Missionary Labors

Shady Grove, Hickman Co., Tenn.
May 15, 1879

Editors Deseret News:

During the early part of March Brother David Stuart and myself labored principally among the Saints and strangers of this place and vicinity, imparting in private and in public words of counsel, and encouragement and cheer, as occasion required. The Gospel trumpet was first sounded in this place over 45 years ago by David Patten and Warren Parish and the people in the immediate vicinity for many years past have had many strong testimonies of the truth of the great Latter-day work. Quite a goodly number have received the Gospel, and some have gathered, but just here, at our headquarters infidelity and skepticism are rife, the spirit of persecution is manifested and the people, generally speaking, care but little for the truth. Yet we now and then catch a few in the Gospel net. Owing to the spirit of the unbelief and darkness prevailing here we have sought out new fields of labor. In Maury County, 20 miles east of here, we have held a good many meetings, which have been well attended and there are some few families who are believing. We have left with them copies of the News which are much appreciated. One family sent some time ago for the Book of Mormon, which they are reading, and two families are thinking strongly of emigrating at an early day.

As a testimony to the truth of the Gospel and of the power of God, we will here mention a circumstance that occurred near Rock Springs. A Mr. Little, who is now in his 95th year had been confined to his lounge for some months on account of lameness and could not walk even to the table without one or two helping him. Learning that we were in the neighborhood, he sent some four miles for us to come and administer to him. We called to see him on the 23rd of March, and laying our hands upon him as the Apostle James directs, we asked the Lord in the name of Jesus Christ to strengthen him so that he might have the use of his limbs. The Lord heard and answered our prayers, and the old gentleman received strength so that he has not only been walking to and from the table without assistance since the above date, but has walked up and down the door steps and out into the garden, according to his will and pleasure. His daughter, Mrs. A.E. Dooley, is full of gratitude and remarked to us, some weeks after, that she had been relieved of a great burden by our administration to her father. Mr. Little is a member of the Cumberland Church. Some of his brethren called in soon after to see him, some of them rejoiced with him while others mocked.

Mr. Little gave some years ago, forty dollars towards building a church, which was located about one mile from his home. In said Church we had held, from time to time, some good meetings, but the Cumberland priests, in a fit of jealousy, denounced us as imposters, and closed their church doors right in our faces, locking out many of their own members and a large congregation who had assembled to hear. When they persecute us in one city we flee to the next. Passing on some eight miles south into the Cullecka district, school-houses were opened to us and we were even invited to preach in their churches; but as soon as we began to get influence with the people, the wolves in sheep clothing began to howl. Doors were closed against us, and we had to resort to private houses, and to the open grove to hold our meetings. Even then they were not satisfied, for the Elders of the Cumberland church drove us from an eleven acre plot of ground and declared we should not have a chance to speak to the people.

Notwithstanding the many lying reports circulated against us, and the opposition, an intelligent and much respected young man by the name of Hamblen, and his wife, came forward on April 17, and received the ordinance of baptism. Several families are believing and the prospects are that some others will be added to the Church. During the early part of the month we visited the Saints of Totty’s Bend Branch, and instructed them on the principles of gathering. They are a faithful, little band, and the prospects are that several families will emigrate in the spring.

We also held several meetings in Pinte district, where several are believing. Brothers J. Argyle and M. Gam have been laboring faithfully in the western part of the Conference; they have baptized one person and the prospects are good for other additions soon. The Saints are feeling well in the work, and as Elders in Israel we have much joy in our labors.

Your Brethren in the Gospel,
P.P. Pratt
D. Stuart

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, May 15, 1879, 4-6]
[Deseret News, July 28, 1879]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, May 2006]


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