Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A curious pioneer blessing

Excerpts of A curious pioneer blessing, Worlds Without End


...…   Elders William Hall, Rabins R. Strong, Llewellyn Mantle, Joseph Champlin, Martin Potter, and one more laid hands on the horse and commanded the unclean and foul spirits of every name and nature to depart and go to the Gentiles at Warsaw and trouble the Saints no more, when the horse rolled twice over in great distress, sprang to his feet, squealed, vomited and purged, and the next morning was harnessed to a load of about 12 cwt. and performed his part as usual. ...
The exorcism of the horse suggests the Elders may have been influenced by the story in Matthew 8. The loss of a horse was a serious matter for a pioneer, which contributed to the need for a spiritual solution in a worldview that blended the temporal and spiritual. A sense of spiritual innovation by these common men is apparent as they felt empowered by scripture and their priesthood to enact a new multi-purposed blessing/exorcism/cursing for the animal and the gentiles, as well as facilitate their mode of transportation. Their act apparently met the approval of Apostle Richards who records the account with its faith promoting conclusion.
Also reflected in the account is the sense of anger at the loss of their prophet and their homes. They called for divine retribution over the dying horse, looking for biblical-styled vengeance. By laying hands on the horse, they exercised faith that their enemies in Warsaw might become possessed and perhaps even run down the banks of the Mississippi to drown like swine.