A Gift of Faith

Elias Hicks Blackburn, Pioneer, Patriarch, and Healer

Book Notice

A Gift of Faith: Elias Hicks Blackburn, Pioneer, Patriarch, and Healer, by Voyle L. Munson and Lillian S. Munson (Basin/Plateau Press, 1991)

This biography, originally produced for Blackburn’s descendants, deserves wider attention. In an age when religious healings were not uncommon, Elias Hicks Blackburn (1827–1908) was nevertheless remarkable for the hundreds of healings he mediated through his “gift of faith” and his knack for doctoring. He served not only the people in his own and surrounding counties, but also those who traveled from as far away as Canada and Mexico to general conference partly to meet him and be healed. He often spent entire days administering to people. Many of his healings are recounted in detail.

Blackburn’s years of dedication to his church also included a move from Pennsylvania to Nauvoo and from there to Utah; relief work for the Willie and Martin handcart companies; a mission to England; and service as first bishop of Provo, Utah, and, later, bishop to all of Rabbit Valley and patriarch to the Sevier Stake.

Extensively researched and rechecked for accuracy, the book is written in a staightforward, readable style. Often, the authors have allowed Blackburn to speak for himself through quotations from his diaries. The book is further enriched by several maps, reproductions of key documents, and many photographs by professional photographer Gary B. Peterson and others.


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