1789 - 1872
as written by himself
(Found in an old trunk where he kept his papers)
(Sentence construction & punctuation left as he wrote it)
I was born June 24, 1789, the name of my parents were John and Elizabeth Pulsipher, my grandfather whose name was David Pulsipher was supposed to be a decendant from Ireland. I have not much knowledge of his ancestors. He brought up a family in Connecticut, New England. In the year 1769 he came to a new state called Vermont, went up the Connecticut River to Bellows Falls. Went five miles back to a place afterwards called Rockingham, an entire wilderness country, where seldom a blow had been struck by a white man. There he selected and obtained 500 acres of land and proficed or predicted things that would take place in years to come, which was a site for a meeting house, buring ground back of it and a town site where water was erected.
He cleared some land, built a "Plbic House" or "Tavern". He helped establish a settlement and converted the wilderness into a fruitful field. This is where I was born. But when the Revolutionary War commenced my father was very young and being away from home one day he heard that the British Army had destroyed some Military stores at Concord, New Hampshire, and being fired with indignation he sought for a recuruiting officer and enlisted for one campaign. When he returned home and informed his father of the circumstances, the old gentleman told him that he was too young and that he would enlist and go with him. Accordingly he did, and they both went to Boston, Massachusetts. In the memorable Battle of Bunker Hill, the 17th of June 1775, there they stood side by side and fought with about 13 Americans against 3000 of the Bristish for about two hours. When the enemy, after firing Charleston and wending around under the smoke, and nearly surrounded that wing of their own army, when they saw but a small gap to retreat through which was then acontinally plowing the ground with balls from the shipping. But while they were going out my grandfather saw one of our men wounded and crawling away on his hands and knees. In the meantime a British soldier ran him through with a bayonet, being filled with indignation at such rank breach of the laws of all civillized nations he immediately stopped, amid scenes of death and cannage, loaded his gun and shot that man down before he left the ground and then obtained a safe retreat. I speak of this to let my posterity know that our ancestors were clothed with that steady unshaken determination in time of the most immanent dangers that are incident to human life.
In a few weeks after this my grandfather died with cramp rheumatism in his breast, (no doubt heart ailment). My father served his time out and returned home and attened to the cares of a family, married Elizabeth Dutton and raised a family of seven sons and three daus.
My oldest brother's name was Oliver, who raised a large family in the state of New York on Lake Ontario. The second was David, who raised a family, living with my father in Vermont, where he died. John also married, but had no children. Solomon married and died in the war of 1812, with England - without child. I am the next, have raised a large family. Elijah has raised a family. Arunah the seventh has a family. My oldest sister Elizabeth married and raised a family by a man named Lloyd (Lord) E. Archer. Polly, second sister, married a man by the name of Dexter Newton, raised a family in the state of New Hampshire. My sister Sybbel, married a man by the name of Abram Newbury and lives in the state of Iowa.
My father was absolute in his family government, kind and affectionate to all his friends. His common practice was to make a feast once in a year and invite some of the poorest people that were in the town and seemed to take pleasure in their company. I lived with him twenty-five years and never knew him to turn a beggar away empty. He lived to the age of seventy-eight and my mother to eighty-six.
But to return to my own history-- when I was but a child I frequently had serious reflections but never prayed. When I was a small boy my father was taken sick for some time I was not much concerned. `til I heard some of the neighbors say that Mr. Pulsipher must die. This put me to thinking that if my father should die that a large family of small children would be left without a head to the open winter subject to many disasters that were incident to human life. I could not bear the thought. An impression immediately came to me that I must go to the barn and there pray for his recovery. I turned and ran as fast as I could and when I got there I was about to bow down when something informed me that if I did I should die there and never return, which scared me so that I turned and ran back as fast as my legs would carry me. But my Father in Heaven took the will for the deed and restored my father to health.
Nothing of important nature happened for a number of years till I think I was about fourteen or fifteen years of age. When one evening as I was sitting by the fire-side in my father's kitchen alone, a sudden influence over-powered my mind to such an extent that I lost sight of everthing on earth for some time, I never knew how long. Suffice it to say, that it was necessary that more preparation should be made before I should be willing to pass the Vale of Death. Though I could not be reconciled to souls left in Hell fire to all Eternity as I had been taught by the Sectarians, still there were some things among the Sects that appeared reasonable, I have often heard my father say that the signs of Christ's second coming was often seen and that he would come before many years should pass away. And if he did not live to see it, likely his children would.
However, when I was about twenty-one I married a very agreeable companion, lived with her about one year when she died leaving one child which we named Harriet. After the death of my wife (Polly or Mary Randell) I had some anxiety about her state and condition, consequently in answer to my desires in a few weeks she came to me in vision and appearing natural looked pleasent as she ever did and sat by my side and assisted me in singing a hymn - beginning thus: "That glorious day is drawing nigh when Zions Light Shall Shine." This she did with a seeming composure. This vision took away all the anxiety of my mind concerning her in as much as she seemed to enjoy herself well. This hymn which she introduced and sang with me applied to the great work of the Last Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. This transpired about ten years before Joseph Smith had discovered the first Revelation of the work of the last days. My mind became calm as respecting her condition in the spirit world.
In the year 1814 I hired a farm at Bellows Falls on the Connecticut River and being alone gave my brother John the privilege to work it with me. In the fall of that season there were the most extrodinary Northern Lights that I had ever saw, it was the cause of many speculative notions among the people but my father said it was the signs of the last days and of Christ's second coming. I regarded by father's remarks as specimens of good sense.
I soon wound up my business in that country and went to Pennsylvania, in Susquahannah County. A new country where there were much good timber. I built a mill, cleared a farm and married a wife by name of Mary Brown. A very agreeable companion by whom I have a large family of kind children. I stayed in that country about eight years and labored very hard rafting on the Susquahannah River, and many times my life was much exposed but I stayed in that country about eight years and removed to Oneadago County in the state of New York. I then lost my only son by the fall of a tree which caused much grief to me in that place.
I had many agreeable friends and good society there. I bought a farm and built a mill. I also built a meeting house for the Baptist Church which I was then associated with. In the summer of 1831 I heard a Minister say than an ancient record of Golden Bible in Manchester near Palmyra which remark struck me like a shock of electricity at the same time thought it might be something that would give light to my mind upon principles that I had been thinking of for years and many time I had remarked that if the pure church with its gifts and graces was not on the earth, if so I had not found it. But I shoud be happy enough to find it in my day.
I embraced it accordingly in the fall of 1831 there was a Book of Mormon brought into town I succeeded in getting it I directly read it through twice gave it a thorough investigation an believed it was true and he winter following Jerod Carter came that way from a mission to Vermont to Lake George. As soon as he came into town I, with two Methodist preachers went to see him after a reasonable introduction I questioned him upon the principles of the ancient gospel with all its gifts belinging to it. I asked him upon the principles of the ancient gospel with all its gifts belinging to it. I asked him if he believed it, he answered in the affirmative. I asked him if he had ever laid hands on the sick and they had recovered. Yes, he said, he had in many instances.
He preached the following evening to a crowded congregation held up the Book of Mormon and declared it to be a revelation from God. I could not gain-say anything he had said, he sat down and gave liberty for remarks, the congreation seemed to be in a maze not knowing what to think of what they had heard. I arose and said to the congregation that we had been hearing strange things and if true they were of the utmost importance to us. If not true it was one of the greatest impositions and as the preacher had said that he had got his knowledge from heaven and was nothing but a man and I the same, that I had just as good a right to obtain that blessing as he, therefore I was determined to have that knowledge for myself which I considered it my privilege, from that time I made it a matter of fervent prayer.
I think about the seventh day as I was thrashing in my barn with doors shut, all at once there seemed to be a ray of light from heaven which caused me to stop work for a short time, but soon began it again. Then in a few minutes another light came over my head which caused me to look up.
I thought I saw the Angels with the Book of Mormon in their hands in the attitude of showing it to me and saying, "This is the Great Revelation of the Last Days in which all things spoken of by the Prophets must be fulfilled."
The vision was so open and plain that I began to rejoice exceedlingly so that I walked the length of my barn crying, "Glory Hal-La-Lu-Ya to the God and the Lamb forever."
For some time it seemed a little difficult to keep my mind in a proper state of reasonable order, I was filled with the joys of heaven. But when my mind became calm I called the church together, (he being their Minister) and informed them of what I had seen. I told them of my determination to join the Church of Latter-Day- Saints, which I did and a large body of my church went with me. I was ordained to the office of an Elder and went to preaching with considerable success at home and abroad. I had the privilege of baptizing Wilford Woodruff on the 31st of Dec, 1833, at Richland, New York. (see page )
At length there came one or two Elders there with enthusiastic spirits which led the church into diversion which caused me a journey of 325 miles to get council to settle the difficulty. I remained in that part preaching in regions around and had the privilege of baptizing may into the kingdom till the spring of 1835, in which I gathered up the remnants of that church and went to Kirtland. There I assisted in the building of that Temple; in the winter of 1836 I received my first endowment in that house, with about 300 Elders.
I labored to support my family in the fall of 1837, I went to Canada on a mission, raised a branch of 29 members. I returned January 29, 1838, to Kirtland. I was ordained to The Council of The First Presidency of Seventies.
I took a mission south of Susquahannah and Delware Rivers, preached considerable, established a branch with some persecution. One day I stopped my carriage at the hitching post before a large house, where I saw a number of women looking out the window. They were entire strangers too, as I had never seen them before. One woman met me at the door, called me brother, and said she had a vision she saw a Mormon Elder drive up the yard, observe the horse and carriage and person, and as soon as she saw me she knew I was the one. We called a meeting and I preached there that night.
The season following there arose a great persecution, the Saints were able to escape in the best manner they could. Joseph was carried away in a box nailed on an ox sled to save his life. Old father Joseph was taken out of a window in the night and sent away horseback. After the most of the saints were gone to Missouri I remained in Kirtland with about four of the First Presidents of Seventies. We continued to hold our meetings in the Temple. Accordingly while we were at a meeting one Sunday, we took a notion to put our property together and remove in that way and when we had made that calculation we felt a great flow of the spirit of God, not withstanding the great inconvenience we labored for want of means. We lacked means to move ourselves and many poor that were yet remaining that had neither clothing nor teams to go with.
But when they heard that we were going together and would help one another they wanted to join us and get out of that hell pf persecution. Therefore, we could not neglect them for all there was against them was that they were poor and could not help themselves. We continued to receive them till we got between five and six hundred on our hands. According to our convenant we had got them to move or stay there with them so we found we had a got a job on our hands. We counciled together from time to time on the subject and came to the conclustion that we could not effect the purpose short of the marvelous power of God by the power of the Priesthood.
Therefore, we concluded to best go into the Temple in the atic story and pray that our father would open the way and give us means to gather with the saints in Missouri which was near a thousand miles away. Accordingly, one day while we were on our knees in Prayer, I saw a messenger apparently like an old man with white hair down to his shoulders. He was a very large man near seven high, dressed in a white robe down to his ankies. he looked on me then turned his eyes on the others and then to me again and spoke, "Be one and you shall have enough".
This gave us great joy; we immediately advised the brothern to scatter and work for anything that they could get that would be useful in moving to a new country. Some went to making staves to sell on the lake shore, among which I was one. I think it was in the month of March that I was at work in the woods about nine o'clock in the morning there appeared to be a mighty rattling of wagons at the south. I suppose it must be as much as a dozen wagons rattling on the stones, it continued to draw nearer till I discovered it to be in the air as it drew near I heard the sound of a steamboat puff; it passed immediately over our heads and went on about one mile to Kirtland Temple, there it appeared in the form of a steamboat loaded with passengers. Older Elder Beamen who was the President of the Elders, had annointed them a few months before but had been dead a short time, he was in the bow of the boat. He was singing and swinging his hat still it came in front of the Temple. It then divided in two parts, the one was black and other white; the white went west and the black went north.
The explanation of the phenomenon we saw whith much clearness. When with in a few months from that time there was a division of the authorities of the church. A number of the Twelve and First Presidents of Seventies descended and led many after them but the pure in heart went west. But we observe while we were attending to our prayers in the Temple from time to time there was a curious circumstance transpired.
A Methodist meeting house stood a few rods from the Temple which took fire one night there was a brand of fire thrown into the Temple at a window but went out. Most of the people being very hostile, the mob laid the charge of burning the house to the Council of Seventies. There was no doubt but they fired it themselves hoping by that means to get a pretex for our destruction but we knew we were innocent and trusted in God. We continued our course steadily along and paid no attention to them. There was a universal determination that we should never leave that place in a company and they knew as well as we that the poor could not go but alone; therefore, they had a deep plot laid for our destruction.
But we knew where our hope was grounded and kept our steady course preparing to go out in a company well organized. But as I related to the burning of that house, they raged to a great extent because most of them supposed that we had actually done it. But as the Lord dictated to the great leader of that mob who had once been a Mormon and well calculated to carry out his devilish designs - was held by the power of God so that he had a vision and saw those that fired the house and seemed to be greatly astonished for a while and then met with the mob and informed them that it was not the Council that burned the house and he knew who it was but dared not tell on account of the law because he could prove only by vision, which they would not believe and still swore vengence on us. But he swore by all the Gods that lived that he would have revenge on them if they lost a hair of our heads. He had a large store of goods and could swear and get drunk. He had some influence with them so that we were preserved by the hand of God.
We obtained money and clothing for the company and the 4th day of July this man that had led the mob invited me to take all our teams and company and camp in a clover field which was about one foot high. I thanked him and embraced the officer. The next day we all went out all in order as we said we would in the beginning with about 65 teams and seventy cows. Nothing transpired for some weeks until we got to Dutton and got out of money. The people would take nothing of us but money for our expenses and at a high price too. We went into council and prayed to God for money and provisions. Accordingly the Lord sent a Turn-Pike Jober after us to get us to do a job for him. We therefore agreed with him for a job of twelve hundred dollars which we did in good order with his acceptance. He then wanted us to do another Job, it was then very dry and the wells so low that it was difficult to get water for our animals in the dry part of the country if we should go on. But we inquired of the Lord for what was best and we were impressed to go on, not knowing what we should do for drink but the day following there fell shuch a flood of water that the low places in the country were full and we got along very well. When we got in to Illinois a few of our company stopped and further on in Illinois, Joseph Young with others stopped. The remainder of us went on continually hearing reports that there was war in Missouri and if we went on we should be killed by the mob. But we went in good order, keeping guards all the time. When we arrived within five miles of Far West, which was the metropolis of the Church in Missouri, there Joseph and Hyrum met us, greatly pleased that we had arrived with so large a company. They conducted us on to Far West and we camped around the Temple cellar as they had it dug.
In the morning, the first of Oct, 1838, Joseph came to me and said he wished me to take company and go to Diemmon, Davies County, about 25 miles north which would take us two days and advised us to guard our wagons during the night. I informed him that his advice was good but we had not been without a guard since we left Kirtland. However, we went on to the place appointed and found a few brethern there surrounded by numerous mobs. Being greatly rejoiced to see us come and we were as glad to get through for we had been on the road with a large company from the 5th of July to the 3rd of October. We suffered the perils of a hard journey for near one thousand miles among a hostil people, but the Lord had brought to try us to see what our faith was made of. We expected we had got home where we could locate our families and prepare to build up Zion, therefore we sold our loose property for improvements, subject to free nation rights.
The people being much opposed to our faith decided to drive us out of the country and obtain their farms back again that we had paid for. To carry this out they began to burn their houses and thn go to the Governor and swear that we had drove them out of them out of their settlements and burned their buildings. Davies County was a beautiful place situated on Grand River. First rate land and plenty of good timber where we supposed there had been an ancient city of the Nephites, as the newn stone were already there in piles also the Mound or alter built by Father Adam, where he went to offer sacrifices when he was old. leaning upon his staff, prophesying the most noted thing that should take place down to the latest generation, therefore it was called "Adamon-diamon".
There we stayed about a month, being continually annoyed by mobs and thieves stealing everyhting that they could lay their hands upon that beloned to people of our church. In the time I was there I assisted to build sixteen houses and the longest that I lived in one was four days. I had a large family with an aged mother; I think I never slept many nights while I was there without having my sword and pistols by my bed and frequently called by the sound of the bugle to defend the people from mobs, yet all the while we expected to stay there and by faith and works retained our places.
Then one day there came two messengers from Far West and informed us that Joseph, with others of the authorities of the church at Far West were delivered into the hands of the mob and that they (the mob) had three thousand men and the word from Joseph to us was that they would be likely to come here soon and adised us to lay away our arms, go to work and submit to anything that they should say. This struck us with a great depression of spirit, not knowing how to comprehend the ways of God. We had expected to stay there, locate our families and preach the gospel, but we were disappointed and right afront us we knew not and were left in a perfect state of suspence.
But we knew nothing than to abide by the word of the Prophet. But in this conflict of feeling I walked away from the company where I had received the above information toward the grove and said in the auguish of my soul, "Lord what does all these things mean?" The answer to me was instantaneous, though in-expressed "Be still and know that I am God." In a moment I was at rest and happy in my condition. I returned immediately back to the company that I had left and said to them, "Have no fear for God will provide a way for our escape."
So we trusted in him but if we had not have received word from Joseph we should have been very likely to have sent hundres of them to hell, cross lots, for there were about 130 of us well armed. There was but one place where they would be likely to cross the river in a line exactly in front of our cannons, well loaded with small slugs of iron. We had not only our houses, lands, wives and children, but the House of God to fight for. But the Lord's "Be still, and know that I am God" was with us. Therefore, we were quiet, bearing the afflictions that were laid upon us. We went to our labors, soon after this. I, with other people, went across the river three miles to gather corn, when 800 of the mob were seen coming upon us; as they came up to the gate where we were at work they halted and sent a messenger to inform us that we were then prisoners. I happened to be on a load the nearest to them they directed their attention to me and said we must go with them. I observed to them that we were there gathering for our families and cattle which they were in view of. They then said we might fill our wagons, get some boys to drive them home and go with them.
Accordingly we did. They went about a mile and halted. We were surrounded by a strong guard for some time and then discharged and sent home to await their trip into town. We had not gone more than 50 or 100 rods before we heard a volley of guns fired. I would think from fifty to one hundred. The balls came there among us. We looked around and saw a company supposed to be one hundred men paraded a little to the south of the main camp. They also gave a second shot; we kept a sturdy walk as though nothing had happened, for they hurt none of us. We went home the same day into Diammon, took all arms from the people and then put strong guard around us.
In that time we were often ensulted by scoundrals in the shape of men which brought us near a fight, but the commander stopped it however. He prowled around there for a number of days and then gave us ten days to get out of that place or the mob would be set loose upon us. This had been the case all the time but now we had nothing to defend ourselves with. Besides there were many poor people that had no teams and many widows that had nothing but small children.
I immediately got my horses shod and took my family, a widow and family, another family all to one lead and moved to Far West, then returned back after another family. This was among the last that went out while the mob were prowling about stealing all they could find but although I was alone the last night I lay down by the side of my horses and saved them and went the next day and got the other family and carried them to Far West. This was the last of November; we were all destitute for grain or feed for our teams, our fields of corn were 20 miles off among the mobs as was also that few cattle we had but the most of our corn was destroyed before we could get it. We therefore, had hard living through the winter. After I had obtained a little meal for my family I went away up to the Platt Country with my team to get work for money to move out of the State in the spring as the edict of the Governor was that we should raise any more crops in that state.
I obtained some money and returned to my family, but while I was gone I was obliged to saty at a mob tavern one night, alone, where they were very hostile. I was obliged to stay at a mob tavern one night, alone, where they were very hostile. I did not like their appearances but I was obliged to stay there or run the risk of freezing on the great cold prarie, therefore, I had to watch as well as pray. But in the later part of the night I heard people in the lower part of the house in much commotion. I heard them saying they never saw suck things before. They seemed to be much astonished at what they saw in the heavens. I raised myself up in bed, and looked out and saw a very bright circile around the moon with a very bright half circle at the outside of that with a very bright spot at the side of that nearly as big as the sun, then another appearent sun in the northwest with another in the southwest, which gave a very extrodinary appearence. This gave them such a fright that they could pay no more attention to me, so I went on in peace.
But I prepared to move to Illinois, I took my horse and rode to Richmond to get my gun that they took from me at Diammon/Diamonn in the war. I obtained it and prepared to move in March. I buried my mother there on a divide near Plum Creek. We succeeded in moving to Curney; I found rents on houses so high that it would be hard for a poor man with a large family as I had to obtain a living and get anything ahead. Therefore, I took my horse up the river to Lyma and found a forest of about 11 miles square and considerable game in it. I went into the timber with Brother Burgess. I lost one horse moving from Missouri, my son-in-law lost one too, and had to stop among strangers with my daughter who had given birth to a child on the prarie.
I borrowed another horse and went to Illinois with my family and then returned for the remainder. We went into Bear Creek timber and with one horse and our hands, built three homes, cleared 13 acres of land and put it into crops, but we had nothing to live on until the crops were ripe. Brother Burgess and boys were strong to work out but I was not able to do so on account of the exposure that I had past. Therefore, I could not do a days work in a day. I knew not how to obtain food for my family. While hesitating upon these things, I dreamed that I was going to make boxes and measures and also dreamed how to make a frame to turn them in and dreamed that my women and children were making baskets and that I went to sell them. In the morning I went and found some excellent timber for that purpose and made the frame according to the pattern that I had seen and also found some suitable timber for baskets.
The women went to work according to their direction from me. We soon obtained a small load and went out into the settlement and sold them directly for every kind of provisions that we wanted to live upon and some money. In this way we got along until harvest.
This season one of our neighbors from Nauvoo came for help in sickness and informed us that there was not well ones enough to take care of the sick. I sent my daughter and sister there to help take care of the sick. I promised them that I would come to conference and see them. Accordingly, when the time came, I took my carriage and went up. Went first to the place where my daughter was, and found the house shut up, window curtains drawn. I knocked at the door, and a faint voice answered. I went in and found a large family and every person laying prostrate. My daughter was the last one that came down and she had been down about one week having the whlle family to nurse night and day, she could not endure it. When I entered the house she heard my voice and she spring from the bed and said, "Father, you have come. I want to go home." I told her to get ready and I would go and look for my sister. I went where she was and found her and the family in the same situation. I put a bed into the carriage and went home the same day and nursed them three months before I could heal them.
It was thought that my daughter would die but I did not give her up, but I called (came) to the bed one day to see her close her eyes in death. I was her (she was) apparently breathing her last.
At that instant the spirit of God came upon me. I said, "Mariah, do you want to live to raise a family, keep the commandments of God and do all you can to build up Zion?" She opened her eyes and said she did. I said to her, "Then, you will live." That hour she sat up in bed and immediately got well, as did also my sister.
I would like to tell another little incident that happened. There was a man with a family come into the Church, who lived about fifteen miles from me, who had a brother-in-law that was possessed with the Devil, and was chained in a tight room. Numbers had been there to administer to him, but to no effect. I went there to preach in the after part of the day. The man got loose and was breaking down the ceiling. They had been in the habit of getting a very strong man to help on such occasions, and were about to send for him in a hurry. I desired them to let me see him before they did. They were afraid he would come out and kill some of them. With much persuasion I got them to unlock the door of his room, but of all the rough language and profane swearing, and threatening anyone who came in sight, I had never heard before. They said he was dangerous to encounter with, but I entreated him to let me open the door. I had full confidence that I could handle him, with the help that God would give me. I was satisfied that they did not understand my intention.
I looked through the crack of the door. When he caught my eye he bawled out "Old Pulsipher, I know you of old." At that instant I burst the door open. He stood with a sharp stick in his hand drawn back ready to stab me. Although he was a stout man and full of violent passion, I closed in with him so quick that he did not know what was up till he lay on his back, an I holding him while they bound him again. The family seemed a little surprised, however, before I left next morning the man whose name was Samuel Newcomb wished me to come and stay with him one year. He would give me large wages for he said that I could handle the sick man with ease and he could leave his family and home with more safty. He was a man of considerable business and preperty to manage. I asked him if he wished to gather up to Kirtland with the Church. He said he would if he could sell his farm. He wanted $1,611 for all. We arranged for him to go the next spring, and I took the whole care of the wild man. I recollect at one time upon the matter of his feeding, he flew into a rage all at once and broke loose. I was at work in the barn and a messenger came running for me, said the man was killing his mother. I rushed into the room, took him by the shoulders and shook him and said, "Sam, what are you about?" He in a moment left his raging, dropped his head and became docile till he was bound again. Later on we counciled with olf Father Smith and he advised us to get seven Elders of good report, and fast and pray till he was delivered. We consulted the family, who had not kept the word of wisdom, but they agreed to do it. We therefore, took the man, loosened his hands, administered to him in a room by ourselves, and I do not remember of him having a raving spell after that for six months. Then the Devil entered him again. We were called for the second time. The family had promised to keep the covenants, but we found they had returned to the old practice of breaking the Word of Wisdom. We therefore sent a message to Father Smith, and he said if they would not keep the covenants we might go about our business and let them all go to Hell together.
I labored to support my family and in the fall of 1837 I went to Canada on a mission, raised a branch of 29 members, returned January 29, 1838, to Kirtland. I was ordained to the Council of the First President of 70's.
After we had lived in this place near two years, Joseph requested the first Presidents of Seventies to come to Nauvoo; I being one of that number I immediately repaired to Nauvoo and located in its vicinity, made a farm, lived comfortably and assisted in building the Temple. But Missouri mobs were continually seeking the life of Brother Joseph. I think there had been some forty raisings against hime without success.
These mobbers finally came to the conclusion that the law could not reach him but powder and ball could. Therefore, they organized a mob of about 200 men, put him in Carthage Jail with D. Richards, Hyrum Smith and John Taylor. The mobs came and broke the jail, shot Joseph and Hyrum and wounded John Taylor. (This being done it gave us a hard shock and caused much mourning) by shooting four balls into him. The fourth saved his life, striking his watch which was in his vest pocket. After Joseph had fell dead one of the ruffins made a move to take off his head but a singular light shown around him (Joseph) that struck the man with fear. They therefore, flew in every direction and disappeared. Our brothern went and brought them home and buried the dead and restored the wounded.
At this time the mob expected we should rise and give them battle; we thought best not to do it. We just kept still and continued our work on the Temple, finished it and got our end. But at that time most of the 12 were absent on missions. Sidney Rigden, who aspired for the Presidence came and called the church together and presented his claim for the Presidency. But the 12 soon came home and appeared on the stand at the day appointed for choosing. Sidney made his plea. Brigham Young began to speak and at that time I sat with my back towards the stand as did others.
And when Brigham spoke he spoke with the voice of Joseph and we turned around to see Brigham speaking in Joseph's voice and behold Joseph's mantile had fallen on him. The people understood it in the same way. Brigham stood at the head of the twelve therefore the Church turned to him.
Persecution continually waxed against the Church. They thought it best to go to a more secluded land accordingly in January, 1846. I had notice to be ready at three days notice to leave on account of so many attempts to destroy the church. At lenghth I had the notice and started with (a) good team the 2nd day of February, crossed the Mississippi River and went as far as Sugar Creek, till the cold weather broke.
There were about 500 of the heads of the church here. I went back once, gave my son orders to sell what property he could and take the family and follow as soon as the spring opened. We went on from Sugar Creek in the Spring, but streams and tempests opposed our march till late in the season.
I frequently went forward to Pioneer the way and organize places for the poor to stop that was not able to go any farther. In May I took my team and went bgack to meet my family and found them in Lee County, with two teams, a few cows and a few sheep. My sacrifice there was about two thousand dollars. We went on and crossed the Missouri River that season and established a place called Winter Quarters. That fall and winter, which was 1846 and 47, the church suffered exceedingly. When we got there we found so many sick and dying by exposure that I took my team and what help I could raise and drew timber four miles and built six houses. Then I was obliged to go down to Missouri for provisions, was gone about six weeks in winter, camping out, exposed to all the storms that is common in that season of the year.
I brought home what I could; when I got home I was so far exhausted by exposure that I could not walk one step without two crutches. I then sent my boys again, while I took care of the cattle which amounted to 18 head. Many times I went on my crutches to get on my horse, then rode all day to save my cattle from the Indians, who were continually killing them.
That winter was a sorrowful time for the church. Five hundred of our young men were demanded by the General Goverment through the influence of Old Tom Benton, who was a noted mober in the first Missouri presecutions, and was then in the Senate. This left the church with old men, children and many poor women, while their husbands were fighting the battles of the United States.
There were not well people enough to take care of the sick and dying. My boys continued to team through the winter till they both got sick. John was laid on the bed and was near the gate of death for a long time, when I was called in to see him breath his last. he was taken with pheumonia what many people think to be certain sings of death. He looked very much like it to be sure. When I came in the doctor and my family stood around the bed.
I called to him and he opened his eyes. I said, "John, you are not going to die now. I cannot spare you now, you must get well to help us move through the mountains." He immediately began to vomit a large quanity of the most filthy matter I ever saw come from any person's stomach, as black almost as ink. From that hour he began to recover, and soon got able to drive a team.
In the spring the Church Leaders organized a company of about 50 wagons and we started for Salt Lake. I was advised to take ten wagons and go ahead and assist in marking roads, but such storms followed us as I never saw. The highest and driest land in the country was soaked with water so that it was difficult to get along with a wagon. One morning I got on my horse and rode back a few miles to see how the company was getting along. I saw a man walking, with a rubber coat on. I asked him how they got along and he said "first rate"; he put his hands in his pockets and they were full of water.
Parley P. and Orson Pratt and myself went forward, to look for location for the poor, and such as could not go on. We found a grove of timber and called it Garden Grove, a convenient place for a settlement. I then unloaded by wagon and delivered my load of flour and bacon and went back to look after my family. I met them not far brom the Mississippi River - 1847. One boy got his leg broke and one man broke his arm in my company, but I set them and they soon got well.
We arrived in the Valley about the 23rd of September, 1847, with all our stock except the sheep. Those we lost at Winter Quarters. He immediately prepared to build. I found grain scarce and hard to get. John Kneff was building a mill, the only one in the Valley. I sold three cows to pay his workmen that I might get grain after he got his mill to running. I went to him for $20 in grain but he said he could not let anyone have more than half that sum, and that was not half what I had paid for. This made me feel very disagreeable because I had a large family and three other families of my friends that had no way of helping themselves and money would not buy it.
I thought on it one night and then come to the conclusion that I would build a mill and take a part of the toll of the grain that was in the Valley. Accordingly, I rallied my help, went onto the mill sight, dug a hole in the bank to live in through the winter about the first of December, and we commensed getting timber, without feed for our cattle and but little for ourselves. We continued our labor with about half rations upon all the different branches of the work till the first of March. By that time we got the first grist mill started and timber out for a sawmill. When done, I ground for one-sixteenth, while others ground for one- twelveth. From that time we had bread to eat with all our families. I have seen the hand of God in preserving ourselves and cattle while the snow was three feet deep in the canyon where we got the timber and some of the time more than one foot in the Valley. And we had not as much fodder as could be carried in one load, and when I looked upon the Circumstance I woulc not comprehend it in any other way but the marvelous power of God in Sustaining them.
1850 - This was a hard season for many after we got our mill running we had enough but lived prudent on account of so many that had none. Indian meal would command $5.00 per bushel but so many poor had none that I sold all I had to spare at $1.00 per bushel, though I was offered $5.00 by those that were going to California, but their gold would not buy it of me when so many poor were starving. There were some informed me that they had not any bread in their houses for six weeks and came to me to buy bran but I sold none, but gave them that.
This scarce time caused people to scratch for life to raise grain, but the crickets were very trouble-some and destroyed many crops in 1851. But in 1852 the gulls came and destroyed them according to the word of the Prophet.
We built a house 34 by 30 on the corner of block 82 or Jordan Street. the next season we built a large barn and made a farm over Jordan about two miles off which gave us a good chance to keep cattle, there was nothing then of a very extraordinary nature with exception of Brother Brigham preached continually to bring the church to obediance, but they were growing rich and careless. Till about the time of the October Conference in 1856 when I understood Brother Brigham to say that the Lord would wait no longer. I think he did not define what chastement testimony that some uncommon event was near at hand, but I was not aware that I had become so dull and careless relative to my duty, till Brother Kimball called on me in public to awake to my duty. I began to call more fevently on the Lord. I soon saw that Brother Kimball was right and that I was holding a high and responsible station in the church as esleep with many others.
Brother Grant who was one of Brigham's councelers was authorized to preach repentance to the people and to a good effect. I with the associates of my Council went before Brother Brigham and informed him that if he knew of any others that would take our places better, magnify it for the interest of the Kingdom than we could, he was perfectly at liberty to do so, but he told us to go and magnify our calling ourselves. There was much confessing among the people of their faults. Brother Brigham gave some strong prophetic language relative to the United States of America. I think not far from this the President and Congress became very hostile to us and seemed to have design to brand us like themselves or destroy us. Therefore, they sent an army to bring us to or destory us, but we thought it not best to bring themin among us because we did not like their hostile spirit nor their habits. Therefore, we sent a few of our young men to meet them which brought them to a stand for further consideration. In the spring following, all the north part of the Territory moved south till the army passed through to their quarters at Camp Floyd.
But previous to this the President and Congress saw their mastake in sending the army here. Notwithstanding, they had charged us with treason and many other offenses, they sent commissionars here, forgave all our sins against them and wished peace and tranquility. Accordingly we all moved back to our possessions peaceably. In the meantime, we were rather destitute of clothing but speculators followed they army and brought more goods to the valley than was ever brought before. So that the people were decently clothed. All this we considered direct from the hand of God to supply our wants. But evils have followed the army, such a herd of abominable characters have come in their wake, that lying, gambling, robbing, stealing, and murdering till it seemed as though they were determined to break up all law and order in the Territory.
They brought with them much liquor which still furthered them in their abomination, and many of our people who were weak joined with them in their wickedness, especially the rising generation who immitated their habits. This gave us some trouble to keep the church in order. Brother Brigham preached continually to bring the church to obediance, but they were now careless.
We had some trouble with the Indians, but nothing in consequence of our being driven out from the United States. I think all the wars we have had with the Indians have not as yet made us so much trouble as the army's sent from the United States.
I still continue my labors in town and on my farm what time I could get I had much labor too among the Seventies remaining councilor. I was frequently out four or five evenings a week besides day meetings.
In March of 1857, I married Martha Hughes, daughter of James and Ann Picton Hughes. She bore me five children.
I discovered that with age that I had approached that it began to wear upon my constitution, I was advised by some to give up my presiding and let a younger man take it that envoked upon it. I therefore gave it with the privilege of remaining in the body of the Seventies or join the High Priests Quorum. I therefore have yet remained in the body of Seventies, considering they were both embraced in the Melcezedic Pristhood. It was a matter of indifference with me.
However the Southern Mission that had been in action for some time had some influence with me, partly on account of its necessity and partly on account of some of my boys that were called there. Therefore, I said I did not know but that I would go there if the Presidency thought it best, but no sooner than they heard of it they sent me an order to go with my family. I therefore put myself in the way of selling my property. My boys heard of it and came to help me move to Dixie. Accordingly the fall of 1862 I removed to Shoal Creek, where my boys were keeping a herd for the Southern people. I found it to be a very healthy section and I enjoyed myself very well, considering the obsecurity of the place. We were a great distance from the abode of the white men, in the very midst of the roving red men.
I will not reflect back to the time our family meetings convened. The first was on February, 1855. I called my children together at my house in Salt Lake at this meeting and said,
"I want to instruct you a little and give such advice which I hope you will remember. First get the spirit of the Lord and keep it, the most of you have the Priesthood and you will be likely to use it to govern your families and bring up your children."
"When a man has a number of good children, he loves all of them. If the destroyer comes to take one of them which will he give, most likely the one he cannot keep, of course. Which child can't you keep by the prayer of faith and the authority of the Priesthood? Pray mighty to God let your thoughts be raised in prayer day and night, that you may have the spirit of the Lord to be with you. Never speak till you know what you are going to say. Never whip a child in anger, be sure that the spirit of the Lord dictates to you when you groom your children. Never let your girls go with men that you do not know for some men have the fever of seducing, therefore, beware who they go with. Some women think if their husbands get another wife they cannot love them any more but they are under a great mistake for he can love one hundred as well as the sun can shine upon each of them in a clear day - if God requires you to get them. Such idle thoughts should be banished from their minds forever. Why is it so, because it is God's order, a man may love his wives just in proportion to their acts of kindness of him. I beg of you mothers to take care of your children while they are with you. I now will give way for you to speak."
Then each child would bear their testimonies. These meetings were held regular once a year and recorded until his death.
He was instrumental in building the town of Hebron. There he died January 1, 1872, at the age of 84. This day closed another chapter in the Book of Life for one of God's chosen and noble sons.
AN INCIDENT IN THE LIFE OF ZERAH PULSIPHER
Related by his son, Charles
In the winter of 1836 and '37, father went on a Mission to Canada in company with Elder Jesse Baker. They traveled and preached and baptized many. One night, father was warned in a dream that the time had come for the Elders to leave at once and he started the next day with Brother Baker leaving some of their appointments unfulfilled. When they reached the ferry boat there was an armed force of militia to prevent every foreigner form leaving. Father and Brother Baker said they could not see them as they walked right past them into the boat with the company and the boat pulled out with them and they were not molested and they reached their appointments and were prevented from leaving for a long time.
TO THE FAMILY OF ZERAH PULSIPHER
Zion's noble son is sleeping Neath the sod of Zion's land Chosen by the great Creator; And by the strenghth of nature's hand.
To the just his spirit has wafted, Not to rest, but plod along; In the quest of the resurrection, Which God says is in the morn.
Among the rocks, amid the desert He has striven to maintain Zion's standard in the mountains, And to honor his Makers name.
Scores of branches from the honored Taught by him to reverence God; Have sprung up and dwelt in Zion And sing their praise with one acord.
Through a useful life he's passed, Bearing Temples unto God; Choosing right; maintaining justice; Taking this path for his abode.
Like the rock of Gibralter He has stood from first to last; Through the blast of persecution And to God his anchor cast.
Companions of the dear departed, One with tottering steps and hoary hair; Sons and daughters of the Shepherd Weep not for thy father dear.
The above poem was read at Grandfather Zerah Pulsipher's funeral. The author of which was not given, therefore, is unknown.
THE FAMILIES OF ZERAH PULSIPHER
ZERAH PULSIPHER (Council of First Presidency of Seventies), b. 24 Jun 1789 in Rockingham, Windham, Vermont, son of John and Elizabeth Dutton.
Zerah md. 1st Mary Randall 6 Nov 1810; she was born abt. 1794 of (not given); dau. of (her parentage was not given); she d. in 1811 after having only one child, named Harriet.
1- Harriet, b.abt 1811 (no more inf. is given concerning her).
He md. 2nd Mary Brown 18 Aug 1815; she was b. 2 Mar 1799 in Kent, Litchfield, Conn.; dau. of John and Sarah Fairchild; she died 7 May 1866 in Hebron, Washington, Utah; she was bur. 9 May 1866 in Hebron, Utah.
1- Mary Ann, b. 30 May 1816 in Susquehanna Co., Penn; she died as an infant 14 Jul 1816.
2- Iona Almira, b. 8 Sep 1817 in Susquehanna Co., Penn; she md. 1st Horace Burgess 6 Mar 1836; 2nd James Pettit 17 Oct 1852; 3rd Leonard Anthony aft 1852. She died 8 Mar 1868.
3- Nelson, b. 28 May 1820 in Susquehanna Co., Penn; he died as a child 7 May 1824.
4- Mariah, b. 17 Jun 1822 in Susquehann Co., Penn; md. William Burgess 17 Sep 1840 (Ted's grandparents); she died 17 Mar 1893.
5- Sarah Ann, b. 2 Nov 1824 in Spafford, Ondg, New York; she md. John Alger 13 Feb 1842; she died 1 Jan 1909.
6- John, b. 17 Jul 1827 in Spafford, Ondg, New York; he md. 1st Rozilla Huffaker 4 Nov 1853; 2nd Esther Minerva (Murray) Barnum; he died 9 Aug 1891.
7- Charles, b. 20 Apr 1830 in Spafford, Ondg, New York; he md. 1st Ann Beers 30 Apr 1849; 2nd Sariah Robbins 16 Jul 1856; 3rd Julia Abby Johnson 13 Dec 1877; he died 20 Nov 1915.
8- Mary Ann, b. 20 Nov 1833 in Scott, Crld, New York; she md. Thomas Sirls Terry 25 Dec 1849; she died 18 Sep 1913.
9- William, b. 22 Jan 1838 in Kirtland, Lake, Ohio; he md. 1st Esther Childester 27 Oct 1861; 2nd Sidney Elizabeth Huffaker 21 Mar 1877; he died 12 Mar 1880.
10- Eliza Jane, b. 26 Jul 1840 in Lima, Adams, Ill; she md. Thomas Sirls Terry 6 May 1855; she died 5 May 1919.
11- Fidelia, b. 13 Oct 1842 in Nauvoo, Hancock, Ill; she died as a child 8 Jan 1846.
He md. 3rd Prudence McNamara 8 Jul 1854 (no mention of issue or no information about her birth or parents).
He md. 4th Martha Ann Hughes 18 Mar 1857; she was born 1 Jul 1843 in Moeland, Pembrokeshire, South Wales; dau. of James and Ann Picton. After the death of Zerah, she md. 2nd Dudley Leavitt, Sr. 30 Nov 1872; she died 17 Jun 1909 at Bunkerville, Clark, Nevada. 1- Martha Ann, b. 21 Dec 1858 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah; she md. Ashel James Barnum 24 Apr 1878; she died 8 Sep 1936.
2- Mary Elizabeth, b. 13 Mar 1860 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah; she md. Dudley Leavitt, Jr. 18 Dec 1879; she died 21 Nov 1923/25.
3- Zera James, b. 27 Apr 1863 in St. George, Washington, Utah; he died in his mid teens 6 Jan 1879.
4- Sarah Jane, b. 24 Jun 1865 in Hebron, Washington, Utah; she died as an infant 17 Jul 1865.
5- Andrew Milton, b. 20 Nov 1867 in Hebron, Washington, Utah; he md. 1st Sarah Rebecca Wait 29 Jun 1895; 2nd Sarah Hanson Leavitt 23 May 1900; he died 20 Feb 1939.
ZERAH PULSIPHER, died 1 Jan 1872 in Hebron, Washington, Utah; he was bur. 3 Jan 1872 at Hebron, Washington, Utah.
MEMORIES OF MY FATHER FROM THE JOURNAL OF JOHN PULSIPHER
In 1842 - Nothing of importance transpired with me, only that I had a good father who never failed to keep plenty of work laid out to keep boys busy, or as he said, "to keep boys out of mischief." I sometimes thought he was rather hard with the children, but when I became older, I was thankful that he never let me go as some of our neighbors boys did, who lived without steady work, for they were soon taken to a steady home--the State's prison.
Hundreds and hundreds were sick and could not get the means to make themselves comfortable. To give a faint idea of the wants of the neighbors, I will tell it in the words of father. He said he laid on the bed one day trying to take a nap, and people kept coming in so often that he could not sleep, and for his own amusement he counted to see how many came in and in the short time that he lay on the bed, which might have been a little over an hour, their were 17 persons called--all wanting something to eat or drink or to comfort the sick, etc. He said he did not know as they called any oftener that day than common. I mention this so you can see how much company a family has that are liberal to give to everyone that calls, although it be but little. Seeing the wants of the people were so great, every good man felt like doing all in his power to bring provision to save their lives.
President Brigham Young and those of the 12 that were present, and about 140 men with 70 teams started as pioneers to make a road and pursue the journey to the mountains and lead the way and find a gathering place for the hosts of Saints that were following up as fast as they could. Father was not able to go--had been sick and crippled so as not to be able to walk for some months, and it was thought wisdom for Charles and me to go and leave him to suffer in his old age with a large family on his hands--but we gave provision and clothing to help those that did go and we prepared to go as soon as we could.
Father, in company with William Burgess, Sen. and Jr., made a sieve 4 yards wide and 40 long and a skiff for fishing. We went up the Missouri River about 20 miles to the little lake, spent the time in fishing til we could go to plowing and putting in crops. I used to generally go--the men that went with me most of the time were Harrison Burgess, Horace Burgess, William Burgess, Jr. and his father, a man named Roswell Terry who worked some with us. We hauled in many loads of choice fish fresh from the water, which was a great blessing to the suffering poor, and the best medicine to cure the scurvy that we could get. We could afford to sell cheap and they that had nothing to pay could have fish without money or price.
As we were not able to work we went down country another days journey. I did some business for father, traded some oxen for cows and etc., and started for home, yoked the cows into the team so Charles could drive them for it was very little that I could do. It took all the faith I could raise to last me home. I did supper most unaccountably. I don't suppose I ate as much as one meal of vituals in ten days. When we arrived home I thought all was well, and that my parents would take care of me and my faith was at an end. The Devil took advantage of this unguarded time and before any one was aware of it my strenghth was gone so that I did all they could for me, and when the doctor failed and the common administration of the Elders did not relieve me, father called in half a dozen Elders and clothed and prayed in the order of the Priesthood. While they were praying my reason returned to me and I saw them in a circle praying for me, which was the first I knew of their being in the room.
My right mind was restored to me but not my strength and I consider it was the power of the Lord that saved me at that time.
The great exposure and fatigue in all kinds of weather since we left Nauvoo was more than my constitution could bear. A regular siege of filious fever set in which was succeeded by the shaking ague* and fever every day. As I had lived so long in an ague country and never had it, it went hard enough with me now to make up for past time. This lasted me about nine months in spite of all the doctoring we could do, and faith we could raise--about this time I some how by chance picked up a piece of paper which read as follows:
"When our saviour was crucified, behold he trembled and shook. The Jews said this man has an Ague. But Jesus answered and said, I have not an ague, but whosoever keepeth these sayings either in memory or in writing shall never have fever or ague so long as they shall live." Note: * "shaking ague" an acute fever. A malarial fever, with paroxysms, consisting of a cold, a hot, and a sweating stage. Any fit of shaking or shivering.
Ref.: Oxford Univ. English Dictionary, vol. 1, p. 37.
This was in father's handwriting and I talked with him about it afterwards and he knew not when it came from and had no remembrance of ever writing it.
But when I saw it I had faith and my ague left me and I had no more of it from that time on to the present, upwards of 18 years.
On the 6th of Jul (1868), I was with Father Pulsipher and his family at a meeting in St. George--a reunion of the surviving members of the Kirtland camp that started from Kirtland 30 years ago today--led by the Presidents of the Seventies, when the last of the Saints left that place--the poor helping the poor and the Lord helped them all and showed great signs in the heavens above, and in the Earth, and led his Saints from the threatened destruction in Ohio to the Church in Missouri a 1,000 miles (away).
In 1870 - Father and Bro. William moved back from the Gunlock farm over on the Clara where they have lived since last March. Father had a severe fit of sickness which came very near taking him away. He saw a vision--Elder Kimball, who had died a few months before, in a carriage more beautiful than is known on Earth, called him to jump in and go along with them. He was informed that he had worked too hard and had not taken proper care of himself. He was about to go. But William's faith, prayers and administrations prevailed with the Lord and father had permission to stay awhile longer. As soon as he had recovered, so he could be moved, William brought him back here to his better home, as he was aware it was not pleasing to us, for him to take father down to that hot country! So he would not consent to let him die there.
Sunday, 31 Dec 1871 - Meeting in New House.
Father is sick--was taken last Wednesday with pain in his side, was annointed and administered to--which eased the pain, but he said he would not be with us long, had his children called from Pine Valley and St. George 30 and 50 miles away, to attend a family meeting Sunday Evening and when the time arrived the family was at Father's house, which was the principal meeting of the town, for there were not many to go to the schoolhouse. Bishop George H. Crosby and James W. Hunt by invitation were at the family meeting and heard and witnessed the will and instructions which father gave concerning his property and family. We had a very good meeting-- singing, prayer and speeches by nearly all the brethren and some of the sisters, on the subject of Father's history and his doing in life-the good counsel he has given, and the glory that awaits him in mansions that are prepared for him--where he is about to go.
He was weak not able to say much, but was intense in the object and prospect before him, and in the welfare of the family and friends he was about to leave behind. He wished us to sing: "This Earth was once a Garden Place"., which we did and meeting closed; yet most of us stayed with him.
He was not able to talk much more after he had finished on business and encouraged us to do our duty to those he was leaving with us and be firm and faithful in the Kingdom of God.
His breath grew shorter and shorter until he stopped breathing 20 minutes to eleven next night, he died! Ref: "A Short Sketch of the History of John Pulsipher, written by himself, reprinted, Jun 1970); retyped by a grandson, Ted Moody.
THE CONVERSION OF THE PROPHET WILFORD WOODRUFF
The Foreshadowing and Spiritual Manifestation of Zerah
Pulsipher's Internal Call to Baptize Wilford Woodruff
For centuries, the world had been bereft of the gospel awaiting the day when the "Restitution of All Things" would be fulfilled. (Acts 3:21.) But it was not until the nineteenth century that such a promise became a tangible hope. At that time, it was made known to a limited number of truth seekers that a restoration would indeed occur in the immediate future and some were even promised that it would happen in their own lifetime.
Wilford Woodruff, who later became President of the Church, had an impressive experience early in life that led him to look forward to the Restoration. An elderly gentleman, Robert Mason, with whom he often visited, told him about a strange vision he had received years earlier. "I was carried away in a vision," the old man wold him, "and found myself in the midst of a vast orchard of fruit trees. I became hungry and wandered through this vast orchard searching for fruit to eat, but I found none. While I stood in amazement finding no fruit in the midst of so many trees, they began to fall to the bround as if torn up by a whirlwind. They continued to fall until there was not a tree standing in the whole orchard. I immediately saw thereafter shoots springing up from the roots and forming themselves into young and beautiful trees. These budded, blossomed, and brought forth fruit which ripened and was the most beautiful to look upon of anything my eyes had ever beheld. I stretched forth my hand and plucked some of the fruit. I gazed upon it with delight; but when I was about to eat of it, the vision closed and I did not taste the fruit."
At he conclusion of the vision, Mr. Mason had prayed that the Lord would give him the interpretation. "Then the voice of the Lord came to me saying: `Son of man, thou hast sought me diligently to know the truth concerning my Church and Kingdom among men. This is to show you that my Church is not organized among men in the generation to which you belong; but in the days of your children the Church and Kingdom of God shall be made manifest with all the gifts and the blessings enjoyed by the Saints in past ages. You shall live to be made acquainted with it, but shall not partake of it's blessings before you depart this life. You will be blest of the Lord after death because you have followed the dictation of my Spirit in this life."
Then the elderly gentleman looked at the young man and made an unusual prophecy: "Wilford, I shall never partake of this fruit in the flesh, but you will and you will become a conspicuous actor in the new kingdom."1
Of course Wilford Woodruff was moved by what he had heard. "To me this was a very striking circumstance," he later wrote. "I had passed many days during a period of twenty years with this old Father Mason. He had never mentioned this vision to me before. On this occasion he said he felt impelled by the Spirit of the Lord to relate it to me."
In addition to hearing the old man's prophecy that he would live to embrace the truth, young Wilford came to the same conclusion himself after his own sincere search: "I had given myself up to the reading of the Scriptures and to earnest prayer before God day and night as far as I could years before I heard the fullness of the gospel preached by a Latter-day Saint. I had pleaded with the Lord many hours in the forest, among the rocks, and in the fields, and in the mill--often at midnight for light and truth and for His Spirit to guide me in the way of salvation. My prayers were answered and many things were revealed to me. My mind was open to the truth so much so that I was fully satisfied that I should live to see the true Church of Christ established upon the earth and to see a people raised up who would keep the commandments of the Lord."
The fulfillment of Father Mason's prophecy was as unusual as the prophecy itself. "The vision was given to him (Father Mason) about the year 1800," Elder Woodruff wrote. "He related it to me in 1830, the spring in which the Church was organized. Three years later when I was baptized (by Zerah Pulsipher) into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, almost the first person I thought of was this prophet, Robert Mason. Upon my arrival in Missouri with Zion's Camp, I wrote him a long letter in which I informed him that I had found the true gospel with all its blessings; that the authority of the Church had been restored to the earth as he had told me it would be; that I had received the ordinances of baptism and the laying on of hands; that I knew for myself that God had established through Joseph Smith, the Prophet, the Church of Christ upon the earth.
AN INTERNAL CALL TO PREACH-- Some of the first Elders who served as missionaries began preaching without having received an official call from Church leaders. They were acting in harmony with a revelation received by the Prophet, which stated: "if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work; for behold the field is white already to harvest."
Some of the early missionaries testified that after receiving an internal call from God to preach, they sought a confirmation from Church leaders and then went forth as the Spirit directed.
This practice of serving missions without a specific call from an ecclesiastical leader continued for a number of years. Another example of an Elder who went forth in the early 1830's to serve as the Spirit directed him was Zerah Pulsipher, who met Jared Carter during the latter's mission in Vermont. This investigator was already interested in the message of restoration; he had secured a copy of the Book of Mormon, read it, and become convinced that it was a new witness for Christ. However, he was not certain that the Church had been reestablished on the earth, so when he met Elder Carter, he asked him if the power of the ancient Church had been restored, including the gifts of the Spirit. Elder Carter responded with a firm "Yes!" Then Zerah Pulsipher asked him if the sick had recovered after he had laid his hands upon them. The missionary replied that on many occasions he had witnessed the healing of the sick through the power of God, which had been restored to the earth.2
Zerah Pulsipher was convinced that Elder Carter spoke the truth, and after asking God if the Everlasting Gospel was again on the earth, he received a witness of the reality of the restoration. In January 1832, he was baptized by Jared Carter.
Shortly after joining the Church, Zerah Pulsipher commenced missionary work. According to a family record, while working on his farm he felt impressed to leave home and begin preaching. The impulse was so strong that shortly before noon he unyoked his oxen and turned them into the pasture, then walked to the house and asked his wife for a clean shirt and a pair of socks.
"Where on earth are you going?", she asked.
"I don't know, only that I am going to preach the gospel. The Lord will show me where to go. I am going where He guides me."
"How long will you be gone?" she inquired.
"I don't know. Just long enough to do the work the Lord has for me to do."3
Immediately after lunch, the new missionary traveled in the direction the Spirit indicated. He soon joined forces with another itinerant missionary, Elijah Cheney. The two Elders located a school in Richland, New York, where they were allowed to preach in the evenings. One of the first converts baptized by Elder Pulsipher in Richland was a young farmer, named Wilford Woodruff, who became one of the most successful missionaries in the history of the restoration. Within one month, the two Elders had baptized a number of individuals and organized a branch of the Church in Richland.4
Sources of Information:
The Ensign (Dec. 1984) "Prepared for the Restoration", by David F. Boone, pp 18-19.
1 Wilford Woodruff, "Leaves from My Journal", (Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor Office, 1881), p 3.
"The Heavens Resound", by Milton V. Backman, Jr., pp 102-105.
(first printing was in Oct of 1983)
2 Autobiography of Zera (Zerah) Pulsipher, pp 5-6.
3 Florence A. Hall, "Sketch of Zera Pulsipher", pp 3-4.
4 Ibid.; Autobiography of Zera Pulsipher, p 7; "Autobiography
of Wilford Woodruff", Tullidge's Quarterly Magazine, p 3.
(taken from the Oct 1883 issue)
All of the above is from http://www.zekes.com/~mmoody/pioneers/zpulsiph.txt