The following story was first posted by Susan Evans McCloud from the Deseret News.
It was the great unknown, this vast wilderness the Saints need to pass through in order to reach their new home. And what then? What would they find? And what could they make of this place the Lord would give them?
“Brigham Young knew that he would probably lead the people into the deserts of the Great West, and into the Rocky Mountains, and as a wise and cautious leader, he did not propose to go until he was instructed by the Lord; nor would he go without full and adequate preparation,” wrote the leader’s daughter, Susa Young Gates, as recorded in “The Life Story of Brigham Young” by Gates and Leah D. Widtsoe. “Many counsels were held in the temple rooms.”
The last dictated entry in Brother Brigham’s Nauvoo, Illinois, office record might well be the clarion call — the mission statement of this “peculiar people” — of the trials they had overcome and the epoch experiences which lay ahead: “Our homes, gardens, orchards, farms, streets, bridges, mills, public halls, magnificent temple and other public improvements, we leave as a monument of our patriotism, industry, economy, uprightness of purpose and integrity of heart, and as a living testimony of the falsehood and wickedness of those who charge us with idleness, dishonesty, disloyalty to the Constitution of our country” (see “The Life Story of Brigham Young).”
Following a long winter and spring in Winter Quarters— where 700 homes had been built and the camp of 12,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints divided into 22 wards — the first company was readied to make the journey. Some of the most seasoned and reliable brethren were selected, and at first the 148 in number were to be men only.
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