Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The First Natural Death

Image result for lds carthage jail

Persecutions raged, mobs hunted, and the Saints were forced to flee from one locality to another. Bullets and disease took their toll. Many members, along with the general Church leadership fell as martyr’s to the cause. Ironically thought, who was the first general authority to die of natural causes? I’ve never given a hint before, but I will now, remember, I said it was ironic. Joseph Smith years earlier had prophesied that this individual would see the day when his friends would fall (die) on either side of him and bullets would fly around him, but that he would survive.

A)     Joseph Smith Sr.

B)     Parley P. Pratt

C)     Samuel Smith

D)     Willard Richards

Yesterday’s answer:

(B)   Israel

   George Grau, the first convert to the LDS Church in Ottoman Palestine during the nineteenth century, was born 4 March 1840 in Obermuehle Welzheim, Wuerttemberg, Germany. He emigrated from Europe to a German colony in Haifa (a coastal city in modern Israel) and was working there as a blacksmith when Jacob Spori came from Constantinople in 1886 to continue his missionary labors. Elder Spori had seen Grau and his blacksmith shop in a dream before he arrived in Haifa, and immediately upon landing he made his way to the shop. He was greeted enthusiastically by Grau, who told him that he in turn had seen Spori in a dream the previous night and wanted to hear his message. Grau was baptized 29 August 1886 in Acre (Haifa) Bay by Elder Spori and was ordained an elder on 3 September. Grau taught the gospel to his wife (Magdalena) and baptized her, as well as others, on 19 September 1886.

Arnold K. Garr et al., Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), 442-43.

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