Mormon History 1830-1844

Doctrine & Practice

November–February 1830   Lamanite missionaries in Kirtland    
Eber D. Howe account [Converts of the Lamanite missionaries in Ohio] say much about working miracles, and pretend to have that power. Cowdery and his fellows, essayed to work several while they tarried in Kirtland, one in particular, the circumstances of which I had from the Mormonites themselves.   Painesville Telegraph, February 15, 1831. Off-site link to this page on Uncle Dale's website.
Bed-ridden woman   It was a young female who had been confined to her bed for two years—they prayed over her, laying on hands, and commanded her in the name of Jesus Christ to rise up and walk; however, no effect appeared until the next day, when she was persuaded to leave her couch and attempt to walk.  
Miraculous steps   She arose, walked three or four steps, (which they told as a miracle) she then almost fainted, and was assisted back to her bed from which she's not since arisen.    

  But as all their miracles have proved to be a mere sham, to speak vulgarly, the Mormonites have endeavored to save the credit of their prophets, by declaring that they never pronounced these people whole but only prayed for them—but when confronted by one of the disciples in Kirtland upon the instance just mentioned, as it was so public they could not deny it, one of them said that he did not know but Cowdery did command her to arise, but if he did it was in a laughing, jesting way!!!—    
  Another of the Mormonites said Cowdery did not command her to arise, but merely asked her why she did not arise.    
Man dies   Another instance of a man in Painesville, who was in the last stage of consumption, was attempted to be healed by Cowdery. A few days afterwards Mr. Rigdon was heard to say "that he would get well, if there was a God in Heaven!" He has since deceased.    
Explain away   But these prophets had the policy to cover their retreat in these things, by saying that they would not recover immediately; the Lord would take his own time; and one of these people a few days ago, when put to the worst upon the subject, said that he did not think Cowdery would have attempted to do any miracles, had he have known how things would turn out.    
Scott Jones account

Unsuccessful attempts
  They laid hands on the sick, and in the name of Jesus told them to recover. Two cases occurred in this place, one man that had fits, by the name of Luke, whom they commanded not to let it be known; but he not receiving any benefit from it told of it. Another was a boy about twelve years old that had fits daily whose father and mother had joined them; his father said that he had no more doubt that his son would get well then he had of his existence; but he is no better yet. One other case was in Painesville, on a man by the name of Champney, who is no better; another was a sick woman in Mayfield that has been confined these two or three years and who, they still say, will yet get well.   ¶ History of the Mormonites
John Corrill account

Miracles expected

  [70] They pretended that the power of miracles was about to be given to all those who embraced the new faith, and commenced communicating the Holy Spirit, by laying their hands upon the heads of the converts, which operation, at first, produced an instantaneous prostration of body and mind. Many would fall upon the floor, where they would lie for a long time, apparently lifeless. They thus continued these enthusiastic exhibitions for several weeks. The fits usually [71] came on during, or after their prayer-meetings, which were held nearly every evening. The young men and women were more particularly subject to this delirium.  
Brief History of the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints (Commonly Called Mormons), John Corrill (St. Louis: author), 1839. See
')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">Corrill history, 70–71.
Only rumors   [73] … They professed, at all times, their inability to work miracles, but were secretly trying to perform them, and frequently proclaimed their success. At a distance from the scene of action, many notable miracles were circulated."  
Brief History of the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints (Commonly Called Mormons), John Corrill (St. Louis: author), 1839. See
')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">Corrill history, 73.
[February–March] 1831   Joseph heals Elsa Johnson's rheumatoid arm    
Campbellite account   Ezra Booth, of Mantua, a Methodist preacher of much more than ordinary culture, and with strong natural abilities, in company with his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, and some other citizens of this place, visited Smith at his house in Kirtland, in 1831. Mrs. Johnson had been afflicted for some time with a lame arm, and was not at the time of the visit able to lift her hand to her head. The party visited Smith, partly out of curiosity, and partly to see for themselves what there might be in the new doctrine.
Early History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, Ohio, A. S. Hayden (Cincinnati: Chase & Hall), 1876, c1875.
')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">Hayden's history, 250.

John Johnson was married to Alice (Elsa) Jacobs.     During the interview the conversation turned upon the subject of supernatural gifts; such as were conferred in the days of the apostles. Some one said: "Here is Mrs. Johnson with a lame arm; has God given any power to men on the earth to cure her?" A few moments later, when the conversation had turned in another direction, Smith rose, and walking across the room, taking Mrs. Johnson by the hand, said in the most solemn and impressive manner: "Woman, in the name of Jesus Christ, I command thee to be whole;" and immediately left the room.       The company were awe-stricken at the infinite presumption of the man, and the calm assurance with which he spoke. The sudden mental and moral shock—I know not how better to explain the well attested fact—electrified the rheumatic arm—Mrs. Johnson at once lifted it up with ease, and on her return home the next day she was able to do her washing without difficulty or pain.        
    Marinda Johnson Hyde account   In the winter of 1831, Ezra Booth, a Methodist minister, procured a copy of the Book of Mormon and brought it to my father's house. They sat up all night reading it, and were very much exercised [404] over it. As soon as they heard that Joseph Smith had arrived in Kirtland, Mr. Booth and wife and my father and mother went immediately to see him. They were convinced and baptized before they returned. They invited the prophet and Elder Rigdon to accompany them home, which they did, and preached several times to crowded congregations baptizing quite a number. I was baptized in April following.   Women of Mormondom, Edward W. Tullidge (New York: author), 1877; on GospeLink 2001 CD-ROM (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company), 2000. ')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">Tullidge's women, 403–404.    
    Luke S. Johnson account   Soon after Joseph Smith moved from the state of New York, my father, mother and Ezra Booth, a Methodist Minister, went to Kirtland to investigate "Mormonism."   ¶ Luke S. Johnson (h)

In 1864 George A. Smith found it "singular" that Ezra joined the church through "through the manifestation of a miracle." ¶ Satan Came Also
    My mother had been laboring under an attack of chronic rheumatism in the shoulder, so that she could not raise her hand to her head for about two years; the prophet laid hands upon her, and she was healed immediately.       My father was satisfied in regard to the truth of "Mormonism," and was baptized by Joseph Smith, Jr., in the winter of 1830–1, and furnished him and his family a home, while he translated a portion of the Bible.        
    Philo Dibble account   Mrs. Johnson "persuaded her husband … to take her to Kirtland to get her arm healed."   Philo Dibbles Narrative, by Philo Dibble in Early Scenes in Church History: Eighth Book of the Faith Promoting Series, edited by George Lambert, reproduction (Grantsville, Utah), 2000. Original publication by Juvenile Instructor Office, Salt Lake City, 1882.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">Philo's narrative, 79.     Joseph asks her "if she believed the Lord was able to make him an instrument in healing her arm." She replies in the affirmative, but:       Joseph put her off till the next morning, when he met her at Brother Whitney's house. There were eight persons present, one a Methodist preacher, and one a doctor. Joseph took her by the hand prayed in silence a moment, pronounced her arm whole, in the name of Jesus Christ, and turned and left the room.       The preacher asked her if her arm was whole, and she straightened it out and replied: “It is as good as the other.” The question was then asked if it would remain whole. Joseph hearing this, answered and said: “It is as good as the other, and as liable to accident as the other.”       The doctor who witnessed this miracle came to my house the next morning and related the circumstance to me. He attempted to account for it by his false philosophy, saying that Joseph took her by the hand, and seemed to be in prayer, and pronounced her arm whole in the name of Jesus Christ, which excited her and started perspiration, and that relaxed the cords of her arm.        
    February 1831   Jared Carter heals dying child   Jared Carter diary. LDS Church Archives, MS 1441.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">Jared's diary, 5–6.     Jared Carter returns to Chenango after being baptized in Colesville. His friends turn on him and his wife thinks him completely deluded.         my children were sick the babe which was about 3 months old had the hoopen cough and our neighbors considered that it would dye but the Lord heard my pray[er] and healed my child in a marvilous manner for it was taken from the brink of the grave & plased [6] in the possession of exelent helth this some of the neighbors took notise of and often spoke of        
    April 1831   Newel Knight heals Aunt Electa Peck   Newel Knight Autobiography qtd. in Early Mormon Documents, compiled and edited by Dan Vogel. 4 vols. (Salt Lake City: Signature Books), 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">Early docs 4:65.   Soon after I left [Colesville, New York], my aunt, Electa Peck, fell and broke her shoulder in a most shocking manner; a surgeon was called to relieve her sufferings, which were very great. My aunt dreamed that I returned and laid my hands upon her, prayed for her, and she was made whole, and pursued her journey with the company. She related this dream to the surgeon who replied, “if you are able to travel in many weeks it will be a miracle, and I will be a Mormon too.”     I arrived at the place, where the company had stopped, late in the evening; but, on learning of the accident, I went to see my aunt, and immediately on my entering the room she said, “To, Brother Newel, if you will lay your hands upon me, I shall be well and able to go on the journey with you.” I stepped up to the bed, and, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, rebuked the pain with which she was suffering, and commanded her to be made whole; and it was done; for the next morning she arose, dressed herself, and pursued the journey [to Ohio] with us.        
    June [4–6], 1831   Joseph failures     John Murdock's hand   Taking the hand of one of the Elders in his own, a hand which by accident had been rendered defective, [Joseph] said, "Brother Murdock, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to straighten your hand; in the mean while endeavoring to accomplish the work by using his own hand to open the hand of the other. The effort proved unsuccessful; but he again articulated the same commandment, in a more authoritative and louder tone of voice; and while uttering with his tongue, his hands were at work; but after all the exertion of his power, both natural and supernatural, the deficient hand returned to its former position, where it still remains.   ¶ Ezra Booth Letters (1)

Lame man's faith fails   But ill success in this case, did not discourage him from undertaking another. One of the Elders who was decriped in one of his legs, was set upon the floor, and commanded, in the name of Jesus Christ to walk. He walked a step or two, his faith failed, and he was again compelled to have recourse to his former assistant, and he has had occasion to use it ever since.     Fails to raise the dead 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.   "That an attempt was made to raise the child, is denied, of course, as every other attempt has been, after the entire failure was obvious to all. 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 there was 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 connection with the impostors." E. B. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, Eber D. Howe (Painesville, Ohio: author), 1834.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">Mormonism unvailed, 190n.    
    August 1831   Elders heal infirm lady     Bed-ridden for 8 years   [After Joseph and company returned to Ohio in August 1831] … many apostitized: but many have returned again to {from} the fold from whence they have strayed—And many mighty miracles were wrought by the Elders—one in particular which I shall here notice—which was wrought by Elders Emer Harris Joseph Brackenbury and Wheeler Baldwin. Is [about] an infirmity in an old lady who had been helpless for the space of eight years confined to her bed. she did not belong to this church but sent her request to the Elders who immediately attended to her call, and after their arrival praid for her and laids their hands on her, and she was immediately made whole and magnified and praised God. and is now enjoying perfect health   From Historian to Dissident: The Book of John Whitmer, edited by Bruce N. Westergren (Salt Lake City: Signature Books), 1995.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">J. Whitmer, 87.

I have standardized spelling of "Bracke[r]berry]" and changed bracketed text.
    September 1831   Hyrum Smith heals William E. McLellin   Journals of William E. McLellin: 1831�36, edited by Jan Shipps and John W. Welch. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press; Provo: BYU Studies), 1994.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">McLellin journals, 40.     … I became so unwell that I could not get farther. we put up, and I had a considerable shake of the Ague, a high fever ensued which lasted the most of the night—         Thurs=15. We started on, though I was quite sick about noon I felt so much worse that I lit from my horse in the prairie and lay down n my great coat and blanket and gave up to shake again. But immediately I began to think that God had not called me to proclaim the "Gospel" and then would suffer me to be sick because I had to pass through an unhealthy country in the sickly season. I opened my mind to bro. H[yrum] We immediately bowed before the Lord and with all the faith which we had, we opened our hearts to him. bro. H. arose and laid his hands upon me. But marvelous for me to relate that I was instantly heald And arose and pursued my journey in health with vigour.        
    January 1832   Rheumatoid woman healed through baptism   Autobiography of Mary Brown Pulsipher Jared Carter in New York   In a short time some were ready to be baptized. I wanted to be at the first opportunity, but Satan thought he would hinder it. The night before baptism, I was taken very lame with rheumatism or something. I was so sick I could not get around much. As they were fixing to go, Brother Carter said to me, "Sister Pulsipher, if you will do your duty, you shall be healed." I took a cane and hobbled to the water and went in. It was a very cold day, but I came out well, left my cane, and went away rejoicing.   Jared and other missionaries often used healing as a carrot to potential converts.    
    September 16, 1833   Leg saved through baptism     Jared and Simeon Carter in New York  

In the winter of 1832–1833, Jared and Simeon Carter call on John and Elizabeth Beswick Tanner near Bolton, New York. John is not interested. But he is afflicted with a diseased leg, which many believe he will lose. Several months later, the Carters administer to him

  Reminiscences of Elizabeth Beswick Tanner John Tanner's leg  

and commanded him to arise and walk which he immediately done, throwing away his crutches and never using them any more. The following day, Sept. 17, 1833 we were both baptized in Lake George and confirmed on the waters edge


    October 1, 1833   Hyrum and William E. McLellin heal preacher's granddaughter     Child healed but family not converted   [After listening to William E. McLellin preach an hour and a half, "a preacher of the Christian order" named Wood] asked us if we believed in the gift of Healing by the laying on of the hands of the Elders, and we answered that we did most firmly, he then invited us home with him; saying that his daughter's child was very sick. We went without hesitation about 2 miles further south.   Journals of William E. McLellin: 1831�36, edited by Jan Shipps and John W. Welch. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press; Provo: BYU Studies), 1994.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">McLellin journals 42–43.     The child was very sick and had been for some time. Its mother was sitting nursing of it, and after we had spoken upon the nature of faith; The family seemed to be quite believing, and we all bowed before the great Jehovah and implored his mercy upon the child, we then arose and brother Hyrum & I laid our hands upon it, and in a few minutes the little child got down from its mother's lap and went to play upon the floor.         This caused them to rejoice and the old gentleman got down & prayed mightily, then arose & said that he believed that the Lord was there. We then more fully explained the nature of the rise of the church of Christ and the things believed in it.         They were very friendly, but did not lay hold.        
    November 1833   Newel Knight heals Philo Dibble of gunshot wound     Gunshot wound   In the battle brother Philo Dibble, of Ohio, was shot in the body through his waistband; the ball remained in him. He bled much inwardly, and, in a day or two his bowels were so filled with blood and so inflamed that he was about to die, or, rather he had been slowly dying from the time he was wounded. The smell of himself had become intolerable to him and those about him. At length Elder Newel Knight administered to him, by the laying on of hands, in the name of Jesus; his hands had scarcely touched his head when he felt an operation penetrating his whole system as if it had been a purifying fire. He immediately discharged several quarts of blood and corruption, among which was the ball with which he had been wounded. He was instantly healed, and went to work chopping wood. He remained an able bodied man, a hard worker, and even did military duty for many years after.   Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, edited by Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company), 2000.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">Pratt autobio, 119. The battle was at the Big Blue river in Jackson county, November 4, 1833.    
    May 1832   Newel K. Whitney's leg (not)     Joseph's account   En route to Kirtland from Independence, Joseph and Newel jump from a runaway stagecoach. Newel's leg and foot are broken in several places. An attendant says:   Manuscript History of the Church, A� 1�7. LDS Church Archives. Closed to research. Papers 1:18�9.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">Manuscript history A in Papers of Joseph Smith, Volume 1: Autobiographical and Historical Writings, edited by Dean C. Jessee (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company), 1989.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">JS papers 1:383.

¶ Joseph in Greenville
    it was "a dam'd pity we had not got some Mormon there, they can set broken bones, or do any thing else."      
    1833   Orson Pratt heals the sick     June 15, 1833, St. Johnsbury, Vermont    I went to visit Mr. Harvey's family and conversed with and found them some believing. A young woman was there whose name was Emily Harvey. She had been sick about 12 weeks and vomited much blood; and it was supposed by many that she could not live many days. She was desirous that I should pray for her that she might be healed, at the same time covenanting before God to obey the gospel. Therefore I prayed for and laid my hands upon her in the name of Jesus Christ and she was immediately healed.   The Orson Pratt Journals, compiled and arranged by Elden J. Watson (Salt Lake City: author), 1975. ')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">Orson Pratt journals, 17. June 23, 1833   I held two meetings in Mr. Roberts' barn, and a large congregation of people attended. I preached upon the restoration of Israel and the blessings on Joseph. I was invited to tarry through the night with Mr. Kelsey, whose wife lay sick of a disease with which she had been afflicted five or six years. she covenanted to obey the Gospel if the Lord would heal her. I prayed for her and laid my hands upon her in the name of Jesus, and she began to recover, and a few days after was baptized.   The Orson Pratt Journals, compiled and arranged by Elden J. Watson (Salt Lake City: author), 1975. ')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">Orson Pratt journals, 18. July 4, 1833   I went to visit Mrs. Kelley who was sick with a disease with which she had been afflicted nine or ten years. After I had prayed I laid my hands upon her in the name of Jesus, and she was healed.   The Orson Pratt Journals, compiled and arranged by Elden J. Watson (Salt Lake City: author), 1975. ')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">Orson Pratt journals, 19. 1836  
    July 16, 1836   Willard healed     En route to England Elder Hyde preached on the aft quarter deck. I heard the sermon, though severely afflicted with pain. Elders Kimball and Hyde laid their hands on me and prayed, then Elder Kimball took me by the hand and told me, in the name of Jesus Christ, to arise, which I immediately did, and found myself quite comfortable. Thanks be to the Lord for his healing power, which has been repeatedly manifested towards me.   ¶ Willard Richards (h) 1837  
    January 16, 1837   Abraham O. Smoot healed     Pain and fever   Elder Abram O Smoot was again attacked by the destroyer Which brought him upon a bed of Great disstress. We immediately called upon the Elders of the Church, viz. Elders O Hyde & H C Kimball of the twelve & B. Nobles, M. Holmes, & myself of the first Seventy We prayed with & for him & lade hands upon him according to the sriptures & he was immediately healed of his pain & fever /in the name of Christ/.   Wilford Woodruffs Journal, 9 volumes, edited by Scott G. Kenney (Midvale: Signature Books), 1981�84.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">WWJ 1:121.

Original spellings: Hide, Kimble

Abram had been sick for some time, but was well enough to attend meeting on January 8.
    July 22, 1839   Joseph heals the sick in Commerce and Montrose     Parley P. Prattm Heber C. Kimball, and Wilford Woodruff accounts  

Arise and Walk!



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