Question: What did Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner have to do with Book of Commandments (Doctrine and Covenants)?

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Question: What did Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner have to do with Book of Commandments (Doctrine and Covenants)?

Mary and her sister Caroline were the two young women who took copies of the Book of Commandments (the first publication of what we call the Doctrine and Covenants). A mob was destroying the printing office in Missouri, and the girls snatched some unbound printings:

The mob renewed their efforts again by tearing down the printing office, a two story building, and driving Brother Phelps' family out of the lower part of the house and putting their things in the street. They brought out some large sheets of paper, and said, "Here are the Mormon Commandments." My sister Caroline and myself were in a corner of a fence watching them; when they spoke of the commandments I was determined to have some of them. Sister said if I went to get any of them she would go too, but said "They will kill us." While their backs were turned, prying out the gable end of the house, we went, and got our arms full, and were turning away, when some of the mob saw us and called on us to stop, but we ran as fast as we could. Two of them started after us. Seeing a gap in a fence, we entered into a large cornfield, laid the papers on the ground, and hid them with our persons. The corn was from five to six feet high, and very thick; they hunted around considerable, and came very near us but did not find us....They [the members] got them bound in small books and sent me one, which I prized very highly.[1]

The violence worsened, and so Mary and her company resolved to cross the river to safety:

After enduring all manner of grievances we were driven from the county. While we were camped on the banks of the Missouri River waiting to be ferried over, they found there was not money enough to take all over. One or two families must be left behind, and the fear was that if left, they would be killed. So, some of the brethren by the name of Higbee thought they would try and catch some fish, perhaps the ferryman would take them, they put out their lines in the evening; it rained all night and most of the next day, when they took in their lines they found two or three small fish, and a catfish that weighed 14 pounds. On opening it, what was their astonishment to find three bright silver half dollars, just the amount needed to pay for taking their team over the river. This was considered a miracle, and caused great rejoicing among us.[2]

It is clear, then, that Mary had a number of remarkable spiritual experiences early in her life, and a strong testimony of the restored gospel.

Notes

  1. Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, "Autobiography," Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine 17 (July 1926), 196.
  2. Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, "Autobiography," Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine 17 (July 1926), 197.