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Saints: The Standard of Truth Part 22: Malaria in Nauvoo

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
March 2, 2020 8:12 pm

Saints: The Standard of Truth Part 22: Malaria in Nauvoo

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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March 2, 2020 8:12 pm

This is the 5th week of shows covering the 2018 LDS Church book Saints: The Standard of Truth. Today Bill and Eric take a closer look at the problem of malaria in Nauvoo.


Viewpoint is mainly to examine the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints viewpoint when Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect.

And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism welcomed this additional viewpoint on Mormonism.

I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry with me today is Eric Johnson.

My colleague at MRM we continue looking at a history book titled Saints the standard of truth published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 2018 and and yesterday show. We mentioned how the latter-day Saints had been moving west, but unfortunately they had to leave some of the settlements that God had told Joseph Smith to form and now according to chapter 34, page 399. In this book. They are now going to found the city of Nauvoo that was originally known as commerce. The way it's described.

It was a marshy floodplain that rose gently to a wooded bluff overlooking a wide band in the Mississippi River and it's on that bluff. By the way that the Mormons built the Nauvoo Temple that eventually would be destroyed and the saints would have to move out of Malibu, just as they had to move out of Kirtland and just as they had to move out of Far West Missouri. We want to talk about that marshy floodplain because it is the significance of that in the book, beginning on page 402 it says swarms of mosquitoes had risen from the marshlands to feast on the new settlers and many saints came down with deadly malarial fevers and bone rattling chills. Most of the 12 were soon too sick to leave for Britain and we should stop and say that when it says to leave for Britain. This would be a mission trip that several would be going on on the morning of Monday, July 22. Wilford heard and that's Wilford Woodruff heard Joseph's voice outside his home. Brother Woodruff follow me. Wilford stepped outside and saw Joseph standing with a group of men all morning. They had been moving from house to house, tent to tent taking the sick by the hand and healing them. After blessing the saints and commerce. They had taken a ferry across the river to heal the saints in Montrose now Montrose. Of course, as we mentioned yesterday was a settlement across the Mississippi to the west and it was an Iowa but Eric let me ask you this notice he gives us the impression that everywhere. Joseph Smith went with these men. They were healing everyone. Almost like a Jesus moment walking through the streets in Israel that whoever he touched that person was healed and we have had instances where the church has insinuated that very thing that he could heal everybody. There was a movie back in 2005 called Joseph Smith, Prophet of the restoration and there's a scene there where it appears that everybody's getting healed and so if you were to end it right there. Bill I think you could say well he met the impression that many Latter Day Saints would have isn't that great how Joseph Smith is healing. Everybody will especially when it goes on page 402 to talk about Elijah Fordham. What is it say about him. Wilford walked with them across the village square to the home of his friend Elijah Fordham Elijah's eyes were sunken in his skin ashen, his wife Anna was weeping as she prepared his burial clothes.

Joseph approached Elijah and took his hand brother Fordham. He asked have you not faith to be healed. I am afraid it is too late. He said do not believe that Jesus is the Christ. I do brother Joseph Elijah the prophet declared I command you in the name of Jesus of Nazareth or arise and be made whole. The words seem to shake the house. Elijah rose from his bed, his face flush with color.

He dressed asked for something to eat and follow Joseph outside to help minister to many others. Okay now here again it's giving the impression that wherever Joseph Smith went the person that he prayed for, perhaps even laid hands on was miraculously healed. Now, later on, it's going to show you that that really wasn't the case and I do commend the church for including what were going to also read after this portion, but what you do with that.

Eric because I've had many Latter Day Saints told me that they will never leave the church because they have seen so much. In other words, they have apparently experienced either personal healing in their life or seen it and other individuals lives in many Latter Day Saints will assume that this is God's stamp of approval on Joseph Smith and the movement that he founded how would you respond to what you do have groups like Hindus and Muslims and others who have similar kinds of stories of healings and supernatural acts that take place. I think we have to remember what Jesus says on the sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 7 verses 21 through 23. He said not everyone who says to me Lord Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons, and in your name perform many miracles. What's the response Jesus as verse 23 then I will tell them plainly.

I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers.

I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers now how do you respond to the story that we just read. Notice the question that's brought out here.

Elijah Fordham is asked by Joseph Smith. Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ. I do brother Joseph. You have to remember a lot of these early converts came from a Christian background that we could easily cast down the judgment upon them and say all because they follow Joseph Smith God had nothing more to do with them. I think we need to be cautious about that because there could be three factors that are involved here. First of all, it could be that the faith of these individuals in Christ, and at this point we are not really discussing what they thought about Christ because a lot of those strange things that Joseph Smith or tributes to Jesus. Many of those would come about later on anyway. But they may have had faith in Christ. The simple faith. The fact that they have been deceived by Joseph Smith that this period of time. I don't know if we would be right in assuming that that means God is going to pull his hand from all these individuals they could've been the faith that they had in Jesus to heal them. It could have been God's mercy. Of course, to heal them as well and we can't discount that but it also could be and this is probably a little bit more harsh. Some of these cases could have been an act of God bringing a more strong delusion on those individuals for following Smith in the first place. I don't know what of those three elements that could've possibly have been now Latter Day Saints I know are going to assume no this was God, the true God working through Joseph Smith. But be careful. Folks, because that passage is Eric read in Matthew chapter 7 Jesus claims that even people who have performed great miracles and done great things in his name are not necessarily even known by Jesus. So I don't think it would be safe to assume that just because a latter-day St. has seen something miraculous happen within the context of Mormonism that that somehow justifies the Mormon movement have often told Latter Day Saints. I don't even use the examples of miraculous healings to justify what I believe regarding Christianity.

I would much rather go back to the word of God and see if in fact these people are espousing what Jesus commanded in the first place before I would go by something like this but of course many Latter Day Saints are going to see this as God's hand of approval, but the fact remains that even this book on page 403 shows that Joseph Smith was not successfully healing everyone that he touched. Now it gives the example of Elijah Fordham and it does say that they went from tent to tent taking the sick by the hand and healing them. But it doesn't really say every single person was healed.

And as you mentioned, though Eric in that film. It came out in the early 2000's.

That film didn't come to give the impression that Smith was healing everybody. At least that's the way I walked away from the film, and I do want to give credit to the church for what we are about to read on page 403 it says Joseph efforts to bless and heal the sick, did not end the spread of disease and commerce in Montrose and some Saints perished as more people died 18-year-old Sinai Huntington worried that her mother would succumb to that illness as well design I cared for her mother daily, leaning on her father and brothers for support, but soon the entire family was sick. Joseph checked on them from time to time seen what he could do to help the family or make design his mother more comfortable. One day sign. His mother called for her. My time is come to die, she said weakly. I am not afraid. She testified design of the resurrection, I shall come forth triumphant. When the Savior comes with the just to meet the saints on the earth when her mother died sign. It was overcome with grief knowing the family suffering.

Joseph continued to attend to them the let me stop you there Eric because here's an example where I think, and as mentioned earlier, I do credit the church for being honest in showing that everyone that Joseph Smith touched was not miraculously healed, even the leaders in the church that had succumb to these illnesses. At that particular time were not miraculously healed when many of the leaders went off eventually to Great Britain on a mission. It mentions how Brigham Young was sick at the time they left.

So a lot of them had been suffering from these illnesses so we would be erroneous in assuming that Joseph Smith was some kind of a Jesus figure healing everyone that he touched you bring up Brigham Young.

But the book talks about not not just the apostles who are sick but the families who are very very sick and so these apostles are going on these mission trips, leaving behind almost deathly sick families. You almost have to wonder was it so important for them to go at that time when maybe they should've been taking business with their families at home, but why do you think the book includes those hardships. Eric no doubt it is to show that if you do your duty and following the leadership which at this time. Of course, is Joseph Smith. But in a modern context, of course, it would be following the leadership that the church has right now in Salt Lake City do what they tell you despite the hardships and I think this is what this book is supposed to be really trying to get across to its members are church has a history of suffering but yet look at what God did through the suffering of those faithful early members. But you're right. A lot of these leaders were very sick and Joseph Smith was still intent on sending them on a mission. On page 404, it says Parley and Orson Pratt two brothers who were apostles were the next apostles to depart even though Orson and Sarah were still mourning for their daughter, Lydia, who would die just 11 days before Mary and Pratt. Parley's wife was joining the apostles on the mission as she set out with them. George H Smith, the youngest apostle was still sick when he began his mission postponing marriage to his fiancée, Bathsheba Bigler and then he goes on to say, Marianne Young said goodbye to Brigham in the middle of September. He was sick again, but he was determined to do what was required of him. The message getting across to the Latter Day Saints reader is despite the suffering, you may be going through. Follow the prophet. If you follow the prophet you may suffer, but you will be blessed in the long run. And yet were going to see that out of these illnesses comes another interesting unique Mormon teaching. Thank you for listening. If you would like more information when guarding his research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website you can request a free newsletter Mormonism research. We hope you will join us again as we look at another viewpoint is looking for a resource that will quickly let you know what Mormon leaders have taught in a given topic like the gospel of Jesus Christ, the great apostasy or grace in their own words a collection of Mormon quotations may be the answer. Compiled his research ministries Bill McKeever this book has thousands of quotations in an easy-to-read topical format in their own words is available with the Utah lighthouse ministry bookstore on West Temple. Your sniffle part online

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