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Philo Dibble's Conversion Story


One morning I was standing at my gate when two men drove up in a two-horse wagon, and asked me to get in and go home with them, about quarter of a mile distant. On the way, one asked me if I had heard the news, and informed me that four men had come to Kirtland with a golden Bible and one of them had seen an angel. They laughed and ridiculed the idea, but I did not feel inclined to make light of such a subject. I made no reply, but thought that if angels had administered to the children of men again I was glad of it; I was afraid, however, it was not true. On my return home I told my wife what I had heard.

The next day I was intending to go fifty miles south to the town of Suffield, Ohio, to pay some taxes, but my wife thinking that one or two days would not make much difference about that, proposed that we should hunt up those strange men in Kirtland.

The next morning I took my wife, another man and his wife, and started for Kirtland. When we arrived there, the men we were seeking had gone to the town of Mayfield, but were to return to Kirtland the next day. The following morning I hitched up my carriage and again drove to Kirtland, one of my neighbors accompanying us with his team and family. On arriving there, we were introduced to Oliver Cowdery, Ziba Peterson, Peter Whitmer, Jr., and Parley P. Pratt. I remained with them all day, and became convinced that they were sincere in their professions. I asked Oliver what repentance consisted of, and he replied, "Forsaking sin and yielding obedience to the gospel!"

That evening he preached at Brother Isaac Morley's, and bore his testimony to the administration of an angel at noonday. He then dwelt upon the subjects of repentance and baptism and the bestowal of the Holy Ghost, and promised that all who embraced these principles with honesty of heart should receive a testimony. He also requested all who wished to be baptized to make it manifest by arising. Five persons, among whom were William Cahoon and myself, arose. I then made preparations for baptism by borrowing a suit of clothes. My wife thought I was too hasty, and said if I would wait awhile perhaps she would go along with me. She was a Baptist by persuasion. I paid no heed to her, but went forthwith and was baptized by Parley P. Pratt. This was on the 16th of October, 1830. When I came out of the water, I knew that I had been born of water and of the spirit, for my mind was illuminated with the Holy Ghost.

I spent that evening at Dr. F. G. Williams'. While in bed that night I felt what appeared to be a hand upon my left shoulder and a sensation like fibers of fire immediately enveloped my body. It passed from my right shoulder across my breast to my left shoulder, it then struck me on my collar bone and went to the pit of my stomach, after which it left me. I was enveloped in a heavenly influence, and could not sleep for joy.

The next morning I started home a happy man. All my neighbors were anxious to know the result of my visit to Kirtland, and I was visited by two Campbellite preachers, named respectively Scott and Williams, one of whom remarked, "Mr. Dibble, I understand you have joined the 'Mormons.' What reason have you to believe they have the truth?"

I told them, "The scriptures point to such a work, which should come forth."

He then asked me where I found it. I took the Bible and opened it where it speaks of truth springing out of the earth, and righteousness looking down from above. He read it and handed it to the other preacher. They made no comments.

I bore my testimony to them of what I had received, and Mr. Scott said, "I don't doubt, Mr. Dibble, that you have received all you say, because you are honest, but they are impostors."

I then asked Mr. Scott if he believed the Lord would bless the labors of a false prophet, to which they did not stop to reply but left, and told the people it was no use talking to me.

One of my neighbors came to me and said, "We have sent a man down to York State to find out the truth of this work, and he is a man who will not lie. If he returns and says it is false, will you believe him?"

I told him I would believe the truth, and asked him if that man (whose name was Edward Partridge) should come back and say it was false if he would believe him.

He replied, "Yes; for he is a man who would not lie for his right arm!"

I then added, "If he says it is true, will you then believe him?" to which he reluctantly replied that he would.

Shortly after this, however, when Brother Partridge wrote back and said that he had been baptized, and was then preaching the gospel, this man shunned me, and for a long time afterwards gave me no chance to talk with him. But when we met, I asked him what he thought of Brother Partridge, and he replied that he was honest, but had been deceived.

The four missionaries who had visited Kirtland proceeded on westward to the borders of the Lamanites, in Jackson County, Missouri, on the mission to which they had been called by revelation through Joseph the Prophet, leaving the few converts they had made to themselves. Meetings were held occasionally by the members of the Church in Kirtland, all of which I attended. All manner of spirits were there made manifest, and no one to detect them. Many persons were operated upon in a very strange manner, and I was impressed that the spirits which inspired them were from the evil one.

At a meeting held one evening at Brother Whitney's, the heavens were opened and the Spirit of God filled the house and rested upon all the congregation to overflowing, little children not excepted. Prophesying and singing the songs of Zion were indulged in until morning. Brother Whitney, who had not then yielded obedience to the gospel, was convinced of the truth, and shortly after was baptized.