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Giles, Thomas Davis (2) - Biography


BROTHER 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:

Brother 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.

About 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.

The 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.

The 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.

Similar 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.

About 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.

Brother 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!"

Feeling 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.

On 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.

He 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.

On 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.

Soon 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 did so.

While 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.

Brother 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.

Near 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.


Giles, Thomas Davis

Giles, Thomas


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