Solomon Humphrey


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D&C 52:35-36

By Susan Easton Black

Solomon, a Baptist exhorter, was living in Stockholm, New York, when he received a copy of the Book of Mormon. “Being impressed with the truth of the Work,” he traveled to Manchester, New York, “to see [his] cousin Joseph [Smith], and was baptized and ordained an elder.” When Solomon returned to Stockholm, he preached the message of the Restoration “although constantly hissed at by the ministers of all denominations and their followers.”1

Wanting to be with fellow believers, Solomon packed up his belongings and moved from New York to Kirtland, Ohio. Soon after his arrival in Kirtland, the Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation calling his cousin Solomon to return to the East: 

And again, I say unto you, let my servants Joseph Wakefield and Solomon Humphrey take their journey into the eastern lands, let them labor with their families, declaring none other things than the prophets and apostles, that which they have seen and heard and most assuredly believe, that the prophecies may be fulfilled. (D&C 52:35–36)

In obedience to the word of God, Solomon returned to his hometown and once again shared news of the Restoration. This time he had a more receptive audience, particularly among his family members. John Smith, a future patriarch of the Church, and George A. Smith, a future Apostle, received his message with joy and entered baptismal waters.

Solomon returned to Kirtland and joined other brethren in attending the School of the Prophets. At one meeting he expressed his desire to see an angel:

About the time the school was first organized some wished to see an angel, and a number joined in the circle and prayed. When the vision came, two of the brethren shrank and called for the vision to close or they would perish; they were Brothers Hancock and Humphries. When the Prophet came in they told him what they had done and he said the angel was no further off than the roof of the house, and a moment more he would have been in their midst.2

In 1834 Solomon marched with Zion’s Camp in hopes of providing relief and justice to the Saints who had been forced from their lands in Jackson County. On the march, Solomon had an encounter with a rattlesnake:

[One] afternoon, Elder Solomon Humphreys, an aged brother of the camp, having become exceedingly weary, lay down on the prairie to rest himself and fell asleep. When he awoke he saw, coiled up within one foot of his head, a rattlesnake lying between him and his hat, which he had in his hand when he fell asleep. The brethren gathered around him, saying, “It is a rattlesnake, let us kill it,” but Brother Humphreys said, “No, I’ll protect him, you shan’t hurt him, for he and I had a good nap together.”3

When the camp disbanded in July 1834, Solomon stayed in Clay County, Missouri. Within two months, he died in Clay County at age fifty-nine. 

1. George A. Smith, “Sketch of the Auto-Biography of George Albert Smith.” Millennial Star 27 (1 July 1865), 407.

2. Zebedee Coltrin, Minutes of the Salt Lake City School of the Prophets, 11 October 1883, 66. Church History Library.

3. Smith, History of the Church, 2:73–74.

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