Healed of Smallpox
Testimony of a Living Witness to the Power of Faith

To the Editor:
Salt Lake City, Utah, Jan. 17, 1900

In view of the insulting innuendoes and insinuations of the Salt Lake Tribune, in two or three of its latest issues, respecting the “Mormon” people, because of their belief in the sacred ordinance of anointing the sick with oil and laying hands upon them for their healing, and also in view of the rabid and inexcusable attack on the editor of the News because of his belief in and practice of that holy and sacred ordinance, which was instituted by Jesus Christ, I wish to bear my testimony, particularly as this is a time when we are supposed to have among us, the beginning of an epidemic of smallpox.

In the winter of 1868, I was laboring as a missionary in South Wales, Great Britain. In the town of Cardiff I was taken very sick. It was soon discovered by the people in whose house I was staying that I had a severe cause of smallpox. A physician was sent for who pronounced it a very dangerous case, and who gave full direction as to the treatment to be given. The day that he was called to see me my whole body was covered with pustules until there seemed to be no particle of my body that was free from them. That same evening Elders John Parry, from Logan, Elias Morris and John S. Lewis, from Salt Lake City, kneeled down by my bedside, and besought the Lord in earnest prayer that my life might be spared, setting forth in their supplication, my youth, the great distance I was from home and kindred, that I was there in the service of the Lord, and that my life was despaired of by some who had much experience in nursing those afflicted with this most dreadful scourge.

After thus praying, the brethren took a bottle of oil which had been dedicated, consecrated and set apart for the anointing of the sick, and under the direction of Elder John Parry, who was president of the Welsh Mission, anointed me, commencing at the top of my head and rubbing the oil downwards until the whole surface of my body had received the application. They then laid their hands on my head and in the name of Jesus Christ confirmed the holy anointing, rebuked the disease and commanded me to be made whole, and I was immediately relieved from all pain and distress, went into a refreshing sleep, woke up with a sharp appetite and was every whit recovered. My skin began to peel off and I peeled from my head downwards until the skin came off from the bottoms of my feet. Two or three days afterwards I took a cab, was driven to a railway station, took the train to Merthyr Tydvil, twenty-four miles distant, and went about my missionary duties, as usual. When Elder Elias Morris reported to the doctor aforesaid, how I had been healed and taken a journey he exclaimed with much vehemence, “You have killed the young man.” I am, however, alive today, thirty-two years after the events here recorded and have never had a relapse of that disease.

Thus did the Lord God show his mercy and power to me in response to the prayers, anointing and administration of His servants. As witnesses who know of these things I will cite John Chugg, of Marriotts, Weber Co., and his sons, George and John, who reside in this city, also Henry Gardner, of the Twenty-Second ward, and D.R. Gill, of the Twenty-fourth ward, this city.

In conclusion permit me to say that the editor of the News was in Great Britain and visited Wales about the time of which I write, and it was the common practice then among all the Saints and Elders to perform this ordinance for the sick. Healing at that time was quite universal among us. Myself and all the other Elders of that mission fully understood that Elder C. W. Penrose, in season and out of season, advocated, defended, and practiced that holy and beneficent principle. So much in defense of the Editor of the News, and so much for the falsehoods of his enemies. Is it not in order for others to rise and testify?

Living witnesses to the many healings which are performed among us may not make any impression on those who scoff and jeer at these things, but their testimony can never controverted and will rise up in condemnation of the ungodly who seek to laugh faith and God out of the world.

N. Pratt

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jan. 17, 1900, 16]
[Deseret News, Jan. 18, 1900]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, Apr. 2006]


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