The Faith and Trials of Thomas Samuel Thomas and Mary Jane Anthony Thomas
They join the Mormon Church under trying circumstances, migrate to America, endure the loss of children to disease, and later thrive. Their son, has a near death experience and gives them a revelation of hope.
37-year-old Thomas Samuel Thomas, of Monmouthshire, England, heard the gospel for the first time in 1843. A devoted member of the Baptist Church, Thomas was uncomfortable with the doctrine of Mormonism and was rather reluctant in accepting all that he heard about the Mormon religion. Walking down the street one day while contemplating what he had been taught, a voice came to him saying, "Keep thyself for thou must yet stand for me." Thomas was overcome by the spirit, and fell to his knees weeping because of the lack of faith that he had had in the past. He pleaded with the Lord for forgiveness. He eventually joined the church and was baptized in 1851.
Mary Jane Anthony was born, December 11, 1838, at Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorganshire, Wales. She was thirteen years of age when Latter-day Saint missionaries came to her town preaching the Gospel. She had heard many tales about the Mormons and thought very poorly of them. One evening she joined with two girl friends to go throw rocks at the missionaries while they preached on the streets. When the girls arrived on the scene the missionaries were beginning to sing a hymn. Mary, being a good singer, joined in the song. After the hymn concluded the missionaries began to pray. As Mary listened to the prayer she became so interested that she let the rocks she had collected roll out from her apron. Her girl friends were angry and begged her to throw the rocks at the Elders with them. She said, "No, I can't see anything wrong with them." From that time on she attended meetings regularly. On a cold, December morning, in 1845, Mary was baptized a member of the Mormon Church in an icey river.
Mary's parents were angry with her because of her interest in the Mormon Church. They tried to prevent her from leaving the house to attend meetings by starving her and hiding her clothes. Undeterred, Mary did not give up her faith. Instead she left her home to live on a farm with her uncle. A few years later her mother, Alice, decided she wanted to find out what it was about the church that attracted her daughter so much. Alice attended one of the Latter-day Saint meetings. After which she also received a testimony and was baptized, in 1849. Mary's father never did join the church.
Thomas and Mary met each other in 1853, on board the ship "Jersey" while sailing for America, to join the other Latter Day Saints in Utah. They were married by the captain during their voyage. They settled in Utah, had their marriage sealed in the Salt Lake endowment house, and would have six children.
Twelve years later, diphtheria broke out among their children. The youngest boy, Samuel became ill and died in four days. When Thomas and Mary returned from the cemetery they found two more children sick. They completed their moving into their new home in Ogden, Utah, thinking that the higher ceilings in the new home might be beneficial to the children. However, the next morning their son, John, passed away. A short time later the oldest boy, Tommy also contracted the disease.
When Tommy was at his lowest point, his parents thought he had died. But, the boy rallied and regained consciousness. He told Thomas and Mary that his two deceased brothers had come and taken him with them. However, he had refused to go any farther with them unless they let him return to his parents, promising to go with them as soon as they came for him again. Upon hearing this, Mary choked up. With tears streaming down her face she said, "Well, if it is the Lord's will, we shall have to let you go, but don't let them come for anymore." Thomas asked the boy what he should do with his heifer calf, and the boy said "give it in for tithing." Thomas and Mary were in such despair they lamented that that the entire family was going to die. Tommy said, "You are not all going to die. Father will come first and Mother will live to raise Alice [their young daughter] to be a woman."
Within a few days the son said, "Here they are, I shall have to go," and he passed away. Mary was holding him on her lap. After he died she laid him on the bed. Thomas felt so bad at losing his last and oldest son that he lay on the bed with the boy in his arms and sobbed out his sorrow. Eight days later their daughter, Mary also succumbed and died.
Thomas and Mary moved with their remaining to children to Samaria, Idaho. While there, Mary happened to be reunited with her two childhood rock throwing girl friends. They too had joined the church, married and resettled in Idaho. Thomas and Mary had two more children and thrived in Idaho. As their dying son, Tommy had revealed to them years earlier, Thomas died first in 1873. Mary died in 1920, after raising Alice and her other children to adulthood.
Margaret Davis Paul, "History of Thomas Samuel Thomas and Mary Jane Anthony"