- Written by Parley P. Pratt
I found him writhing and groaning in the utmost agony, being cramped and convulsed in a horrible manner, while the family were in great consternation, and weeping around him. I kneeled down to pray, but in the midst of my prayer we were interrupted by the cry of fire! fire! fire!!!
After this solemn ordinance was completed, together with the blessings, charges and instructions connected therewith, I was instructed to prepare for a mission in the coming spring, in connection with my brethren of the quorum.
I now returned home to New Portage, and began to make preparations for my mission, but the state of my affairs was such that it seemed almost impossible for me to leave home; my wife was sick, my aged mother had come to live with me, and looked to me for support--age and infirmity having rendered my father unable to do for himself or family. I was also engaged in building a house, and in other business, while at the same time I was somewhat in debt.
Under these embarrassed circumstances, I hesitated for a while whether to attempt to perform the mission assigned to me, or stay at home and finish my building and mechanical work. While I pondered these things, with my mind unsettled, and continued my work, with a feeling of hesitation whether it was a duty to sacrifice all the labor and expense to which I had been in my preparations and unfinished work, or whether it was a duty to stay and complete it, I was called very suddenly to administer to a brother by the name of Matthews, who was taken suddenly and dangerously ill. I found him writhing and groaning in the utmost agony, being cramped and convulsed in a horrible manner, while the family were in great consternation, and weeping around him. I kneeled down to pray, but in the midst of my prayer we were interrupted by the cry of fire! fire! fire!!! We sprang from our knees, and ran towards my house, which was all in a blaze, being an unfinished, two story frame building, open to the fresh breeze and full of shavings, lumber, shingles, etc., while a family occupied a small apartment of the same, and no water near.
Our utmost exertions barely accomplished the removal of the family and their goods; the building, tools, boards, shingles, building materials, all were consumed in a few moments. Thus closed all my hesitation; my works of that nature were now all completed, and myself ready to fill my mission. One gave me a coat; another a hat; a third, house room; a fourth, provisions; while a fifth forgave me the debts due to them; and a sixth bade me God speed to hasten on my mission.
Taking an affectionate leave of my family and friends in New Portage, I repaired to Kirtland, ready to accompany my bretheren.