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Picturing history: Thomas Giles, blind harpist of Zion

Published: Wednesday, April 3 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

In the October 2004 general conference, President James E. Faust told of a faithful Latter-day Saint from Wales named Thomas Giles, who joined the church in 1844. He was a miner, and while he was digging coal in the mine, a large piece of coal hit him on the head and inflicted a wound nine inches long — he lived but was blind the rest of his life. Within a month of his injury, "he was out traveling through the country attending to his ecclesiastical duties." Thomas Giles came to America and crossed the country by handcart while totally blind. "While crossing the plains his wife and two of his children died. President Brigham Young loaned Thomas a harp until his own arrived from Wales … Brother Giles traveled from settlement to settlement in Utah, … gladdening the hearts of the people with his sweet music." The view above shows the town of Blaenavon, Wales, where Giles was born. In the foreground is a coal mine known as the Big Pit. The center portion (white) in the view of the row of homes was Giles' home when he lived in Tredegar, Wales.

Kenneth Mays,

In the October 2004 general conference, President James E. Faust told of a faithful Latter-day Saint from Wales named Thomas Giles, who joined the church in 1844. He was a miner, and while he was digging coal in the mine, a large piece of coal hit him on the head and inflicted a wound nine inches long — he lived but was blind the rest of his life. Within a month of his injury, "he was out traveling through the country attending to his ecclesiastical duties." Thomas Giles came to America and crossed the country by handcart while totally blind. "While crossing the plains his wife and two of his children died. President Brigham Young loaned Thomas a harp until his own arrived from Wales … Brother Giles traveled from settlement to settlement in Utah, … gladdening the hearts of the people with his sweet music." The view above shows the town of Blaenavon, Wales, where Giles was born. In the foreground is a coal mine known as the Big Pit. The center portion (white) in the view of the row of homes was Giles' home when he lived in Tredegar, Wales.

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