Question: Who did Benjamin Brown request in prayer to make an appearance to him in order that he might know the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon?
Answer: Benjamin Brown, son of Asa Brown and Sarah Moon, was born on September 30, 1794 in Queensbury, Warren, New York. He married Sarah Mumford on September 12, 1819, and they became the parents of five children, but two died young.
Benjamin visited a LDS meeting out of curiosity, and saw the gift of prophecy and tongues manifested. Although this confirmation was very great, he did not feel sufficiently convinced to join the church at that time. He treated this experience very lightly.
Before he joined the Church, Benjamin was reading the Book of Mormon, and when he came to the part telling of the Three Nephites and that they had power to show themselves to any person they might wish to, he then asked the Lord to allow him to see them. The Lord heard his prayer and in about three days, two of them appeared in his bedroom and visited with him. He did not see them come, but found them there. One of them told Benjamin he should not have treated the gift of tongues so lightly. “This personage spoke in the Nephite language, but I understood, by the Spirit which accompanied him, every word as plainly as if he had spoken in English. I recognized the language to be the same as that in which I had heard Father Fisher speak at the meeting.”
In 1835 Benjamin was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while living in New York. He and his wife visited Kirtland and attended the dedication of the Kirtland Temple. Benjamin was sent on a proselyting missionary to the Eastern States and Canada. He had many spiritual experiences as well as endured much persecution on his missions, including at one time being severely beaten by a mob.
“One of the fourteen people that Benjamin converted in Portland (Ohio) was a young man named Jesse W. Crosby. One day, while felling timber with his brother, he was struck on the head by a falling branch. The violence of the blow broke in part of his skull, and his neck and shoulders were also injured badly. He was carried home, and his father, who was not a member of the Church, sent for the doctor. The doctor pronounced the case desperate unless it should be found that the brain was unharmed. He then started to cut into Jesses head to determine the state of the brain, when Jesse's mother stopped him. She sent for Benjamin, who was then eight miles away, to administer to Jesse. When he arrived, there were no signs of life in Jesse's body, but Benjamin knew from the Lord that he would recover. He found the house filled with unbelievers sneering, ‘Here comes the Mormon, we'll soon see whether he can heal now.’ He cleared the house of all but the relatives and then administered to him. Jesse then recovered sufficiently to speak, after which he fell into a peaceful sleep, and by morning was feeling much better. In less than four days he was again at work in the woods, hauling timber. He served many missions for the Church after that time.”
In 1839, Benjamin headed to Missouri with his family to gather with the saints there, but when they got to Springfield, about 100 miles from Nauvoo, they were met by some brethren who told them the gathering was now in a place called Commerce (later Nauvoo). They headed to Nauvoo and settled there. Benjamin and his family lived in Nauvoo for about seven years and watched the transformation take place from a wretched, unhealthy, swampy bog to a beautiful, industrious city. In 1839, their married daughter, gave birth to a baby boy, but she and the baby both died in Nauvoo of the ague. At one time, Benjamin was healed by the Prophet Joseph. The death of the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum came as a great blow to the family. Benjamin and Sarah were sealed in the Nauvoo Temple.
Benjamin and his family migrated to the Salt Lake Valley in September 1848 in Brigham Young’s Company. Their two sons, Lorenzo and his wife and child, and Homer, both made it to the Salt Lake Valley with them.
After being in the Valley for four years, Benjamin was called on a mission to England. This was the year 1852, Benjamin being 58 years old. Before they left, the missionaries were given blessings by the Twelve Apostles and other leaders. Benjamin later served as Bishop of the Salt Lake City Fourth Ward.
Benjamin died on May 22, 1878 in Salt Lake City, at the age of eighty-three and is buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.
Source: FamilySearch.org, “Benjamin Brown” by Edith Larsen Baker; FindAGrave.com