D. GILES' EXPERIENCE - HIS HEAD CRUSHED AND SPLIT OPEN BY A TON OF COAL FALLING
UPON IT - HEALED BY THE POWER OF GOD - A DEAF AND DUMB MAN RECEIVES HIS HEARING
AND SPEECH ON BEING BAPTIZED, ETC.
THOMAS D. GILES, of Salt
Lake City, was
connected with the Church and labored considerably in the ministry in Wales soon after the introduction of
the gospel in that land. He relates many curious circumstances connected with
his conversion to the gospel and his early experience in the same, some of
which we will give to our readers substantially as he tells them:
Giles was a Baptist when he was a young man, and an earnest seeker after truth
wherever it was to be found. The first time he met his friend Abel Evans after
that gentleman had joined the Church, he was asked by him what he thought of
the Latter-day Saints. Brother Giles replied that he knew nothing about them.
Brother Evans then predicted that he soon would know something about them, and,
more than that, he and his father's family would soon be baptized by them.
Brother Giles thought but little of this prediction at the time, but it was
soon literally fulfilled, for on hearing the gospel preached he was convinced
of its truth, and on the
1st of November, 1844,
he was baptized by Elder Abel Evans. He bears his solemn testimony now that as
soon as the Elders placed their hands upon his head and confirmed him a member
of the Church the power of the Holy Ghost filled his system, brought joy to his
heart and gave him an assurance that his sins were forgiven, for which he had
been praying for many years. His father was also prepared to receive the gospel
as soon as he heard it preached, for he had for a long time been inquiring
after a church organized after the pattern given by our Savior and His
apostles, and possessing the various gifts which were formerly enjoyed by the
Saints. The result was that he and the whole of his family were soon baptized.
seventeen months after he was baptized Elder Giles was called to labor as a
missionary in Monmouthshire, where he soon baptized a goodly number of people,
organized about thirty branches of the Church and had the satisfaction of
seeing his converts enjoy the gifts of the gospel, such as speaking in tongues,
interpreting the same, healing the sick, casting out evil spirits, etc. He had
much opposition to meet, and suffered considerable persecution, but was upheld
by the power of God, and had great joy in his labors. When holding outdoor
meetings he was frequently interrupted by persons who were influenced by the
sectarian ministers of the region. One man in particular, named Daniels, was
very persistent in opposing him and trying to break up his meetings, and on one
occasion after doing so he declared that if the Elders attempted to hold
meeting again at the same place the following Sunday he would have men enough
there to mob them out of the place. Before the next Sunday came, however, the
man was in his grave, having been accidentally killed while at his work.
first person baptized under Brother Giles' administration was a man named Wm.
Lewis, who immediately opened his house for the Elders to hold meetings in. But
the Saints soon numbered so many that his house would not contain them. The Elders
then applied to a tavern keeper for a large room in which to hold their
meetings, which he very kindly granted them, and in a short time he and all his
family were converted and baptized, and gave up their tavern. Baptisms occurred
every night in the week, and in a short time that branch numbered two hundred
and three. In time a still larger hall was required in which to convene, and
the Elders applied to a Mr. Davis, who owned a large building called "The
Greyhound Hall," to obtain the use of it. He, however, could not think of
allowing the "Mormons" to meet in his hall, as he feared it would
injure his business and destroy his influence. But he soon had reason to regret
taking such an illiberal course, as he met with a series of losses through
having his animals suddenly sicken and die, and could only attribute his bad
luck to the displeasure of the Almighty at his refusal to grant the Saints the
use of his hall. After that he was glad to have them use it. Among others
baptized was the leader of the Baptist choir as well as most of his principal
singers, and as a consequence the singing in the meetings of the Saints became
quite an attractive feature.
faith in the ordinances of the gospel displayed by the Saints among whom
Brother Giles labored was quite remarkable. The feeling with most of them on
being taken sick was that if they could only have the Elders come and lay their
hands upon them they would be well, and the result was generally according to
their faith. Brother Wm. Lewis, of whom mention has already been made, was
taken seriously sick on one occaision and was unable to leave his bed. His
first thought was to send for Elder Giles to come and administer to him. He
visited him as requested, and, on entering the door, called out cheerily,
asking him what he meant by lying in bed, and told him to get up and come
downstairs. So great was the sick man's faith that he sprang out of bed on
hearing the voice and obeyed, and when Brother Giles had administered to him he
was as well as he ever had been.
faith was manifested by the Saints when the cholera prevailed in that land, and
Brother Giles testifies that every one so afflicted whom he or the other Elders
laboring with him administered to, recovered. This was certainly remarkable,
considering the very great number of unbelievers who died there of that dread
malady. One case in particular Brother Giles mentions, that of a sister named Dudley, who was so bad that she had
turned black and whose sunken eyes indicated that she had not many minutes to
live. None of the friends who surrounded her had any hopes of her living except
her husband. He called for Elder Giles to administer to her and when he did so
she was restored to health and is now living in Utah.
the same time a Mrs. Davies, who was not in the Church, sent for Elders Giles
and Dudley to administer to her, as she was very sick and confined to her bed
for a considerable length of time. When he went to see her she was suffering
the most excruciating pain, but when he had anointed her and rebuked her
disease all pain vanished and she was restored to health. She afterwards came
to Utah and frequently testified of the
miraculous manner in which she was healed.
Giles himself met with a terrible accident, and the power of God manifested in
preserving his life and restoring him to health, was not less remarkable than
in the cases before mentioned. On the 23rd of July, 1843, he visited the Llanelly branch
of the Church, where he held meeting out of doors in the forenoon and in the
afternoon attended a sacrament meeting. At the latter meeting permission was
given for any of the Saints to speak as they might feel led by the Spirit.
Among others Elder Giles was moved upon to speak in tongues, and the
interpretation of what he said was given to the president of the branch, Elder
John Morgan, as follows: "My servant, watch, for thy life is in danger;
but through thy faith thy life shall be spared!"
sure that there was something prophetic about this Elder Giles warned Brother
Morgan at the close of the meeting to be careful, and not to be out late at
night, lest some plot might be laid by his enemies to take his life. He also
said that he would try to take care of himself, and avoid danger, lest it might
be himself that the warning was intended for.
the following Wednesday, the 26th of July, Brother Giles went to his work as
usual in the coal mine, and in a short time after the had commenced work a
large piece of coal, weighing about two thouand pounds fell upon him. He was in
a stooping posture at the time, being about to pick up a piece of coal that lay
in front of him, and when he was knocked down his head lodged between this and
the mass of coal that fell upon him. His head was split open from the back of
the crown down to his eyes. One of his eyes was also completely cut out of the
socket, and the other crushed so that it ran out.
was taken home, and two physicians came and examined his head. They declined
doing anything for him, as they said it was not possible for him to live over
two hours. However, after a great deal of persuasion, they consented to wash
off his head, pick the pieces of coal out of it and sew up the wounds. They
also left medicine for him to take, such as they thought suitable for the case,
but he refused to take a drop of it. He remembered the promise of the Lord,
that through faith his life should be spared, and felt to hold on to it and
claim a blessing at the hands of the Almighty. The Saints of the branch in
which he lived were very faithful and kind, and did all they possibly could
under the circumstances for his comfort.
the third day after the accident Elder William S. Phillips, the president of
the Welsh mission, anointed him with consecrated oil, laid his hands upon his
head and blessed him in the name of Jesus Christ. Brother Giles testifies that
the healing power of the Holy Spirit did rest upon him at that time, for he got
out of bed and walked across two rooms, back and forth. On the ninth day after
the accident he sang a song for some of his friends who had called to see him,
and in four weeks he traveled twelve miles in company with two of the brethren
to visit his father and mother and the president of the branch. On the frouth
Sunday after the accident, being called upon, he spoke in a public meeting in
the afternoon and evening.
after that he was called upon to travel throughout the mission and bear his
testimony and preach to the people, in company with Elder John Jones, and he
thus engaged he visited Newport, and learned the particulars of
a miracle that had occurred there a short time previous. A young man named
Reuben Brinkworth, who had been deaf and dumb for a number of years, manifested
a desire to be baptized, and on receiving that ordinance at the hands of Elder
Nash, in whose house he resided, both his hearing and speech were immediately
restored to him.
Giles visited this young man and questioned him in regard to the miracle, and
was assured by him that when he went into the water to be baptized he could
neither hear nor speak, but as soon as he was baptized he could do both.
Brother Nash also bore his tesimony to the same facts.
the same time that Brother Giles met with his accident a friend of his, named
David Davis, who was living in Merthyr, was almost crushed to a pulp by the
roof of a coal mine falling upon him. When he was dug out Elder William
Phillips and some other brethren laid their hands upon him and promised him
that he should live and be healed. While their hands were upon his head, his
broken ribs and other bones were heard coming together with a noise which was
quite perceptible. Brother Davis, who was a truthful, honest man, lived to
travel about Wales and testify of this miracle and
follow his daily labor as if no such accident had ever occurred. He afterwards emigrated
to the United States, and is perhaps yet alive.