THE COMING OF THE LIGHT
THAT fall an uncle arranged for me to work at another place for a man by the name of James Norris, in the Protestant settlement. I was to work for fifty dollars for the year, go to school three months during the winter, do chores of nights and mornings, help get up wood, and do anything required on Saturdays. I got along nicely.
Mr. Norris tried to engage me for another year, but my uncle had arranged for me to work for Quinton Brothers.
Before my stay of more than a year at Quinton's was finished, I learned that my sister was living with a family by the name of Magee, and I visited her there and enjoyed my-self. Mr. Magee was a manufacturer of such farm machinery as cradles, rakes, fork handles, etc., and I secured work with him.
After a few months Mr. Magee moved his business into London, Ontario, taking with him his family and Thomas Brock, Mary, and me, as helpers. He rented a large building in which were a boiler and engine, planing machinery, saws, etc. These, together with other machinery he took with him, caused him to employ more men to keep this machinery in operation. He soon had a small lumber yard, where he manufactured the best lumber into the finished product. My job was to deliver to contractors and builders the material needed for their buildings.
At times when there was nothing for the horse to do, I would be in the mill working, as ordered by my boss. Seeing I was handy with the engine, saws, planer, and other machinery, I was soon running the engine, and later saws, planer, and other machinery, as ordered and as the occasion required.Mr. Magee ceased to board his men. My sister and Thomas Brock had bust been married, and I went to board
with them. I had a desire to visit my father, who years be-fore had gone to Michigan.
We learned that father resided in Michigan, near Lexington, in Sanilac County. I found father and stepmother near Lexington, but Richard had gone west.
Father made inquiry as to why I had left John Vail. I told him a little of the trouble. He was sorry to hear of the trouble, but was glad I had left him.
At the time of the Civil War in the United States, father shouldered his gun and knapsack and fought for the Union. He enlisted in Company I, Third Infantry, and received an honorable discharge at San Antonio, Texas, March 15, 1866.
I visited two weeks at father's place, passing the evenings in games of cards. I returned to London, working at Mr. Magee's most of the winter and part of the following summer. But the latter part of the summer I was quite ill at times and could not do justice to myself or my employer. I had a hard cough, sometimes spitting blood. I consulted a physician who said I was going into consumption and gave me medicine. I went to Usborne, where I was born, and visited among my relatives, all of whom seemed glad to see me, and who administered such foods as were advisable for me in the strengthening of my body.
After a few weeks I bade my grandfather and grandmother, uncles and aunts, and other relatives good-bye and returned to my sister's home in London. For our mutual good my sister and I paid father and stepmother a visit. We spent about one week with them, having a splendid visit, and re-turned to London, where I again began to work for J. J. Magee. In working around so many saws and planers and other wood-working machinery and in so much dust, my cough became worse, and I was failing in body. By mutual agreement with the foreman and proprietor, I gave up and remained at home with my sister and brother-in-law, taking such medicine and food as the doctor prescribed.After a few weeks, an uncle, John Taylor, came from Bothwell, Ontario, and called on us on his way to Usborne. After about two week's visit, Uncle John returned, and hav-
ing only a few minutes before train time, he urged me to visit them in Bothwell, saying, "You have never met your aunt nor any of your cousins there. There is one older than you and one about your age; also some younger. They will all be glad to see you. We have something good there for you, Johnnie. Have some one write, and we will meet you and take good care of you." This was in the fall of 1871.
I started for the house, where I was received very kindly
by my aunt and cousin, and I began to feel better. My fears began to leave me, until one of the little boys who was playing at the window looked up and said, "There come the elders."
"Oh, dear," thought I; "there is something up. They know I am here. That man told me the truth."
But when they came into the house, they shook hands, and all were glad to see each other. The elders were introduced to me. Both spoke kindly, and my fears again began to leave me. Those elders were John H. Lake and Joseph S. Snively, the first Latter Day Saint elders I had ever seen.
The house was arranged for prayer meeting and several people came. The elders opened the meeting by singing and prayer. A chapter was read from the Bible, and men and women, large boys and girls, testified. But it was very different from what I was used to hearing.
I gathered from their teaching that a person, to be saved, must obey the true gospel as Christ and the apostles taught it; then live it to the end. And instead of a heaven in the sky, it would be on the earth. Jesus taught them to pray for his kingdom to come.
After the meeting was over and all but Uncle John and I had gone to bed, he told me that the true gospel was again upon the earth; that an angel had brought it back, and the true church was again established; that the church had apostles and prophets in it as it was in Christ's time. I paid but little attention to what he said, as I had been much exercised through the day and was very tired. But he wanted to tell me a little more about the church and also to ask me some questions.
"Christ will reign on earth a thousand years. There will be a new heaven and a new earth," said he. "Now, Johnnie, some say the Devil is bound now. What do you think?"
I told him I did not know anything about it and that I had never before heard anything about the thousand years.
"Well, you surely have some idea. Do you think he is bound now, or is he yet to be bound?"
Why I guess his bound now."
Uncle smiled and said, "Well, if he is bound now, I pity the people when he is let loose again!"
"Oh, no, I guess he isn't bound now."
He further said that God does not change, and when he sent the angel with the "everlasting gospel" to be preached to every nation, God organized the church just the same as he did when he sent our Savior, Jesus Christ. So we have apostles and prophets on earth now as Jesus had when he was on earth among the people in his day. The gospel is the same in all ages, and there must be like officers to administer that gospel in all ages.
"Another thing, Johnnie," said he; "we have been told that when we die, if we are good we go up and be with God in a home beyond the sky; but if we are bad we will go direct to hell, to a terrible place of burning. And then at the end of the world we will all be resurrected and judged, and all the good will go to a home beyond the sky and be for ever with the Lord, and the wicked will be judged and sent back to hell, from whence they never can return. Why, Johnnie, that isn't the way at all!"
I was getting interested. What he said seemed reasonable to me.
On closing our talk that evening, uncle told me what they had down there that was "good for me." It was this gospel! He told how they had been praying for me, and that he knew God could heal me, and that he did not see any reason to think I would die. "Because," said he, "the same power is on the earth to heal now as it used to be in the days of Christ, when we obey him and exercise faith in him as they did in olden times."
I began to think it might be so. I went to bed and thought I was all right and would not need to go over to the neighbor man's house to be taken to the train the next morning. I felt better. I slept good and coughed but little that night and arose in the morning refreshed.