Tuesday, March 31, 2020

"Come, Follow Me" in the Book of Mormon

December 30-January 5: Introduction to the Book of Mormon

January 6-12: 1 Nephi 1-7  

January 13-19: 1 Nephi 8-10 

January 20-26: 1 Nephi 11-15 

January 27-February 22: 1 Nephi 16-22 

February 3-9: 2 Nephi 1-5 

February 10-16: 2 Nephi 6-10 

February 17-23: 2 Nephi 11-25 

February 24-March 1: 2 Nephi 26-30 

March 2-8: 2 Nephi 31-33 

March 9-15: Jacob 1-4 

March 16-22: Jacob 5-7 

March 23-29: Enos-Words of Mormon

March 30-April 12: Easter

April 13-19: Mosiah 1-3 

April 20-26: Mosiah 4-6 

April 27-May 3: Mosiah 7-10 

May 4-10: Mosiah 11-17  

May 11-17: Mosiah 18-24 

May 18-24: Mosiah 25-28 

May 25-31: Mosiah 29-Alma 4 

June 1-7: Alma 5-7 

June 8-14: Alma 8-12 

June 15-21: Alma 13-16 

June 22-28: Alma 17-22 

June 29-July 5: Alma 23-29 

July 6-12: Alma 30-31 

July 13-19: Alma 32-35 

July 20-26: Alma 36-38 

July 27-August 2: Alma 39-42 

August 3-9: Alma 43-52  

August 10-16: Alma 53-63 

August 17-23: Helaman 1-6 

August 24-30: Helaman 7-12 

August 31-September 6: Helaman 13-16 

September 7-13: 3 Nephi 1-7 

September 14-20: 3 Nephi 8-11 

September 21-27: 3 Nephi 12-16 

September 28-October 11: 3 Nephi 17-19 

October 12-18: 3 Nephi 20-26 

October 19-25: 3 Nephi 27-4 Nephi 

October 26-November 1: Mormon 1-6 

November 2-8: Mormon 7-9 

November 9-15: Ether 1-5 

November 16-22: Ether 6-11 

November 23-29: Ether 12-15

November 30-December 6: Moroni 1-6 

December 7-13: Moroni 7-9 

December 14-20: Moroni 10

December 21-27: Christmas

Moroni 10


Gratitude (Remembering) Increases Faith.
Chapter 10 contains some scriptures that are very familiar to us. This is Moroni's great farewell, his parting words, his exhortations to us. Probably most class members could finish this sentence: “I would exhort you...” (Probably class members will respond with “that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true...”) This is the exhortation that we are most familiar with; however, there are eight exhortations in this chapter, and the first one is not to pray about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. There is something else that we must do first, or it will not do any good to pray about the Book of Mormon. (Ask the class to glance over the page to find the first instance.)

Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.” (Moroni 10:3)

Why must we remember and ponder first? Because we can have no faith that the Lord will answer our prayers unless an understanding of the character of the Lord is firmly established in our minds. We must know Him to have faith in Him. Moroni teaches us an important principle here about the importance of remembering and the power of thoughts. The more we notice and remember the mercy of the Lord in our thoughts, the greater our faith will become. Alma 32 teaches us that if we nourish the seed, or the word of God, it will grow. It is not that the word needs our nourishment to mature into a tree. It's that it cannot grow within us without our nourishing it and providing an ever-enlarging space for it in our garden. Thus, remembering and pondering—or we might call it gratitude—increases faith. (Write “Gratitude” on the left of the board and “Faith” in the center with an arrow going from Gratitude to Faith.)

Faith Brings Peace

Moroni's father Mormon had seen terrible atrocities in his day, just about the worst things that you can imagine: cannibalism, rape, murder, slaughter of children. And yet, Mormon's words teach us that it is possible to enter into “the rest of the Lord” on this earth, in this life! Read carefully:

Wherefore, I would speak unto you that are of the church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven.” (Moroni 7:3)

This correlates with the message the angels proclaimed at the birth of Christ: “Peace on earth, good will to men,” which is more aptly translated, “Peace to men of good will.” Amid terrible strife in the world, Mormon and Moroni knew peace because they knew the Lord. (Write “Peace” on the right side of the board with an arrow going from Faith to Peace.)

In chapter ten, Moroni gives us a lot of information about the Lord that he hopes we will use to build our faith. Each time he exhorts us to do something, he reveals a little more about the character of God. We discussed the first two already:
The Lord...
  1. (Verse 3) ...is merciful.
  2. (Verse 4) ...will reveal truth.
  3. (Verse 7) ...has power.
  4. (Verse 8) ...gives us his power through gifts of the Spirit.
  5. (Verse 18) ...gives us everything that is good.
  6. (Verse 19) ...is predictable.
  7. (Verse 27) ...will hold us accountable.
So the concluding exhortation is...

(Verse 30) Come unto Christ! (The theme of our youth curriculum!)

Ways to Increase Gratitude, and therefore Faith, and therefore Peace

When we remember experiences, write them, or tell them to others, the experiences increase in size in our consciousness and have an effect on us and our relationship with any other people involved in the experience. Often people will say, “When I was growing up, we always...” [Fill in the blank with “...gathered around the piano to sing carols”; “...went on a picnic up the canyon” ; or whatever cherished memory they choose.] In fact, they only did that thing a few times, but they have enlarged the memory of it by recalling it so often an so fondly. Unfortunately, sometimes people will use this principle to their disadvantage in nursing a grudge: “She always...” [Fill in the blank with whatever bad treatment she gave the person on occasion.] The offense grows greater with remembering.

Just like thinking, writing, and telling about incidents with other people influence our relationship with them, thinking, writing and telling about “what great things the Lord hath done for us” influences our relationship with Him. It is wise to write the Lord's mercies in our journals, recount them to others, and remember them frequently in quiet moments. This is why Elder Eyring has counseled us to record such things in our journals, and why we have testimony meetings every month.  (See "O Remember, Remember", from October 2007 General Conference.)

A study of the scriptures can also enlarge our memories and increase our gratitude to the Lord. The title page of the Book of Mormon declares that the book was written to “show...what great things the Lord hath done for [our] fathers.” The conclusion to the first chapter of the Book of Mormon testifies, “Behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord or over all those whom he hath chosen...” (1 Nephi 1:20)


Let's read Moroni's very last words (you may also want to read verses 32-33): “And now I bid unto all, farewell, I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead, Amen.” (Moroni 10:34) (Then you can show the first 4 minutes and 45 seconds of the video “How Rare a Possession,” ending where Moroni deposits the plates in the ground and the screen goes dark.)

Now we've buried the plates—in January we'll dig them back up! Get ready to study Church History and the Doctrine and Covenants.

Ether 12-15


If you have a chess game, it might be a good eye-catcher to display on the classroom table.

Although the Jaredite civilization overlapped the Nephite civilization timewise, they had a totally different society.  They did not come from Jerusalem.  They did  not even descend from Abraham.  They moved to America a couple of hundred years before Abraham was born.  They, of course, spoke an entirely different langauge, the Adamic language.  It is interesting to note that the names of the people in the book of Ether are quite different than the names in the rest of the Book of Mormon.  And the way their civilization was governed and the way they warred was different as well.

Many kings are mentioned as Moroni gives his rapid-fire history of the Jaredites.  Among them, there is an interesting phenomenon: kings serving in captivity.  Seven of the kings mentioned were overthrown and, rather than being killed in the coup, were captured and imprisoned.  Some of them managed to rise up and gain their kingdoms back; some of them spent the rest of their lives in captivity; one line of kings spent six generations living as captives (Hearthom in chapter 10).  This is similar to the Asiatic civilizations.

"Such is the practice...of keeping a king prisoner throughout his entire lifetime, allowing him to beget and raise a family in captivity, even though the sons thus brought up would be almost sure to seek vengeance for their parent and power for themselves upon coming of age....It seems to us a perfectly ridiculous system, yet it is in accordance with the immemorial Asiatic usage....Benjamin of Tudela tells how the khalif, the spiritual ruler of all western Asia, arranged for 'the brothers and other members of the khalif's family' to live lives of ease, luxury, and security: 'every one of them possesses a palace within that of the khalif, but they are all fettered by chains of iron, and a special officer is appointed over every household to prevent their rising in rebellion against the great king.'...It was the custom of Turkish kings, as was long doubted by scholars but has recently been proved, to allow their defeated rivals to sit upon their thrones by day, but lock them up in iron cages for the night!"  (Hugh Nibley, quoted in Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon, p. 495, originally printed in Lehi in the Desert, p. 201-203)

And  why did they do this?  Brother Nibley explains:

"Moving back to the earliest records of all, we find a large class of legends all over the ancient world telling how a victorious god in the beginning bound and imprisoned his rebellious relatives--not killing them, since they partook of his own divine nature..." 

The last of these captive kings mentioned was Coriantor, who was born into his father's captivity and spent his whole life a captive.  Into this environment was born his son, Ether.  (See Ether 11:23.)  We know Ether, not as a captive king, but as a mighty prophet of God.

"And Ether was a prophet of the Lord; wherefore Ether came forth in the days of Coriantumr, and began to prophesy unto the people, for he could not be restrained because of the Spirit of the Lord which was in him."  (Ether 12:2)

Ether had a vital message for his people:

"For he did cry from the morning, even until the going down of the sun, exhorting the people to believe in God unto repentance lest they should be destroyed, saying unto them that by faith all things are fulfilled--Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God." (Ether 12:3-4)

Moroni stopped his narrative of history right here and took this concept Ether so wanted his people to understand--by faith all things are fulfilled--and expounded upon it for us in his own words. 


"And now I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith."  (Ether 12:6; see also verse 12)

In this chapter, Moroni gives twelve examples of faith preceding miracles:
  1. Christ's resurrection [v. 7]
  2. The bestowal of the Holy Priesthood [v. 10]
  3. The Law of Moses [v. 11]
  4. Alma and Amulek [v. 13]
  5. Nephi and Lehi [v. 14]
  6. Ammon and his brethren [v. 15]
  7. Disciples who are unnamed [v. 16]
  8. The Three Nephites [v. 17]
  9. The brother of Jared [v. 20]
  10. Many others like him [v. 19]
  11. The coming forth of the Book of Mormon which hadn't yet happened [v.22]
  12. The disciples who saw Christ in the Book of Mormon [v. 31]
Seven times in this chapter, Moroni reminds us that faith comes before miracles:  verses 6, 7, 12, 17, 18, 30, 31.


Moroni expressed his worries to the Lord that those who read the Book of Mormon might notice flaws in the writing (verse 25), but the Lord did not say he would fix them all.  Instead, he said, "Behold, I will show until the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me--the fountain of all righteousness."  (verse 28)

The Lord told Moroni that the important thing was to have charity.  Whether or not the gift of the Book of Mormon was received well, all that mattered was that Moroni had completed his own mission and prepared it with the pure love of Christ.  "If they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore, thy garments shall be made clean.  And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father."  (verse 37)

On the way to Carthage Jail, Hyrum Smith read verses 36-38 aloud to Joseph Smith, and turned down the page corner (Class Member Study Guide).  This scripture has lent strength to the greatest of our dispensation.


The world that Ether lived in was bloodthirsty and vengeful.  There were two warring factions.  Coriantumr was the king of the one, and the other had several kings, but in the end was led by King Shiz.  Ether prophesied to Coriantumr that all his household but himself would be killed if he would not repent (Ether 13:20-22).  But Coriantumr said, "No thanks.  I can handle this myself."  Until he realized he couldn't, and two million of his men had been killed, as well as their wives and children.  He finally wrote an epistle to his enemy, offering to surrender his kingdom in order to save the lives of the rest of his people.  That wasn't enough for King Shiz.  He offered to spare the people if Corantumr would give himself up. Coriantumr didn't want to do that, and the battles resumed (Ether 15:1-6).

This Jaredite society had a system of warfare different than most in the world today, and different than the Nephites, but similar to that of ancient Asia.  This type of warfare is where we the game of chess comes from.  Again, Hugh Nibley explains:

"The insane wars of the Jaredite chiefs ended in the complete annihilation of both sides, with the kings the last to go...This all seems improbable to us, but two circumstances peculiar to Asiatic warfare explain why the phenomenon is by no means without parallel: (1) Since every war is strictly a personal contest between kings, the battle must continue until one of the kings falls or is taken.  (2) And yet things are so arranged that the king must be the very last to fall, the whole army existing for the sole purpose of defending his person.  This is clearly seen in the game of chess, in which all pieces are expendable except the king, who can never be taken" (Quoted in Latter-day Commentary, p. 507).

And so the war continued, killing millions of people, until only the two kings remained, and Shiz had fainted from loss of blood, allowing Coriantumr to chop off his head (Ether 15:30).

In your scriptures you may want to write at the end of the Book of Ether, "The Rest of the Story:  Omni 1:20-22; Mosiah 21:25-28; Mosiah 28:11-19"


Although the Jaredite society was very different from the Nephite society, which was very different from our societies, the same evil ruined both of them and can ruin us.  The warning of the book of Ether to us is found in chapter 8:

"Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain--and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction" (Ether 8:23).

This verse applies to us who are not actively involved in secret combinations, but who "suffer [allow] these things to be," who let them "get above you."

Do we have secret combinations in our world today?  Yes!  Any kind of organized crime or corrupt government or unethical business practices involve secret combinations where getting gain is more important than the good of the people being served. Even gossip is a type of secret combination, isn't it? What is the antidote?  The gospel of Jesus Christ!  

These chapters of Ether contain two opposing philosophies and their outcomes:  1) relying on secret alliances with men (secret combinations), and 2) relying on sacred alliances with God (faith).  It was through their reliance on God that both Ether and Moroni survived the horrific ordeal of watching the complete annihilation of their civilizations due to the secret combinations set up there for greed and power.  Secret combinations always deal in fear: the fear of loss of power or money or social standing, or the fear of not having a "father" figure or a gang "family" for protection, or even the fear of physical danger if a person does not comply with the rules of the secret combination.  But the Lord always offers his hand of help, if we will reach out for it.  It is our choice:  Do we choose faith, or do we choose fear?

You may want to share the example of one who chose faith after a life of secret combinations, Mario Facione, a mafia member who converted to the LDS church.  Follow this link to MormonWiki.com for the story.

Saturday, January 6, 2018


Lesson #1  "This is My Work and My Glory." 

Teaching Tip  My Seven Dispensations Memory Aid

Lesson #2  "Thou Wast Chosen Before Thou Wast Born."

Lesson Addition  "The Amazing King James Translation"

Lesson #3 "The Creation." 

Lesson #4  "Because of My Transgression My Eyes are Opened." 

Teaching Tip An easy way to have scriptures read aloud comfortably by class members

Lesson #5 "If Thou Doest Well, Thou Shalt Be Accepted."

Lesson #6 "Noah Prepared an Ark to the Saving of His House." 

Lesson #7  "The Abrahamic Covenant." 

Lesson #8  "Living Righteously in a Wicked World." 

Lesson #9  "God Will Provide Himself a Lamb."

Supplement to Lesson #9  "Ishmael, Our Brother."  Understanding the faith of our cousins, the Muslims

Lesson #10  "Birthright Blessings; Marriage in the Covenant."

Lesson #11 on Joseph   "How Can I Do This Great Wickedness?"

Lesson #12 on Joseph  "Fruitful in the Land of My Affliction"

Lesson #13  "Bondage, Passover, and Exodus"

Lesson #14  "Ye Shall Be a Peculiar Treasure Unto Me"

Lesson #15  "Look To God and Live"

Lesson #16  "I Cannot Go Beyond the Word of God"

Lesson #17  "Beware Lest Thou Forget"

Lesson #18  "Be Strong and of a Good Courage"

Lesson #19  "The Reign of the Judges"

Lesson #20  "All the City ... Doth Know Thou Art a Virtuous Woman"

Lesson #21  "God Will Honor Those who Honor Him"

Lesson #22  "The Lord Looketh On the Heart"

Lesson #23  "The Lord Be Between Thee and Me Forever"

Lesson #24  "Create in Me a Clean Heart"

Lesson #25  "Let Everything That Has Breath Praise the Lord"

Lesson #26  "King Solomon: Man of Wisdom, Man of Foolishness"

Supplement to Lesson #26

Lesson #27  "The Influence of Wicked and Righteous Leaders"

Lesson #28  "After the Fire a Still Small Voice"

Lesson #29  "He Took Up the Mantle of Elijah"

Lesson #30  "Come to the House of the Lord"

Lesson #31  "Happy is the Man that Findeth Wisdom"

Lesson #32  "I Know that My Redeemer Liveth"

Lesson #33  "Sharing the Gospel With the World

Lesson #34  "I Will Betroth Thee unto Me in Righteousness"

Lesson #35  "God Reveals His Secrets to His Prophets"

Lesson #36  "The Glory of Zion Will Be a Defense"

Lesson #37  "Thou Hast Done Wonderful Things"

Supplement to Lesson #37

Lesson #38  "Beside Me There is No Savior"

Lesson #39  "How Beautiful Upon the Mountains"

Lesson #40  "Enlarge the Place of Thy Tent"

Lesson #41  "I Have Made Thee This Day ... an Iron Pillar"

Lesson #42  "I Will Write It in their Hearts"

Lesson #43  "The Shepherds of Israel"

Lesson #44  "Every Thing Shall Live Whither the River Cometh"

Lesson #45  "If I Perish, I Perish"

Lesson #46  "A Kingdom, Which Shall Never Be Destroyed"

Lesson #47  "Let Us Rise Up and Build"/Christmas Lesson

Lesson #48  "The Great and Dreadful Day of the Lord"

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Additional Lesson about the Miraculous Mormon Migration

There are dozens of stories of miracles that occurred in the lives of individual Mormon pioneers. These build our faith, and encourage us to know that God is there for us in our personal challenges. But when my brother laid out, in a sacrament meeting talk, the overall picture of the Mormon Migration--how Heavenly Father arranged for different groups involved in different journeys from different places to work together in an intricate and complicated fashion to accomplish the establishment of Zion in the Great Basin--my faith was strengthened exponentially! Each of these groups--the overland pioneers, the ocean pioneers, the southern pioneers, and the Mormon Battalion--went through their own excruciating trials and terrors, and yet the Lord was working through them all to create a giant miracle.

I wanted to see this miracle visually, and I wanted to be able to comprehend and remember it, to be able to tell it from memory, so I laid it out in a timeline with maps. I color-coded the groups on the map and in the text (blue for the seafaring saints, red for the main body of overland pioneers, gold for the Mississippi saints, and green for the military group). I filled in more details as I discovered them, and each time, my faith was strengthened. Once I saw the timeline of the Mormon Migration, it became very difficult to believe that it could have been accomplished without Divine planning.  I recalled times in my own life where I was stuck crossing a trackless prairie of problems, entirely unaware of the benevolent machinations of my Heavenly Father in other places and in other people's lives that would all come together to create a miracle that I would later see and comprehend.

My trust and faith in my Heavenly Father has been strengthened through this study, and I hope yours will be as well.

A Table in the Wilderness
A Timeline of the Miraculous Mormon Migration West

Shortly after the evacuation of Nauvoo, in a pioneer camp on the west of the Mississippi River, a destitute Mormon mother, Sarah Leavitt, was confronted by an antagonistic government officer.

"Why, madam," he said, "I see nothing before you but
inevitable destruction in going off into the wilderness among savages, far from civilization, with nothing
but what you can carry in your wagon…I see nothing before you but starvation.”

Quoting Psalm 78:19, Sarah told him, “The Lord [will] spread a table for us in the wilderness…”

The officer was right: there was no chance of success.
And yet the Mormons triumphed.
Here is the timeline of their story.

A statue honoring Sarah Sturtevant Leavitt is located in Santa Clara, Utah

On the base of her statue, excerpts of her testimony are inscribed.


The first American overland pioneers leave Missouri for the Oregon territory. They follow existing trails to Fort Hall in Eastern Idaho, abandon their wagons when the trail ends but safely reach Oregon.


Congress sends Army Captain John C. Fremont on a series of exploratory expeditions to the western territories. Copies of his maps are given to Mormon Church leaders by an Illinois senator. 


 Large numbers of American pioneers are migrating westward to California and Oregon on the Oregon Trail.

--June 27, 1844--

Joseph Smith is murdered at Carthage Jail. 
Persecutions increase for the Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo.

--October 1845--

The Quincy Convention calls for all Mormons to leave Nauvoo by May of 1846.

A few days later, the Carthage Convention calls for their forced removal by militia, should they fail to meet the deadline.

12,000 saints in Nauvoo and another 2,000-3,000 in the surrounding states will soon be homeless.

--October 11, 1845-- 

President Brigham Young calls team captains
for the move west and Nauvoo saints begin gathering supplies and making wagons. Saints in other areas are called to gather with them and go west. The plan is that they will all go together in one gigantic 2,500-wagon train in an organized fashion.

--January 1846-- 
John Brown is sent from Nauvoo to collect the families he baptized on his mission three years earlier in Monroe County, Mississippi to join the expedition west. The congregation of saints there includes whites and blacks. Most of the black saints are slaves.

(I'm sorry I put the blue star on Boston instead of New York--
by I'm not sorry enough to fix it!)

Meanwhile, a community of converts on the east coast, too poor to make the overland trek, pools its money to charter the Ship Brooklyn. They will take a dangerous voyage around Cape Horn to the west coast, stopping off in Chile and Hawaii on the way. From there, they will travel to meet the saints at their final destination. Sam Brannan is called to lead the group.

--February 4, 1846--

Because of violence and threats, the first saints leave Nauvoo. The organized plan is abandoned, and there are eventually three exoduses over the following 9 months or so.

--also February 4, 1846--

The very same day, the Ship Brooklyn leaves New York City with 238 saints living between-decks in 2,500 feet of space. The lower hold is full of cows, pigs, chickens, sawmills, a gristmill, seeds, tools, a printing press and everything they need to set up a civilization from scratch.

--The Nauvoo Covenant--

Time has not been adequate to prepare wagons and supplies for all the saints in Nauvoo. Many do not have the means, having been unable to sell their homes at fair prices. A covenant is made that those who leave first will stop at a safe spot along the trail and send wagons and teamsters back and forth for all those who wish to come. 

By spring, there are over 10,000 saints scattered across Iowa, obtaining jobs to earn money along the way. The Nauvoo Brass Band plays concerts for pay as they travel. Pioneers build temporary settlements with crops planted for those who follow.

Pres. Young calls Jesse Little to go to Washington, D.C. to petition the government for a contract to build roads and forts on their way west in order to finance the trek.

--Early Spring 1846--

The Ship Brooklyn has blown nearly to Africa before finding trade winds to blow her back to the Cape. She's made it safely around Cape Horn, chipping ice ahead of her in the water, and she's survived the oppressive heat of the tropical doldrums. Now a huge storm blows her away from Chile, where the passengers had planned to resupply. So instead, the captain steers them to the Juan Fernandez Islands. 

There they are able to obtain fresh water, fish, fruit, potatoes and firewood at a cost hundreds of dollars less than Chilean prices. It is another “table in the wilderness.”

--April 8, 1846--

The first group of Mississippi saints leaves to join the Nauvoo saints and travel to the west. There are 43 in the company.

--May 1, 1846--

The Nauvoo Temple is finally dedicated, although temple work had ceased in February. Over
the winter, 6,000 saints had received their endowments in the completed portions of the Nauvoo Temple. The temple is immediately put up for sale, but no reasonable offer is made. They ask $200,000 and years later finally receive $5,000.

Even while in this distress, a few men are called on missions to Europe straight from the refugee camps.

--May 13, 1846--

The U.S. declares war on Mexico

--May 21, 1846--
Jesse Little arrives in Washington, realizes the government’s focus is now the war, and petitions U.S. President James Polk to contract a battalion of Mormon men to fight in the war. It is a very bold move, considering the government had just forced the Mormons to surrender all their weapons the year before because of the conflict in Missouri. Polk is highly dubious, but amazingly, Little convinces him and wins the contract.

The formation of the Mormon Battalion puts Brigham Young and the Mormons on the same team as the U.S. government at last, and ends the very real threat of governmental interference on the trek west.

--May 26, 1846--

John Brown and the Mississippi saints arrive in Independence, Missouri, the jumping-off point for all travel to the west, hear wild stories about Mormons killing people in the west, and assume that Brigham Young has gone on ahead of them. They decide to head west to catch up, rather than go north to Nauvoo.

--June 20, 1846--

The Ship Brooklyn stops in Hawaii to deliver a load of cargo. 

12 people have died on the voyage. The U.S. Navy is stationed at Pearl Harbor, preparing for war with Mexico.

--June 29, 1846--

The Nauvoo refugees arrive at the Missouri River.

U.S. Army Captain James Allen meets them & musters 540 men for the Mormon Battalion.

Pres. Young delays the journey west for a year to allow time for the Battalion to earn money. He establishes Winter Quarters in Nebraska.

--July 10, 1846--

Meanwhile, the Mississippi wagon train has hurried all the way to Laramie, Wyoming before a passing traveler (it's a busy road these days) tells them that no Mormons are ahead of them on the trail. At the invitation of a trapper, they leave the trail to wait out the winter at Pueblo, Colorado with the group of trappers and their Spanish and Indian wives. 

--July 21, 1846--
The Mormon Battalion leaves Winter Quarters, the only religiously-based military unit in the history of the United States. 

Brigham Young promises them that none will die in battle. 

They head south to be outfitted at Fort Leavenworth.

(There's an itty-bitty green line down from Winter Quarters.)

--July 31, 1846--

After a 24,000-mile voyage, the Ship Brooklyn saints arrive at present-day San Francisco, then just a small town, and find out that an American warship had sailed into the harbor just 3 weeks earlier, and planted a flag. They are back in the United States! 

One passenger later writes, “Of all the memories of my life, not one is so bitter as that dreary six months’ voyage, in an emigrant ship, round the Horn.” 

San Francisco immediately becomes an overwhelmingly Mormon community. They start farming while they await instruction from Brigham Young.

--August 7, 1846--  

The Mississippi saints arrive at Pueblo with plenty of summer left to build homes and a log church, earning food by working for the trappers.

John Brown returns east to meet with Pres. Young and then bring more saints from Mississippi. 

--August 1846--

The Mormon Battalion leaves Fort Leavenworth, marching southwest to fight Mexico. They are given a clothing allowance of $42 each ($21,000 total), which they immediately turn over to the Church, opting to wear their old clothes. Through their term of service, they earn $50,000, an enormous sum of money, which finances the pioneer emigration west.

 --September 13, 1846--
The Battle of Nauvoo

Less than 1,000 of the most destitute Mormons remain in Nauvoo, including Hyrum Smith’s widow, Mary Fielding Smith, with her children, as well as Truman O. Angell, the future architect of the Salt Lake, St. George and Logan Temples. These stragglers are attacked by anti-Mormons, and forced to sign the surrender of the city three days later, whereupon they are driven out at gunpoint.

--September 14, 1846--

At Winter Quarters, an 11-man rescue party leaves to bring the last saints out of Nauvoo, knowing nothing about the attack.

--September 25, 1846--

Reports of the Battle of Nauvoo reach Winter Quarters, and another rescue party is sent with 20 wagons.

--October 6, 1846

The rescue party arrives at the "poor camps" outside Nauvoo to find the situation much more desperate than they are prepared to meet. The rescue captain, Orville Allen, sends some of his men into the surrounding area to purchase more supplies. Meanwhile the people are starving.

--October 9, 1846--

Thousands of exhausted quail suddenly fly into the refugee camp, flopping onto the ground all around the wagons and tents, and even onto the arms and the heads of the pioneers. 
Even the sick can easily pick up a bird with no resistance at all. The suffering saints eat well that day at a “table in the wilderness.” The quail stop coming at 3:00 p.m. The men arrive back with the supplies and the rescue team heads back with the first group at 4:30.

--October 1846--

The Mormon Battalion arrives at Santa Fe. Many members have fallen ill along the way. The sick
Battalion members are sent to Pueblo, Colorado.

--October 1846--

John Brown arrives back at Winter Quarters. Pres. Young requests that he enlist several strong Mississippi men to join his advance team and wait to emigrate the rest of the Mississippi saints the next year.

The sick Battalion members arrive at Pueblo to find the Mississippi saints waiting there--surprise! To add to the reunion, the leader of the sick contingent is James Brown, another missionary who served in Monroe, Mississippi. 

--October 24, 1846--

Sam Brannan
publishes an early edition of The California Star newspaper, printed on the Mormon press.

--January 9, 1847

The first subscriptions are delivered by hand, or hawked on street corners in San Francisco, and
are sent east and to Great Britain on ships.

--January 1847--

John Brown arrives back in Mississippi. He selects four white men with four black slaves for the journey. Two of the slaves die before reaching Winter Quarters. The other two are brothers, Oscar Crosby and Hark Lay, who are owned by different masters.

--January 22, 1847--

The Mormon Battalion arrives at San Diego, having walked 2,000 miles, the longest military march in history.  It has been an almost unimaginably difficult journey. The war is over, so they are assigned to garrison duty and civic improvement. 20 men have died on the journey due to sickness or injury, and all the men are nearly starved to death, but they have seen no armed conflict.

--April 5, 1847--

The advance pioneer party leaves Winter Quarters, led by Pres. Young. There are 148 in the party, including the four men from Mississippi and an additional black Mormon slave from the south already there (a friend of the other two) named Green Flake. Green remains faithful all his life, and later works as a servant in the home of Brigham Young.

(Green Flake)

--May 1847--

Seventeen saints from the group waiting at Pueblo watch two weeks for Brigham Young’s arrival on the trail at Fort Laramie.

--June 3, 1847--

. Young’s advance team arrives at Fort Laramie. Those waiting from Pueblo join the group, and one of the apostles in the team, Amasa Lyman, goes to Pueblo to bring the rest to the Great Basin.

--June 30, 1847--

Sam Brannan, having made his way back from California, reports to Pres. Young at his camp along the trail. 

--July 16, 1847--

The Mormon Battalion
is mustered out of service at Los Angeles and the men begin to make their way north.
Some head straight to the Salt Lake Valley to get on the trail back to Winter Quarters to get family.
Others go north to San Francisco to join with the Brooklyn saints in the biggest Mormon community in the west, and earn money to take back to Salt Lake. 

--July 22, 1847--

Happily surprised to find the cut-off from the Oregon Trail down to the Great Basin has already been blazed (by the Donner party, who were following bad advice about it being a great shortcut to California), the first advance party (including the three black slaves) arrives in Salt Lake Valley far ahead of schedule and immediately plants crops.
Two days later, on what is now celebrated as Pioneer Day in Utah, Pres
. Young’s party arrives in Salt Lake Valley. Sam Brannan teaches the Saints to make adobe bricks for houses, a skill he learned in California.

--September 8-11, 1847--

About 100
Battalion members find work building a saw mill for John Sutter on the American River near San Francisco.

--Autumn 1847--

The first Battalion
members arrive in the Salt Lake Valley from
Los Angeles. They are able to teach the saints invaluable skills for desert farming and irrigation which they learned from the Pueblo Indians and the Mexicans as they toiled through the southwest.

--January 24, 1848--

Gold is discovered at Sutter's Mill. The location of the biggest find is dubbed “Mormon Island” because of the Mormons who worked there. Word travels quickly by mouth and ship first to Oregon, Hawaii and Latin America. 

--March 15, 1848--

 The Californian newspaper publishes the first article proclaiming the discovery of gold. 

--June 10, 1848--

Sam Brannan's California Star publishes the cautiously optimistic opinion that there is room for another 50,000 prospectors without ruining the area. This news is dispatched back east by Mormon Battalion express riders. Four days later, they suspend publication so that the staff can rush to the gold fields themselves. Eventually tens of thousands around the world rush to California to get rich.

--Summer 1848--

Many more Mormon families emigrate. To avoid harassment from anti-Mormon pioneers, they travel on the north of the Platte River, rather than on the Oregon Trail to the south. This separation contributes to a better survival rate for the Mormons, thanks to the organization and cleanliness of their camps, and the avoidance of cholera contamination left behind
by Oregon Trail travelers.

--Summer 1848--

Insects, frost and drought destroy much of the crop in the Great Basin. The saints nearly starve through the
winter. In the midst of this crisis, Heber C. Kimball, a counselor in the First Presidency, prophesies that “States’ goods would be sold in the streets of Salt Lake City cheaper than in New York, and that the people would be abundantly supplied with food and clothing.”


The tools of the settlers in Salt Lake City are wearing out with no chance of replacement. The California Gold Rush brings many fortune-seekers out west. Merchants race from the east to make a profit off the prospectors; hearing that merchant ships have beat them to San Francisco, some overlanders change their minds, head down to Salt Lake City, and sell their wares at extremely low prices in order to lighten their loads and rush ahead to prospect for themselves. The prices are lower than in New York City by half. The presence of the prospectors also greatly inflates the prices the Mormon retailers and tradesmen can charge. In addition, prospectors drop tools and supplies all along the trail near Utah in order to lighten their loads and speed their journey, knowing they can buy more in California. Mormon men go along the trail and pick up amazing amounts of tools, wagons, stoves, even food like beans and bacon. It’s another “table in the wilderness.”

--May 25, 1849--

Amasa Lyman arrives in San Francisco and encourages the Brooklyn saints to come to the Salt Lake Valley. Increasing lawlessness in California provides additional incentive. Besides gold-prospecting, Mormons have made money from the prospectors themselves. Alondus Buckland sells his Buckland House hotel, situated on a corner lot in downtown San Francisco, for an estimated $10,000, donating some to the Church and using some to emigrate his extended family and the rest of his hometown back east.

--July 14, 1849--

The wagon company, later known as “The Gold Train,” leaves for Utah, heavily loaded with gold. It is a dangerous journey, as the company dodges would-be thieves on the busy road.

bout 1/3 of the Brooklyn saints eventually leave California to resettle in Utah.

--September 28, 1849--

“The Gold Train” arrives in Salt Lake City, and nearly $15,000 is deposited in the Church’s bank account. With this money, Pres
. Young establishes the Perpetual Emigration Fund which funds the emigration of an additional 100,000 saints over the following years, mostly from Europe.
60,000-70,000 Mormon pioneers eventually emigrate over land
1869 when the transcontinental railroad is completed. 

Most of them are converts from the European Mission.

death rate among the Mormon pioneers is unknown, but is estimated at less than 10% (including the Martin/Willie handcart disaster, and the deaths at Winter Quarters). This is about 5% lower than other pioneers, despite the fact that Mormon wagon trains consisted of many more inexperienced travelers; old, disabled or ill people; and families with young children.

Sarah Leavitt was right. The Lord did prepare a table in the wilderness.


Stewart R. Wyatt, Sacrament meeting talk, Boise, Idaho, 22 July 2012
Sarah Sturtevant Leavitt, personal history
William G. Hartley, “The Pioneer Trek: Nauvoo to Winter Quarters,” Ensign, June 1997
Joan S. Hamblin, “Voyage of the Brooklyn,” Ensign, July 1997
Leonard J. Arrington, “Mississippi Mormons,” Ensign, June 1977
Mormon Battalion Fact Sheet, MormonNewsroom.org
Susan Easton Black, “I Have a Question,” Ensign, July 1998
William G. Hartley, “On the Trail in September," Ensign, September 1997

•"The Excitement and Enthusiasm of Gold Washing Still Continues--Increases," California Star, accessed at  The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco
Clair L. Wyatt, The True Story of Nancy Laura Aldrich: Ship Brooklyn Pioneer, 2000

•Richard E. Bennett, We’ll Find the Place: The Mormon Exodus, 1846-1848, Deseret Book

•Margaret Blair Young and Darius Aidan Gray, One More River to Cross, Deseret Book

•Leonard J. Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom, Deseret Book

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