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The Easy Questions: The Tragedy of Donny Morton

Reader's Digest printed the tragic story of a father's love for his child as he travelled to one William Branham's healing campaigns. In 1952, an article entitled "The Miracle of Donny Morton" was published, detailing the account of Arthur Morton and his four-year-old son Donny. Donny Morton was dying of meningitis when he entered the prayer lines of the Branham camp.

"Your son is suffering from a serious brain malady... But do not give up hope. With faith in God's power, and help from the medical world, your little son will live," Branham said.
- Reader's Digest, November 1952

In a 1953 sermon, Branham claimed that he saw a vision of the child living through the disease. Though father was told that the boy would be healed, Reader's Digest describes how the boy breathed his last breath during complications from meningitis and pneumonia. He died of Meningitis Serosa Traumatica, the same disease that caused his father to seek out the faith healer. Though Branham announced the child would live, sadly, he never recovered. The publicity of Reader's Digest was more powerful than William Branham could overlook. The story of Donny Morton would be retold over and over in Branham's ministry; however, the end result was often left out of the story.

After the "healing," Arthur Morton still faced a discouraging series of operations before the child was truly "healed." Some of those operations were encouraging, which excited readers anxious to hear the "miracle" outcome. But sadly, after four operations, Donny Morton died. The last three weeks of his life were spent under an oxygen tent in a hospital.

The Los Angeles Times Sun, Jun 10, 1951

Read the full story here.

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Branham's account of Donny Morton's healing:

Now, in the "Reader's Digest," it wrote up there. I was standing out there. We had twenty-seven hundred people waiting to get prayed for, standing out there. You read the article. And a man come down from Canada, and he had a little boy that had been to Mayo's and John Hopkins, a serious brain disease that drawed its little hands in like this, and drawed its legs up under it, and they said, "There's not even an operation or nothing can be done." So he took it back to Canada. He said, "I'm not whipped yet." You get November's issue of the "Reader's Digest," and it's called the — the — "The Miracle Of Donny Morton." And — and then said that the — in there, that the — that the man said, "I'm not whipped yet, because I know a faith healer named William Branham that caused two of my friends who was deaf and dumb to speak and hear." And they called to try to find where I was at in — in America yet. And I was over in Costa Mesa, California. And if... The article when you read it, get ready to cry. It'll just break your heart, how he went through snowdrifts and everything else with that baby. He said, "Be careful, Donny." Said, "Now, we're not defeated." And the little boy couldn't even smile, hardly; he was so afflicted. Said, "We're not defeated; we're going to ask God. We'll go to God's prophet and ask him." So then they come through the snow. And they finally got down there, and the mother was coming with them, and they didn't have money enough to go by airplane, so they sent the mother back, and the boy and daddy had to come on a bus, and how they rode all the way from Winnipeg, Canada, to Costa Mesa, California. And they got in there, broke, and the father tells about had to change the little diapers on it, little boy about seven or eight years old, just perfectly helpless. And how he was, couldn't get a chance to eat nor nothing, and said his little boy could just hear him talk and he could tell the way his eyes looked that he was — he was trying to smile, you know, and know that he'd — he'd tell him different sights he would seeing over in America. And when they got in there to California, they said to the traveler's aid, what he come to see. He said, "Come to see a Divine what?" And a big question mark.'Course, you could imagine what America said about it. You see? See, that's us. See? "We so smart. We know everything, you know, and there's no need of telling us anything. We got it all wrote down." See?So then, so, "A Divine what? Come all the way from Winnipeg, Canada?" Why, they thought that was horrible.

News Review, Saturday November 3, 1951
Anyhow, the newspaper catched a — a car and sent him over there. And he said, when they got to the line, where it was at, said twenty-seven hundred people was waiting to be prayed for. But said, when they seen that deformed, little looking boy, and that poor daddy with his cap on, his ragged coat, said everybody just stepped aside and give him his place. When he hit the platform... It's against the rules to swap a ca — prayer card. Somebody must come to the meeting and get your own card. If they ever caught in the line, swapping prayer cards on somebody else, the prayer card's dishonored. See? Because you must come, hear the instructions and know how to receive it. It's up to you. You can't get it for someone else. You have to come, get it yourself, so you hear. Some big person said, "If, well, I don't believe much in this thing, but maybe if he'll heal me, I..." See? And then that causes a fuss at the platform, so they just cull that thing out before it gets there. So when the boy started, or the father started on the platform ahead of the people, Billy asked him for his prayer card. He didn't have any. Said, "Then I'm sorry, sir." Said, "You'll have to wait." He said, "All right." Said, "I'll wait." Said, "I'll just take my turn like the others, then." Said, "I didn't know I had to do this." And so I was talking to someone; I happened to hear it. I seen that father go away, and I said, "What was the matter?" He said, "He didn't have a prayer card." And Something said to me, "Bring him back." So I said, "Bring him here." And the father come up, and the tears running down his face, needing shaving and... And he — he walked up, and here's the "Reader's Digest" said the... I asked no questions, but looked right straight in the face of the baby, told the baby where it was from; it had been to Mayo's Clinic; and all about what was the matter with it, how sick it had been, and everything. And said the father started crying, and started to leave. And said he started off the platform, and he turned around, he said, "That's right, sir." He said, "But will my baby ever live?" I said, "That I can't say." I said, "Just a moment." I seen a vision appear. I said, "You won't want to believe this, because Mayo's and Hopkins both said that operation couldn't be performed on that brain, but I tell you what you do. You, tomorrow, you just go ahead with this baby. Within the next three days you're going to meet a black-headed woman on the street, and that woman's going to ask you what's the matter with that baby. And then she's going to tell you of some little country doctor out here that can perform that operation, and you won't want to believe it, because that Mayo's turned it down and said it was impossible to be done. But that's the only chance your baby has, through the power of God, the mercy of God and that operation. Now, if you believe me to be His prophet, go do as I tell you." Like putting the figs on Hezekiah, and so forth. He said, he turned around and said, "Thank you," walked off.

Two days or more had passed, and he was down on the street one day, and a lady walked up, said, "What's the matter with your baby?" Said, "It's got a — a brain disease." And he was going on talking like that. And, well, they — they thought it was awful bad, you know. So he said just in a few minutes something taken place. She said, "Sir, I know of someone who can do that operation." He said, "Lady, look, Mayo Brothers give it up and said it can't be done." Said, "A man up here was praying for it, named Brother Branham." Said, "He's made a prayer for the baby." He said, "Wait a minute. Black-headed, wearing a gray coat." And said, "That's her." Said, "Where is that doctor?" And he told him. Took him up there and the doctor performed the operation; the baby got well. Now, that come through the "Reader's Digest." You see? And Mayo Brothers called me in on an interview for that. Said, "Reverend Branham, what did you do to the baby?" I said, "Nothing, I never touched it. I only told what God told me to tell it. The man obeyed it."
53-0609 Demonology

And so the little Donny Morton, he'd set up some kind of a rare brain disease. And the — the people of the — had taken him to be examined, and everywhere, and they'd give him up. They brought the boy to — to my service. Now first, the doctor said the little boy must die. Mayos, Johns Hopkins... They had him in the United States. Everything give him up; there's no operation. Said it'd be impossible: if you operated on the boy's head for that, it would kill him instantly: Mayo Brothers. Now, of course the "Reader's Digest" didn't say Mayo Brothers, because Mayo's would get after them for that. You have to watch what you're putting in public literature. And so there's... But you can read between the lines and see what it meant, see what it said.

Oregon Statesman, Sat Nov 3, 1951
Here not long ago, you seen the article in the paper of that little Donny Mortonbeing healed out there in California. The "Reader's Digest" packed it, went in every language under heaven, everywhere, about the miracle. Mayo Brothers had turned him down. Johns Hopkins had turned him down. The little fellow come on the platform and twenty-seven hundred people standing in the prayer line. Assembly of God, place we was having the meeting, out in Costa Mesa, California. And when the little fellow come on the prayer line, the book — the "Reader's Digest" wrote it up right. Said, "The evangelist asked no questions. Looked into the child's face and said..." Well, many of you read it. And you know the article. And it said, "Why, he looked into... The evangelist's looked into it's face. And never asked no questions. But said, 'You come from Canada. You brought the child. It's been to Mayo's; it's been to Johns Hopkins. It's got a rare blood disease, a brain disease. There's no cure for it.' And the father started crying. Said, 'You come by... started to come part of the way by a sled. And then you went down to the place and when you did... to get on a — to get on a plane, you and your wife, you found out you didn't have even enough money for both of you to come on a bus. And now, Traveler's Aid's a helping you.'" And the man like to have fainted. And the Holy Spirit spoke THUS SAITH THE LORD. And the baby got well. And the same time they did that... was given to...

Notice, someone then, about a year later, you read the Reader's Digest, of my meeting in California, down there at the campgrounds, when they brought that little Donny Morton. Many of you has read it, no doubt. From Donny Morton, the miracle, when they brought him down out of Canada and give a wonderful write up, how he come to the platform., little fellow, twisted all out of condition. And how, said, the evangelist never asked one question but looked straight at the child, and told him where he come from, how he'd been to Mayo Brother's, and turned down and everything. And just exactly how the outcome of the child would be. And it was just exactly word by word.

You read the "Reader's Digest" about a year or something ago, in October a year ago or something like that on the healing of little Donny Morton, that Mayo Brothers had give up. And they brought him to the platform in California, and there the vision showed the little boy was healed (see?), and they packed a big article of it, and I was at Mayo Brothers for an interview. All right. They say, "We do not claim to be healers. We only claim to assist nature. There's one Healer. That's God."
56-1208 ABRAHAM

Let me just show you a little something. Of all the fine medicines we got (to settle this)... Now, I was interviewed. Many of you read the "Reader's Digest" of the miracle of Donny Morton. And I was interviewed at Mayo Brothers Clinic on account of that, 'cause Mayo's had turned him down. And the vision told him who he was, where he come from, what was going to happen. And that's just the way it was, and the baby was healed. And they wrote it up in "Reader's Digest." And when I asked them there, I said, "Don't you believe that God heals?" They said... Took me in an old room there and showed a great, big place where Jimmy Mayo used to have, said, "We do not profess to be healers. We only profess to assist nature. There's one Healer; that is God." And that's our best.
57-0105 HEAR.YE.HIM

It wasn't two years ago, October's this year, the "Reader's Digest," when God made Mayo Clinic stand still and hear the testimony of little Donny Morton on that incurable disease, when he was brought to the platform and the Holy Spirit told him exactly what to do, and God healed the boy there. The scientific world, Johns Hopkins and Mayo's, when I went there, there lay the "Reader's Digest" on their platform, or on their table there, to be read. God made the medical world stand still and see Donny Mortonbe healed by the power of God.

San Bernardino County Sun, Sat Nov 3, 1951
I was speaking this morning with some Christian and ministers at a breakfast, this morning, early. How many of you ever read the article in the "Reader's Digest" of the healing of Donny Morton, the miracle of Donny Morton? About three years ago, the "Reader's Digest" packed it all over the world, my meeting out in California. Strange that Mrs. Pepper's article followed just before that. But did you notice the pro and con, how that God makes Himself known? Now, don't be suspicious. Drop away all your — your thoughts and remember, it's the Bible. If I preach something that's not in the Bible then I'm wrong. If the smirit — Spirit misbehaves Itself some way that's not in the Bible, I'd be careful about it. But if it's in the Bible, It's the same Spirit was on them there. For He's the same.

Look at this Mrs. Piper, before my article went of "The Miracle of Donny Morton." How many read that article? Yes, many of you did, sure. And it's in "Reader's Digest." Did you notice, just before that went forth Mrs. Piper, the greatest spiritualist the world has ever knowed: twelve pages given to her story. And for fifty years... They've had her all over the world, and scientific proof and everything, that she absolutely talks with the dead, and the people come up. What? God's Name wasn't mentioned one time, no repentance, no Divine healing, nothing about it. See? Only thing it was, was those people mentioned, "John, don't you know me? I'm George that was at a certain place, and I did so-and-so and so-and-so. You remember that place we went and done this?" See, that's all they know. They're gone, passed from... They're — they're nothing left but judgment. 57-1002 QUESTIONS.AND.ANSWERS.ON.HEBREWS.2 And when the father, trembling, brought the little fellow, and his head sideways, his big eyes cast back in his head, shaking his hands, twisted down, his little legs drawed up behind him, I said, "Sir, if I could heal your baby, I'd do it. But you're a Canadian, and you've come a long ways, and you're... This little baby's name is Donny Morton." The father begin to shake, and he said, "That's true." I said, "Do you believe?" And he started screaming; he said, "With all my heart." He went right straight from that meeting that night and bought Donny his first pair of shoes, and he wore them the next day. Why? His eye is on the sparrow. He knows every move. He hasn't left. He isn't dead. He's a raised again, and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His great, omnipotent power can never fail. He is still the Son of the living God. Oh, He's so great.

When I — I was interviewed at Mayo's Clinic. They said to me, "We do not..." The old Jimmy Mayo in the old Mayo brothers had a thing back there in the office, where you used to have there. They took me back and showed me, when this Donny Morton... How many read the Reader's Digest? When Mayo's had turned him down, and everything, and come out there to California, and down out of Canada... The Lord healed him, made him well. And Mayos had turned him down, and so had Johns Hopkins. The boy was made normal. And they... I was interviewed on that. And they said, "We do not claim to be healers. We only claim to assist God — nature. God is the only Healer." That's right.
60-0803 ABRAHAM

There was thousands of people there; that's when the "Reader's Digest" wrote up that about the healing of Donny Morton, you know, "The Miracle of Donny Morton."

Tell me where there ever was one doctor that could heal a disease, or tell me where they got a medicine that'll heal a disease. I was interviewed at Mayo's; you seen it in the "Reader's Digest," and so forth, Donny Morton, was healed up here. They called me, and they say, "We don't claim to be healers, Mr. Branham, we only claim to assist nature. There's one Healer; that's God." Sure.

I was interviewed at Mayo Brothers sometime ago, upon the Reader's Digest writing that article of, "The Miracle of Donny Morton." And on the interview they said, "We do not profess to be healers, Mr. Branham. We only profess to assist nature. There's one Healer; that is God."

You know, I have many fine medical doctor friends. I was interviewed at Mayo's, you know. You got the magazine, the... I believe it's called the... oh, "Reader's Digest," about five years ago, "The Miracle of Donny Morton" over there at California. And I met that staff of doctors there, the nicest fellows you'd want to meet.
62-0128A A.PARADOX

When this little Canadian, Donny Morton... You read the story in "Reader's Digest," when they brought him all the way down there so spastic and drawed that Johns Hopkins, Mayo Brothers, and all, turned him down. And he came down to Costa Mesa, and was in the meeting. And the Holy Spirit spoke. "Reader's Digest" wrote up, said the — said, "The evangelist didn't ask the boy. He told the boy who he was, told him what he had done, and where he come from, and what about it." And he was healed. See? And then I was called in at Mayo Brothers for an interview for that, and they said... I said, "Well, I..." They never put Mayo Brothers' name on there, but they — there they had the "Reader's Digest," and it was — the father had said it. But of course the writer wouldn't say that about a hospital, and what it said. Many great... If you read the article, said many great clinics through the United States and Canada had turned him down. And a spastic, drawed up, name was Donny Morton. October's "Reader's Digest," about four years ago. And then, he said this little ba... this little boy about eight years old... Oh, it's a pathetic story, how this little Canadian brother come down on a sled. He said he knowed some deaf and dumb girls that was brought to my meeting before that, and the Lord healed one. And one of them is a singer in church, and the other one is a telephone operator: So was both deaf and dumb. So he said, "We're not whipped, Donny. Let's go and tell..." And the mother and them thought they could maybe take fifty dollars, and all of them come to the United States, and take Donny to the meeting, and everything else. It wouldn't even pay one of their ways on a airplane. They had to come by a bus, couldn't even come by train. And when they got there, they had to take Travelers Aid to get out there to where the meeting was. And the Holy Spirit told him who he was, where he come from, and so forth — little drawed-over father, holding his baby. And so... Then it told him exactly what would happen. The Lord healed the child to the glory of God. And when being interviewed on that, they said at Mayo Brothers, "Reverend Branham, we don't profess to be healers. We only profess to assist nature. There's one Healer. That's God." That's the best, isn't it. See?

Drawed and afflicted, from birth; just straighten right out, and walk away, normal and well. See? That's statements, doctors and Mayo Brothers. And you seen it in Reader's Digest, not long ago, Donny Morton, The Miracle of Donny Morton. That little child right there in California, at the Assemblies of God, down there at that school, Southwestern Bible School, that child was so twisted and afflicted till even Johns Hopkins and Mayo Brothers said, "There's not an earthly chance for him." But the Lord is THUS SAITH THE LORD. That was different, see. Don't go, without hope.

Because, Mayo Brothers, on an interview recently... When this little Donny Morton was healed in Canada, that Mayo's had turned down, which happened on the West Coast. You seen it in Reader's Digest. They had me up there on an interview, and they said, "We do not profess to be healers, Brother Branham, we only profess to assist nature."

How many read Reader's Digest, of that little Donny Morton, that they signed to it, "was healed"? And, "The miracle of Donny Morton," Reader's Digest. So, that, that had me in on interview on that. That little boy been given up by Mayo's, Hopkins, and all of them. And the Lord Jesus healed him, made him well.

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