Raised from the Dead: Ephraim Hanks and the Martin Handcart Company Rescue

 The miracle of raising the dead is one of the rarest and sacred of all miracles.  Christ promised that his prophets, apostles, and disciples, would have his power to raise the dead. (Matthew 10:8; 4 Nephi 1:5)

Of the five published accounts of such miracles taking place in the church in modern times, two involve Ephraim Hanks. He had a divine gift of healing. This is one of those accounts:

Vision Calling Ephraim to Help the Stranded Handcart Company

In the fall of 1856, Ephraim Hanks was visiting friends in Draper, Utah south of Salt Lake City. As he retired to bed, he heard a voice calling him by name. “The handcart people are in trouble and you are wanted.  Will you go and help them?

Ephraim turned over to go to sleep, and the voice came a second time. Brother Hanks looked up and saw a man standing in his room. He replied, “Yes, I will go if I am called.” 

Brother Hanks rolled over to go to sleep again, and the voice came a third time. “The handcart people are in trouble and you are wanted.  Will you go and help them?”

Ephraim Was All Ready When Brigham Young Asks for Volunteers

Ephraim rushed to Salt Lake and made preparations for a rescue. He arrived on Saturday. The next day, Brigham Young asked for volunteers to rescue the stranded and starving handcart companies in Wyoming. There was a heavy snow and the people were freezing and starving to death. There were many volunteers.  However, each volunteer needed several days in order for them to get ready. Ephraim responded, “I am ready now.”

Ephraim Heads Out On Horseback Through Deep Snow

Brother Hanks took his saddled horse and a pack horse and headed out by himself. He slept in the deep snow.

The Lord Provides a Buffalo

One day Ephraim became desperate. He prayed and asked if the Lord could make a buffalo available, so he could get meat and make a heavy warm blanket. 

When he opened his eyes, he saw a buffalo standing just fifty yards away. Ephraim shot and killed the animal. He butchered it and cut the meat in long chewable strips. He skinned the buffalo, and made a very heavy fur blanket. He wrapped the blanket around him at night when he slept on the snow.

Ephraim Relieves the Starving Immigrants

Trudging through the deep snow for  days, Ephraim finally reached the desperate handcart company. The stranded pioneers were starving and freezing to death. Ephraim slogged through the camp and shared his buffalo meat strips with the starving people. He saved many lives. Exhausted, he wrapped himself in his warm buffalo blanket and crashed. He fell asleep within minutes.

A Dead Husband is Raised from the Dead

Later, a woman went to one of the captains of the company and asked him to give her sick husband a priesthood blessing. The captain entered her tent and discovered her husband was dead. He no pulse, and his body was cold. He grumbled, “I cannot administer to a dead man,” and left. 

The next morning, the captain asked Ephraim to prepare the body for burial.  Instead, Ephraim washed the body with warm water, and then he anointed the body with consecrated oil. Brother Hanks laid his hands on the dead man’s head, and by the authority of the priesthood, and in the name of Jesus Christ, Ephraim commanded the man to breathe and live. 

Instantly, the man breathed. He immediately sat up and started singing a hymn.

The wife was unable to control her feelings. She left the tent and ran throughout the camp shouting: “My husband was dead but is now alive.  Praised be the name of God.  The man who brought the buffalo meat has healed him.” 

(Sources: “Martin Handcart Burial” by Kelly Clark Price;  “Ephraim K. Hanks” by Steve Halford; “ Ephraim K. Hanks: Obeying the Spirit,” by Kelly Clark Price; Wikipedia: “Ephraim Hanks, Handcart Company Rescue;” )

(I strongly recommend watching:  T.C. Christensen’s 2013 Documentary Movie: “Ephraim’s Rescue.”)

(www.londonedition.net – “Sunday Sermon”)

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