Monday, May 25, 2015

Mormon(ish) Religious Enthusiasm in Ante Bellum Tennessee. Part 2

[This is a continuation of previous post, which you can find here.]

When we last left off, Elder was placing the blame for the apostasy on the shoulders of  William (aka Billy) and Alfred Young. So I tried to dig a little further into their history with the church. Their first encounter with the came while the two were visiting relatives in Gibson county, Tennessee. [Excerpt 1]. It was a spiritual experience for the two young men. Both describe a personal vision of the savior, which convinced them of the divine origin of the church. They were subsequently ordained to the priesthood. On their own initiative, the two visited many of their relatives in various parts of Tennessee where they baptized not just family members but others as well. They also told of casting out evil spirits and other miracles. [Excerpt 2].

I could not find a description of their version of what went on in Putnam county, but I was presented with this story from shortly after they left Gibson county and were on their way to Nauvoo. One of the families traveling with them had a teenage son who was "afflicted with an evil spirit." Alfred cast out the spirit which then moved into his own son. Then with William's help they cast the spirit out again. [Excerpt 3]

When Lee's letter (from the last post) was published in the Times and Seasons, it upset them very much. More on that in part 3, ...

[Excerpt 1]
"While they were all there together, the family listened to the missionary teachings of their relative John McIntosh and his companion Timmons, and were converted & baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons). Alfred recorded that during his conversion process, he had a personal vision of Christ, and his brother William afterward saw the same vision. They were so excited about their new religion that they traveled back to middle Tennessee to find their natural father Jacob Young and his family, with the intention of converting them also. In connection with others, they were involved in preaching the gospel of the Mormon church to relatives, friends and other people in Tennessee until about 60 had joined. During this time, they were impressed with the power of the new priesthood they possessed, and became more convinced than ever that the principles of the church were true." (see Life and Times of William (Billy) Young, p1)
[Excerpt 2]
The Young brothers (William and Alfred) were very enthusiastic about their new religion.
Without any calling from church leaders in Nauvoo, they traveled through parts of Tennessee
spreading the gospel among their relatives, friends and anyone else who would listen, baptizing
about 80 people and creating branches of the church. Alfred’s journal records experiences with
visions, healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind, casting out evil spirits and even raising a
person from the dead.” (see My Pioneer Ancestors, p29)

[Excerpt 2]
“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 with an evil spirit. 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 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.” (see Life and Times of William (Billy) Young, p32)


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