This story, told in General Conference, has all the hallmarks of BS. Feels good, single source that was a friend of someone who was present when the story was told 50 years later by a woman who was in her 90s, etc.
The original story comes from her fireside biography:
Maybe it happened, maybe it didn’t. I’ll give a short list of things that have more sources than this that are more stable:
- Brigham Young’s cane was Oliver Cowdery’s dousing rod (2 sources, both eye witnesses to the cane).
- Joseph Smith, Jr. had John C. Bennett perform abortions (3 sources, contemporary).
- Thomas B. Marsh witness Joseph Smith order the destruction of the town Gallatin and the theft of property of the exmormons that were driven out of their homes in early winter (2 sources, signed affidavit).
- Joseph Smith ordered Porter Rockwell to assassinate Governor Boggs (14 sources, all second hand).
You see, it’s not so much that you can’t tell a nice feeling story. It’s that there is a bias against good information with lots of sources, and to pick badly sourced information that is faith promoting, that I have an issue with. They then use these “probably didn’t happen” stories to encourage people to take real action in the physical world, action that could get them hurt, and, incidentally making comparisons of faith and reason like this:
faith and reason are like the two wings of an aircraft. Both are essential to maintain flight. If, from your perspective, reason seems to contradict faith, pause and remember that our perspective is extremely limited compared with the Lord’s.
Faith, founded in untrue stories and false anecdotes, is not, in any way, like a wing on an aircraft. Reason, logic, and science built the aircraft. Faith in god would have us still saying things like:
If man had been meant to fly, he would have been born with wings.