One day while crossing a large prairie, six or eight miles from any house, we crossed a small stream. The ground was frozen deep on each side, and we sprung one of the axletrees of Brother Barnard’s carriage. Brother Barnard said we could not travel with it any farther. Brother Joseph looked at it and said, “I can spring that iron axletree back, so that we can go on our journey.” Brother Barnard replied, “I am a blacksmith, and used to work in all kinds of iron, and that axletree is bent so far round that to undertake to straighten it would only break it.” Brother Joseph answered, “I’ll try it.” He got a pry, and we sprung it back to its place, and it did not trouble us anymore till we arrived at Far West, March 14, 1837 (sic). Brother Barnard, seeing this done, concluded that he would never say again that a thing could not be done when a prophet said it could. 1
Consequences for persecuting the Saints in Missouri
Joseph Smith the Prophet once undertook to plead law. I have the name of the man who was under arrest, in my journal somewhere, it it would be a job to find it, and the name matters but little—the story of the Prophet acting as a prosecuting attorney is impressed upon my mind never to be blotted out or dimmed by time, it will be fresh while reason lasts, not so much for the law he quoted, but for the great prophecy he uttered and the divine appearance of the man while he spoke the word of the Lord.
Soon after we left Nauvoo and settled in Commerce three of our brethren were kidnapped by Missourians, taken to Missouri and starved and whipped until they were hardly able to run at all, but they managed to get away and return home.
One of the men who did that wicked, cruel deed was found years after in disguise parading the streets of Nauvoo, and was recognized by old Father James Allred as the very man who took him forcibly from Illinois back into Missouri and there treated him worse than a white man should treat his dog.
The Prophet was mayor, but the kidnapper was brought before an alderman for trial and Joseph acted as prosecuting attorney. When he had just fairly started to set forth the crime that the defendant was arraigned for, he suddenly left the law and declared the word of God with regard to the state of Missouri and its inhabitants. He told what the Saints had suffered at the hands of Missouri and the injustice and cruelty of their suffering, and he went on to tell what Missouri should be called to endure in order to pay the penalty of wrongs inflicted and for the blood of the Saints they had shed.
A portion of the words of the prophecy I will quote verbatim: “She shall drink out of the same cup, the same bitter dregs we have drunk, poured out, out, out! and that by the hand of an enemy—a race meaner than themselves.”
All the time he was delivering the word of the Lord his face shone as if there was a light within him and his flesh was translucent.
The time thus occupied was considerable, for he pronounced two other very remarkable prophecies.
When he had done prophesying he stopped speaking entirely, while he wiped a flood of perspiration from his face and gave vent to his pent-up breath with a long blow, kind of a half-whistle, and after a minute or two he remarked, “Well, where that meaner race is coming from God only knows. It is not the ‘niggers,’ for they don’t know enough, and are gentlemen by the side of their masters. It is not the Indians, for they are the chosen people of God and a noble race of men, but as sure as God ever spoke by me that shall come to pass.”
I have lived to see that prophecy literally fulfilled in the Rebellion, when every family in that part of the state that the Saints used to occupy was killed or compelled to leave their homes by the Bushwackers or Guerillas under Quantrell—a generation of vipers raised mostly after that prophecy was uttered. (Springville, Utah. Oct. 16, 1890) 2
- Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 1801-1844
- Oliver B. Huntington, The Young Woman’s Journal, II, (December, 1890), pp. 124-125;