Every family has problems and challenges. But successful families try to work together toward solutions instead of resorting to criticism and contention. They pray for each other, discuss, and give encouragement. Ezra Taft Benson

Monday, January 5, 2009

Visit from a Nephite

I came across the following while reading a family history I copied during our trip to Vernal last summer. It was so inspiring I felt I should share it. It is titled Testimony of Lydia Eliza Porter Fisher. It states it is from a personal interview conducted April 9, 1946 in Bountiful, Utah by Dr. Paul Richardson, Norma Richardson, Sullivan Richardson, Betty Richardson and Merida Huntsman concerning the appearance of a Nephite to a member of her family and the miracles associated with his visit. The event she describes occurred in the Fall of 1900, when she was 27 years old.

Lydia Fisher was a first cousin of Sullivan Richardson’s wife, Amy Teressa Leavitt Richardson. Sullivan and Amy are Anna’s great, great grandparents.

For brevity of this posting, I am not including the complete interview, but feel free to let me know if you are interested in seeing the rest and I will make a complete posting.

Question: Can you tell us about your physical condition when you were young?

Lydia: I was born without a voice. Mother said she had a lot of trouble before I was born. I learned to talk, but I could only whisper. When I was young, I cried a lot because I could not speak. Most of the time I whispered to make myself understood. I learned to play the mouth organ and whistle to make noise.


Question: Now would you tell us about when the Nephite came, how he came, etc?

Lydia: Well, as I said, I had gone to Grandma’s and brought her here to my house to live with me (she was about 87 years of age). For about a year she couldn’t hear me when I spoke, and I had to write all my messages to her. Then one day she said, “I’m going to pray for a blessing for you from God, and I’ll never stop praying until my prayers are answered.” So she started. She prayed aloud every morning and night and had a secret prayer at noon.

After she had prayed a month, I asked her if she wasn’t tired of praying for me. She said she wasn’t tired and she would pray until her prayer was answered. She prayed another month. One day I went into her room to tell her how much I loved her, and I told her she was getting weak, because she prayed to the Lord so much. But she prayed another month – making 3 months in all. I went to her and said, “God bless you, Grandma, for you have done a wonderful lot for me:, and she said, “Throw your pencil away. You won’t need it much longer.”

Then I heard a knock at the door, and I went to the door and pulled the curtain aside. I saw a man standing there, with a dark hat, a frock-tailed coat, a light shirt, a dark pair of shoes and dark pants. Something said to me, “He’s a Nephite of the living God. Let him in quick or he will be gone.” I couldn’t say, “Come in”, so I opened the door and took hold of him and pulled him into the house.

He said, “Go get the good old lady that prayed three months for you to get your voice.” I went in and took her by the arm and helped her into the kitchen. When se looked at him, she said, “I have lived nearly 88 years to behold a Nephite of the Living God.”

I asked him who he was. He said he was a Mormon. He told us his mission was to travel the universe and comfort those in trouble and bring souls unto God. He looked unto me and said, “You can go pray.” I whispered, “All right,” and I went in to the other room. I asked God to let me know by what power I had received that beautiful feeling that I had when he came into our home.

When I returned to the room, he placed his left hand on my throat, and when he put his right hand on my head, I wanted to shout, “Hosanna to God.” Then he said, “I am going to pray a prayer that no mortal on this earth has ever heard, and thee will not hear it, but every word of it will be fulfilled.” Then he said, “Our Father who art in Heaven,” and I never heard any more until he said “In the name of they beloved Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.”

Then he blessed us. He blessed our home, and he blessed the surroundings, and he said, “If you never have tobacco, whiskey, tea or coffee, and you never play cards or profane in the name of God, your place shall be a hallowed, sacred place, and everyone that comes and goes on it will know it.” Then he blessed Grandmother and told her that she had been a faithful, wonderful woman, and God loved her.

Grandma told him of her baby being killed while they were coming across the plains, and that had made her faith stronger. Then he said to me, “There is a great work for you to perform. When you are asked to give, don’t refuse – not for anything.” Then he said he was going to bid us goodbye and that he would have to hurry.

When he went away, Grandma and I went to see him leave. There was not a hedge here then. We saw him go as far as our big gate, and we didn’t see him any more. I went out and looked a long ways, and there was not sign of him. Just down the street there was a lady, Sister Olsen, sitting outside her house. I asked her if she had seen a man pass by. She said, “No, not even a bird has passed by here.” Brother John W. Taylor had prophesied that there would be a Nephite coming before the week was gone. This was the Thursday after the Sunday of the prophecy. I did have a work to do, and I never could have done it without having a voice to speak with. I had only gotten my voice for a little while, when I was asked to be a Relief Society teacher. I have been a Relief Society teacher for 46 years, and I have found piles of work to do. I still go to the young girls and help keep them together. I have also had 36 years with the Primary boys and girls in religious class.

Now I am 72 years of age and I am still going. That is the work I have done, besides raising a family. But I could never have done it if Grandma hadn’t prayed unto the Lord. I am the mother of 9 children. I have 30 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.