Discourse, 28 July 1839, as Reported by James Mulholland
- Source Note
On 28 July 1839, JS delivered a discourse in a Sunday worship service at , Illinois. Beginning in late June, in and around Commerce and , Iowa Territory, began contracting malaria carried by mosquitos in the nearby swamplands. The disease soon reached epidemic proportions in the area, and church member Wandle Mace wrote in his autobiography that “Joseph and his wife would ride on horseback from place to place, visiting the sick anointing with oil and , and healing them.” JS and Emma Smith also cared for ill Latter-day Saints in the Smith home, and soon their home and yard were filled with the sick. Latter-day Saint recounted that in the Smiths’ yard, “there were hundreds, lying in tents and wagons, who needed care.” In July, after weeks of JS caring for the sick, including his and one of his sons, JS contracted the disease and was bedridden for several days. No meetings were held on Sunday, 21 July, “on account of much rain, and much sickness,” but several gave . On 22 July, according to , “the power of God rested upon” JS, giving him the strength to leave his sickbed and begin blessing and healing the infirm. He first blessed those in and around his home, “commanding the sick in the name of Jesus Christ to arise and be made whole.” Then he, along with other elders of the church, traveled from house to house in Commerce, “healing the sick as he went.” JS and the elders then crossed the river to Montrose, where several of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and their families were living, and administered more healing blessings before returning to Commerce. Woodruff noted that after the sick were blessed, they “leaped from their beds made whole by the power of God.”On 28 July, Sunday meetings resumed, with speaking in the morning and speaking in the afternoon. After Orson Pratt spoke, JS gave a discourse encouraging the Saints to purify themselves and observe the of the Lord’s Supper so that the sick among them might be healed. A brief account of JS’s discourse was recorded in his journal by . The wording of the account suggests that it may have been dictated to Mulholland in retrospect.
Butler, John L. Autobiography, ca. 1859. CHL. MS 2952.
Mace, Wandle. Autobiography, ca. 1890. CHL. MS 1924.
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Stapley, Jonathan A., and Kristine Wright. “Female Ritual Healing in Mormonism.” Journal of Mormon History 37, no. 1 (Winter 2011): 1–85.
Historian’s Office. Brigham Young History Drafts, 1856–1858. CHL. CR 100 475, box 1, fd. 5.
Tullidge, Edward W. The Women of Mormondom. New York: Tullidge and Crandall, 1877.
Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.