I will venture here to relate an open vision had by brother Stephen M. Farnsworth, of Pleasant Grove, Utah County, while he was residing in Nauvoo, previous to the death of the Prophets Joseph and Hyrum. Some may possibly think and say, it was manufactured for this occasion. But there are many here under the sound of my voice who heard brother Farnsworth relate the vision years ago. I will tell it as correctly as my memory will allow me.
In the spring of 1844, brother Farnsworth started out after dinner, to go to work on the Temple as usual. The sun shone brightly as he walked down Parley Street towards the place of his labor, when suddenly the sky became overcast, and a drizzling rain set in. He stood amazed, and saw a tumult and excitement among the people about the Temple, and a great excitement in the lower part of the town. He wondered what it could mean. Presently he was told that the Saints had to leave Nauvoo and take a great journey to the west. So great was the journey that it seemed almost impossible for him to perform it. Now he could see numerous trains of covered wagons and teams crossing the Mississippi River, and bending their course westward as far as the eye could reach. He also hitched up and joined the trains, and the journey did not seem so arduous as he first anticipated. He saw the Twelve Apostles in the crowd; but saw neither Joseph nor Hyrum.
They journeyed westward a great distance, and finally came to a place where they intended to locate. They stopped, and began to make improvements: but distress and starvation stared them in the face, and it really seemed to him that they must perish; but soon there began to be plenty of everything to eat, &c. This lasted quite a time: then there began to be scarcity again, and famine seemed to prevail; yet he saw none die of starvation, yet great distress among the people. Then there began to be plenty again—enough to eat of everything desirable. The people all appeared in one place, with large, strong hoops around them in a body. The Twelve followed brother Brigham with mallets and fierce countenances, and vigorously drove those hoops upon the people until it did seem that they would be pinched or squeezed to death. Still they resolutely continued to drive the hoops. Dark clouds now began to arise, and a general gloom prevailed. The hoops were all the time being driven tighter and tighter.
About this time, an army or force of the enemy came into the neighborhood and offered protection to all who wished it. The darkness of the clouds, and their awfully threatening aspect are now past description. The people burst those hoops and sallied out like a flock of sheep, and more than one-half of them went to the enemy for protection. The scene was so awfully frightful that he was just on the eve of flying himself; but a thought occurred to him to hold on a little longer. He did so. Dark, angry, and frightful were the clouds, indeed! Now is your hour and the power of darkness! Presently the cloud over the Saints burst, and light beamed upon them.
This cloud rolled off upon the enemy and those who had fled to them for protection: and oh! the scenes of death, lamentation, and mourning that occurred in the enemies’ camp beggar all description. The burning wrath of earth, heaven, and hell, in fiery streams of molten lava seemed to leave not one alive to tell the tale. It did not stop here, but rolled throughout the United States, carrying the same desolation in its track. The faithful band of brethren left, then followed Brother Brigham up into a large open cave, where there was everything good to eat and drink that heart could desire. The shouts of hosannahs!—the songs of praise and thanksgiving to God for the deliverance wrought for them rent the air and made the mountains echo the praises of our God. From this cave they journeyed, I need not say where; but, suffice it to say, no opposition had any effect upon them. The power of God was with them, and His voice was in their camp.
There is much more to this vision which I deem unnecessary to write. But after it was all over, brother Farnsworth came to himself, standing in Parley Street on a beautiful sunshiny day. No covered wagons or excitement in town or about the temple. When he came to himself, he concluded that his exercises were of the Devil, from the fact that he saw neither Joseph nor Hyrum in all the scenes; but it was Brigham, brother Kimball, and the Twelve. Before these scenes began to really take place, Joseph and Hyrum were killed at Carthage, and consequently were not seen by brother Farnsworth.
I relate this from memory, being some months since I heard brother Farnsworth tell it at his residence in Pleasant Grove; but, in the main, it is as he told me, so far as I have related it. There are those here to whom brother Farnsworth told it more than twelve years ago, and they know whether I tell it as he did.
A vision of Stephen M. Farnsworth, of Pleasant Grove, Utah County, while he was residing in Nauvoo, previous to the death of the Prophets Joseph and Hyrum, related in a discourse by Orson Hyde.
Reported By: G. D. Watt, J. V. Long.
Journal of Discourses: Volume 5, Orson Hyde n.d. , 140