The Gift of Healing

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The Gift of Healing

Post#1 » Sat May 23, 2015 9:29 pm


Hyrum L. Andrus, Principles of Perfection, p.37-49:

Having received the gift of the Holy Ghost, the Saints were entitled to receive its supernatural endowments-the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Concerning those who would embrace the restored gospel, the angel Moroni said to Joseph Smith in 1823: ". . . with signs and with wonders, with gifts and with healings, with the manifestations of the power of God, and with the Holy Ghost shall the hearts of the faithful be comforted."

Joseph Smith made reference to the spiritual endowments which accompanied the latter-day work when he observed that the first missionaries "began to preach as the Spirit gave them utterance, and though weak, yet were they strengthened by the power of God." Of the impact of these spiritual powers upon the early converts, he then said: "They saw visions and prophesied, devils were cast out, and the sick healed by the laying on of hands." The spiritual powers which were manifested at the first conference of the Church, in June, 1830, were typical of those that were identified with the work as the new dispensation was ushered in.

The Prophet wrote of that conference:
Much exhortation and instruction was given, and the Holy Ghost was poured out upon us in a miraculous manner-many of our number prophesied, whilst others had the heavens opened to their view, and were so overcome that we had to lay them on beds or other convenient places; among the rest was Brother Newel Knight, who had to be placed on a bed, being unable to help himself. By his own account of the transaction, he could not understand why we should lay him on the bed, as he felt no sense of weakness. He felt his heart filled with love, with glory, and pleasure unspeakable, and could discern all that was going on in the room; when all of a sudden a vision of the future burst upon him. He saw there represented the great work which through my instrumentality was yet to be accomplished. He saw heaven open, and beheld the Lord Jesus Christ, seated at the right hand of the majesty on high, and had it made plain to his understanding that the time would come when he would be admitted into His presence to enjoy His society for ever and ever. When their bodily strength was restored to these brethren, they shouted hosannas to God and the Lamb, and rehearsed the glorious things which they had seen and felt, whilst they were yet in the Spirit.

The Saints boldly testified that signs and gifts truly followed those who received the restored gospel. Writing to his children from Adams county, Illinois, David Foote repudiated popular religious emotionalism and contended that "there is something in the religion of Jesus which is sound; it cannot be moved by every wind of doctrine." Continuing, he explained: "It is that which gives a man an assurance that he is doing the will of God; his mind will expand, the mysteries of the kingdom will open to his view, and if he continues to travel on in this way he will attain to the ministering of angels and all the gifts of God mentioned in scripture." On this subject, Edward Partridge wrote to his old friends in Painesville, Ohio:
I assure you that the signs do follow in this, the church of Christ, who receive the book of Mormon as the fulness of the gospel of Christ. In many instances the sick have been healed by the laying on of the elders' hands, and also devils cast out. Many speak with new tongues, or in other languages; some speak in a number of different languages shortly after they receive the gift; others are confined to one or two-These are not idle assertions; I know that these things are so. Some have the gift of interpretation and some have not, as yet. But say you these gifts are strange things! Well strange as they may appear, they are the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Speaking in tongues was one of the more interesting (but for church members in general, less useful) gifts of the Holy Ghost. John Corrill stated that he witnessed the expression of this gift among the Saints at Kirtland, Ohio, in the fall of 1830:
I heard them prophesy and speak in tongues unknown to me. Persons in the room who took no part with them, declared, from the knowledge they had of the Indian languages, that the tongues spoken were regular Indian dialects, which I was also informed, on inquiry, the persons who spoke had never learned.
Another similar report was given by Vilate Kimball. In 1831, five Latter-day Saint missionaries began to proselyte in the town of Victor, about five miles from Mendon, Monroe county, New York, where Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball lived. The two men went to hear them; and Vilate Kimball, the wife of Heber, said: "At their meetings Brigham and Heber saw the manifestations of the Spirit and heard the gift of speaking and singing in tongues." Desiring to learn more of the new faith, they then went with their wives and others to Columbia, Bradford county, Pennsylvania, in January, 1832, a distance of about 125 miles, where a branch of the Church had been established. Vilate wrote: "They stayed with the church about six days, saw the power of God manifested and heard the gift of tongues, and then returned rejoicing, bearing testimony to the people by the way."

The Saints in the Columbia branch may have enjoyed the gift of tongues before the above visit, for Brigham Young later wrote that these early converts "were the first in the Church who received the gift of tongues." Having been baptized and ordained April 14, 1832, Elder Young said:
A few weeks after my baptism I was at brother Kimball's house one morning, and while family prayer was being offered up, brother Alpheus Gifford commenced speaking in tongues. Soon the Spirit came on me, and I spoke in tongues, and we thought only of the day of Pentecost, when the Apostles were clothed upon with cloven tongues of fire.
That fall Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and others went to Kirtland, Ohio, to see the Prophet. As they visited branches of the Church along the way, Brigham Young spoke in tongues at the meetings. Upon meeting the Prophet at Kirtland, Elder Young again spoke in tongues while in prayer. He later reported:
As soon as we arose from our knees the brethren flocked around him [Joseph Smith], and asked his opinion concerning the gift of tongues that was upon me. He told them it was the pure Adamic language. Some said to him they expected he would condemn the gift brother Brigham had, but he said, "No, it is of God, and the time will come when brother Brigham Young will preside over this Church." The latter part of this conversation was in my absence.
In his report of this meeting, the Prophet said: "Brother Brigham Young and John P. Greene spoke in tongues, which was the first time I had heard this gift among the brethren; others also spoke, and I received the gift myself."

Thereafter the gift of speaking in tongues became general among the Saints in Ohio. The Prophet wrote of a conference held January 22, 1833:
The gifts which follow them that believe and obey the Gospel, as tokens that the Lord is ever the same in His dealings with the humble lovers and followers of truth, began to be poured out among us, as in ancient days;-for as we . . . were assembled in conference, on the 22nd day of January, I spoke to the conference in another tongue, and was followed in the same gift by Brother Zebedee Coltrin, and he by Brother William Smith, after which the Lord poured out His Spirit in a miraculous manner, until all the Elders spake in tongues, and several members, both male and female, exercised the same gift. Great and glorious were the divine manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Praises were sung to God and the Lamb; speaking and praying, all in tongues, occupied the conference until a late hour at night, so rejoiced were we at the return of these long absent blessings.

During the period the Saints resided at Kirtland, the spiritual gifts were manifested to a great degree. Eliza R. Snow wrote: "There we had the gift of prophecy-the gift of tongues-the interpretation of tongues-visions and marvelous dreams were related-the singing of heavenly choirs was heard, and wonderful manifestations of the healing power, through the administration of the Elders, were witnessed." Of the meetings in Kirtland in which the Saints gathered to fast and pray, she said:
These, called fast-meetings, were hallowed and interesting beyond the power of language to describe. Many, many were the pentecostal seasons of the outpouring of the Spirit of God on those days, manifesting the gifts of the gospel and the power of healing, prophesying, speaking in tongues, the interpretation of tongues, etc. I have there seen the lame man, on being administered to, throw aside his crutches and walk home perfectly healed; and not only were the lame made to walk, but the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak, and evil spirits to depart.
Prescindia Huntington related that her family was visited at Kirtland by a skeptical cousin who wanted to go to a fast meeting to hear someone speak or sing in tongues. She expected to "have a hearty laugh" as a result of the experience.

Prescindia recalled:
Accordingly we went with our cousin to the meeting, during which a Brother McCarter rose and sang a song of Zion in tongues; I arose and sang simultaneously with him the same tune and words, beginning and ending each verse in perfect unison, without varying a word. It was just as though we had sung it together a thousand times.
After we came out of meeting, our cousin observed, "Instead of laughing, I never felt so solemn in my life."
The gifts and blessings of the Spirit were also given to the Saints in other areas of the Church. Writing of conditions in Jackson county, Missouri, in the winter of 1831-32, Parley P. Pratt said: "We enjoyed many happy seasons in our prayer and other meetings, and the Spirit of the Lord was poured out upon us, and even on the little children, insomuch that many of eight, ten or twelve years of age spoke, and prayed, and prophesied in our meetings and in our family worship."
"In June, 1833," John Whitmer recorded, "we received the gift of tongues in Zion [Missouri]." Among those who lived in Missouri at this time was Mary Elizabeth Rollins, who records the expression of this gift by the Saints on several occasions.
The gifts of the Spirit were not restricted to members in the main bodies of the Church, but those who received the gospel in outlying areas were also given these intelligent endowments. Having baptized eight people at Henderson, Jefferson county, New York, in March, 1833, David W. Patten said: "When hands were laid upon them, the Holy Ghost fell on them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied." Orson Pratt spoke in tongues in the city of New York while ordaining Wandle Mace to the office of Elder.

Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were preaching in the vicinity of Mount Pleasant, Brant county, Ontario, Canada, in October, 1833. On the evening of Monday the 28th, members of the family of Freeman A. Nickerson were seated with some friends around the wide old-fashioned fireplace in the parlor listening to the Prophet's words. "I would be so glad if some one who had been baptized could receive the gift of tongues as the ancient Saints did and speak to us," Moses Nickerson said.
The Prophet replied: "If one of you will rise up and open your mouth, it shall be filled, and you shall speak in tongues."
Everyone then turned as if by a common instinct to Lydia Bailey and said with one voice, "Sister Lydia, rise up."
And then the great glory of God was manifested to this weak but trusting girl. She was enveloped as with a flame, and, unable longer to retain her seat, she arose and her mouth was filled with the praises of God and His glory. The spirit of tongues was upon her, and she was clothed in a shining light, so bright that all present saw it with great distinctness above the light of the fire and the candles.

Among the gifts of the Holy Spirit, that of healing was significantly manifested in behalf of those who believed in the restored gospel. Ezra Booth, a minister of another faith in northeast Ohio of "much more than ordinary culture and with strong natural abilities," went with others to see the Prophet in 1831. One of the visiting group, a Mrs. Johnson, had been afflicted for some time with an injured arm and was not able to lift her hand above her head. During the interview, the conversation turned to the supernatural gifts which were given to the Saints in New Testament times. At length someone said: "Here is Mrs. Johnson with a lame arm; has God given any power to men now on earth to cure her?" Shortly thereafter, according to A. S. Hayden, the Campbellite historian, the Prophet arose and, taking Mrs. Johnson by the hand, said in the most solemn and impressive manner: "Woman, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I command thee to be whole." And while the company looked on in awe, he left the room as the woman rejoiced in the natural strength and vigor that she again possessed in her limb.

Incidents of this kind could be multiplied at length, but a few cases will suffice to illustrate the manifestations of the power of the restored gospel among the Saints. In his journal for the spring of 1831, Jared Carter wrote:
About this time we witnessed some display of the power of God in a miraculous manner in the Church in Thompson, [Ohio]. One case I will mention which happened in my own family under the instrumentality of Joseph the Seer. My youngest child was distressingly sick at the time Joseph came to visit my house, and I told him that I had faith that the babe might be healed; he then spoke in the name of the Lord and said that it should be to me according to my faith; the child was healed immediately. On the same day, one of our sisters was healed from blindness by his instrumentality.
After returning from a mission to the East in the fall of 1832, Elder Carter reported that since he had been identified with the latter-day work he had witnessed "many marvelous manifestations of the power of God, in more than eighty instances." One instance of healing took place in the state of New York. Having been requested to visit a woman whose breast was infected with cancer which had eaten and disfigured it in a most painful manner, and which "was threatening the very dissolution of her body," Elder Carter reported:
I administered to her and prayed my Heavenly Father in the name of Christ to heal her. A few moments later she told me that all pain had left her, and she also told me that a peaceful happy feeling rested upon her, and a pleasant sensation around the afflicted part. I visited her again a few days later, when she informed me that she had been entirely healed, and that all there was left of the cancer was a little scar which was fast healing up.

Benjamin F. Johnson wrote of another incident of healing which occurred in his father's family under the instrumentality of Elder Carter, in the year 1834:
In the course of the summer Elder Jared Carter, a man then of mighty faith, came with other elders to our house, and seeing sister Nancy upon her crutches commanded her in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth to leave her crutches and walk, which she at once did, and never again did she use them, although for years she had borne no weight upon her broken joint. We all knew it to be the power of God, and almost felt to shout Hosanna! to think our beloved sister was again sound in limb and able to walk.

While in New England in the spring and summer of 1833, Orson Pratt recorded in his journal several instances of healing under his administration, one of a woman who had been afflicted for about ten years. Erastus Snow visited another woman, in Boston, who had been "pronounced incurable" by a council of physicians. He wrote:
We anointed her with holy oil, laid our hands upon her and prayed and rebuked the disease; and it departed. This being in the evening. She arose next morning and dressed herself, walked the house and the next day was out of doors, much to the surprise of her physicians and joy of her family.
Before leaving on a mission to England in 1837, Willard Richards and others were instrumental in healing two children, one a suckling child that "lay at the point of death." Elder Richards reported:
I took it in my arms and presented it before the Elders who laid their hands upon it. While in my arms we healed it in the name of Jesus Christ. I then returned it whole to its mother. The other child was also healed; and the parents praised God for his goodness.

Philo Dibble was critically wounded in an encounter with a mob which drove the Saints from Jackson county, Missouri, in 1833. An ounce ball and two buck shot entered his body to the right of his navel, causing him to bleed internally until his body was filled with blood. When he finally received medical attention two days later, the physician, who was a veteran of the Black Hawk War, said he had seen a great many wounded men but never one in this condition who had recovered. Thereupon he pronounced Dibble a dead man. The wounded man later said:
After the surgeon had left me, Brother Newel Knight came to see me, and sat down on the side of my bed. He laid his right hand on my head, but never spoke. I felt the Spirit resting upon me at the crown of my head before his hand touched me, and I knew immediately that I was going to be healed. It seemed to form like a ring under the skin, and around the first bullet hole, also the second and third. Then a ring formed on each shoulder and on each hip and followed down to the ends of my fingers and toes and left me. I immediately arose and discharged three quarts of blood or more, with some pieces of my clothes that had been driven into my body by the bullets. I then dressed myself and . . . from that time not a drop of blood came from me; and I never afterwards felt the slightest pain or inconvenience from my wound, except that I was somewhat weak from the loss of blood.
The next day I walked around the field, and the day following I mounted a horse and rode eight miles, and went three miles on foot.

The spring of 1839 was a trying time for the Saints, but the 22nd July was remembered by them as a day when the power of healing was manifested to a phenomenal degree through the Prophet. Thousands of Latter-day Saints had been driven from the state of Missouri in the winter of 1838- 39, and many of them had gathered to Commerce, Illinois, (later named Nauvoo) where a new gathering place had been designated. Many were seriously ill from exhaustion, the exposures they had suffered in being driven from Missouri, and the poor living conditions under which they were endeavoring to build a city on the swampy banks of the Mississippi River. Scores of people were living in wagons, in tents, and on the ground; and the Prophet had given up his log cabin to the sick and moved his family into a tent, while he ministered day and night to the needs of the afflicted.

On the 22nd of July, Joseph arose and, reflecting upon the situation of the Saints, he called upon the Lord in mighty prayer in their behalf. The Spirit rested upon him in a powerful manner, and he went forth healing all who were in his house and yard. Accompanied by Sidney Rigdon and several members of the Quorum of the Twelve, "he went through among the sick lying on the bank of the river, and he commanded them in a loud voice, in the name of Jesus Christ, to come up and be made whole, and they were all healed." The Prophet then crossed the river to Montrose, Iowa. The first home he entered was that of Brigham Young, who later wrote: "He . . . commanded me in the name of Jesus Christ to arise and be made whole. I arose and was healed." From there the group went to the house of Elijah Fordham. Wilford Woodruff, who was present and whose account agrees with the statements of others who were witnesses, later said:
Brother Fordham had been dying for an hour, and we expected each minute would be his last. I felt the power of God that was overwhelming His Prophet. When we entered the house, Brother Joseph walked up to Brother Fordham, and took him by the right hand; in his left hand he held his hat. He saw that Brother Fordham's eyes were glazed, and that he was speechless and unconscious. After taking hold of his hand, he looked down into the dying man's face and said: "Brother Fordham, do you not know me?" At first he made no reply, but we could all see the effect of the Spirit of God resting upon him. He again said: "Elijah, do you know me?" With a low whisper, Brother Fordham answered, "Yes!" The Prophet then said, "Have you not faith to be healed?" The answer, which was a little plainer than before, was: "I am afraid it is too late. If you had come sooner, I think it might have been." He had the appearance of a man waking from sleep. It was the sleep of death. Joseph then said: "Do you not believe that Jesus is the Christ?" "I do, Brother Joseph," was the response. Then the Prophet of God spoke with a loud voice, as in the majesty of the Godhead: "Elijah, I command you, in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, to arise and be made whole!" The words of the Prophet were not like the words of man, but like the voice of God. It seemed to me that the house shook from its foundation. Elijah Fordham leaped from his bed like a man raised from the dead. A healthy color came to his face, and life was manifest in every act. His feet were done up in Indian meal poultices. He kicked them off his feet, scattered the contents, and then called for his clothes and put them on. He asked for a bowl of bread and milk, and ate it; then put on his hat and followed us into the street to visit the others who were sick.

The company next went to the home of Joseph B. Noble, who also lay very sick in his bed. Brigham Young reported: "He was healed in the same manner."

Wilford Woodruff related:
As soon as we left Brother Fordham's house, we went into the house of Joseph B. Noble, who was very low and dangerously sick. When we entered the house, Brother Joseph took him by the hand, and commanded him, in the name of Jesus Christ, to arise and be made whole. He did arise and was immediately healed.
When Joseph Smith and those who accompanied him from Nauvoo were about to re-cross the Mississippi to their homes, a man who was not a member of the Church requested the Prophet to go and heal his twin children about five months of age, who were "both lying sick nigh unto death." Joseph turned to Wilford Woodruff and said: "You go with the man and heal his children." The Prophet then gave Elder Woodruff a red silk handkerchief from his pocket and instructed him to wipe their faces with it when he administered to them, and they would be healed. "I went with the man and did as the Prophet commanded me," Elder Woodruff related, "and the children were healed."

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