“A lamp to my feet”

“A lamp to my feet” March 28, 2018


Peter Whitmer log home
This is a modern reconstruction of the Peter Whitmer home in Fayette, New York, where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized, with six members, on 6 April 1830
(Wikimedia Commons public domain)


David Lewis dictated his reminiscences to Andrew Jensen on 10 September 1908.  This passage from those reminiscences is reproduced in Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, Personal Glimpses of the Prophet Joseph Smith (American Fork, UT: Covenant Communications, 2009):


I remember the [1830] meeting at which the Church was organized when I was not yet twelve, including the fact that the room they met in had no floor except dirt.  I asked if I could be baptized, and the Prophet sent me home to talk it over with my parents and if possible get their consent.

I went home and asked my mother if she was willing that I join the Church.  Her answer was, “Yes, David, you can do so if you please, but David, the whole world is against them, including all the good ministers.”

Stubbornly, I gave my reasons:  “I like the way Joseph speaks, he preaches baptism for the remission of sins, the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost.”

I was baptized twenty nine days after the organization of the Church, on my twelfth birthday, in a stream two miles down a road and two miles over a “cow trail.”  Joseph performed the ordinance and then tried to persuade me not to go home since a violent thunderstorm had broken as soon as the baptism was completed.  I insisted on going straight home, as I had promised my mother that I would.  The Prophet pressed me no further but instead promised me that the Lord would be with me, and take me safely home to my mother.

Lost and frightened on the way home through the woods, I remembered the Prophet’s promise and knelt to pray that the Lord would take me safely to my home and be a lamp to my feet and a guide to my pathway.  The answer came as specifically as my prayer.  A light, resembling the illumination from a coal-oil lamp, appeared and moved ahead of me down the path to my house, circled around the back door, and went out as soon as my mother, who had seen it pass the window, opened the door.  When I told the Prophet about it later, Joseph answered, “David, I knew that you would get lost in the woods and that the Lord would guide you home.”  (46-47)



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