Kirtland. I took it and consecrated it again before the Lord for anointing the sick. I then bowed down before the Lord and prayed for the life of my companion, and I anointed her body with the oil in the name of the Lord. I laid my hands upon her, and in the name of Jesus Christ I rebuked the power of death and the destroyer, and commanded the same to depart from her,   Phebe returns to life     and the spirit of life to enter her body.       Her spirit returned to her body,   Fever breaks, praise God & thank God we both obtained a great blessing in so doing & according to her faith her fever left her & praised be the name of GOD for we will ever keep his commandments & trust in him. Praise the Lord O my soul for all of his wonderful acts.   and from that hour she was made whole; and we all felt to praise the name of God, and to trust in Him and to keep His commandments.   Phebe's death experience

Sees body, others
  While this operation was going on with me (as my wife related afterwards) her spirit left her body, and she saw it lying upon the bed, and the sisters weepi