Thursday, January 18, 2018

Baptisms in 1918 by County


It may not look like a lot, but baptisms in Tennessee were picking up. Yes, there was still a war going on. But that was looking like it was coming to a close, which it did in November. True, there was also the Spanish Flu going around. In fact, in October 1918, just before the war ended, Nashville would see one of the largest outbreaks of the flu in the nation.

But there were some positive news for the mission. Hamilton county, where there were 14 baptisms, had recently been opened to missionary work. Up until now, no proselytizing was done in Chattanooga, the principle city of Hamilton county, for fear that it might stir up violence against the mission home itself. It was not an unreasonable concern in a state where homes were burned just for allowing missionaries to preach there.

Other counties were also opened. Blount county saw 7 baptisms and it was also newly opened in 1918. Madison county had 8 with 4 more in neighboring Chester county because several converts lived in Bemis which straddles the county line.

Weakley county which had 10, was a older branch at Turkey Creek. Maury county which had 9, also had an older branch at Hampshire. Shelby county, home to Memphis, too had an established branch with 4 converts as well as 4 more in Tipton county where a dependent branch had been meeting. Perry county (with 4 baptisms) has a branch too at Short Creek. Putam (5), Davidson/Nashville (5), Lawrence (5), Van Buren (4) and Bledsoe (4) counties round out the mix of active areas. Followed by a handful of baptisms in isolated counties.

Missing were Knox county, Grundy county which both have branches as well as proselytizing efforts, but no baptisms for the year.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Alfred Douglas Young - Part 5 Leaving Tennessee

[This is a continuation of the Autobiography of Alfred Douglas Young, quoted and summarized from his recollections in 1888.]

My brother William and myself returned to our homes in west Tennessee [Gibson county]. We continued to preach to some in that region and baptized quite a number of persons. Sometime in April my brother and myself arranged our affairs to gather to Nauvoo. In the midst of much persecution and annoyance which entailed on us some loss of property, we got started on our journey. On the way, we fell in company with a brother by the name of West with a family who were journeying to Nauvoo. He had a son 18 or 19 years of age who was afflicted by an evil spirit.

[It is possible he was writing about the family of Samuel Walker West, who left southwest Kentucky at about the same time, and would have been along the way. West's only son at the time was 12 years old John Anderson West. If this is the right person John would have had to pass for 18-19, much older than he was.]

He was continually making a noise and was very unpleasant company. The weather being showery, we camped one day near a school house to dry our wet clothes. While I was in the house by myself, someone made known to me that the mother of the lad wished me to lay hands on him for his recovery. When we attempted to do so, being strong, he contended with us and I simply rebuked the evil spirit. He came out of the lad and the latter lay at our feet, a natural, pleasant looking boy. But when the evil spirit went out of the boy, he entered into my oldest son, John William, who was standing near. He was at once seized upon with terrible contortions of body. This caused considerable excitement in camp. I took him up in my arms and started into the school house followed by my brother, William. We laid him down and prayed, asking the Lord to give us power to cast out the evil spirit. We then laid hands on him, rebuked the evil spirit in the name of the Lord Jesus, and bid it depart and trouble us no more. It departed and left us in peace.

Nothing of importance occurred during the remainder of the journey to Nauvoo where we arrived on the 9th of June 1842. There my brother, William, and myself, met the letter of John D. Lee, dated Putnam County, Tennessee, May 18th 1842, and published in the Times and Seasons of June 15th. About the same time, we were called to account.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Alfred Douglas Young - Part 4 Seeds of Misunderstanding

[This is a continuation of the Autobiography of Alfred Douglas Young, quoted and summarized from his recollections in 1888.]

Alfred and Billy Young arrived at area of their relatives home, in present day Putnam County, and met a young man who while visiting a friend near Nauvoo had already "...been baptized, ordained an elder, and sent back to his friends to preach the gospel..." His name was John Young, and may have been the same John Young named in other sources who was Alfred & Billy's cousin. They baptized about 20 people, without leaving a record, ordained Mark Young an Elder, and organized a branch.

"One day after completing our baptisms in the place, we had a meeting in which two of the sisters were smitten to the floor by evil spirits, or to speak more understandingly perhaps to some, they were thrown into fits. We laid hands on them and in the name of Jesus Christ rebuked and cast out the evil spirits and they were restored."

"Living in this place was an uncle of ours named Mark Young, who was about 60 years old. For many years, he had been connected with the Methodist church. He believed and was baptized and was the elder referred to before as the second one ordained in his branch. When we left the place to return home, he and Elder John Young accompanied us about seven miles to where we had previously by request sent an appointment to preach."

"Uncle Mark Young, when a Methodist, had some sort of a gift. In revivals those whose heads he would lay his hands and pray, would be wrought upon with overpowering convictions of their sins and be converted. After arriving at the place where we were to hold our meeting, he wished to know of us if he could not still mingle with his Methodist brethren and exercise his gift among them. We endeavored to instruct him, positively counseled him not to do so, and warned him if he did, he would lose the spirit of the gospel and go into darkness. I afterwards learned that he mingled with the Methodist and lost the spirit as we had predicted."

We left there in the forepart of March [1842]; and in April, three traveling elders, John D. Lee, Alfonso Young, and Samuel Frost came into the neighborhood and first went to his house. They labored with him and rebaptized him and some of his family.

After this, John D. Lee went to Brother Hunt's and labored some two weeks with him and his family, to convince them that the miracles performed at his house, of restoring his daughter's sight, of healing his crippled boy, and his own restoration to life were of the devil [see here]. The final effect of this on Mr. Hunt and family I have never learned, but I have not heard that they ever gathered with the Church [I have also been unable to learn of their fate. I doesn't help that I don't know their full name]. 

"John D. Lee wrote to the Times and Seasons some account of our labors in establishing this branch of the church. These Elders met some evil spirits there that we had contended with and had not the discernment to see the difference between our works and those of the devil. The letter, as may be seen by referring to it, is terribly bitter and sarcastic and when looked at after this lapse of time, shows that the devil had power to blind their minds as to the real facts of the case." [I have written about the letter and its consequences which you can find here in part 1part 2, and part 3.]

"John D. Lee returned to the house of Mark Young, which was several miles from that of Mr. D. Hunt, where he had labored so long to convince them that our works were of the devil. When approaching the house of Mr. Young he was met by the Methodist circuit preacher, who had been laboring with Uncle Mark for several days after his rebaptism by John D. Lee. He told the elders they were not wanted there any more, that they had broken the peace of that family and of the neighborhood by their humbuggerry, meaning of course that the Mormon elders who had been in the country, and if they wanted to wash their feet against him they could do so."

"My uncle, Mark Young, returned to his Methodism and Methodist gifts and never, that I am aware of, returned to the Church. My information about affairs after I left there, I obtained from sister Rhoda B. Young now (1880) my wife but at the time of my labors in Tennessee and for sometime afterwards, the wife of Adolpha Young." [Rhoda and Adolpha Young were baptized by J D Lee and later followed the saints west. After Adolphia died in 1852 while crossing the plains, Rhoda married Alfred Douglas Young]

Among others of the family relations, she [Rhoda] offered herself for baptism at the time the branch was organized until a short time afterwards. She also states that some years after Mark Young's son whom we had baptized and others who believed the gospel, did not dare rejoin the church for fear the evil spirits would afflict them again. The fact is that when they returned to the Methodist the first time, these evil spirits had power over them and operated on them in various strange ways. The spirits were rebuked by John D. Lee and the elders. After the departure of the elders, the persons who had been rebaptized had not the faith to contend against these spirits and returned again to the Methodists. They were afflicted no more except that these spirits had power to hold a rod over them, which they feared and consequently could never muster faith sufficient to again join the church.

[...to be continued]