150 years ago today - Jun 15, 1873

[James E. Talmage]
During my eleventh year, in the Spring of 1873, I was stricken with a very severe illness; and, as my parents afterward informed me, my life appeared to be near its close. My father associated this illness with the fact that my baptism into the Church had been deferred beyond the time at which it should have been attended to. At that time Father was president of the Hungerford and Ramsbury branch of the Church.

As Father afterward told me, he made solemn covenant with the Lord that if my life should be spared he would lose no time in having me baptized after my recovery. ... Because of possible interference by persecutors of the Latter-day Saints it was necessary that baptisms be attended to only in the night-time. ...

On June 15, 1873, my father and Elijah Gilbert left our house shortly before midnight, traversed the Kennet bridge back and forth, looked around the neighborhood, and returned to the house telling us that all seemed clear, and that Ellen [also age 11] and I were to prepare to enter the water. In the interest of caution they went out once more, and returned with the same report. Ellen and I accompanied Father and Brother Elijah to the place selected in the mill race for our immersion.

I was to be baptized first. As Father stood in the water and took my hand, I being on the bank with Ellen and her brother, we were veritably horror-stricken by a combined shriek, yell, scream, howl -- I know not how to describe the awful noise -- such as none of us had ever heard. It seemed to be a combination of every fiendish ejaculation we could conceive of. I remember how I trembled at the awful manifestation, which had about it the sharpness and volume of a thunderclap followed by an angry roar, which died away as a hopeless groan.

... Father, who was also trembling, as were the others, then asked me if I was too frightened to be baptized; I was too much terrified to speak, so I answered by stepping into the water. I was baptized, and Ellen Gilbert was baptized immediately afterward. ...

[CHL MSS 18191, fd. 1, Chronology of the Life and Work of James E. Talmage, J. Trevor Antley, https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MJsHY83JZL_n6CjWq11y1trT_CVXMMXAx2uYOWAwn0c/edit#heading=h.2zfdaoa]

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