Letter to Orson Pratt, dated Oct. 23, 1848, at Merthyr Tydfil. (Vol 10:349,350)
"THE DEAF HEAR, THE DUMB SPEAK."
Merthyr, October 23, 1848
Dear Brother Pratt,--It is a pleasure to me to write to you, because it is so pleasing to anticipate, and much more so to realize, your replies. It is a pleasure also, because I never have but pleasing news to inform you of from Wales. The power of God is manifested among and in behalf of his Saints continually here. I might mention many instances of marvellous healings, such as broken bones, fevers, and various kinds of diseases, by faith through the ordinaces. But the following instance of the deaf and dumb being healed instantaneously, has attracted more public notice form the world of late.
I send you the remarks which the editor of The Mertin has been pleased to publish, being a witness of the fact, and deserving credit above his contemporaries for his veracity and impartiality. Although some choose to give the glory to the "thunder and lightning" rather than to the God of heaven, yet the children of God will give their Father the praise due. The miraculousness of the case, so far from diminishing by their alleged cause, appears to me far more miraculous; for the idea of the "electric fluid's" waiting in anxious suspense, as it were, to watch this man's course for eight years, in different parts of the world--waiting until he should have found out the Saints in Wales, believed their doctrines gone down into the water, and waiting until the sacred ordinance was performed, before it would dare or please to confer the blessing, is marvellous indeed! A miracle without a parallel! Why not influence him five minutes, days, months, or years before? Or why not wait longer after that unparalleled epoch in his existence? God has chosen to manifest his power in many instances to my knowledge through his ordinances; but in this instance our enemies admit him a God of miracles through the use of the "electric fluid," which element none but God can control! Thus they make the case far more miraculous, in my estimation, by trying to deny it. But now, read the facts referred to:--
"EXTRAORDINARY OCCURRENCE.--During the night of Friday week. (Sept. 22, 1848,) between the hours of eleven and twelve, a very extraordinary occurrence took place in Newport. A young man named Reuben Brinkworth was, in 1840, at Bermuda, on board the Terror, Commodore Franklin, in the Arctic expedition, when, in the midst of a storm of thunder and lightning, he was suddenly deprived of both hearing and speech; and in this deplorable condition returned to Stroud, in England, of which place he was a native. He has since been residing with Mr Naish, basket maker, Market-street, Newport, who, with several other persons, is attached to the community of people known as 'Mormons.' Persons of this denomination have been able to communicate their doctrines to Brinkworth, by means of writing, signs, and the finger alphabet. His sad condition, they allege, excited their sympathy for his spiritual as well as temporal welfare; and their doctrines made very considerable impression upon him--perhaps, more especially, because their creed was, that God did perform miracles in these days as he did in the days of old, and a miracle might be wrought in his favour. On Friday night week, the young man was suddenly seized with a kind of fit, in which he continued some time; and on his recovery, he was called upon, by sight, to believe in the Saviour, that the healing power of God might be exercised in his behalf. He was, moreover, earnestly entreated to be baptized
; but his was very strongly opposed by a person in the room. The deaf and dumb man, however, signified his acquiescence--he was taken to the canal and baptized in the name of our Saviour; and immediately on coming up out of the water, he cried out, 'Thank the Lord, I can speak and hear again, as well as any of you!' He now speaks fluently and hears distinctly; which marvellous circumstance is attributed to the power of Providence by the friends of the young man; who called at our office with him, and gave us the details. We have heard from another source that this happy change in the young man's condition is supposed to have been produced by the action upon him of the electric fluid during the thunder storm of Friday night. We shall not take upon ourselves to decide the matter."
The young man referred to has been ordained to the priesthood, and has been preaching with great success ever since. He hears as distinctly, and speaks as fluently as ever he did, and more so. In connexion with this "miracle" is another not less marvellous to me, that is, that it has had a tendency to make many believe and obey the Gospel! The reverse is the effect produced upon the human mind in general; but this instance has caused many to be baptized; proving that "there is no rule without some exception."
From your affectionate brother in Christ,