Edwin Rushton meets the Prophet Joseph Smith 1843
Account Told by His Son
After sailing from England, our immigrant company reached Nauvoo, April 13, 1843. Father was very anxious to find the members of his family already established there, and hurried towards the town in search of them. He had gone only a short distance when he met a man riding a beautiful black horse. The man accosted him, saying, “Hey, Bub, is that a company of Mormons just landed?”
In much surprise, Father answered, “Yes sir.”
“Are you a Mormon?” the stranger continued.
“Yes, sir,” Father again answered.
“What do you know about old Joe Smith?” the stranger asked.
“I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God,” said Father.
“I suppose you are looking for an old man with a long, gray beard. What would you think if I told you I was Joseph Smith?” the man continued.
“If you are Joseph Smith,” said Father, “I know you are a prophet of God.”
In a gentle voice, the man explained, “I am Joseph Smith. I came to meet those people, dressed as I am in rough clothes and speaking in this manner, to see if their faith is strong enough to stand the things they must meet. If not, they should turn back right now.”
This was Father’s introduction to the Prophet. (“Edwin Rushton (Related by his Son),” in Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, They Knew the Prophet (Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1974), p.170)
In His Own Words
Elder [Edwin] Rushton … became acquainted with the Prophet on the 13th of April, 1842, when he landed at Nauvoo as an emigrant. He saw a handsome looking man coming toward him, riding a fine horse. This person, who proved to be the Prophet, accosted him and asked if a boat had landed at the wharf. Answered in the affirmative, he asked the occasion of its landing. “There is a company of emigrants here, sir,” answered the speaker. “Oh, indeed what are they?” said the Prophet. “They are called Mormons.” “Are you a Mormon?” said Joseph. Answered in the affirmative, the Prophet continued: “I suppose you have heard a great deal said coming up the river about ‘Joe Smith,’ both good and evil?” “Both kinds, sir,” was the speaker’s reply. Said the Prophet, “What do you come here for? What do you know about Mormonism?” The speaker raised his hand and said, “I know that Mormonism is true, or I would not be here. I know it for myself and not for another.” Said he, “I am that same ‘Joe Smith’ you have heard so much talk about. What do you think of me?” Said the speaker, “You are a Prophet of the living God. I knew it when I left my native land.” “I hope the rest of them all know that,” answered the Prophet. I was then but 17 years of age. After that I was very familiar with him, and he never forgot the “boy.”…
I never saw a man equal to the Prophet Joseph in dignity and kind, gentlemanly deportment. In conversation with him there was nothing frivolous, light minded or debasing. (Collected Discourses, edited by Brian H. Stuy, 5 vols. (Burbank, California, and Woodland Hills, Utah: B. H. S. Publishing, 1987-92), 5:33-34)