From this happy state I fell away and lived, in a measure, in darkness until the year 1830, when my mind became again aroused by the Spirit of God to a sense of my situation, and I began to pray mightily to God that he would pardon my sins and grant me his Holy Spirit. About this time the sound of the Book of Mormon came to my ears, and I was greatly agitated in mind about it, and desired to see it. I saw the book that same summer, but had no opportunity of reading it further than the preface and testimony of the witnesses. A fear came upon me, and I dare not say anything against it. From that time I began to cry to God for saving faith.
Nothing took place worthy of note until May, 1832, when on receiving a letter from my brother in Indiana, giving me information of the rise of the Church of Christ, the reception of the Holy Ghost and the gifts thereof by the Saints. My brother informed me that he had received the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands of the Elders of the Church. This caused my heart to leap for joy, and I resolved to go immediately and see for myself.
I soon became satisfied that the work was true, and was baptized on the 15th of June, 1832, in Greene Co., Indiana, by my brother, John Patten. I was ordained an elder on the 17th, under the hands of Elisha H. Groves in said county, when I was appointed, in company with brother Wood, to preach in the Territory of Michigan. We travelled and preached together, and I recorded many remarkable cases of healing, which occurred under my administration: in many instances I went to the sick, who said they had faith and promised to obey the Gospel when they got better, and commanded them in the name of the Lord to arise and be made whole; and they were immediately restored. Sixteen persons were baptized near the Maumee River.
After preaching a short season, weturned home; and on the 16th, Oct., I started for Kirtland, preaching by the way, took steamer on the 18th from Detroit for Fairport; had much conversation on board, among others with a priest who tempted God and asked a sign, and pretended that he would believe if he could see a sign, and because he could not have a sign, he mocked and scoffed at all I said, not being able to maintain his position by argument. I was then attacked by sceptics, one of whom declared he was not under any obligation to believe anything that he could not see: I asked him if he considered himself bound by that rule; he answered in an air of triumph, yes! I asked him if he had got any back bone, he replied yes! when I asked him how he knew, if he had ever seen it? for according to his own words, he was not under any obligation to believe he ever had any back bone: at this the company shouted and laughed, and the sceptic sneaked off.
I arrived in Kirtland in October , and remained two or three weeks, helping the brethren to dig potatoes and harvest corn.
Nov. 9, 1832, I started on a mission to the east, travelling sometimes in company with brother John Murdock, and sometimes with brother Reynolds Cahoon; we baptized several on our journey.
Nov. 29. Held Council with brothers John F. Boynton and Zebedee Coltrin relative to our duty on our mission; we retired to a grove to enquire of the Lord, and agreed that brother Zebedee Coltrin should be the person through whom the Lord should make known his will unto us, and in mighty prayer we did call on him, and he heard our prayers and revealed unto us that we should pursue our journey eastward, not in haste nor by flight. Our hearts were filled with joy, and we praised the Lord, and pursued our journey, the Spirit of God leading us, and signs continually following.
When we arrived at the Springfield (Pa.) Branch we met with brothers Hyrum and William Smith. We held a meeting and had a joyful time together, brother Hyrum baptized six at the close of the meeting: next day two were baptized. When we found any sick I preached to them faith in the ordinances of the Gospel, and where the truth found place in their hearts, I commanded them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to arise from their beds of sickness and be made whole; in many instances the people came after me to lay hands on their sick, because of this gift which the Lord had bestowed upon me, and almost daily, the sick were healed under my hands: a woman who had an infirmity for nearly twenty years was instantly healed. I arrived home in Kirtland, Feb. 25, 1833.
March 25. The Elders were sent out from Kirtland to preach the Gospel, and counsel the Saints to gather to Kirtland. I started with brother Cahoon east, and on reaching Avon I preached at father Bosley’s, where there was a man present who had disturbed several of our meetings, and would not be civil or quiet; he had defied any man to put him out of the house or make him be still. I felt stirred up in spirit, and told him to be quiet, or I certainly would put him out; he said I could not do it; I replied, “In the name of the Lord I will do it,” whereupon I walked up to him, and seizing him by the neck with one hand and by the seat of the breeches with my other hand, I carried him to the door, and threw him about ten feet on to a pile of wood, which quieted him for the time being. From this circumstance the saying went out that David Patten had cast out one Devil, soul and body.
May 20, 1833, brother Brigham Young came to Theresa, Indian River Falls, where I had been bearing testimony to my relatives; and after preaching several discourses, he baptized my brothers Archibald and Ira Patten, Warren Parrish, Cheeseman and my mother and my sister, Polly.
I continued my labors in Jefferson Co., and by the blessing of God, raised a branch of eighteen members in the town of Orleans, through much persecution and affliction, and all manner of evil speaking; and when divers persons were hardened in that vicinity, I went to Henderson, where I found a noble people who received the word of the Lord; and when I had preached the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, there were eight persons who came forward and were baptized for the remission of their sins, and when hands were laid upon them the Holy Ghost fell on them, and they spake with tongues and prophesied.
I labored continually through the months of May, June, July and August, during which time by the blessing of God, I raised some other branches, in all eighty members. Now the Lord did work with me wonderfully in signs and wonders following them that did believe in the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; insomuch that the deaf were made to hear, the blind to see, and the lame were made whole; fevers, palsies, crooked limbs and withered limbs, and in fine all manner of diseases common to the country, were healed by the power of God that was manifested through his servants.
I returned to Kirtland, Ohio, in company with my brother, Ira, and found the brethren all well. They had begun to build the house of the Lord [Kirtland Temple]; I tarried and worked on the house one month, and then went to Michigan Territory to my former place of residence, on business; and concluded to remove my effects to Florence, Ohio, which I did, and where I remained about seven weeks, during which time I was sick about five weeks; when I commended myself into the hands of God, and went into the world to proclaim the Gospel again, and travelled about two weeks, when the Spirit of the Lord came upon me, and the Lord said unto me, “Depart from your field of labor and go unto Kirtland, for behold I will send thee up to the land of Zion, and thou shalt serve thy brethren there.”
I obeyed the word of the Lord, and was sent in company with Wm. [William] D. Pratt to bear despatches to the brethren in Missouri. I started December 28, 1833, and arrived in Clay County, March 4, 1834, having passed through much cold and fatigue; still I was blessed of the Lord, and much good was done in consequence of my mission. I tarried in Missouri until the camp of Zion came from Ohio; and when they arrived the people of Clay County besought us in the name of God not to go over into Jackson County, and they would use their utmost endeavors to give us our rights according to the laws of the land. Now, the laws were good, and gave every man a right to worship the Lord according to the dictates of his own conscience; but the magistrates, officers and people were wicked, and trampled the law under their feet, and persecuted and murdered the Saints with impunity.
A violent persecutor stepped up to me, and said, “You damned Mormon,” drawing his bowie knife, “I will cut your damned throat.” I looked him full in the face, at the same time putting my hand in my left breast pocket, and said to him, “My friend, do nothing rashly.” “For God’s sake, don’t shoot,” he replied, and put up his knife and left me, though I was unarmed.
Sept. 12, 1834, I started in company with brother Warren Parish to go into the world to preach the Gospel, travelled through Upper Missouri, preaching by the way. At La Grange I took steamboat for St. Louis, and from thence by steamboat to the mouth of the Ohio, where we landed October 2nd, and proceeded to Paris, in Tennessee; where we tarried about three months, preaching the Gospel in that vicinity and the region round about, we baptized twenty, during which time several instances of the healing power of God were made manifest, one of which I will mention, which was wrought upon the wife of Mr. Johnston F. Lane, who had been sick for eight years, and for the last year had been unable to walk, she hearing of us, and the faith we preached, prevailed on her husband to send for us: I went with him immediately and taught them the Gospel, showing what power was exercised by the Lord upon those who had faith; she believed with all her heart all the words which I spake unto her; and I laid my hands upon her and said, “In the name of Jesus Christ I rebuke this disorder, and command it to depart.” I took her by the hand, and commanded her to arise in the name of Jesus Christ, and be made whole; and she arose, and was made whole every whit. I then commanded her to go to the water and be baptized; she walked down straightway the same hour, and was baptized.
After I had baptized and confirmed her I told her she should amend and gain strength, and in less than one year she should have a son (she had been married some twelve years, and had no children,) which came to pass according to my words, and the parents called the child David Patten; she afterwards bore several children.
The following portion of Elder Patten’s labors in the ministry, I extract from Elder Wilford Woodruff’s journal:–
“Brother [David] Patten was a man of great faith, and performed many miracles in the name of Jesus Christ; he had many visions and dreams, and was very valiant in the testimony of Jesus and the word of God.
He returned from Tennessee to Kirtland in the spring of 1835, and received his blessings in the Temple in Kirtland. After his endowment he took his wife and started for Tennessee, where I met with him of the 15th of April, 1836. We travelled together and preached daily.
May 17th, Brother Patten and myself laid hands on Margaret Tittle, who lay at the point of death, and she was instantly healed through the power of God. Brother Patten had preached faith, repentance and baptism to her, and she covenanted to be baptized; but after she was healed refused to attend to that ordinance. Brother Patten told her she was acting a dangerous part, and the Lord would again afflict her if she did not repent.
We pursued our journey, and on our return found her very low with the same fever; she begged us to lay hands upon her and heal her, and she would obey the Gospel. We again laid hands upon her, and she was healed, and went down to the water and I baptized her.
Sunday, 22nd, Brother [David] Patten preached three times at the house of father Fry in Benton County, Tennessee, many hardened their hearts and a Mr. Rose rejected his testimony and asked him to raise the dead. Brother Patten rebuked him for his wickedness, when he and others came with their arms and threatened to mob us. At the close of the meeting, brother Patten walked out into the door yard and told the mob to shoot him if they wished. He had nothing but a walking stick in his hand: the mob fled and left him. After meeting in the evening, Brother Patten and myself went to a stream of pure water and cleansed our hands and feet, and bore testimony against those wicked men who had opposed and reviled us.
May 27th, Elder Warren Parrish arrived from Kirtland, and joined Elder Patten and myself. We held a Conference on the 28th, in Benton County, at which six branches were represented, containing 116 members.
We travelled together from town to town through Kentucky and Tennessee preaching the word of God, healing the sick, and the Spirit of God was with us and attended our ministrations.
June 9th, we preached at Damon’s creek, Kentucky, and brother Patten rebuked strongly some wicked men who had gathered together as a mob. At the close of the meeting, he went to the water and baptized two; one was Father Henry Thomas the father of Daniel and Henry Thomas, some 80 years of age; he was a revolutionary soldier, and had served under General George Washington.
Elder [David] Patten was filled with the power of God and several were healed under his hands. Elders Patten and Parrish returned to middle Tennessee while I remained in Kentucky,–When brothers Patten and Parrish arrived at brother Seth Utley’s in Benton co., Tennessee, they were taken by a mob under pretext of law.
June 19th. About forty men armed with deadly weapons, led by Sheriff Robert C. Petty, and a Colonel and Major, with some other officers, and a Methodist priest with a gun on his shoulder; the Sheriff informed the brethren that he had a States’ warrant for D. [David] W. [Warren] Patten, W. Parrish and W. Woodruff, issued on complaint of Mathew Williams the Methodist priest, who swore that those brethren had put forth the following false and pretended prophecy: ‘That Christ would come the second time before this generation passed away,’ and ‘That four individuals should receive the Holy Ghost within twenty-four hours.’ After examination brothers Patten and Parrish were bound over to appear on June 22nd under $2000 bonds.
Early on the 22nd Elders [David] Patten and [Warren] Parrish had their trial. The mob gathered to the number of 100 all fully armed, they took from brother Patten his walking stick and a penknife; they went through with a mock trial, but would not let the defendants produce any witnesses, and without suffering them to say a word in defence, the Judge pronounced them guilty of the charges preferred.
Brother [David] Patten being filled with the Holy Ghost rose to his feet and by the power of God bound them fast to their seats until he addressed them. He rebuked them sharply for their wicked and unjust proceedings. Brother Parrish afterwards said, ‘my hair stood up strait on my head for I expected to be killed.’ When Patten closed, the judge addressed him saying, ‘you must be armed with concealed weapons, or you would not treat an armed court as you have this.’ Patten replied, ‘I am armed with weapons you know not of, and my weapons are the Holy Priesthood and the power of God. God is my friend, and he permits you to exercise all the power you have, and he bestows on me all the power I have.’
The Court finally concluded to let the brethren go if they would pay the cost of court, and leave the country in ten days. The Sheriff informed the brethren to accept those propositions as it was the only means of escaping the violence of the mob. The Saints in that vicinity paid the cost. Elders [David] Patten and [Warren] Parrish left and went to brother Seth Utley’s. They had not been gone long when the mob began to quarrel among themselves and were mad because they had let the prisoners go, and soon mounted their horses and started after them with all speed. The news of this movement reached the brethren and they immediately mounted their mules and went into the woods and by a circuitous route reached the house of brother Albert Petty and put up their mules and went to bed and slept. They had not been long asleep when some heavenly messenger came to brother Patten and told him to arise and leave that place for the mob were after them and would soon be at that house. Brother Patten awoke Parrish and told him to arise and dress himself, for the mob would soon be upon them. They arose, saddled their animals and started for Henry County, in the night; they had not been gone long before the house was surrounded by a mob, who demanded Patten and Parrish,–Brother Petty informed them they were not there, but the mob searched the house, and remained till day break, when they found the tracks of the brethren’s mules, which they followed to the line of the next county, when they gave up the chase. I accompanied Elder Patten into the woods and he went before the Lord in prayer and asked God to curse them, and destroy them off the face of the earth for their wickedness and abominations, to which I heartily responded, Amen.
Aug. 20th.–Elder [David] Patten preached at the house of Randolph Alexander, and after meeting baptized him and his wife. Brother T. [Thomas] B. Marsh arrived in Tennessee on his mission to collect means, and attend a Conference with the brethren laboring in Tennessee and Kentucky, which was held on Damon’s Creek, Callaway County, Kentucky, Sept. 2nd 1836. T. [Thomas] B. Marsh presided. Seven Branches were represented containing 133 members. On the 4th Elder Patten preached from the words, ‘Repent and be baptized,’ at the close, five persons came forward and went to the water and he baptized them.
Sept. 19th.–Elders T. [Thomas] B. Marsh, D. [David] W. Patten, E. H. Groves and Sister Patten left the Saints in Kentucky and Tennessee and started for Far West, Missouri, where they arrived in peace and safety.”
Elder [David] Patten remained in Missouri until the spring of 1837, when he performed a mission through the States preaching by the way until he arrived in Kirtland. He attended a Conference held in Kirtland Sept. 3rd 1837. It was a time of great apostacy in the Church, Warren Parrish, his brother-in-law and his fond associate apostatized, and labored deligently to draw away Elder Patten from the Church, these things troubled Elder Patten and caused him much sorrow. He soon after returned to Missouri.
Feb. 10th, 1838. Elders T. B. Marsh and D. W. Patten were appointed to take the Presidency in Far West until President Joseph Smith arrived.
Brother Patten wrote an epistle and delivered his last testimony to the world and Church, which was published in the 3d No. of the Elder’s Journal.
Brother Patten continued to labor in the Church in Missouri through the summer of 1838. When the persecution and mobbing commenced, he was foremost in defending the Saints.
[I extract the following from Charles C. Rich’s history.] “News came to Far West that the Rev. Samuel Bogart, with a mob of 75 men, were committing depredations on Log Creek, destroying property and taking prisoners. Whereupon Judge Higbee issued an order to raise a force to disperse the mob. A call to arms was sounded about 10 o’clock at night. Capt. D. [David] W. Patten and myself with about forty others volunteered, which number he thought would be sufficient, but as I believed a battle was inevitable I proposed to go and raise some more men and meet Captain Patten about six miles from Far West: which was agreed to. I rode through the settlements on Goose and Log creeks, and rallied the brethren as I went along. When we met we numbered about seventy-five, and were divided into companies of ten, and then proceeded by the main road, four miles, to near Crooked river, where we left our horses tied to Randolph McDonald’s fense, and placed a few men to guard them. Captain Patten divided the party into three companies, taking command of the first himself, I commanded the second company, and James Durfee the third. Apprehending that the mob were encamped at Field’s house–Captain Patten took his men and went round to the right of the field, Durfee through the field, and I round to the left. I arrived at the house about five minutes before the other companies, which gave me a little time to reconnoiter the premises, Captain Patten made a short speech, exhorted the brethren to trust on the Lord for victory, then ordered a march to the ford, along the road.
When near the top of the hill, the words, ‘Who comes there,’ were heard, and at the same instant the report of a gun; young P. [Pat] O’Banion reeled out of the ranks and fell mortally wounded; whereupon Captain Patten ordered a charge, and rushed down the hill; when within about fifty yards of the clump, we formed a line. Captain Patten’s company at the right, my company next, which brought me in the road, brother Patten’s company was partly shielded by a club of trees, and brother Durfee’s by a thicket of hazel brush.
The mob formed under the bank of the creek, below their tents, and fired upon us all their guns, brother James Hendricks fell wounded near me on my left, and brother Hodges fell wounded on my right. Captain Patten ordered the company to fire, which was obeyed immediately, after which a calm succeeded for a moment. I commenced calling our watch-word, ‘God and liberty.’ in which all the companies joined. Captain Patten ordered us to charge–the enemy fired a few shots and fled, two lingered behind, Brother Patten pursued one, and I the other; the man that he pursued wheeled and shot him. Brother Patten wore a white blanket coat which made him a conspicuous mark.
The mob left all their animals and camp equipage and dispersed in nearly all directions, and were so completely routed that almost every one of them reported that Bogart’s whole company were destroyed and he alone was left to tell the tale.
We took three of our brethren whom they had prisoners, one of whom was severely wounded by the mob; we gathered up Captain Patten and the others who were wounded and put them in a wagon, and left for Far West; the sun was not yet risen. After travelling a few miles, brother Patten’s sufferings became so great he wished to be left; he and Brother Seeley were then placed upon litters and carried by the brethren. When we arrived near Log creek, we met President Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, H. C. Kimball and others. At this place Brother [David] Patten became so ill, he was not able to be borne any further, we rested a short time.”
Elder Kimball’s journal has the following:- Immediately on receiving the intelligence that Brother [David] Patten was wounded, I hastened to see him. When I arrived he appeared to be in great pain; but still was glad to see us. He was conveyed about four miles, to the house of brother Stephen Winchester, during his removal his sufferings were so excruciating, that he frequently desired us to lay him down that he might die. But being desirous to get him out of the reach of the mob, and among friends, we prevailed upon him to let us convey him there. We carried him on a kind of a bier we fixed up with poles. He lived about an hour after his arrival, and was perfectly sensible and collected until he breathed his last, at ten o’clock at night. Although he had medical assistance, yet his wound was such, that there was no hope entertained of his recovery; this he was perfectly aware of. In this situation, while the shades of time were lowering, and eternity with all its realities was opening to his view, he bore a strong testimony to the truth of the work of the Lord, and the religion he had espoused.
The principles of the Gospel which were so precious to him before, were honorably maintained in nature’s final hour and afforded him that support and consolation at the time of his departure, which deprived death of its sting and horror. Speaking of those who had fallen from their steadfastness, he [David Patten] exclaimed, “O that they were in my situation! for I feel I have kept the faith, I have finished my course, henceforth there is laid up for me a crown which the Lord, the righteous Judge shall give to me.”
Speaking to his beloved wife who was present and who attended him in his dying moments, he said, “whatever you do else, O, do not deny the faith!” He all the while expressed a great desire to depart. I spoke to him and said, “Brother David, when you get home I want you to remember me.” He exclaimed, “I will.” At this time his sight was gone. We felt so very much attached to our beloved brother, that we beseeched the Lord to spare his life and endeavored to exercise faith for his recovery. Of this he was perfectly aware, and expressed a desire, that we should let him go, as his desire was to be with Christ which was far better. A few minutes before he died he prayed as follows:–‘Father, I ask thee, in the name of Jesus Christ, that thou wouldst release my spirit and receive it unto thyself:” and then said to those who surrounded his dying bed, “Brethren you have held me by your faith, but do give me up and let me go I beseech you.” We committed him to God, and he soon breathed his last, and slept in Jesus without a groan. This was the end of one who was an honor to the Church and a blessing to the Saints: and whose faith, virtues and diligence in the cause of truth will be long remembered by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance, and his memory will be had in remembrance by the Church of Christ from generation to generation.
Taken from the Millennial Star, Vol. 26, June 25 to July 16, 1864, pp. 406-408:422-424:439-441:454-455.