Mercy Fielding Thompson
Mercy Fielding Thompson (1807–1893) was born in England and later immigrated to Canada with her brother and sister, Joseph and Mary Fielding, in 1832. In 1836 the three siblings were baptized after hearing missionary Parley P. Pratt preach. They moved to Kirtland, where Mercy married Robert Thompson, who served as a secretary to Joseph Smith.
We listened with joy and profit to the words of instruction and counsel which fell from the inspired lips of Joseph Smith, each word carrying to our hearts deeper and stronger convictions that we were listening to a mighty Prophet of God. And yet there was not the slightest appearance of ostentation or conscious power on his part; he was as free and sociable as though we had all been his own brothers and sisters, or members of one family. He was as unassuming as a child. . . .
I have seen the Prophet under a great variety of circumstances, in public, in domestic and social life and in sacred places.
I have seen him as if carried away by the power of God beyond all mortal conception, when speaking to the Saints in their public gatherings; and in less public places I have heard him explaining to the brethren and sisters the glorious principles of the gospel, as no man could, except by prophetic power.
I have seen him in the lyceum and heard him reprove the brethren for giving way to too much excitement and warmth in debate, and have listened to his clear and masterly explanations of deep and difficult questions.
To him all things seemed simple and easy to be understood, and thus he could make them plain to others as no other man could that I ever heard.
In a social gathering of the Saints at the Bowery near the site of the Temple, I saw him rejoicing with the people, perfectly sociable and without reserve, occasionally uttering jokes for their amusement and moving upon the same plane with the humblest and poorest of his friends; to him there were no strangers and by all he was known as the Prophet and a friend of humanity. . . .
I saw him by the bedside of Emma, his wife, in sickness, exhibiting all the solicitude and sympathy possible for the tenderest of hearts and the most affectionate of natures to feel. And by the deathbed of my beloved companion, I saw him stand in sorrow, reluctantly submitting to the decree of Providence, while the tears of love and sympathy freely flowed. . . .
I have been present at meetings of the Relief Society and heard him give directions and counsels to the sisters, calculated to inspire them to efforts which would lead to celestial glory and exaltation, and oh! how my heart rejoiced!
Eliza R. Snow
Eliza R. Snow (1804–1887) grew up in Mantua, Ohio, thirty miles south of Kirtland. Originally Baptist, she and her family followed the Disciples of Christ under the direction of Sidney Rigdon. Her mother and sister joined with the Mormons before Eliza. She studied the Book of Mormon before she met Joseph. Eliza was later sealed to Joseph as a plural wife. She considered him the “choice of my heart and the crown of my life.”
In the autumn of [1829 or 1830] I heard of Joseph Smith as a Prophet to whom the Lord was speaking from the heavens; and that a sacred record containing a history of the origin of the aborigines of America, was unearthed. A Prophet of God—the voice of God revealing to man as in former dispensations, was what my soul had hungered for, but could it possibly be true—I considered it a hoax—too good to be true.
In the winter of 1830 and 31, Joseph Smith called at my father’s, and as he sat warming himself, I scrutinized his face as closely as I could without attracting his attention, and decided that his was an honest face. My adopted motto, “prove all things and hold fast that which is good,” prompted me to investigation, as incredulous as I was; and the most impressive testimonies I had ever heard were given by two of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon, at the first meeting of the believers in Joseph Smith’s mission, which I attended. . .
In the spring of 1836, I taught a select school for young ladies, and boarded with the Prophet’s family. . . . I resided in the family of Joseph Smith, and taught his family school, and had ample opportunity to mark his “daily walk and conversation,” as a prophet of God; and the more I became acquainted with him, the more I appreciated him as such. His lips ever flowed with instruction and kindness; and, although very forgiving, indulgent, and affectionate in his temperament, when his Godlike intuition suggested that the welfare of his brethren, or the interests of the kingdom of God demanded it; no fear of censure—no love of approbation could prevent his severe and cutting rebuke.
Though his expansive mind grasped the great plan of salvation and solved the mystic problem of man’s destiny—though he had in his possession keys that unlocked the past and the future with its succession of eternities; in his devotions he was humble as a little child.
Lead photo from mormonnewsroom.org
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