Heber C. Kimball Overcomes the Power of the Adversary
Preston, England, July 1837 (as related by Heber C. Kimball)
Sunday, July 30th (1837), about daybreak, Elder Isaac Russell (who had been appointed to preach on the obelisk in Preston Square that day), who slept with Elder Richards in Wilfred Street, came up to the third story, where Elder Hyde and myself were sleeping, and called out, `Brother Kimball, I want you should get up and pray for me that I may be delivered from the evil spirits that are tormenting me to such a degree that I feel I cannot live long, unless I obtain relief.'
I had been sleeping on the back of the bed. I immediately arose, slipped off at the foot of the bed, and passed around to where he was. Elder Hyde threw his feet out, and sat up in the bed, and we laid hands on him, I being mouth, and prayed that the Lord would have mercy on him, and rebuked the devil.
"While thus engaged, I was struck with great force by some invisible power, and fell senseless on the floor. The first thing I recollected was being supported by Elders Hyde and Richards, who were praying for me; Elder Richards having followed Russell up to my room. Elder Hyde and Richards then assisted me to get on the bed, but my agony was so great I could not endure it, and I arose, bowed my knees and prayed. I then arose and sat up on the bed, when a vision was opened to our minds, and we could distinctly see the evil spirits, who foamed and gnashed their teeth at us.
We gazed upon them about an hour and a half (by Willard's watch). We were not looking towards the window, but towards the wall. Space appeared before us, and we saw the devils coming in legions, with their leaders, who came within a few feet of us. They came towards us like armies rushing to battle. They appeared to be men of full stature, possessing every form and feature of men in the flesh, who were angry and desperate; and I shall never forget the vindictive malignity depicted on their countenances as they looked me in the eye; and any attempt to paint the scene which then presented itself, or portray their malice and enmity, would be vain. I perspired exceedingly, my clothes becoming as wet as if I had been taken out of the river. I felt excessive pain, and was in the greatest distress for some time. I cannot even look back on the scene without feelings of horror; yet by it I learned the power of the adversary, his enmity against the servants of God, and got some understanding of the invisible world. We distinctly heard those spirits talk and express their wrath and hellish designs against us. However, the Lord delivered us from them, and blessed us exceedingly that day."
Elder Hyde's supplemental description of that fearful scene is as follows, taken from a letter addressed to President Kimball:
"Every circumstance that occurred at that scene of devils is just as fresh in my recollection at this moment as it was at the moment of its occurrence, and will ever remain so. After you were overcome by them and had fallen, their awful rush upon me with knives, threats, imprecations and hellish grins, amply convinced me that they were no friends of mine. While you were apparently senseless and lifeless on the floor and upon the bed (after we had laid you there), I stood between you and the devils and fought them and contended with them face to face, until they began to diminish in number and to retreat from the room. The last imp that left turned `round to me as he was going out and said, as if to apologize, and appease my determined opposition to them, `I never said anything against you!' I replied to him thus: `It matters not to me whether you have or have not; you are a liar from the beginning! In the name of Jesus Christ, depart!' He immediately left, and the room was clear. That closed the scene of devils for that time."
Years later, narrating the experience of that awful morning to the Prophet Joseph, Heber asked him what it all meant, and whether there was anything wrong with him that he should have such a manifestation.
"No, Brother Heber," he replied, "at that time you were nigh unto the Lord; there was only a veil between you and Him, but you could not see Him. When I heard of it, it gave me great joy, for I then knew that the work of God had taken root in that land. It was this that caused the devil to make a struggle to kill you."
Joseph then related some of his own experience, in many contests he had had with the evil one, and said: "The nearer a person approaches the Lord, a greater power will be manifested by the adversary to prevent the accomplishment of His purposes."
An answer this, for the unbelieving and sophistical, who argue, with the shallow reasoning of Job's comforters, that they have sinned most who suffer most, and are ever ready to ascribe spiritual manifestations, good or evil, to madness, drunkenness or imbecility. It is needful, we are told, to experience opposites, to be enabled to choose intelligently between them; and to those who have this experience, and who "take the Holy Spirit for their guide," the way to judge is as plain "as the daylight from the dark night." * * *
So was it with the Apostles and Elders in Preston, after their terrible encounter with the powers of evil, at Sunday day-break, July 30, 1837. The Spirit of the Lord, with peace and joy that "passeth understanding," dawned with the Sabbath sun upon their souls. They had tasted of the bitter, and would thenceforth more fully know the sweet; encompassed about by "the horror of darkness," they hailed with ecstacy till then unknown, the glory of the golden morn. (Life of Heber C. Kimball, Orson F. Whitney, pp. 129-132)
The above is taken from Ogden Kraut's Stories of Faith.
Heber recalled years later:
"I saw their hands, their eyes, and every feature of their faces, the hair on their heads, and their ears, in short they had full-formed bodies....I wrote a few words to my wife about the matter, and brother Joseph called upon her for the letter and said, 'It was a choice jewel, and a testimony that the Gospel was planted in a strange land.' When I returned home I called upon brother Joseph, and we walked down the bank of the river. He there told me what contests he had had with the devil; he told me that he had contests with the devil, face to face. He also told me how he was handled and afflicted by the devil, and said, he had known circumstances where Elder Rigdon was pulled out of bed three times in one night." (JD 3:31 pp. 229-230)
"After a while the Gentiles will gather by the thousands to this place, and Salt Lake City will be classed among the wicked cities of the world. A spirit of speculation and extravagance will take possession of the Saints, and the results will be financial bondage. Persecution comes next and all true Latter-day Saints will be tested to the limit. Many will apostatize and others will be still not knowing what to do. Darkness will cover the earth and gross darkness the minds of the people....Before that day comes, however, the Saints will be put to a test that will try the integrity of the best of them. The pressure will become so great that the more righteous among them will cry unto the Lord day and night until deliverance comes. Then the Prophet Joseph and others will make their appearance and those who have remained faithful will be selected to return to Jackson County, Missouri and take part in the upbuilding of that beautiful city, the New Jerusalem." (Heber C. Kimball, May 1868, Reported by his son J. Golden Kimball, CR October 1930, p. 58. See also Prophetic Sayings of Heber C. Kimball to Sister Amanda H. Wilcox)
"When about midway during the prayer, there was a glorious sensation passed through the house [Kirtland Temple]; and we, having our heads bowed in prayer, felt a sensation very elevating to the soul. At the close of the prayer, F. G. Williams being in the upper east stand- -Joseph being in the speaking stand next below--rose and testified that midway during the prayer an holy angel came and seated himself in the stand. When the afternoon meeting assembled, Joseph, feeling very much elated, arose the first thing and said the personage who had appeared in the morning was the Angel Peter come to accept the dedication." (Angell, Truman O. Autobiography of Truman O. Angell)
"During the ceremonies of the dedication an angel and sat near President Joseph Smith Sen. and Frederick G Williams so that they had a fair view of person He was a very tall personage black eyes hair and stoop shouldered his garment was whole to near his ankles on his feet he had sandals He was sent as a messenger to accept of the dedication." (Heber C. Kimball, Life of Heber C. Kimball, By Orson Ferguson Whitney)
"One night I was awakened out my sleep by my wife making a as though she was nearly choking death. I inquired the cause and replied that she had dreamed that personage came and seized her by the throat and was choking her. I immediately lit a candle and saw her eyes were sunken and her nose pinched in as though she was in last stage of the cholera. I laid hands upon her and rebuked the evil in the name of Jesus and by power of the Holy Priesthood commanded it to depart. In a moment afterwards I heard some half a children in different parts of Bozier house crying as if in great distress. The cattle also began to bellow the horses neighed the dogs barked the hogs squealed the cackled and roosters crowed everything around seemed in commotion. In a few minutes afterwards I was sent for to lay upon sister Patten the widow to David W. Patten who was living the room adjoining mine and was seized in a similar manner to wife. My wife continued quite feeble several days from the shock." (Heber C. Kimball, The Latter-Day Saints' Millennial Star, Volume 45, p. 131)
Keys to know how to detect Satan
"Brother Joseph taught many and important principles to benefit and bless them their mission teaching them to observe charity wisdom and a fellow feeling for each other and love one another in all things and under all circumstances unfolding keys of knowledge to detect Satan and preserve in the favor of God." (Heber C. Kimball, July 2, 1839)
Keys as instructions
"They were so sacred that when Heber C. Kimball wrote to fellow apostle Parley P. Pratt just a few weeks later, he said that Joseph had taught them some precious things on the priesthood that would cause his soul to rejoice if he knew them, but that Joseph had given instructions that these keys not be written about. Heber concluded his description of the newly revealed endowment by saying that Parley would have to come to Nauvoo to receive the instruction for himself." (Letter of Heber C. Kimball to Parley P. Pratt, 17 June 1842, Church Archives, The Words of Joseph Smith)