Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Crowded Dedication

Image result for salt Lake temple dedication
Salt Lake Temple Dedication 1893

When a site on the internet receives so many hits in a relativity short time , the site is said to have gone “viral.” I guess this could sum up the number of viewers for which temple dedication? (If I’ve confused you, I’m asking which temple dedication has had the most viewers to date?)

A)     Monticello, Utah

B)     Winter Quarters, Nebraska

C)     Palmyra, New York

D)     Anchorage, Alaska

Yesterday’s answer:

(C)   Parley P. Pratt, Ziba Petersen, Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer Jr.

The following from Parley P. Pratt: Elders Cowdery, Whitmer, Peterson, myself, and F. G. Williams, who accompanied us from Kirtland, now assembled in Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, and came to the conclusion that one of our number had better return to the church in Ohio, and perhaps to headquarters in New York, in order to communicate with the Presidency, report ourselves, pay a visit to the numerous churches we had organized on our outward journey, and also to procure more books.

   For this laborious enterprise I was selected by the voice of my four brethren. I accordingly took leave of them, and of our friends in that country, and started on foot.

   In nine days I arrived at St. Louis, distance three hundred miles. It was now the latter part of February; the snow had disappeared, the rivers were breaking up, and the whole country inundated as it were with mud and water. I spent a few days with a friend in the country, at the same place we had tarried in the way out; and then took a steamer in St. Louis bound for Cincinnati, where I landed in safety after a passage of one week. From Cincinnati I travelled on foot to Strongville, Ohio, forty miles from Kirtland.

   This last walk consisted of some two hundred and fifty miles, over very bad, muddy road; and for some days I had found myself much fatigued, and quite out of health. Hearing of some brethren in Strongville. I determined to inquire them out, and try their hospitality to a sick and weary stranger without making myself known.

   I accordingly approached the house of an old gentleman by the name of Coltrin, about sundown, and inquired if they could entertain a weary stranger who had no money. The old gentleman cast his eyes upon me, and beheld a weary, weather-beaten traveler; soiled with the toil of a long journey; besmeared with mud, eyes inflamed with pain, long beard, and a visage lengthened by sickness and extreme fatigue. After a moment’s hesitation he bade me welcome, and invited me into his house. Several ladies were at tea. I addressed them as a stranger who had come to partake of their hospitality for the night.

   They received me with a smile of welcome, and immediately insisted on my sitting down to tea, during which something like the following conversation took place:

   “Stranger, where are you from? You certainly look weary; you must have travelled a long distance!”

   “Yes; I am from beyond the frontiers of Missouri; a distance of twelve hundred miles.”

   “Ah, indeed! Did you hear anything of the four great prophets out that way?”

   “Prophets! What prophets?”

   “Why, four men—strange men—who came through this country and preached, and baptized hundreds of people; and, after ordaining Elders and organizing churches, they continued on westward, as we suppose, to the frontiers on a mission to the Indians; and we have never heard from them since. But the great work commenced by them still rolls on. It commenced last fall in Kirtland, and has spread for a hundred miles around; thousands have embraced it, and among others ourselves and many in the neighborhood.”

   “But what did they preach? And why do you call them prophets?”

   “Why they opened the Scriptures in a wonderful manner; showed the people plainly of may 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 travelling, 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? O, who would not give the world to see them!”

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

   “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.”

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

Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, pg. 66-69.

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