Monday, January 23, 2017

His Spiritual Eyes were Opened

On July 15, 1889, visiting General Authority, Elder John W. Taylor, stated that he saw who during a fast and testimony meeting in Cardston, Alberta?
a.                  The Savior
b.                  Charles O. Card
c.                   Brigham Young
d.                  The Three Nephites
Yesterday’s answer:
c.   A chair
Recalling his success of two years before with the Temperance Society in Preston, Kimball took his two friends to the August 25 meeting of the London Temperance Society in their hall on St. George’s Row, “near the Elephant and Castle.” George Smith addressed the group as an American opposed to the use of alcohol and was cordially received. They were able to arrange to rent the hall for September 7, 1840, and to have an announcement of that fact made. 
   Since the seventh was still a few days off, they decided to try some outdoor preaching at Smithfield Market, where they stood on the spot where Queen Mary had ordered the burning of John Rogers, the Protestant martyr. They hoped this association with past persecutions might lead to a more tolerant hearing from the crowd that habitually listened to, and usually taunted, speakers. Before they could speak, however, a constable told them the lord mayor had outlawed street preaching.
   “Whereupon,” Woodruff reported, “a Mr. Henry Connor stepped forward to say that he would lead us to a place outside the Lord Mayor’s jurisdiction.” He took them to Tabernacle Square, where a throng of about four hundred was gathered. Kimball worked his way up to the chair on which a preacher stood and told him that there was an American there who would like to be heard. George Smith was then granted use of the chair and spoke for about twenty minutes, starting off on familiar ground from Mark 16:16 (“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned”).
   He was warming up to the Joseph Smith story and the new Zion in America when the preacher jumped up to shout that he had just learned that the American speaker was a Mormon. “I know them, they are a very bad people and have split up many churches, and have done a great deal of hurt . . . we have the Gospel and can save people without infidelity, socialism or the Latter-day Saints.”
   The preacher demanded his chair and ran off with it, to the amusement of the crowd. Kimball announced that they would return at three o’clock that afternoon with a chair of their own and urged all to come and hear their message. Quite a few did show up and the three missionaries spoke to them for an hour and a half. Even when they were finished several small groups lingered on to pose questions. And Mr. Connor was most interested of all. The Church records show that on the next day, Monday, August 31, 1840, “Elder Kimball baptized Henry Connor, watchmaker, 52, Iron Monger’s Row, London, in Peerless Pool, being the first baptized in London.”

Robert Mullen, The Latter-day Saints: The Mormons Yesterday and Today (New York: Doubleday, 1966), 66-67.

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