13-year-old Mary Goble arrived in Salt Lake City with the Martin Handcart Company in poor circumstances. Her mother had died on the day they arrived, and her feet were frozen. Brigham Young wept as he saw her circumstances, and told the doctor to remove just her toes, rather than her feet, and he wouldn’t have to remove them any farther. The amputation occurred while her sisters dressed her mother for her grave.
Initially, the surgery was not successful. Seven months later, her feet were getting worse, and the doctor said he couldn’t help her unless he removed her feet. Mary told him of President Young’s promise, and the doctor replied, “All right, sit there and rot, and I will do nothing more until you come to your senses.”
One day as Mary was sitting and weeping in pain, a “little old woman” knocked on her door, stating that she had felt prompted to come to her. Mary told her old President Young’s promise, and this wonderful woman replied, “Yes, and with the help of the Lord we will save them yet.” She was not content to sit and wait for the miracle to arrive; she made a poultice for Mary’s feet, and came every day for three months to change them. Mary healed completely.
I love this “little old woman.” I love that she was in tune to the Lord’s promptings and acted on them. I love that she trusted in the Lord, but thoughtfully considered what her role could be in bringing His will to pass. And I love that she did not give up, working daily for three months to make sure the miracle came to pass.
Olsen, Andrew D. (2006). The Price We Paid: The Extraordinary Story of the Willie and Martin Handcart Pioneers.