Looking For Great Stories For Your Family

A favorite LDSHE vendor is Dan Hunter. He has been coming to our conferences for many years. His company Archive Publishers publishes out-of-print, hard-to-find books. In this article, he talks about one book he published that includes one of his favorite stories. Dan Hunter will be vending at our Salt Lake City, Utah Conference May 29-31.

I thought of doing another story from the Faith Promoting Series, but then I remembered a story from another book I published about Mary Fielding, wife of Hyrum Smith and mother of President Joseph F. Smith. The Faith Promoting Series was so popular the Church decided to do “The Noble Women’s Lives” series. However, only 2 were ever published. The book “Heroines of Mormondom” is a story about Mary having her oxen administered to on the trail to Salt Lake City. President Smith was alive when the biographies of the 3 women in the book were published, so he wrote his own mother’s biography for the book. He was only 10 years old at the time and was a witness to this event since they were on the Trail together. (This a bronze of Joseph F. Smith as a 10 year old boy and Mary and her sick oxen.) I knew nothing of these 2 books until I was searching for the 17 volumes of the Faith Promoting Series. We know so little about the early women in the Church. I decided they needed to be published. You can see them on the website also under the category “Biographies”. 

Passing over from the Platte to the Sweetwater (1847), the cattle suffered extremely from the heat, the drought, and the scarcity of feed, being compelled to browse on dry rabbit brush, sage brush, weeds and such feed as they could find, all of which had been well picked over by the preceding companies. One day as they were moving along slowly through the hot sand and dust, the sun pouring down with excessive heat, toward noon one of Widow Smith’s best oxen laid down in the yoke, rolled over on his side, and stiffened out his legs spasmodically, evidently in the throes of death. The unanimous opinion was that he was poisoned. All the hindmost teams of course stopped, the people coming forward to know what was the matter. In a short time the captain, who was in advance of the company, perceiving that something was wrong, came to the spot.
Perhaps no one supposed for a moment that the ox would ever recover. The captain’s first words on seeing him, were:  “He is dead, there is no use working with him; we’ll have to fix up some way to take the Widow along, I told her she would be a burden upon the company.”
Meantime Widow Smith had been searching for a bottle of consecrated oil in one of the wagons, and now came forward with it, and asked her brother, Joseph Fielding, and the other brethren, to administer to the ox, thinking the Lord would raise him up. They did so, pouring a portion of the oil on the top of his head, between and back of the horns, and all laid hands upon him, and one prayed, administering the ordinance as they would have done to a human being who was sick. In a moment he gathered his legs under him, arose to his feet, and traveled right off as well as ever. He was not even unyoked from his mate. They had not gone very far when another and exactly similar circumstance occurred. But the Lord mercifully heard their prayers and recognized the holy ordinance of anointing and prayer, and the authority of the Priesthood when applied in behalf of even a poor Ox. Sincere gratitude from more than one heart in that family, went up unto the Lord that day for His visible interposition in their behalf.