Noah Packard


D&C 124:136

By Susan Easton Black

“I would not join any Church under heaven,” Noah said to his neighbor. “The sects of the day were not right and that they would go to meeting and put on a long face on the Sabbath, and on the next day would go home and cheat their neighbors and that such a religion I did not believe in.”1

When a Latter-day Saint family moved into his neighborhood, Noah wrote, “I felt in my heart to pity them [the William Jolly family], and told my wife we would go and make them a visit.” It was Mrs. Jolly’s testimony that led Noah to search the Bible and read the Book of Mormon. He wrote, “I told her I would, and took it and carried it home and placing the book against my forehead asked secretly the Lord if that work was His, He would make it manifest to me.” He read the Book of Mormon twice. During his second reading “the Lord poured out His spirit upon” him. In June 1832 Noah was baptized by Parley P. Pratt. He believed himself “greatly blessed with the Spirit of the Lord [because] I could stand up boldly in our meetings and bear testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon.”2

On a mission to the eastern states in 1833, Noah “traveled 1,782 miles on foot held 72 meetings, baptized 18 persons, [and] organized one branch of the church.” He also witnessed miracles:

[I] laid hands on a sister who was in great pain from a broken bone; by the blessing of God the pain immediately left her. . . . [While] preaching near the head of Seneca Lake a woman invited me to her house, she had a child that was very deaf, as I passed him standing in the yard I laid my hands upon his head and asked the Lord to heal him, which was done, for which I felt to thank the Lord.3

Noah also wrote, “If any of the elders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in traveling to preach the gospel, have gone hungry, so have I; if any have traveled with sore feet, so have I; if any have been seized and put out of towns when speaking to the people, so have I.”4

Noah gave $1,000 to the Prophet Joseph Smith for the construction of the Kirtland Temple. Of his generosity, the Prophet Joseph said, “Oh! may God bless him a hundred fold, even of the things of the earth, for this righteous act.”5 When it came time to leave Kirtland, Noah signed the Kirtland Camp Constitution but was unable to journey with the camp to Missouri in consequence of poverty. He wintered at Wellsville on the Ohio River before joining the Saints in Quincy, Illinois.

On April 7, 1841 the Prophet Joseph received a revelation naming Noah as a counselor to his brother Don Carlos Smith, president of the high priests’ quorum in Nauvoo (D&C 124:136). After the death of Don Carlos, Noah served as a counselor to President George Miller of the high priests’ quorum. When the Latter-day Saints fled from Nauvoo in 1846, Noah wanted to join them but was too ill to travel and without means to secure a team and wagon. He remained behind in Illinois for a season before moving to Hazelgreen, Wisconsin, where he was employed in a lead mine. After four years of hard labor, he had saved the necessary funds to purchase teams and wagons to take his family to the Rockies. Noah and his family journeyed with the Jonathan Foote Company to the Salt Lake Valley, arriving on September 18, 1850.

“After living in my wagons and tent about one year and eight months,” Noah wrote. “[I] got a house built and moved into it” in Springville, Utah.6 In that pioneer settlement Noah was captain of the Silver Greys militia and a counselor in the Springville Branch presidency. When he expressed his view that the tabernacle in Springville was “out of plumb and was a danger to all who enter therein,” local Church leaders became angry and released Noah from the branch presidency. He wrote of having—

to be on my guard lest I should say something that would displease the Bishop and his Council. . . . My sorrows and afflictions were great, and my heart was grieved to the very bottom; and I prayed unto the Lord by day and by night, and he sustained me. . . . The abuse which I have received in Springville far exceeds any which I received whilst traveling preaching the Gospel among the Gentiles.7

The Springville Tabernacle was later torn down due to being out of plumb. On February 7, 1859 Noah died in Springville.

1. “A Synopsis of the Life and Travels of Noah Packard,” typescript, p. 2. L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.

2. Ibid., pp. 2-3.

3. Ibid., p. 5.

4. Ibid., p. 9.

5. History, 1838–1856, volume B-1 [1 September 1834–2 November 1838], p. 619. Joseph Smith Papers.

6. “A Synopsis of the Life and Travels of Noah Packard,” p. 10.

7. “A Synopsis of the Life and Travels of Noah Packard,” pp. 12-13.