City of Toronto U.C. May 9, 1836.
To the Editor of the Latter Day Saints Messenger And Advocate:
Dear Brother, I am now in Toronto, the seat of government for the province of Upper Canada, a large town on the northern shores of Lake Ontario, consisting of from 12 to 20 thousand inhabitants. I landed here about 10 days since, a stranger and alone. Every place was closed against me as I applied for an opportunity to preach, until I was almost discouraged. I cried unto the Lord to open my way, and as I was on the point of leaving the city, the Lord sent a poor widow to me, who opened her house, and I spake the word of the Lord to her and to her household and friends, who believed, and have offered themselves for baptism.
The next day I visited another poor widow, who was nearly blind with inflammation: the Lord healed and opened her eyes, which has made her business enough, as many go to learn of her how her eyes were opened.
I preached to a few individuals, and still cried unto God to open my way. I applied to two chapels, to the court house, and to the infidels in vain. But the spirit of the Lord was upon me, and I said: In the name of Jesus Christ, in the strength of the God of Elijah, this city shall be warned, till every ear shall tingle and every heart be penetrated; their iniquities be brought to light, and the Lord’s people gathered to the standard of truth which shall be raised in this city, and shine forth to all the regions round about.
Sunday I went to meeting first to a chapel, where the preacher preached the power of faith in its true light, and then prayed for the whole face of things to be changed. I said, amen. After meeting, while dining with him and some of his hearers, I told them what the Lord had did for us: and they began to believe.
Afternoon I went to a Mr. Patrick’s house to meeting, where many had been wont to assemble to search the scriptures: they had discovered the corruptions of christendom, and were diligently searching for truth. A few hours were spent in searching into the nature of the baptism of the Holy Ghost, with its several gifts. The result of the investigation was, they felt the need of prophets and apostles to organize them, and minister the ordinances and spirit to them. Some said, “Let us be agreed and ask for God to commission us by revelation.” Others said, “it might be that the Lord had already commissioned apostles in some parts of the world; and if he had, it must come from them.”
During this time I had listened in silence: some times crying and sometimes smiling—my heart burning within me. Some one at length observed, that a stranger was in the room who might wish to speak. I said I should be glad to speak on the subject in the evening: liberty was granted, and appointment made: after which they kneeled down and in tears confessed their naked, destitute, situation; prayed God to pity and relieve them.
In the evening they heard me; and from that time, doors have been opened wider and wider: priests and people flock to hear. Last Sunday I preached in the heart of the city, in the open air: hundreds flocked to hear, and solemnity and good order were seen through all the crowd. God gave me a voice like a trump, so that many from all the surrounding houses and streets were enabled to hear distinctly. Multitudes were thronging the streets for other meetings who were also warned as they past. I am invited to many places in the city and in the country.
I preach, read and converse to people all day and all night: sometimes the morning sun is dawning upon us before we have thought of rest; and generally the clock strikes twelve before we retire. None oppose openly, but the hireling priests, and they are glad to retire in shame and confusion, and seek an asylum within their own synagogues, where they well know they are secure from the pointed charts of truth, at present; but soon shall they be thrown down, and they stand naked and exposed to the piercing eye of Jehovah.
There are multitudes who are expecting to be baptized, and some are only waiting an opportunity.
I expect to tarry here some time: I wish you to send us the Messenger and Advocate, back numbers and all, as I get no news from any saint in any direction.
I have gotten access to the writings and publications of the people called “Irvinites,” in Scotland and England, and I find they have searched deep into the gathering of Israel; the coming of Christ to reign on the earth; the apostasy of the Gentile church, and the need of an organization by authority from God, and of the restitution of the gift of the Spirit. Tens of thousands are awakened in that land to these subjects, and are sending swift messengers to the nations around them, to teach these things, insomuch that the excitement seems to have become general among kings and nobles, priests and people.
I have addressed a letter of eleven pages to that land, giving a sketch of the work of the Lord among us. Many believers here are late from England, so we may have access to many names in that country: these are already beginning to express desires for their friends in that country to hear these things.
Now brother Whitmer, I have one request let this be read in your public meeting, in the house of the Lord, and let the prayers of the church come up with a hearty amen, for me and the people here; for never did I feel to say, How great is the work required of me, with a more realizing sense than now—I cry unto God day and night.
Yours in the Lord.
P. P. Pratt.
[Messenger and Advocate, May 1836]
[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, May 26, 1836, 1-3]
[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, July 2006]