Cyrena Dustin Merrill – Part I

A Sketch in the Life of Cyrena  Dustin Merrill as Given by Herself
(Courtesy of the descendants of Cyrena Dustin Merrill)

I, the daughter of Seth Dustin and Betsy Redfield, was born January 6, 1817, in Genesee County, New York. My father, with his family, moved into Ohio, portage County when I was a bout a year old, where you lived until after I left home. I never had good health and was never expected to do anything around the house but all the family waited on me. I first heard the gospel when about 19 years old and believed and embraced it later, going into the waters of baptism in March 1837 – Elder James Emmett officiating.

I am the only one of my father’s family that ever embraced the gospel; yet I know that my father believed, and had it not been for some unwise conduct in one of the Elders who my father had befriended and assisted, he probably would have been baptized at the same time I was. My brothers and sisters were greatly mortified at my joining the church and as long as I lived at home I had to endure their persecutions.

Sometimes during the summer of 1837, I visited Kirkland and viewed the temple; the first one reared by command and under the direction of the living God in this generation. It would be difficult to describe my feelings while going through that edifice where the Savior and holy Angels had appeared to the servants of God. Truly I felt like thanking God that my mind had been enlightened and that I had been permitted to embraced the gospel and partake of its blessings.

I remained at home during the coming winter, but the spirit of gathering seem to come upon the Saints about that time and I felt I could not be left behind and so determined to go with them to Missouri. This was a severe blow to my father, who had sympathize with me from the beginning, and when he found that I was determined to go he requested me to leave home immediately, that he might become reconciled to the separation before I left entirely; his real motive was a hope that I might become so homesick that I would give up the idea of going with the Saints and return home to stay.