صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

showed the people plainly of many things to come; opened the doctrine of Christ as we never understood it before; and among other things they introduced a very extraordinary book, which they said was an ancient record of the forefathers of the Indian tribes."

"How were they dressed and in what style did they travel ?"

"They were dressed plainly and comely, very neat in their persons, and each one wore a hat of a drab color, low, round crown and broad brim, after the manner of the Shakers, so it is said; for we had not the privilege of seeing them ourselves.

"However, these fashioned hats were not a peculiarity of this people; but were given to each of them by the Shakers at the time they passed through this country; so they wore them. As to their style of traveling, they sometimes go on foot, sometimes in a carriage and sometimes, perhaps, by water; but they provide themselves with neither purse nor scrip for their journey, neither shoes nor two coats apiece.”

"Well, from your description of these four men I think I have seen them on the frontiers of Missouri. They had commenced a mission in the Indian territory, but were compelled by the United States agents, influenced, no doubt, by missionaries, to depart from the Indian country, although well received by the Indians themselves."

"You saw them, then?"
"I did."
"Were they well?"
“I believe they were all in good health and spirits."

“Will they return soon? 0, who would not give the world to see them?

“Well, I am one of them, and the others you may perhaps


“You one of them! God bless you. What is your name???

“My name is Parley P. Pratt, one of the four men you have described, but not much of a prophet; and as to a sight of me in my present plight, I think it would not be worth half a world.”

Elder Pratt says:

“The rest of the conversation I cannot write, for all spoke, all laughed and all rejoiced at once. The next morning I found

myself unable to arise from my bed, being severely attacked with the measles. I came near dying and was confined for one or two weeks among them, being scarcely able to raise my head. I was watched over night and day, and had all the care that a man could have in his father's house. As I recovered in part, being still very weak, I was provided with a horse on which I arrived at Kirtland. Hundreds of the Saints now crowded around to welcome me, and to inquire after my brethren whom I had left in Missouri. Here also I again met President Joseph Smith who had, during our absence come up from the state of New York."

The following is part of a letter from Oliver Cowdery, dated, Kaw Township, Mo., May 7, 1831, and shows how little was then generally known of the Lamanites or Indians in the great west:

"I am informed of another tribe of Lamanites lately, who have abundance of flocks of the best kinds of sheep and cattle; and they manufacture blankets of a superior quality. The tribe is very numerous; they live three hundred miles west of Santa Fe, and are called Navashoes. Why I mention this tribe is because I feel under obligations to communicate to my brethren every information concerning the Lamanites, that I meet with in my labors and travels."


As from the lofty Wasatch heights,

The rock-ribbed rivers flow
To cheer, refresh and beautify

The thirsty vales below,-
So, from the heights of human love,

Rich founts of kindness well,
Which, sprinkled on the thirsting soul,

Their own sweet story tell.



Only in compliance with the counsel of President F. D. Richards have I relunctantly yielded to the repeated solicitations of the editor to relate briefly in the columns of the ERA the incidents preceding and accompanying my conversion to the great work of the latter days, and my baptism into The Church, at Dresden, Saxony, October 14, 1855.

As "Oberlehrer" at the Budich Institute, Neustadt, Dresden, I, like most of my fellow-teachers in Germany, had become imbued with the scepticism that characterizes to a large extent the tendency of modern higher education, but I was realizing at the same time the unsatisfactory condition of a mind that has nothing to rely on but the ever changing propositions of speculative philosophy.

Although filled with admiration of the indomitable courage, sincere devotion, and indefatigable energy of the great German Reformer, Martin Luther, I could not fail to see that his work had been merely an initiatory one, and that the various protestant sects, taking their initiative from the revolutionary stand of the heroic monk at Wittenberg and Worms, had entirely failed to comprehend the mission of the reformation. The only strength of Protestantism seemed to be its negative position to the Catholic church; while in most of the positive doctrines of them ultifarious protestant sects their antagonism to one another culminated only too often in uncompromising zealotry. These ideas illustrate in the main my views on religious subjects, at that time, and are explanatory of the fact that scepticism had undermined the religious impressions of my

childhood days, and why infidelity, now known by its modern name as agnosticism, was exercising its disintegrating influence upon me.

In that dark period of my life, when I was searching for a foothold among the political, social, philosophical, and religious opinions of the world, my attention was called to a pamphlet on the "Mormons," written by a man named Busch. The author wrote in a spirit of opposition to that strange people, but his very illogical deductions and sarcastic invectives aroused my curiosity, and an irresistible desire to know more about the subject of the author's animadversion caused me to make persistent inquiries concerning it. There were no “Mormons” in Saxony at that time, but, as I accidentally found in an illustrated paper, they had a mission in Denmark. Through an agent, I obtained the address of Elder Van Cott, then President of the Scandinavian mission. My letter addressed to that gentleman brought the answer that neither he nor his secretary could understand much German, but that Elder Daniel Tyler, President of the Swiss and German mission at Geneva, would give me all information I should desire on the subject of “Mormonism." I addressed myself, therefore, to that gentleman.

What I now relate in this paragraph, I never learned until twelve years later, at Beaver City, Utah, where Brother Tyler related it in my presence, at a meeting of the Relief Society. When my letter arrived at Geneva, headquarters of the mission, one of the traveling Elders suggested to President Tyler to have nothing to do with the writer of the letter, but to send it back without any answer, as it was most likely only a trick of the German police to catch our possible connections in that country. President Tyler declared that as the letter was impressing him quite differently, he would send it back as suggested, but that it would come back again with more added to it, if the Lord was with the writer. Thus I got my letter back without any explanation or signature, only in a new envelope addressed to me. I felt insulted, and sent it with a few words of inquiries about this strange procedure, to Elder Van Cott, at Copenhagen. By return mail I recived an apology from President Van Cott, stating that there must be a mistake somewhere, as Elder Tyler was a good and wise man. He had, however, sent my letter again to Geneva with an endorsement. This led to a long correspondence between Elder Tyler and myself.

Pamphlets and some books were forwarded to me. Having some conceited notions in those days about illiteracy, and no faith in Bible or religious doctrines, correspondence and publications had no other effect upon me than to convince me that “Mormonism" was a much bigger thing than I had anticipated. I therefore expressed a desire for having an Elder sent to me.

A few weeks after that request had been made, Elder William Budge, now President of Bear Lake Stake, arrived at my house. It was providential that such a man was the first “Mormon” I ever beheld, for, although scarcely able to make himself understood in German, he, by his winning and yet dignified personality, created an impression upon me and my family which was the keynote to an indispensable influence that hallowed the principles he advocated. After about eight weeks' sojourn in our family, during which time my brother-in-law, Brother Edward Schoenfeld, and wife, and another teacher at one of the public schools in Dresden, had become interested in the teachings of the "Mormon” Elder, Elder F. D. Richards, then President of the European mission, and Elder William Kimball, arrived in Dresden. A few interviews at which Elder Budge acted as interpreter, led to the baptism of eight souls in the river Elbe; the first baptisms after the order of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in that country.

On coming out of the water, I lifted both of my hands to heaven and said: "Father, if what I have done just now is pleasing unto thee, give me a testimony, and whatever thou shouldst require of my hands I shall do, even to the laying down of my life for this cause."

There seemed to be no response to my fervent appeal, and we walked home together, President Richards and Elder Budge at the right and the left of me, while the other three men walked some distance behind us, so as to attract no notice. The other members of the family were baptized a few days later. Our conversation was on the subject of the authority of the Priesthood, Elder Budge acting as interpreter. Suddenly I stopped Elder Budge from interpreting President Richards' remarks, as I understood them, and replied in German, when again the interpretation was not needed as President Richards understood me also.

Thus we

« السابقةمتابعة »