“A Minister and a Witness”

by Dawna Booth

In studying the difficult years of Paul’s imprisonment, I am humbled by his great strength to stand as a witness for Jesus Christ. He was ever confident in his testimony of the miraculous vision of the Savior, proclaiming its truth throughout the Roman world. He withstood the efforts of the wicked Sanhedrin to murder him; he suffered trials by Felix, Festus, and Agrippa II; and he underwent another shipwreck on his way to Rome as a prisoner. He was able to testify and teach the gospel during all of those difficult years. David Patten, a modern-day Apostle, was equally committed. He was valiant in his testimony, and during the Missouri conflict in 1835, he led 75 brethren in the Battle of Crooked River. He fell in this battle trying to liberate three captives and was a martyr to his faith. 

My husband’s ancestor Anne Eastwood Booth, one of the first Saints baptized in England, saw David Patten in a vision on March 12, 1840. Wilford Woodruff’s journal gives an account of this important early vision on the redemption of the dead. Because of the efforts of President Woodruff in recording these precious events, we learn that the gospel was being preached to spirits in heaven even before Joseph taught this doctrine. And, on a personal note, our family was blessed to extend our family tree another generation because of her account. The following are excerpts from Anne’s vision. 

Being carried away in a vision to the place of departed souls . . . I beheld one of the 12 Apostles of the Lamb who had been martyred in America standing at the door of the prison holding a key with which he unlocked the door and went in and I followed him. . . . The Apostle then called to John Wesley by name who came forward quickly and both went down into the water and he baptized him and coming up out of the water he laid hands upon him for the gift of the Holy Ghost at the same time ordaining him to the Priesthood of Aaron . . . 

The next he baptized was my grandfather (Edmund Whitehead) and the next was my Uncle (John Whitehead) and the next was my sister (Elizabeth Ottand) and next Joseph Lancashire and next Samuel Robinson and the next was my own mother . . . After this he baptized all the prisoners amounting to many hundreds. After they were all baptized, the Apostle laid his hands on them and confirmed them every one. Then instantly the darkness dispersed and they were all surrounded and enveloped in a brilliant light . . . and they all lifted their voices with one accord giving glory to God for deliverance.1

When Anne discovered that David W. Patten had been martyred in America, she knew he was the man she had seen in her vision. I am grateful for Anne and her remarkable vision, and for Wilford Woodruff for recording it.

Dawna is an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Garden Valley, Idaho. She is married to Ray Booth and is the mother of four and grandmother of ten. She finds it an honor to have served in many callings through the years, especially in Relief Society presidencies and in music callings. 

Professionally, she owned an interior design center, and for the past ten years owned a center that specializes in assisting children with developmental challenges manage and improve their abilities. She loves searching the treasured documents of Wilford Woodruff and assisting in a small way to bring them to you.

  1. Account of Anne Eastwood Booth’s vision in Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, recorded July 2, 1840, pp. 143–144, The Wilford Woodruff Papers, wilfordwoodruffpapers.org/journal/1840-07-02.