Boston Morning Journal – 3 Aug 1852, page 4.
A MORMON MIRACLE. Late English papers bring the following singular account of a miracle which occurred at a Mormon gathering in Newport (Wales.) It was certainly a miracle of good luck:
“The Latter-Day Saints, who form a very large proportion of the population in Wales, have been holding their ‘conference’ here within the past few days. To this gathering have assembled many of the ‘elders’ of the fraternity, some of whom have held rank as ‘Prophets’ on the banks of Salt River. Great preparations were made to celebrate this conference on an extended scale, and among other means, it is said that promises had been held out, and believed in by the too credulous Welsh people, that ‘miracles would be performed!’
Yesterday afternoon a large building named the Sunderland Hall, in which the body had held their services for a long period past, was filled to overflowing by the members of the sect and their families who reside in Newport, together with considerable numbers of the people from the hills, the colliery, iron works, & c.
It is supposed that about four hundred persons were here assembled, about to join in partaking of tea after one of the services of the day. Several Mormon elders had given out the blessing, and some hints were thrown out that the day might witness some of the great and miraculous powers of the saints.
Scarcely had tea been commenced when, without a moment’s warning, exactly one-half of the lofty and heavy ceiling of the building fell with a sudden crash. For a moment all was blinding and confusion. Then succeeded the most appalling shrieks and the most terrifying clamor; and amidst the din and horrible confusion that ensued people rushed from all the surrounding houses, apprehending that some great calamity had occurred.
Fearful screams were again heard bursting forth; presently the windows of the hall were dashed out, and the affrighted creatures within flung themselves through the broken sashes to the ground below. Some were observed clinging with extreme tenacity to the window frames and sills, apprehending death within, and fearful of mutilated limbs if they fell. The doors were burst open from without as well as the piles of people heaped upon one another inside permitted, and ingress being at length obtained, the sight that presented itself was enough to appall the stoutest heart—beams and rafters, whole patches of ceiling, amidst clouds of dust, lying upon scores of people; while the tea-tables, affording protection to many, were crowded below with numbers crying aloud for mercy, for protection and for a miracle to save them.
The upper end of the hall, where the elders had been seated, was unhurt—the ceiling above their heads was unbroken. Immediate exertions were made, and in the course of an hour the wretched creatures were all extricated from the ruins, and on a minute search being instituted, not one was found missing; and what is still more remarkable, although the beams and rafters are heavy, and some, with huge pieces of entire ceiling, fell directly upon the tables, and others in a direction that appeared to insure inevitable death, not a single Mormon was injured, though it was intimated that two or three unbelievers who had gone thither to revile and sneer at the true followers of Joe Smith, received slight injuries, which may serve their consciences as remembrancers.
When the party were all extricated another hall was obtained, and there the remainder of the evening was devoted to an ovation to the elders and the prophets who had wrought the anticipated miracle of causing a ceiling to fall upon the heads of the saints without injury.
The occurrence has occasioned a remarkable sensation in the town.”