Friday, August 6, 2010

Visions and Baptisms: One Elder's Story

[My opinions of Elder Lee aside, his story nonetheless is interesting from a Tennessee Mormon History standpoint. Please limit your comments to his experiences in Tennessee.]

In April 1839, Elder J. D. Lee and Elder Levi Stewart began the Tennessee portion of their mission by visiting Elder Stewart’s family in Overton County. Elder Stewart was not having much success baptizing his family. But it was there that Elder Lee had a vision of his working alone and being well received.

I was in a trance and saw future events. What I then saw was to me a reality, and I will describe it as such. I traveled, valise in hand, in a strange land, and among a people that I had never seen. I was kindly received by the people, and all my wants were supplied without my having to ask for charity. I traveled on, going over a mountainous country. I crossed a clear, handsome river, and was kindly received by the family of the owner of the ferry at the river. I stayed with this family for some days. I then re-crossed the river and called at a house, where I asked for a drink of water, which was given to me. I held quite a conversation with two young women. They informed me that there was no minister in the neighborhood; also that their father had gone in pursuit of a Mormon preacher that had passed that way a few days before. A few days passed, and I saw myself in the midst of a large congregation, to whom I was preaching. 1 also baptized a large number and organized quite a flourishing branch of the Church there, and was in charge of that people. I was very popular with, and almost worshiped by, my congregation. I saw all this, and much more, when my vision closed.

He had the vision more than once and felt impressed that he should search out what he had seen. Following his impression, he struck out on his own heading west from Overton County in to what was probably Jackson County, owing to his later identifying Gainsboro, Tennessee as the nearest town. Near the Cumberland river he met two sisters who offered him a drink, just as in his vision. He stayed at the home of a ferry man, worked for him a short while, and was ultimately sought out by one of his passengers, who just happened to be the father of the two girls who had given him water, again all as was in his vision. He was asked to preach and he soon became very popular. During his stay there he baptized twenty-eight people. Among them he named Mr. and Mrs. Elisha Sanders and their daughter Miss Caroline C. Sanders. He stayed there about 5 months during which time he was joined by Elder Stewart and Elder Julian Moses.

1 comment:

In The Doghouse said...

This was a very cool story about JD Lee. Thanks for sharing.