"He, the Physician, I, the Nurse"
(This painting has been shown at the St. George Temple Visitor’s Ctr., on the church history program and in the Church News.)
Amanda Barnes Smith Story:
On October 30th, 1838, at a Mormon settlement in Hauns Mill: “A little before sunset a mob of three hundred armed men came upon us. I seized my two little girls and escaped across the mill-pond on a slab-walk. Mary Steadwell fled with me. Yet though we were women with tender children… the demons poured volley after volley to kill us. A number of bullets entered my clothes but I was not wounded. Mary cried out that she was hit. We…reached the trunk of a fallen tree, over which I urged her, bidding her to shelter there where the bullets could not reach her.
Willard, Amanda’s eleven-year-old son, left an amazing record, years later, where he stated that he was able to aid others in their escape, during the gunfire. He was the first to return to the scene where he searched and found his dead father and brother, and injured Alma. Amanda recorded in her journal, “The two boys were mine. One of them had his brains all shot out, and the other his hip all shot to pieces. Realize for a moment, my dear readers, nothing but horror and distress. The entire hip joint of my wounded boy had been shot away, flesh, hip bone, joint and all had been ploughed out from the muzzle of the gun which the ruffian placed to the child’s hip…and deliberately fired. The bones that remained were three or four inches apart….It was a ghastly sight.”
Willard states in his journal, “They believed the miracle could take place. Then she called her remaining three children around the bed, and they knelt and supplicated the Lord for faith and guidance. Mother dedicated Alma to the Lord, praying that he be restored and made well and strong, but if this were not possible, to take him in his innocence. This picture of my Mother’s implicit faith in her Heavenly Father remained as a living testimony to her children through their lives.”
Oh, Heavenly Father, what shall I do?...And then I was directed as by a voice speaking to me. The ashes of our fire were still smoldering. We had been burning the bark of the shag-bark hickory. I was directed to take those ashes and make a lye and put a cloth saturated with it right into the wound. It hurt, but little Alma was too near dead to heed it much. Again and again I saturated the cloth and put it into the hole from which the hip joint had been ploughed, and each time mashed flesh and splinters of bone came away with the cloth; the wound became as white as chicken’s flesh. Nearby was a slippery elm tree. From this I was told to make a slippery elm poultice and fill the wound with it. Willard got the slippery elm roots, I made the poultice, and the wound, which took fully a yard of linen to cover, so large was it, was properly dressed.”
“Prayer was our only source of comfort, our Heavenly Father our only helper. None but he could save and deliver us.”
After only five weeks Alma Smith arose from his bed, “entirely recovered—a flexible gristle having grown in place of the missing joint and socket.”
The “Mormon Miracle” became quite well known in the area. A team of doctors came to examine the boy and hear the story. They asked Amanda who performed such amazing surgery. She replied, “Jesus Christ.” One said, “Not the Savior of the World?” Amanda responded, “Yes, the same sir. He was the physician and I was the nurse.”
Finally, ready to leave in the middle of February, she walked ten miles to the home of the captain of the mob and demanded that he return her horses. When he refused, she marched over to his stable and yoked a pair of steers to a sled and drove off. They had no money, no food, and slept out of doors until they finally reached Nauvoo. “I felt the loss of my husband, but not as I should if he had apostatized; he died in the faith and in hopes of a glorious resurrection. As for myself, I felt an unshaken confidence in God through it all.” Amanda and her children remained true to their faith for the rest of their lives.