Saturday, July 21, 2012


I was really moved when I read the following account of the appearance of the Savior and the Father to the School of the Prophets in 1833 penned by Zebedee Coltrin.  I thought it was important to share on this blog for others to read.

"The salutation as written in the Doctrine and Covenants [D&C 88:136-141] was carried out at that time, and at every meeting, and the washing of feet was attended to, the sacrament was also administered at times when Joseph appointed, after the ancient order; that is, warm bread to break easy was provided and broken into pieces as large as my fist and each person had a glass of wine and sat and ate the bread and drank the wine; and Joseph said that was the way that Jesus and his disciples partook of the bread and wine. And this was the order of the church anciently and until the church went into darkness. Every time we were called together to attend to any business, we came together in the morning about sunrise, fasting and partook of the sacrament each time, and before going to school we washed ourselves and put on clean linen.

At one of these meetings after the organization of the school, (the school being organized_ on the 23rd of January, 1833, when we were all together, Joseph having given instructions, and while engaged in silent prayer, kneeling, with our hands uplifted each one praying in silence, no one whispered above his breath, a personage walked through the room from east to west, and Joseph asked if we saw him. I saw him and suppose the others did and Joseph answered that is Jesus, the Son of God, our elder brother. Afterward Joseph told us to resume our former position in prayer, which we did. Another person came through; he was surrounded as with a flame of fire. He (Brother Coltrin) experienced a sensation that it might destroy the tabernacle as it was of consuming fire of great brightness. The Prophet Joseph said this was the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. I saw Him.

When asked about the kind of clothing the Father had on, Brother Coltrin said: I did not discover his clothing for he was surrounded as with a flame of fire, which was so brilliant that I could not discover anything else but his person. I saw his hands, his legs, his feet, his eyes, nose, mouth, head and body in the shape and form of a perfect man. He sat in a chair as a man would sit in a chair, but this appearance was so grand and overwhelming that it seemed I should melt down in his presence, and the sensation was so powerful that it thrilled through my whole system and I felt it in the marrow of my bones. The Prophet Joseph said: Brethren, now you are prepared to be the apostles of Jesus Christ, for you have seen both the Father and the Son and know that they exist and that they are two separate personages.

This appearance occurred about two or three weeks after the opening of the school. After the Father had passed through, Joseph told us to again take our positions in prayer. We did so, and in a very short time he drew our attention and said to us that Brother Reynolds Cahoon was about to leave us, and told us to look at him. He (Brother Cahoon) was on his knees and his arms were extended, his
hands and wrists, head, face and neck down to his shoulders were as a piece of  amber, clear and transparent, his blood having apparently left his veins. Upon the attention of the brethren being thus called to Brother Cahoon, the change seemed to pass away and Joseph said that in a few minutes more, Brother Cahoon would have left us, but he came to himself again..

Source: Minutes, Salt Lake City School of the Prophets, October 3, 1883


Anonymous said...

How I long for these days again. How I long for someone to boldly proclaim that they know, as Brother Joseph knew, Jesus Christ lives.

No, it is not too sacred to speak about. That's the POINT of being a witness. Or am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

Do we know exactly which men were present in the room when they were told they were now prepared to be apostles?


Joseph Smith
Orson Hyde
John Taylor
George Q. Cannon
Erastus Snow
Brigham Young
Francis M. Lyman
Heber J. Grant
L. John Nuttall
Zebedee Coltrin
Reynolds Cahoon

These other men were members (but I am not sure they were present on that day)
William Smith
Frederick G. Williams,
Sylvester Smith
Joseph Smith, Sr.
Levi Hancock
Martin Harris
Sidney Rigdon
Newel K. Whitney
Samuel H. Smith
John Murdock
Lyman Johnson
Ezra Thayer

Anonymous said...

How does that reconcile with Brigham Young's assertion that he had never received a visit from a heavenly messenger? Was he really there, or was he not allowed to see?

Anonymous said...

Good question........


Yes, good question. Brigham Youngs name was in the minutes. I had the same question. There could be many possible answers. Many times not everyone present during a spiritual manifestation is able to "see".

Also, there is a difference between being in a spiritual "group" setting, and recieving heavenly messengers personally.

LJn said...

Perhaps the experience never really happened? Perhaps the others agreed that they saw someone when they really didn't (peer pressure, fear of looking stupid, etc.)? Perhaps the experience was embellished a bit?

Having a tiny bit of exposure to spiritual things, I can see all of this happening. Once, I was standing in a hallway in a temple with a friend and she asked me what I felt. Well, I felt I was standing in the way of someone invisible who wanted to get by, so I stepped out of their way. She was disappointed. She said it had been Jesus. If I had wanted to impress her, or felt stupid for not knowing that, I would have said, "I knew that, but He seemed in a hurry," but I had nothing to prove, no pride to save.

LJn said...

Though the source says the item came from the minutes of the meeting, these two comments sound very much like that is NOT the case. "At one of these meetings" and "This appearance occurred about two or three weeks after the opening of the school."

"I saw him and suppose the others did" - most likely not many others saw this. The person speaking only supposes that other saw this. It sounds as if Joseph also supposed others had seen this. Joseph didn't know. The Lord told him that he couldn't always tell the hearts of others. Joseph had no special "in" into whether others were telling the truth, or what they really thought, as shown over and over again in church history - Also, it does not sound like everyone in the room said that they had seen this; obviously, Brigham Young was one who did not.

Steve said...

According to Wikipedia, Heber J. Grant was born in 1856. Perhaps it was his father, Jedidiah M. Grant.

I wish we all experienced these things.

Thanks for sharing.


AndEva said...

Thank you for sharing this. In regard to who can "SEE" a vision, Denver clears things up here...

NOT all whop are in the same room are permitted to see the vision. Just because Brigham was there does not mean he saw it too.

Anonymous said...

*still processing*

R. said...

Excellent story. Thanks for sharing!

Toni said...


I do not fault BY or anyone else who did not see what Joseph, Bro Coltrin, and Bro Cahoon saw because I have not seen either the Father or the Son in waking life. I am hardly in a position to cast stones (not saying anyone here has done that, but my previous posts may have appeared that way). Also, I do believe the experience happened. I just don't think many people saw it even if perceived peer pressure kept them from opening their mouths and saying, "I saw nothing."

leannwalters said...

We have prophets today that exclaim this very thing and walk with Him daily in the temple. If you do not believe that then pray about it. I believe it. And though i have not seen Him, I have felt His love and His presence. I KNOW He exists and He died for me, and He lives for me.