Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Why Correlation Can Be a Good Thing, 1849

Why Correlation Can Be a Good Thing, 1849

By: Ardis E. Parshall - October 03, 2008

This one could have been classed among the “Ads You’re Not Going to See Again Any Time Soon” posts – at least I hope we won’t see anything like it again. It felt almost blasphemous to type this parody of the 19th century’s patent medicine ads, complete with testimonials and warnings against imitations.

This “advertisement,” appearing in the 1 October 1849 issue of the Millennial Star, was written by William Cameron Dunbar (1823-1905), a Scot who served as a missionary in Britain before his 1852 emigration. He was aboard the Saluda when it exploded, killing his wife and two children, and 25 other Saints. In Utah he became a popular actor, singer, newspaper editor, printer, and a chaplain in the Nauvoo Legion. He was especially known for his comic songs and comedic skits – talents obviously related to this early advertisement.

And while evolving Mormon theology is not my forte, don’t I see an instance of pre-James E. Talmage theology in this ad?



Take one table-spoonful of consecrated olive oil; mix with it half a grain of pure faith. This taken or administered in the name of Jesus Christ, will prove one of the most pleasant, safe, and effectual remedies.

The above medicine was established as the best and surest remedy for removing leprosy and restoring the blind their sight, the deaf their hearing, the dumb their speech, and for casting out devils, &c., by Jesus of Nazareth and his apostles; and we unhesitatingly bear our testimony, that during 1800 years, it has retained all its restoring and healing power. In proof of which we select the following few testimonies out of thousands: –

St. Heliers, July 23rd., 1849. – Sister Elizabeth Wyatt was seized with cholera, violent purging, vomiting, cramp, &c., in great agony. Elders Treseder and De la Mere were in attendance, applied the above mixture, and she was immediately restored, and attended chapel the same evening.



St. Heliers, August 5. – Sent for to visit Brother Feron’s child. Found her raving in a strong fever. Administered to her. The fever left, and her senses returned five minutes after. Next morning she was running about the doors.



St. Heliers, Tuesday Morning, August 14. – Sent for to go and see Brother George Allan. Found him laying on the floor, where he had been rolling about all the morning with cholera and the usual effects. I administered a dose of the above mixture, and he sat down and took a hearty breakfast along with me; went to his work as smith, the same day.



Goray, Aug. 28. – Brother Parchot De la Mothe, fisherman, (three days baptized) was put ashore very ill. We administered the never failing dose. He was instantly restored, went a quarter of a mile on the road rejoicing and bearing testimony to the truth.



St. Heliers, Wednesday Morning, August 29. – Brother William Wakly came for me to go and see his wife (not in the church,) she had been seized with the cholera the night before. When I saw her, she was in a deplorable condition. Purging, vomiting, cramp, body quite black, could feel no pulse, and eyes as if set for death. I administered as usual, and the cramp became less violent immediately, and the other symptoms gradually decreased. I considered it wise to send for a doctor; he came, examined her, and said my good man your poor wife will die, you have been too late of applying. He went away, ordering some medicine; I told Brother Wakly to continue rubbing her with oil. Called next morning, found her natural colour and heat returned, pulse well. She bore testimony that she was healed by the power of Jehovah. She continues to recover.



NOTICE. – A dose taken occasionally, according to circumstances, will greatly strengthen the appetite, increase muscular energy, and give a cheerful tone to the whole system.

CAUTION. – Beware of Satan and Co.’s spurious imitations. None are genuine but those marked with the following inscription, (Having Received Authority.) To be had gratis, by applying to an Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in all the principal towns of England, Scotland, Wales, United States, also Society Islands, and Great Salt Lake Valley; we expect shortly to have agents in every part of the world. Agent for Jersey and Channel Islands,




  1. Wow. I wonder how that would go over where I lived in Alabama – or Boston, for that matter.

    Comment by Ray — October 3, 2008 @ 8:27 am

  2. Wonderful! I’m so going to poach this.

    Comment by J. Stapley — October 3, 2008 @ 9:17 am

  3. …and yeah, Jehovah as God the Father was fairly common throughout the Nauvoo era and, into Utah.

    Comment by J. Stapley — October 3, 2008 @ 9:19 am

  4. Thanks Ardis — this was great.

    Comment by kris — October 3, 2008 @ 11:19 am

  5. Correlation is underrated… 😉

    Comment by Velska — October 3, 2008 @ 12:24 pm

  6. Oh, sorry, I was going to add that I was in St. Heliers as a missionary, too. I don’t know how common that name is in Great Britain, though…

    Comment by Velska — October 3, 2008 @ 12:25 pm

  7. Ardis,

    I’ve had this same thought about some of the other ads you’ve showed us. Nothing begs for getting smacked by the iron fist of correlation like exploitative advetisements for sacrament trays or life insurance.

    Two cheers for correlation!

    Comment by Mark Brown — October 3, 2008 @ 2:15 pm

  8. Two cheers. Heh.

    I actually think this ad is kind of cute. The same way it’s cute when your three-year-old tells the aunt you’re staying with that she’s fat.

    Comment by The Right Trousers — October 4, 2008 @ 2:12 am

  9. […] For other interesting consecrated oil reading see here and here. […]

    Pingback by By Common Consent » Oil Poll — October 6, 2008 @ 10:33 am

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