Risking Death for the Prophet
previous next

“Risking Death for the Prophet,” Ensign, July 1975, 66–67

Risking Death for the Prophet

“One morning I was standing at my gate when two men drove up in a two-horse wagon and asked me to get in and go home with them. About a quarter of a mile distant, on the way, one asked me if I had heard the news, and informed me that four men had come to Kirtland with a ‘Golden Bible,’ one of them had seen an angel. They laughed and ridiculed the idea, but I did not feel inclined to make light of such a subject. I made no reply, I thought that if angels had administered to the children of men again I was glad of it. I was afraid, however, it was not true. On my return home I told my wife what I had heard.

“The next day I was intending to go fifty miles south to the town of Suffield, Ohio, to pay some taxes, but my wife, thinking that one or two days would not make much difference about that, proposed that we should hunt up those strange men in Kirtland. … On arriving there, we were introduced to Oliver Cowdery, Ziba Peterson, Peter Whitmer, Jr., and Parley P. Pratt. I remained with them all day and became convinced that they were sincere in their professions. I asked Oliver what repentance consisted of, and he replied, ‘Forsaking sin and yielding obedience to the gospel.’

“I was baptized October 16, 1830 by Parley P. Pratt. … While in bed that night I felt a hand upon my left shoulder and a sensation like fibers of fire immediately enveloped my body. It passed from my right shoulder across my breast to my left shoulder, it then struck me on my collar bone and went to the pit of my stomach, after which it left me. I was enveloped in a heavenly influence and could not sleep for joy. …

“I held myself in readiness to assist the [Prophet Joseph] Smith family with my money or my personal services, as they might require, as they were financially poor. They were living on a farm owned by F. G. Williams in Kirtland, upon which there was a debt of four hundred dollars due which had to be paid within a stated time or the farm would revert to its former owner. They could not raise the money. I told the Prophet I could raise the money, and he replied that if I could, I should be blessed. … I owned 1200 acres of land lying south of Elyria, which was worth three dollars per acre. In order to raise the money then I would have to sell a portion of it for one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre. I did and paid Joseph the four hundred dollars. …

“In 1832 I sold my possessions in Ohio. … I joined in with a company led by Brother Thomas B. Marsh and arrived in Independence, Jackson County, on the 10th of November.

“When the mob first began to gather and threaten us, I was selected to go to another county and buy powder and lead. Soon after I returned, a mob of about 150 men came upon us in the dead hour of night. I was aroused from my sleep by the noise caused by the falling houses and had barely time to escape to the woods with my wife and two children when they reached my house and proceeded to break in the door and tear the roof off. … The next day we heard firing down in the Whitmer settlement. Seventeen of our brethren volunteered to go down and see what it meant. When these 17 men arrived at the Whitmer settlement, the mob came against them and took some prisoners. Brother David Whitmer brought us the news of them and said, ‘Every man go, and every man take a man.’

“We all responded and met the mob in battle in which I was wounded with an ounce ball and two buckshot, all entering my body just at the right side of my navel into my stomach. Several others were also shot. After the battle I took my gun and powder horn and started for home. When I got about half way I became faint and thirsty. I wanted to stop at Brother Whitmer’s house to lay down. The house, however, was full of women and children, they were so frightened. The mob had threatened that wherever they found a wounded man, they would kill men, women, and children.

“I continued on and arrived home, or rather at a house in the field that the mob had not torn down. There I found my wife and children and a number of other women who had assembled. They assisted me upstairs. …

“The next morning I was taken farther off from the road, that I might be concealed from the mob. I bled inwardly until my body was filled with blood. I remained in this condition until the next day at five P.M. I was then examined by a surgeon who … pronounced me a dead man. David Whitmer, however, sent me word that I should live and not die. …

“After the surgeon had left me, brother Newell Knight came to see me and sat down on the side of my bed. He laid his right hand on my head, but never spoke. I felt the Spirit resting upon me at the crown of my head before his hand touched me, I knew immediately that I was going to be healed. It seemed to form like a ring under the skin and followed down my body. When the ring came to the wound, another ring formed around the first bullet hole, also the second and third. Then a ring formed on each shoulder and on each hip and followed down to the ends of my fingers and toes and left me. I immediately arose and discharged three quarts of blood or more, with some pieces of my clothes that had been driven into my body by the bullets.

“I then dressed myself and went outdoors and saw the falling of the stars. … It was one of the grandest sights I ever beheld. From that time on not a drop of blood came from me and I never afterwards felt the slightest pain from my wounds, except I was weak from the loss of blood.

“The next day I walked around the field, and the day following I mounted a horse and rode eight miles, and went three miles on foot. The night of the battle, the mob took all my household furniture, and after my recovery I crossed the river to Clay County, leaving behind me a drove of hogs, three cows, and all of my crops, which I never recovered. …

“In the year 1851 I moved my family to Utah, settling in Springville.”

(Philo Dibble died in 1895 and is buried in Springville Cemetery. Diary submitted by Evelyn Warren Deamer, great-great-granddaughter of Philo Dibble. Sister Deamer lives in Yale First Ward, Salt Lake Bonneville Stake.)

Illustrations by James Christensen