Presentation on theme: "The Exodus West D&C 136. In February 1846 (about 18 months following the death of Joseph and Hyrum), the Saints began leaving Nauvoo and traveled west."— Presentation transcript:
The Exodus West D&C 136
In February 1846 (about 18 months following the death of Joseph and Hyrum), the Saints began leaving Nauvoo and traveled west across Iowa to Nebraska. Brigham Young received Doctrine and Covenants 136 at Winter Quarters, Nebraska.
“William Clayton was called to be in one of the first groups to leave Nauvoo and left his wife, Diantha, only a month away from delivering her first child. Slogging through muddy roads and camping in cold tents wore his nerves thin as he worried about Diantha’s well- being. Two months later, he still did not know if she had delivered her baby safely but finally received the joyful word that a ‘fine fat boy’ had been born. Almost as soon as he heard the news, William sat down and wrote a song…. ‘Come, Come, Ye Saints’” (Our Heritage: A Brief History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , 71).Jesus Christ
Because of excessive rain and insufficient supplies, the Saints who left Nauvoo in February 1846 spent four months making the 300-mile journey across Iowa (it took the pioneers 111 to make the 1000 mile journey to SLC the next year). The group lost the services of more than 500 able-bodied Latter-day Saint men (The Mormon Battalion). This sacrifice helped in many ways, but it also left many families without husbands and fathers for part of the journey. Considering this slow pace, Church leaders decided not to continue west to the Rocky Mountains until the following year. Many of the Saints lived in log houses and in dugouts in Winter Quarters. Many people were inadequately sheltered from the cold weather. Diseases such as malaria, pneumonia, tuberculosis, cholera, and scurvy resulted in widespread suffering and death. More than seven hundred people died in the camps by the end of the first winter. (See Our Heritage, 71–72; Church History in the Fulness of Times Student Manual, 319–20.)
The Trek D&C 136: 1-4
(1) Main Body of Saints left Nauvoo on 4 February 1846. (2) Mississippi Company, left Marion County, Alabama, in March 1846 and Monroe County, Mississippi, in April. (3) Mormon Battalion, left Winter quarters in July 1846. (4) Mormon Battalion Sick Detachments, spent winter of 1846– 47 in Pueblo. (5) Saints on the Ship Brooklyn, left New York on 4 February 1846 and arrived at Yerba Buena on 31 July 1846.
Read D&C 136:8-10
“If we are faithful the day will come when those deserving pioneers and ancestors, whom we rightly praise for having overcome the adversities in their wilderness trek, will praise today’s faithful for having made their way successfully through a desert of despair and for having passed through a cultural wilderness, while still keeping the faith” (Neal A. Maxwell, If Thou Endure It Well, 28).
Who’s in Charge?
The Mantel Benjamin Johnson, a young man of twenty-six, said that he was seated between the stand and the wagon and that, as he turned from the wagon to face the stand, he saw Brigham stand up. ‘As soon as he spoke I jumped upon my feet, for in every possible degree it was Joseph's voice, and his person, in look, attitude, dress and appearance; [it] was Joseph himself, personified; and I knew in a moment the spirit and mantle of Joseph was upon him.' Mosiah Hancock, who was only fourteen, wrote, `Although only a boy, I saw the mantle of the Prophet Joseph rest on Brigham Young; and he arose lion-like to the occasion, and led the people forth.'
The Mantel George Q. Cannon, a boy of fifteen, declared that `it was the voice of Joseph himself; and not only was it the voice of Joseph which was heard, but it seemed in the eyes of the people as though it was the very person of Joseph which stood before them. Wilford Woodruff later stated, `If I had not seen him with my own eyes, there is no one that could have convinced me that it was not Joseph Smith.'
What happened to Emma Smith?
Emma Smith Emma, having lost six of eleven children and having spent her first twelve years of marriage living in nine different states, wanted William Marks, a Stake President, to assume the church presidency but Brigham Young, president of the Quorum, then became president of the church. Brigham Young made the decision to relocate in the West. When he and the majority of the Latter Day Saints of Nauvoo left in 1846, Emma and her children remained behind in the mostly empty town. Nearly two years later, a close friend and non-Mormon, Major Lewis C. Bidamon, proposed marriage and became Emma's second husband on December 23, 1847. Many Latter Day Saints believed Joseph Smith III would one day be called to take his father's place. He reported receiving a calling from God to take his father's place and Emma supported his decision. On April 6, 1860, Joseph was sustained as president of the Church, adding the word Reorganized to the name in 1872 (presently known as the Community of Christ). Emma became a member of this organization.
Lucy Mack Smith wrote: “I have never seen a woman in my life, who would endure every species of fatigue and hardship, from month to month, and from year to year, with that unflinching courage, zeal, and patience, which she has ever done; for I know which she has had to endure…She has breasted the storms of persecution, and buffeted the rage of men and devils, which would have borne almost any other woman” (History of Joseph Smith,190-91).
Her health failed rapidly in April 1879. Emma’s family rallied to her side the evening of 29 April 1879. Her son Alexander recalled hearing his mother call, “Joseph, Joseph, Joseph.” Joseph Smith III reported seeing his mother extend her left arm and hearing her say, “Joseph! Yes, yes, I’m coming.” (Jenson, Andrew, Latter-day Saint Biological Encyclopedia, 4 vols. 1901-36, Reprint, Salt Lake City: Western Epics, 1971). She died at 4:20 a.m. on 30 April 1879. She was buried next to her husband, the Prophet Joseph Smith.
“The Prophet Joseph Smith remarked in the meeting that afternoon how he rejoiced in the love of his faithful wife Emma, who had given her hand, her heart and her soul to him and he made this remark, that whatever happened to Emma, he would go, if he had to go to hell, to find her and bring her home, that she might share with him the blessings of his exaltation as she had shared with him his sufferings.” (Collected Discourses, Vol. 5, Franklin D. Richards, October 5, 1896).
Splinter Groups There have been over 240 “Splinter Groups” from our Church. Sidney Rigdon: He held secret meetings with disgruntled members of the Church, to be its “guardian,” for to that position he had been called of God. He said he held keys of authority higher than any conferred upon the Prophet Joseph. He returned to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he organized a church similar to the one organized by the Prophet Joseph Smith. This organization soon disbanded.
William Smith: In 1850 he started a movement in which he set himself up as “President Pro Tem” of the Church, with two counselors. He claimed that the presidency of the Church should go from father to son, and since Joseph Smith III (the Prophet’s oldest son) was too young at the time to take over the leadership of the Church, he, William Smith, should be a sort of guardian in the meantime. This movement survived less than one year.
Grandville Hedrick: Almost twenty years after the martyrdom, in about 1863, Hedrick organized what he called the Church of Christ. He claimed that Joseph Smith was a fallen prophet. He then told his followers to gather to Jackson County, Missouri, to prepare for “judgments” which would destroy the nation in 1878 (these judgments never came).
James Strang: James J. Strang refused to follow the prophet Brigham Young. Instead, he claimed to have a letter from Joseph Smith appointing him to lead the Church after Joseph’ death. Many of the members of the Church who refused to follow Brigham Young believed Strang’s claim. The group established themselves on Beaver Island in upper Lake Michigan, where Strang eventually had himself crowned King of Beaver Island. He was killed in 1856 during an uprising, and most of his followers disbanded.
The Community of Christ: (formerly the Re-organized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). With headquarters in Independence, Missouri, this church organized 6 April 1860 when Joseph Smith III finally consented to be sustained as president. Today they have about 220,000 members and a declining membership.
Rules for the Wilderness D&C 136: 19-30
Fact of Fiction?
Is this an accurate portrayal?
How many pioneers traveled to Salt Lake City? 70,000
What percent crossed in covered wagons? 95%
What percent used a handcart? 5%
What percent died? 4-6%
What percent died in the Martin and Willie Handcart Companies? 21%
Stories… Do you have any pioneer stories in your family?
Zebluon Jacobs recounts in an 1868 journal an incident when men were helping ladies across a stream. "One man was carrying a sister and his foot got caught on a rock in the stream. He fell over. The lady went flying and they got up soaking wet. When they all got across the stream, they just sat there and laughed. It was a fun experience for them"
15 year old McDonald William (in his own colorful language and spelling) recorded, “I was born in Crafords, Burn County, Down, Ireland, in the year 1834, November 16th. Us boys Engoyed the Wild Countrey and the Wild game Whitch Were in abondance on the Pleans. the Buffilo Were So thick and Went in Sutch Large Hirds We had to Stop the Trein and Corell the Wagons untill Sum of the Large Hirds Pased. in traviling We Were Strung out on the trail Haf a Mile long.”
One of Mary Fielding Smith's best oxen lay down in the yoke as if poisoned and all supposed he would die. The ox stiffened in the throes of death. The Captain blustered about and exclaimed: "'He is dead, there is no use working with him, we'll have to fix up some way to take the Widow along. I told her she would be a burden on the company.'" Mary said nothing but went to her wagon and returned with a bottle of consecrated oil. She asked her brother Joseph and James Lawson to administer to her fallen ox, believing that the Lord would raise him. A hush fell over the scene. The men removed their hats. All bowed their heads as Joseph Fielding knelt, laid his hands on the head of the prostrate ox, and prayed over it. A moment after the administration the animal stirred. Its huge, hind legs commenced to gather under it. Its haunches started to rise. The forelegs strengthened. The ox stood and, without urging, started off as if nothing had happened. This amazing thing greatly astonished the onlookers. They hadn't gone very far when another ox "Old Bully," lay down under exactly the same circumstances. Again, the holy ordinance was administered, with the same results. (Don Cecil Corbett, Mary Fielding Smith, Daughter of Britain: Portrait of Courage, p.237)
B.H. Roberts was nine years old when he came to Salt Lake with only his sixteen- year-old sister, Polly, in 1866. For him the trail was high adventure. He later wrote, "On one occasion a night drive was necessary. The day had been hot and the hours of the journey long, and I was tired, nearly unto exhaustion. Scared that they wouldn’t let me ride along, I climbed onto a barrel and got the idea of dropping down in the barrel, safe from the eyes of those who might oust me. To my surprise I discovered when I let myself down in the barrel that my feet were into about three or four inches of a sticky liquid substance which turned out to be molasses. Too tired to attempt to climb out, I remained and gradually slipped down and went to sleep in the barrel. It was daylight when I woke up and there began to be the usual camp noises. As I crawled out of the uncomfortable position, and with molasses dripping, I was greeted with yells and laughter by some of the teamsters and emigrants who caught sight of me. I ran away as fast as I could to scrape off the syrup, but there was no change of clothing for me, and covered in molasses I had to wait until dusk for it to try and fall off."
Mormon Pioneer Historic Resource Study (US National Park Service): “It was actually a great adventure. Over the decades, Mormons have emphasized the tragedies of the trail, and tragedies there were, but to the vast majority, the experience was positive — a difficult and rewarding struggle. A third of the companies did not have any deaths at all; only 18 of the more than 250 companies experienced more than 20 deaths en route; only 7 percent of the total companies accounted for 43 percent of the total deaths; at least seven people were bitten by rattlesnakes, none of whom died.”
Many youth groups re- enact a pioneer trek and they often include a "women's pull," in which the boys are not allowed to help the girls pull the handcarts. The women's pull is based on pioneer women being left alone after 500 men joined the Mormon Battalion. A women's pull is historically inaccurate because the Mormon Battalion preceded handcart pioneers by 10 years.
The Latter-day Saint pioneer death numbers were lower than the overall trail death rates for persons using the Oregon and California Trails. Yet LDS pioneer groups included many women, children, elderly, and disabled. One writer commented that the LDS handcart companies looked more like farmers on a picnic than like pioneers about to cross the Great Plains.
From 1847 to 1868, Mormon pioneer babies traveling across the Plains were safer — yes, more likely to live — than infants in the general U.S. population. The infant mortality rate on the plains was 9 percent, while the general infant mortality rate in 1850 was above 15 percent.
About 46 percent of the pioneers were younger than 20, and they traveled with a mortality rate of just 1.75 percent. What killed the pioneers? The No. 1 killer was cholera (40 percent). Diarrhea and the general category of "sickness" come next, followed by those run over by wagons (19 deaths) and stampedes (16 deaths). More died from accidental shootings — six — than by Indians — four. Three died of lightning strikes and two were eaten by wolves. Only four women are listed as dying in childbirth, and only three infants died at birth.
Some Mormons describe a barren, harsh and a desert, save a lone cedar tree. In reality, the valley was well-watered, with tall grasses and trees along the many stream banks. Glen Leonard, director of the LDS Museum of Church History and Art, states, “The soil was good, but the water was scarce and the seasons were short. So, Brigham Young wisely scattered the people out into small communities so that they had the natural resources and then he just challenged them to make the desert blossom like a rose. And they did.”
“When we came … into full view of the valley, I turned the side of my carriage around, open to the west, and President Young arose from his bed and took a survey of the country. While gazing upon the scene before us, he was enwrapped in vision for several minutes. He had seen the valley before in vision, and upon this occasion he saw the future glory of Zion and of Israel. … When the vision had passed, he said, ‘It is enough. This is the right place. Drive on’” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff , 146).