Zina D. Huntington Young

A Testimony in the Heart of a Girl

Zina Young may have inherited some of her courage to follow a prophet’s counsel from her brave mother, Zina D. Huntington Young.

“One day on my return from school, I saw the Book of Mormon, that strange, new book, lying on the window sill of our sitting-room. I went up to the window, picked it up, and the sweet influence of the Holy Spirit accompanied it to such an extent that I pressed it to my bosom in a rapture of delight, murmuring as I did so, ‘This is the truth, truth, truth!’”

(“How I Gained My Testimony of the Truth,” The Young Woman’s Journal, April 1893, 318)

As a young woman, Zina had many remarkable spiritual experiences, including, as her patriarchal blessing promised, witnessing the ministering of angels:

“On one occasion I saw angels clothed in white walking upon the [Kirtland] temple. It was during one of our monthly fast meetings, when the saints were in the temple worshipping. A little girl came to my door and in wonder called me out, exclaiming, ‘The meeting is on the top of the meeting house!’ I went to the door, and there I saw on the temple angels clothed in white covering the roof from end to end. . . .

“When the brethren and sisters came home in the evening, they told of the power of God manifested in the temple that day, and of the prophesying. . . . It was also said, . . . ‘That the angels were resting down upon the house.’”

(Edward W. Tullidge, The Women of Mormondom [1877], 207)

Another time in the Kirtland Temple, Zina and her sister Presendia heard angels singing:

“While the congregation was . . . praying, we both heard, from one corner of the room above our heads, a choir of angels singing most beautifully. They were invisible to us, but myriads of angelic voices seemed to be united in singing some song of Zion, and their sweet harmony filled the temple of God.”

(Tullidge, The Women of Mormondom, 208)

When the Prophet Joseph revealed that the Saints were to leave Kirtland for Missouri, Zina’s family left all their valuables behind. This move, Zina said, “left us bare as a sheered sheep.” In 1839, the family moved on to Commerce, Illinois, where the whole family became ill with cholera:

“In a few days all our prospects were blighted, our mother dead, ourselves all sick and our crops going to waste, weeds choking them. . . . None attended [mother’s] funeral but John and William. I was so sick that I noticed nothing hardly. . . . We were a pitiful sight and none to [pity] us but God and his prophet. . . .

For a time, Zina was inconsolable at her mother’s death. Then another spiritual experience confirmed her faith. As she paced the floor, almost brokenhearted in her loneliness, she heard her mother’s voice:

“Zina, any sailor can steer on a smooth sea, when rocks appear, sail around them.”

Zina cried out:

“O Father in heaven, help me to be a good sailor, that my heart shall not break on the rocks of grief.”

A sweet peace came over Zina’s soul, and never again did she give way to such heart-rending grief.

(“Mother,” The Young Woman’s Journal, Jan. 1911, 45)