"WHEN THE RIGHTEOUS ARE IN AUTHORITY, THE PEOPLE REJOICE; BUT
WHEN THE WICKED BEARETH RULE, THE PEOPLE MOURN." -- Prov. 29:2.
No. 4. - Vol. 3.]
Cincinnati, Oct., 1862.
[Whole No. 28.
For the Herald.
TESTIMONY OF BROTHER E. THAYRE.
Concerning the Latter Day Work.
In the year 1825 I and my family took breakfast one day about 7 o'clock. I sent the children off to school, and I and my wife were left alone. About 8 1/2 o'clock I stepped to the door because I heard singing, and there was an old gentleman stepped to the gate, and he said "good morning sir." I said good morning, also. He said "do you ever give a stranger and a poor traveller something to eat." I said, always, come in. As he stepped along he came singing a hymn which I never heard before. It seemed to lighten up my soul and filled it with the Spirit of the Lord. I said to my wife, here is a traveller who is hungry, I want you to get him a good warm breakfast, and she did so.
He was plainly and decently dressed and had on a white handkerchief, and a bundle in his hand. He continued until she got his breakfast, but would stop and ask me questions which I could not answer, and then he would smile. He finished his blessing after eating and put his chair back, and continued his singing for a little, then he rose and left the choicest blessings for me and my house, and bid me good bye. He stepped on the door step, and as he let down the latch I lifted it, as I opened the door there was no man there, and he could not possibly have gone out of my way, for I could see 40 or 50 rods all around. I searchest every place for him. I called my wife out and we were astonished above all measure. I made mention of it 8 or 10 miles from home and they said there had been just such a man who had been heard of in different places.
I did not hear much about the Book of Mormon until Joseph Smith was getting it printed, and then my men which were at work on my building brought false stories to me, and I was filled with wrath about it. I said I would let a pair of horses go to take him to prison. I said it is blasphemy. I took a hoe and went into the field. As soon as I commenced I was struck as with a rushing wind, which almost frightened me to death. When I was a little recovered, I started for the house. I got to talking with these men and became more wrathy than ever. I went back again, and was frightened double what I was before. When I recovered I started again for the house and ran.
When they commenced preaching, a messenger came to tell me that my mother was dying. I had a half brother living with me and a nephew, and they took my horses and went to meeting, to hear Hyrum preach while I was gone. When I came back they told me that they had been to hear him preach on the Golden Bible. I did not like it, and I told them that they must not take my horses again to hear those blasphemous wretches preach. My half brother said that Hyrum said that Joseph had seen an angel. My nephew said that there was something in it, and that I had better go and hear him. About that time I had another brother about 40 miles off. He came down and wanted me to go for he wanted to go himself. -- The next Sunday I went and there was a large concourse of people around his (Hyrum's) father's house, so that they extended to the road, filling up the large lot. I rushed in and got close to the stand, so as to be particular to hear what was said.
When Hyrum began to speak, every word touched me to the inmost soul. I thought every word was pointed to me. God punished ire and riveted me to the spot. I could not help myself. The tears rolled down my cheeks, I was very proud and stubborn. There were many there who knew me, I dare not look up. I sat until I recovered myself before I dare look up. They sung some hymns and that filled me with the Spirit. When Hyrum got through, he picked up a book and said, "here is the Book of Mormon." I said, let me see it. I then opened the book, and I received a shock with such exquisite joy that no pen can write and no tongue can express. I shut the book and said, what is the price of it? "Fourteen shillings" was the reply. I said, I'll take the book. I opened it again, and I felt a double portion of the Spirit, that I did not know whether I was in the world or not. I felt as though I was truly in heaven.
Martin Harris rushed to me to tell me that the book was true. I told him that he need not tell me that, for I knew
that it is true as well as he. I hunted up my brother and I said, let us go home. -- He said, "what do you think of
the book?" I said, it is true as sure as God sits upon his throne. I asked him what he thought of it. He said that
he believed it, and had an evidence of its truth. -- When God shows a man such a thing by the power of the Holy
Ghost he knows it is true. He cannot doubt it.
When we started on our way home, there came a bird of the color of a robin, but a little larger. It new around the horses heads nearly down to my hands as I held the lines, and followed us about 1 1/2 miles chirping all the way. My brother kept saying, what does that mean? I never saw a bird act so in my life. When I got to some woods it new off making another singular noise. I came up to the door and my nephew said, Uncle Ezra has bought one of those books, I knew he would. My wife came out and wanted to know what I had got. I said, I have bought a book and it overpowers me to read it, but I am going to lay it alongside of the Bible and see whether they agree. I could not read it for one or two months without being filled with the Spirit of the Lord. When I laid it down by the Bible, I could find any passages that I wanted without turning the leaves over, opening to any passage in the Bible which I wanted to find, and I had been very little acquainted with the Bible.
When it got noised around, my house was filled with the neighbors who wanted to see and hear it read. I read it myself because I was filled with the Spirit. Men that swore would say with an oath that it read well. They filled my house all day, and men made my wife believe that I was crazy and would lose my friends and all my property. There was a Methodist woman in my house, and her husband came over for her after all the company was gone, and he was a Methodist. He wanted to know what I supposed that book was for. I told him that it was to fulfil the covenants which God made with Abraham, concerning his seed. He wanted to know how I could prove that? I told him by the Bible. He said there was no such thing in the Bible, and they were all cursed people, and they would go to hell at last. I turned instantly to the place where it says, "I will bring my sons from afar, and my daughters from the utmost parts of the earth, and they shall be my people and I will be their God." When I said that, he said "come wife, let's go home, I don't want such a God to rule over me." When they were gone my wife began to cry, and said that I was crazy, and it would ruin me, and she would leave me. I withdrew from the company, and sat down in the sitting room. Suddenly a change came over me. I was sitting down to meditate upon it,
and suddenly an angel stood before me. He was a tall, black-eyed man, and
he was the handsomest person that I ever saw, and so bright and white that
he shined like the sun. he had on the handsomest robe that I ever saw. He had a child in his arms as white as he was, with the most brilliant appearance. He said, "you have come at the eleventh hour." He said, "you must become as this little child, or you can in no wise enter into the kingdom of God." He then said, "behold it is a male child." He said, "take care, the devil is after the child," and I saw a huge black form in the shape of a man at the door, and I had a large dog laying in the room, and he rose up and went to the door and growled three times, and came back and laid down again. The angel disappeared as he spoke, and the devil withdrew. Then a double portion of the Spirit came on me, and I went into the room to my wife, and said hallelujah to God and the Lamb! Hosannah to Jesus on high! I have seen an angel of God, who has been into my room and visited me to-night. The first sermon that ever I preached was to my wife.
They wanted me to bring the book to Canandaigua, and I did so, and they perused it, first one, then another. Then one spoke and said that he had a boy at home and if he could not make a better book than that he would flog him. Then they all made their comments. Some said one thing and some another, and none believed it. A lawyer (Dudley Martin) was sitting by reading a newspaper. He said, "have you all made your comments on the book?" They said yes. He said let me see it. He looked in it a few minutes and said, well gentlemen, you have all made your comments on the book, and if you wish to bet 500 dollars, I will bet that you cannot make such a book. He said again, I know as much as any of you, and as much as all of you, and I will bet you 500 dollars that you cannot do it. Next day I had occasion [to] go to a grist mill, and the most of these men were there. They commenced immediately, enquiring whether I believed it still. I could not say that I believed it, I knew it. Then an editor of a paper asked me if I had a liberal education. I said no. Then he said that he could tell me that I knew nothing concerning God if I had not had a liberal education. He said that there was no God only the God of nature, that we all came by chance. I asked him how all things came, the sun, moon and planets, and who made them and this world teeming with all its live animals. I pointed to the fields with their ripening grain and all the flowers with the green leaves and trees. He said the grain was caused by the labor of men's hands. He said the cattle were all made by nature and came by chance, and likewise the trees and the flowers. There was a Quaker there who said that if the book had come through any of their preachers he would have believed it. I asked him what kind of a man Martin Harris was. He said Martin lived neighbor to him, and was an honest man, and if he should meet him in the woods and he wanted 500 or 1000 dollars, he would let him have it, because he was a punctual man.
Then I rose and testified by the Spirit that there was a God, who made all things -- heaven and earth, and things therein. I was in the Spirit all the time. I told them that the books was to gather the house of Israel. After I had borne testimony by the Spirit, I started for home, and when I got home I put up my horse and went into the same room were I saw the angel, and sat down alone. As I did so, while pondering on the things which had transpired that day, there was a rainbow came down on each side of the room, which was the most beautiful that I ever saw. I looked up and said, O Jesus, my God, and then there was a voice said, you have done well, and applauded me very highly. He said, yes, I am God that made heaven and earth, and there is none other God beside me. Then I was so filled with the Spirit that I thought I was in heaven. The rainbow disappeared gradually and all was gone. Then I was in the Spirit again, and a man came and brought me a roll of paper and presented it to me, and also a trumpet and told me to blow it. I told him that I never blowed any in my life. He said you can blow it, try it. I put it in my mouth and blowed on it, and it made the most beautiful sound that I ever heard. The roll of paper was the revelation on me and
Northrop Sweet. Oliver (Cowdery) was the man that brought the roll and
trumpet. When he brought the revelation on me and Northrop Sweet, he said, here is a revelation from God for you, now blow your trumpet, and I said, I never blowed a trumpet. He said, you can. When that vision passed away I saw in vision that I was driving on a road that I never drove before.
Joseph was then in Harmony, Pa., and the next Sunday he came to his father's house, and we assembled to see him. I had not conversed with him before concerning the book. Then I told him what had happened and how I knew the book was true. He then asked me what hindered me from going into the water, as Oliver Cowdery's mother was going to be baptized. I said, I am ready and willing at any time. Then we started to the water, which was four or five miles off. When I got on the way I saw the same horses and the same persons, (6 of them) that I saw in the before mentioned vision, and the houses all along were the same as had been shown me. When I came to the grist mill, I saw that T had seen it in the vision, but I had never been there before. We were baptized just below the mill." There was a green meadow which I had seen before. Parley P. Pratt baptized us, and I had seen him in the vision. I saw him pull two fish out of the water and another which was a small fish. -- I saw that I and Oliver's mother were the two persons referred to in the vision. The small fish meant Northrop Sweet. He was baptized at the same time, but soon left the church.
About this time my brother came and told me that he dreamt that my mother died and flew away into a swamp, and she was spotted. I felt concerned, fearing that she was lost. She was a Methodist. I prayed to God that I might know whether she was saved. -- I prayed in faith, and I never asked for anything about that time but he gave it to me. I saw my mother suddenly standing before me. She had on the same looking dress as I saw the angel have. I said, O my mother! my mother! She said that I had sinned in some things but I must be faithful.
I and Northrop Sweet were both confirmed by Joseph, and Northrop had the Spirit, but I did not. Joseph said to me,
you will not receive the Spirit now, but you will soon. The next morning I was going a journey, and I got on the
box of the stage. I rode so until 9 o'clock, P. M., then a young man got on, and he swore. I reproved him for it.
He said that his parents were Baptists and taught him better, and he was going to quit and go home. Then the Lord
poured out his Spirit upon me in the most extraordinary manner. -- Then we stopped at a hotel. When I went to bed,
as I laid my coat off, I received a greater outpouring. Then I said, I know that Joseph is a prophet, and I have
never doubted since.
I invited Joseph to come to my barn and I said that I would go to Canandagua and get a large congregation. The barn was about 50 feet long by 18 wide. It was filled and some could not get in. Joseph, Hyrum, Oliver Cowdery, D., J. and P. Whitmer, P. P. Pratt and Ziba Peterson preached with great power. Then the people invited us to Canandagua. I went down to engage a place for them to preach in. They had promised that we should meet in the Methodist Meeting house, but the Trustees would not agree, so I engaged the Court House. The elders met at my house that night. -- We went down and Sydney commenced preaching. I attended the door. The meeting commenced about dark. About 7 or 8 o'clock, I saw a light spring up in the east. I pointed it out to some that were standing out, and they all looked at it, and they said that it was the Montezuma marsh on fire. The marsh was only in the east. I said look in the south as another great light sprung up in that direction, then another in the west, and I said look in the west; then another in the north, and I said look in the north. It became about as light as noon day, and rolled over in the sky like a great blaze of fire, extending and met at the zenith. It was seen by about 40 or 50 persons outside. I locked the door and would not let them go in to disturb the congregation, therefore the congregation knew nothing about it. It continued about one hour and a half. It passed away before the meeting broke up.
After the meeting, I got all the brethren into my wagon to go to my house. After we had started we saw a light as large as a hogshead, which followed us all the way, (3 1/2 miles) above the wagon probably 150 feet, and it lighted us so that we could see the horses tracks in the road. Joseph said that it was one of the signs of the coming of the Son of man. When we got to the house, I told the brethren to go in, and I would unharness. The light went no further than we went. I could see to unharness and feed my horses as well as in the day time. There was no moon visible. When I was done, the light flashed and disappeared instantly.
At another time I saw the Savior coming on a cloud from the east like a man on a horse in great glory like unto fire. Just before the Conference at Sandwich, Illinois, Oct. 6th, 1860, I saw the Savior traveling on the earth, just as he was in his ministry, with him. I felt his hand as much as any man's hand, that I ever had hold of. I asked him if he would receive me, and he said he would if I would declare what I knew concerning his gospel and the Book of Mormon. He said that if I would do so he would visit me again. I asked him if it would do any good. He said, O, yes, it will do a great deal of good. I heard the most beautiful singing that I ever heard in all my life. It seemed as if there were ten thousand tongues.
I say in the presence of God and all his holy angels, and before all that
seraphic host, that this is the truth. If there are any errors, I do not know it.
Note 1: In his 2000 book, Early Mormon Documents III, Dan Vogel says on page 78: "...10 October is the most
likely Sunday in October  for the baptisms of Thayre, Sweet, and Keziah Cowdery." Following Ezra Thayre's
account, he and Northrop Sweet must have been confirmed that same day or shortly thereafter. The date of "Joseph,
Hyrum, Oliver Cowdery," the three "Whitmers," "P. P. Pratt and Ziba Peterson" gathering in Thayre's barn, where
they "preached with great power," must have been in mid-October, at the latest. However, Pratt, Cowdery, Peterson,
and Whitmer left on their "mission" to the Lamanites about Oct. 10, 1830 -- so there appears to be some kind of
conflict in the chronology Thayre here provides. The "Four Missionaries" left the Palmyra area just after Oct. 17th
and two of them arrived at the Mentor, Ohio home of Sidney Rigdon on Oct. 28th. The problem being, that Thayre
seemingly places Sidney Rigdon at his barn in Farmington, Ontario Co., New York before the departure of the
Note 2: Mr. Vogel (on page 80 of his Early Mormon Documents III,) says: "The presence of Sidney Rigdon
necessarily dates these Canandaigua meetings to December 1830 or January 1831, probably the former. Thayre
perhaps conflates two separate meetings: October 1830, when Joseph Smith preached in his barn, and the following
December, when Smith perhaps again preached in his barn and Rigdon in the courthouse." While this interpretation
makes sense, it may not provide the only possible answer to the chronological conflict. It may be that Rigdon
actually did preach to the early Mormons in western New York, prior to the departure of the "Four Missionaries."
See Emily Austin's 1882 book, page 37
for a similarly anachronistic report of Rigdon's having been in that same general region of the country.