5 Miracles from the Life of Joseph Smith
In memory of the birthday of the Prophet Joseph Smith, enjoy the following miracles from the life of the Prophet.
In September, 1832, Brothers Brigham and Joseph Young and myself went to Kirtland, Ohio. We saw Brother Joseph Smith and had a glorious time, during which Brother Brigham spoke in tongues, this being the first time Joseph had heard the gift. The Prophet rose up and testified that it was from God. The gift then fell upon him, and he spoke in tongues himself.
While I was in the Kirtland Temple, June 4, 1837, the Prophet Joseph came to me and said, “Brother Heber, the Spirit of the Lord has whispered to me, saying: ‘Let my servant, Heber, go to England and proclaim my gospel, and open the door of salvation to that nation.’”
A short time previous to starting, I was laid prostrate on my bed from a stitch in my back, which suddenly seized me while chopping and drawing wood for my family. I could not stir a limb without calling out from the severeness of the pain.
Joseph, hearing of it, came to see me, bringing Oliver Cowdery and Bishop Partridge with him. They prayed for and blessed me, Joseph being mouth, beseeching God to raise me up. The Prophet then took me by the right hand and said, “Brother Heber, I take you by the right hand in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and by virtue of the Holy Priesthood vested in me I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to arise, and be thou made whole.”
I arose from my bed, put on my clothes and felt no more of the pain afterwards.
Charles had another faith promoting experience last night. Early in the morning, even while the darkness still hemmed out the light of day, Mr. Law, after he had been drinking and planning with his associates throughout the night, got Charles out of bed to clean and oil his gun. He said he was going to shoot the Prophet—only William Law called him “Old Joe Smith.” Poor Charles was frightened beyond description, but Mr. Law stood over him and prodded him with his foot when Charles hesitated through fright and anxiety. Finally, when Mr. Law was satisfied with the way the gun was working he put one bullet in. He boasted he could kill the prophet with one shot. He sent Charles to bring the Prophet. He ran as fast as he could and delivered the message, but he begged the Prophet not to go to Mr. Law’s as Mr. Law was drunk, and Charles was afraid he would carry through on his threat to shoot the Prophet in cold blood. As they walked the few blocks from the Mansion house to the Law residence, the Prophet assured Charles that no harm would come to him that day. Charles was frightened, and he said that it kept racing through his mind, “I am the one that cleaned the gun that is going to be used to kill the Prophet,” until he was sick with fear. The Prophet, in the final attempt to calm my dear son, uttered the fateful words, “Mr. Law may someday kill me, Charles, but it won’t be today.”
As they approached their destination, Mr. Law came staggering out of the house shouting out what he intended to do. The Prophet said kindly and unafraid, “You sent for me, Mr. Law?” To which Mr. Law replied with oath that now he was going to do the whole world a favor by disposing of the Prophet with one shot. Calmly, the Prophet unbuttoned his shirt and bared his chest, and then said, “I’m ready now, Mr. Law.” Charles said at this point he nearly fainted. Sick fear strangled him until he was speechless and paralyzed, unable to move a muscle. Mr. Law paced a few steps, turned, aimed, and pressed the trigger. There was complete silence. Then the air rang with profanity and Mr. Law turned on Charles, accusing him of fixing the gun so it would not go off and threatened to kill even Charles—my innocent, frightened, but faithful son. The Prophet, to divert Mr. Law’s blame of Charles, suggested that a can be placed on a fence post for Mr. Law to take a practice shot. Relieved, Charles ran for a can and laid it on its side on a post. Mr. Law paced back, took aim, and fired. His one shot streaked through the exact center of the can. Even Mr. Law was quiet as if stunned. The Prophet buttoned up his shirt, gave Charles a meaningful look, and then said, “If you are finished with me now, Mr. Law, I have other things needing to be done.”
When Joseph first came to Nauvoo, then called Commerce, a Mr. White, living there, proffered to sell him his farm for twenty-five hundred dollars, five hundred dollars of the amount to be paid down, and the balance one year from that time. Joseph and the brethren were talking about this offer when some of them said: “We can’t buy it, for we lack the money.”
He then said to Bishop Knight, “You go back and buy the farm!”
The bargain was closed and the obligations drawn up, but how the money was going to be raised neither Brother Knight nor the other brethren could see.
The next morning Joseph and several of the brethren went down to Mr. White’s to sign the agreement and make the first payment on the land. A table was brought out with the papers upon it, and Joseph signed them, moved back from the table and sat with his head down, as if in thought for a moment. Just then a man drove up in a carriage and asked if Mr. Smith was there. Joseph hearing it, got up and went to the door. The man said, “Good morning, Mr. Smith; I am on a speculation today. I want to buy some land, and thought I would come and see you.”
Joseph then pointed around where his land lay, but the man said: “I can’t go with you today to see the land. Do you want any money this morning?”
Joseph replied that he would like some, and when the stranger asked how much, he told him, “Five hundred dollars.”
The man walked into the house with Joseph, emptied a small sack of gold on the table, and counted out that amount. He then handed to Joseph another hundred dollars, saying: “Mr. Smith, I make you a present of this!”
After this transpired, Joseph laughed at the brethren and said: “You trusted in money; but I trusted in God. Now I have money and you have none.”
About the month of August, 1856, William D. Huntington and I went into Hobble Creek Canyon to get a tree or log suitable for making drums. After we had finished our labor and started for home, both of us riding on the log, our conversation naturally turned upon the doctrines of the Church and experiences of the past, when the life and labors of the Prophet Joseph were touched upon. This subject aroused into more than usual earnestness the mind and conversation of my associate.
He said that in Nauvoo he lived in the family of and worked for Joseph Smith at the time the Prophet had such a wonderful time with the sick, when nearly everybody was stricken down and he himself was among the afflicted, and was one of those who were healed by Joseph. He said he had been sick some weeks and kept getting weaker, until he became so helpless that he could not move. Finally he got so low he could not speak, but had perfect consciousness of all that was passing in the room. He saw friends come to the bedside, look at him a moment and commence weeping, then turn away.
He further stated that he presently felt easy, and observing his situation found that he was in the upper part of the room near the ceiling, and could see the body he had occupied lying on the bed, with weeping friends, standing around as he had witnessed in many cases where people had died under his own observation.
About this time he saw Joseph Smith and two other brethren come into the room. Joseph turned to his wife Emma and asked her to get him a dish of clean water. This she did; and the Prophet with the two brethren accompanying him washed their hands and carefully wiped them. Then they stepped to the bed and laid their hands upon the head of his body, which at that time looked loathsome to him, and as the three stretched out their hands to place them upon the head, he by some means became aware that he must go back into that body, and started to do so. The process of getting in he could not remember; but when Joseph said “amen,” he heard and could see and feel with his body. The feeling for a moment was most excruciating, as though his body was pierced in every part with some sharp instruments.
As soon as the brethren had taken their hands from his head he raised up in bed, sitting erect, and in another moment turned his legs off the bed.
At this juncture Joseph asked him if he had not better be careful, for he was very weak. He replied, “I never felt better in my life,” almost immediately adding, “I want my pants.”
His pants were found and given him, which he drew on, Joseph assisting him, although he thought he needed no help. Then he signified his intention to sit in a chair at or near the fireplace. Joseph took hold of his arm to help him along safely, but William declared his ability to walk alone, notwithstanding which, the help continued.
Astonishment had taken the place of weeping throughout the room. Every looker-on was ready to weep for joy; but none were able or felt inclined to talk.
Presently William said he wanted something to eat. Joseph asked him what he would like, and he replied that he wanted a dish of bread and milk.
Emma immediately brought what he called for, as one may easily comprehend, every hand was anxious to supply the wants of a man who, a few moments before was dead, really and truly dead! Brother Huntington ate the bowl of bread and milk with as good a relish as any he ever ate.
In a short time all felt more familiar, and conversation upon the scene that transpired followed. William related his experiences, and the friends theirs.
Joseph listened to the conversation and in his turn remarked that they had just witnessed as great a miracle as Jesus did while on the earth. They had seen the dead brought to life.
At the close of his narrative to me William Huntington remarked:
“Now I have told you the truth, and here I am a live man, sitting by the side of you on this log, and I testify that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God.” (Levi Curtis, “Recollections of the Prophet Joseph Smith,” Juvenile Instructor 27, no. 12)
(15 June 1892): 385-86.