Saturday, December 20, 2014

Miracles preparing for the trek to Salt Lake Valley

Generally speaking, there’s quite a bit more to the story of the Mormons surviving the trip from Nauvoo to the Great Salt Lake Valley than most reports elude to. First of all, the whole event is an absolute impossibility. Volumes could be written on it, but here’s a few examples of the obstacles the Mormons ran into.

First, the Mormons agreed to leave the spring of 1846 which would allow them less than a year's time to prepare. Along with everything else, they needed to build approximately 3,000 covered wagons within that short time period. That fact alone was an impossible feat. Remember, there weren't many skilled Wainwrights in Nauvoo and the saints were still trying to finish the Nauvoo Temple. 

However, the anxious families were quite clever in how they met their goal. You may have thought like me that HenryFord was the first to come up with the assembly line in 1903, but not so. In 1845, the Mormons set to work preparing to assemble the wagons by having individual families mass produce a certain piece of the wagon. Then they assembled the wagons in any available space they could find. Out in the streets worked fine until winter set in and then they took the benches out of their cultural center making room for the wagon assembly line.

Another example is that the saints decided to use oxen to pull the wagons in place of horses. (Do you know the difference between a cow, cattle, and oxen? Well, I learned that an oxen is basically a trained cow. They usually used one with horns so the yoke would stay on, but not always.Cattle is a group of cows and oxen.) Most families had cows because they were cheaper and could still be trained to pull in the fields. They were also, of course, a good food source if needed . Oxen walk about as fast as a man walks and are strong and reliable. The main problem was that there were not near enough cattle to train, and not all cows can be oxen. To train, a cow must be strong, healthy, and not too stubborn. To this day, no one knows exactly where the oxen came from and how so many of them were trained to pull wagons. 
 Another significant change was that Brigham instructed the saints to make their wagons three feet wide instead of four feet. This had not been the standard size before and some questioned it. However, they were obedient and once the saints were in route, they realized that the passes would never have permitted a four foot wide wagon.

Well, not only did they get the needed wagons assembled and animals trained, but they had to leave the first of February rather than waiting until April when spring would bring milder weather. Brigham said, “It will be better for us if we leave now.” Apparently, enemies of the church were threatening extermination like the events that took place in Missouri in 1838 when Governor Boggs issued the Mormon Extermination order. On February 4, 1846, the exodus began. The wagons piled up along Parley Street waiting for a ferry to cross the river for days and even weeks. It was not safe for families to wait in their homes so they lived and waited in their wagons which piled up on Parley Street. By February 19th, the freezing temperatures blew in and was one of the worst winter days on record. However, the cold proved to be a blessing when the Mississippi River froze forming a bridge across and allowing the line of wagons to cross over ice rather than continue the wait and risk being at the hands of viscous mobbers. 

Could all this be coincidence you ask? I don’t believe so.

 We learned all of the above while working in the blacksmith shop last weekend. Elder Johnson has worked there several times before and learned to make a horseshoe that we give to visitors. I on the other hand had not experienced the art until we were asked to serve there this week. So here you will witness another astounding creating a horseshoe. : 

 I'm so good, my hands are a blur. Are you impressed? Okay, neither am I. :)

 Hundreds lost their lives in the trek west while leaving so early in the year. Parley Street is now called the Trail of Hope. This street led through Nauvoo to the Mississippi River where they would either board a ferry or as in the case of February 19,1846, walk across the massive sheet of ice.

 Elder Johnson is a fairly good instructor.
Which end is what?

Don't make me laugh!
 Guess who wasn't that impressed with my horseshoe?
 There are reader boards along Parley Street now describing individual stories of faith and trials. 
There were about 12,000 people living in Nauvoo winter of 1846. Ten thousand of them left between February 4, 1846 and May 31st of that year. Some like Emma Smith, wife of Joseph Smith left temporarily returning after the Nauvoo War in the fall of 1846.

Below is what a ferry might have looked like.

The pioneers could see their beautiful temple up on the bluff while awaiting a ferry on Parley Street.
If you look right above the black reader board on the trail in the middle of the picture, you will see a white building. That is the Nauvoo Temple.

 There is also a memorial with the names of individuals who lost their lives in the  exodus.
 This statue of Brigham and Joseph depicts Joseph's vision and Brigham carrying it out.

Elder Johnson found twenty some odd Johnson relatives on the board.

Isn't it astounding what these valiant and faithful people did? I think they should be "harolded" near and far.

Hope you are enjoying this Christmas season.

I invite you to be inspired with the video at
He is the Gift

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