Latter-day Saint Life

What Heber C. Kimball Saw the Night Joseph Smith Received the Book of Mormon Plates


Late one fall evening after Heber and Vilate Kimball had retired to their bed, they were awakened suddenly by a urgent knocking at their door. A neighbor, John Greene, who lived just 100 steps away, stood at the door and bade them come out and behold the scenery in the heavens.”

They did so, and it was a beautiful starlit night, so exceptionally clear and brilliant that Heber said he could “see to pick up a pin.”

As the little group watched, a white smoke formed on the eastern horizon, and slowly began to rise upward. As it did so, it formed itself into a belt spreading across the sky toward the southwest, and it was accompanied by the sound of a rushing mighty wind.

Gradually, that belt flattened out and broadened across into a bow—like a rainbow, becoming transparent with a bluish cast, and stretching from horizon to horizon.

“In this bow an army moved, commencing in the east and marching to the west. They continued marching until they reached the western horizon. They moved in platoons, and walked so close that the rear ranks trod in the steps of their file leaders until the whole bow was literally crowded with soldiers.”

They were dressed in the full battle gear of 19th century soldiers—muskets; bayonets, and were so clear and distinct that Heber and the small group of neighbors could distinguish the features of their faces, and hear the jingle of their equipage as they moved.

Shortly, the entire bow from horizon to horizon was crowded and filled with marching men, the sound of that marching reaching clearly to the ears of the astonished onlookers.

Heber later described the event this way:

“No man could judge of my feelings when I beheld that army of men, as plainly as ever I saw armies of men in the flesh; it seemed as though every [the very] hair of my head was alive.”

“When the front rank of soldiers reached the western horizon a battle ensued.” The noise of the rush of men, and the clash of the arms was distinct and unmistakable. Heber and his friends looked upon this scene for hours, until it gradually disappeared.

Heber’s wife, somewhat afraid, turned to one of the older men in the group and asked, “Father Young, what does all this mean?”

“Why, it’s one of the signs of the coming of the Son of Man,” he replied in a lively and pleased manner.

And indeed it was. The night that Heber and his friends in Mendon, New York saw the vision and Brigham Young and friends saw it in Port Byron, New York was September 22, 1827—the same night that the angel Moroni delivered the plates of the Book of Mormon into the hands of the prophet Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon is truly the Marvelous Work and a Wonder.

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For more about the miracles of the Book of Mormon, order The Miracle of the Book of Mormon now and receive free shipping just in time for Father's Day.  

Also, check o

ut the incredible life of Heber C. Kimball by reading Orson F. Whitney's book Life of Heber C. Kimball.


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