A WONDERFUL MANIFESTATION.
HUNDRED OF INDIANS HEALED BY THE POWER OF GOD.
Several accounts, slightly varying in their details, having become current, with regard to the manifestation of God’s power in the healing of several hundred Zuni Indians, under the hands of Elder Llewellyn Harris, President Taylor directed Elder Orson Pratt, the Church Historian, to obtain, direct from Elder Harris, the facts in the case. The following is Brother Harris’ reply to Elder Pratt’s letter of inquiry:
Panguitch, Dec. 15, 1878.
Brother Orson Pratt:
Dear Brother. – Your favor of November 27 is received, wishing me to give a history of the healing of the Zuni Indians of small-pox by the laying on of hands, which I will do as near as I can remember the circumstances. I started from Panguitch on the 5th of November, 1877, overtook Brother Thayne and company (from Little Cottonwood) at Johnson, and traveled with them as far as Woodruff on the Little Colorado. I parted with the company there and traveled alone to the Zuni village, distance from Woodruff about 100 miles. Arrived at the Zuni village Jan. 20, 1878, found some sick with the small-pox in nearly every house. I put up with a Zuni Indian known as Captain Lochee, who had three children sick with the small-pox. After I had been asleep two or three hours, I was awakened by the cries of the family and some of the neighbors who had come in. I arose and inquired the cause of the crying, and was informed by Captain Lochee that his daughter, a child of about 12 years of age, was dying. I saw she was gasping for breathe. I felt like administering to her then, but the Spirit of the Lord prompted me to wait a little longer. I waited until she had done gasping and she did not appear to breath. The Spirit of the Lord moved upon me very strong to administer to her, which I did; she revived and slept well the remainder of the night. I also administered to the other two who were sick in the same house that night, all was quiet the remainder of the night, and all seemed much better in the morning. The news of this spread through the town, and the next day I was called to visit about twenty-five families, all of whom had one or more sick with the smallpox, they also wished me to administer to the sick, which I did. I was called upon to visit from ten to twenty families a day for four days after my arrival, and administer to their sick. The power of the Lord was made manifest to such a degree that nearly all I administered to recovered. The disease was spreading so rapidly that I was unable to visit all the houses. One morning about eight o’clock one of the Zuni women came to me to go and visit the sick; she took me to a house which had a large room in it, about twenty by forty feet. When I entered the room I found they had gathered the sick from all parts of the village, till they had completely filled the house. The stench that arose and the horrible sight that met my eyes is beyond description. They had a Spaniard there who understood the Zuni language for an interpreter, who told me they wanted me to administer to all those who were sick in the room. I being the only elder in the village it seemed to be a great task to administer to so many, but I called on the Lord to strengthen me. I commenced, and as fast as I administered to them they were removed, but other sick ones were continually being brought in. It was late in the afternoon before I could perceive that they began to diminish in numbers. When I had administered to the last one, and went out the sun had set and it was getting dark. The Spaniard who had stayed there all day asked me if I knew how many I prayed for, I told him that I did not keep count, he said he had and that it was 406. The next morning my arms were so sore that I could hardly move them.
There was a Presbyterian minister in the village, who became jealous of the influence I was gaining with the Indians, he persuaded two Spaniards, one Navajo Indian, one Albino Zuni and one of the Zuni Medicine men to circulate lies and frighten the Zunis, telling them that those who were healed were healed by the power of the devil. I felt weak from the effects of administering so much. And on the second day after administering to the 406 I started for the settlement in Savoia valley. The next day after arriving in Savoia I was taken down with a severe fever, which lasted about a week. I stopped with the family of Bro. John Hunt, who treated me very kindly. It was about three weeks before I was able to resume my journey to the Mexican settlements on the Rio Grande. I spent about four months preaching to the Mexican people in New Mexico. When I arrived at Savoia on my return, I was informed by the brethren that the minister who opposed me at Zuni had passed there and was nearly dead with the consumption. When I arrived at Zuni I was told by some of the most reliable Zunis that all that I had administered to recovered excepting five or six that the minister gave medicine, and four or five that the Medicine Man had tried to cure by magic. The medicine man that opposed me had died during my absence and the Navajo who opposed me, on returning home was killed by his people to keep the small-pox from spreading among them. This is a true statement of the manner in which the power of God was made manifest among the Zunis and also the judgments of God which followed some of those who opposed it. It seemed that I was, by the providence of God, cast among them and I felt that I was one of the weakest of my brethren and felt to ask the Lord to strengthen me if it was his will to make his power manifest through me. If the Lord had not strengthened me I could not have borne up under what I passed through at Zuni. If you wish a history of my mission to the Mexicans and will make it known, I will be pleased to furnish it to you. No more at present.
From your brother in the gospel.
[Transcribed by Tiffany Woods Whiting and Rebecca Staker, May 2012]