Traveling and Preaching

Burlington, July 7, 1877
Editors Deseret News:

Dear Sir—While at Oskaloosa, the place from which I last wrote you, we (Elder Madsen, Junr., and myself) were kindly entertained by a wealthy free thinking Quaker, who desired to hear us preach in public, as well as in private. We accordingly visited their public meeting, and by permission, I made a few remarks, stating to the congregation that some two years ago Professor J. Moor, of Earldbano College, and of their Society, had visited our city while on his way as a missionary to the Sandwich Islands, that through my interceding Bishop Woolley, of the 13th Ward, granted him the privilege of addressing our people and that we should be pleased to have them open their church for us in return. At the close of their meeting, five of their ministers present held a consultation, and replied, that they were willing to take upon themselves the responsibility of closing their doors against us. The only excuse they made for so doing was that our Church was not “evangelical.”

I find that the worst enemies we have are apostates who seek to poison the minds of all with whom they come in contact. Next in order come the reverend divines of the day, who, with but very few exceptions, are a unit in the opposition to the work of God.

On June 1, while at Otumway, we applied to church and city officers for a house to speak in, but, failing to obtain one, we were about to leave the city, when Dr. Paul Castor, the “magnetic healer,” accosted us, and invited us to stop over at his hotel for the night, and deliver an address to his patients and neighbors. We consented to do so and an appointment was given out for a meeting at 7:30. Just before meeting time, a leading minister of the town called upon Mr. C. and advised him not to allow us to speak in his house, when he became somewhat alarmed, and calling me to one side whispered, “For this once lay your Mormonism aside, and give us a good gospel sermon from the Bible.”

At the hour appointed some seventy-five patients, including their attendants, from different States in the Union (two-thirds of whom were ladies) crowded the large double parlor. We sang, “O my Father,” and offered up prayer. I then read a portion of Scripture—1st Cor. 12 c. 27-31 v., and delivered an address of about fifty minutes, with much freedom of speech, to an attentive audience, testifying to the restoration of the gospel, to the organization of the Church and Kingdom of God on the earth, to the divinity of the Book of Mormon, and to Joseph and Brigham being true prophets. Our remarks were well received and some even bid us God speed. Dr. Castor himself treated us with marked kindness and respect, and before leaving he showed us through his $30,000 establishment.

Dr. C. is quite a remarkable man in his way. He has no knowledge of letters, and has a stammering tongue. He was at one time a poor boy. He is now rich, and making money fast. He calls himself the “old humbug.” He claims to cure forty percent of his patients, some within ten minutes time, others it takes weeks and months to effect a cure. He uses no medicine, but rubs his patients with his hands, trusting to his animal magnetism for a cure. He has been a healer since he was twelve years of age, and has the name of performing some remarkable cures. He said to us he did not know where he got his power from, “whether from God or the devil.”

Our labors for some weeks past have been entirely among strangers, and we have taught them gospel truths, at their private homes and from their “sacred desks,” wherever and whenever opportunity has offered, holding from two to four meetings per week which are generally well attended. We find much infidelity and unbelief, now and then a person or family who have a little faith. In this city and vicinity we found two families who had once been to Utah, with some sparks of gospel fire remaining in them, who I am confident will yet renew their covenants and gather with the Saints.

Your Brother in the Gospel,
P.P. Pratt

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, July 7, 1877, 4]
[Deseret News, Aug. 8, 1877]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, May 2006]


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