Monday, September 28, 2015

Counsel Bluffs

After a short visit to Chicago and getting a "grandkid fix" we headed west following the saints in 1846.
 Remember, I told you about the muddy spring of 1846 that slowed the saints drastically? Initially, the Mormons were hopeful of getting to their far west destination by the fall of that same year. However, it took four months just to get across Iowa. (In case you were wondering, Iowa was a territory until December of 1846 so it was considered outside of the United States at that time)
 When the first Mormons arrived at Counsel Bluff in June which is about 327 miles from Nauvoo, it was obvious that they would not be able to travel the last thousand miles before winter. Lewis and Clark originally named the place since it was here that negotiations with native Americans over land acquisition were discussed on the bluff. The Mormons named the place Kanesville but would only last for a few years since they eventually left the city and migrated to the Great Salt Lake Basin.

 Crops were planted all along the trail as well as crude housing built and left for the travelers that would follow. The logistics of getting people, wagons, animals, and supplies across rivers were slow and tedious. The Mormons set up four more ferries to accommodate the travels. Originally, there were only two ferries and the owners charged outrageous prices. About four thousand pioneers spent the winter across the Missouri River from Counsel Bluffs which made the trip to the Salt Lake Valley the following April more practical.
 It was here in Council Bluffs that Brigham Young returned to in December of 1847. All of the apostles met him here and sustained him as President and Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Brigham led the church as President of the Quorum of Twelve not as Prophet for three and a half years after June 27, 1844 when Joseph died.
 Families suffered and many died in their sacrifice.

 Originally, Counsel Bluffs was only a stopping spot for thousands of wagons. Cabins were built across the river in Winter Quarters but not here. The white spots in the background are wagons (not sheep if you were wondering).

 Later, a community emerged, but all temporary for others to use at a later time.

 In December of 1847, Brigham needed to be sustained as Prophet and President of the church as I mentioned above. There was not a building large enough to gather all the members who wanted to attend  so 200 men worked for 18 days and erected a log cabin made of Cottonwood trees. We were told that Cottonwood trees are really good for two things...burning and nothing else. The cabin held about 1,000 people for the event but obviously didn't last long after that.
 The tabernacle was reconstructed in this century. I forgot the date. It is similar to the original but not at the same location exactly. The missionaries serving here showed us where the original one was just across the street in the parking lot of a near-by church.

 Check out the expression on Brigham Young's face below who is represented by the guy in the middle. Don't you think the caption ought to be, "Brigham, why not ask for directions?"

How much are you willing to sacrifice for the gospel of Jesus Christ? Life goes so amazingly fast. It's true that the older you get, the faster it seems to go. I invite you to look at your priorities and adjust your decisions to bring you happiness in this life and eternal life in the next. That time will be here before you know it.

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