A Young Folks' History of the Church
understand that "Mormonism" is the Lord's work and does not depend for its success on
one or two men. He can raise up any number of men to carry on his work, and now
Brigham Young and his brethren were the men who could and would carry it on.
In May, 1845, some of the murderers of Joseph and Hyrum were tried, and by a jury
pronounced innocent. This gave the mobbers more courage, and they gathered again. In
the small settlements outside of Nauvoo many houses were burned and the inmates
driven into the fields. These Saints were advised to move into Nauvoo for protection.
Some time before his death, Joseph had predicted that the Saints would yet move to the
Rocky Mountains; and he had even begun the movement by holding councils and asking
for volunteers from the brethren to go ahead and locate a place to which the Church
might gather. President Young and the Twelve now began preparing to carry this plan
out. They could plainly see that it was useless to try to live in peace in Illinois. The mobs
grew larger and fiercer. The people living in the counties surrounding Hancock county,
threatened to drive the "Mormons" from the state; and the officers whose duty it was to
enforce the laws would not do so if it was to protect the "Mormons."
So in August, 1845, it was decided to select three thousand men who, with their families,
were to go to Upper California. All this western country was then called Upper
California. The authorities of the Church promised the mob leaders that if they would not
molest them they would all leave the state early the next spring.
But the mobbing did not cease at this; so the sheriff of the county, a Mr. Backenstos,
organized a posse, that is, a company of men to help him enforce the laws and keep order.
The sheriff kept after the mob to prevent them from burning houses, etc., and this made
the mobbers very angry. One day some of them tried to kill the sheriff, but he was saved
by two "Mormons" coming to his rescue. Thus during the summer and fall of 1845 there
was much trouble between the mobs, the "Mormons," and the militia.
All this time the Saints had worked hard to finish the temple. It had been decided to do
this even if they had to work with the "trowel in one hand and a sword in the other."
October 5th the temple was near enough finished that a conference was held in the
building. No general conference had been held for three years, as Joseph had said none
should be convened until it could be held in the temple.
After this the work on the building still went on, and in a short time it was so far
completed that it was dedicated, and a great many of the Saints received their
endowments within its sacred walls.
All that winter, (1845-46) Nauvoo was like a big workshop. Everybody that could was
preparing for the great move westward. Farms and houses were offered for sale. Wagons
were built, and as iron was scarce, many of them had wooden tires. Horses and cattle
were gathered. It was to be the sixth move of the Saints from their homes, and it was no
small undertaking now as there were many thousands of people, and they were to go to a
wild, unknown land among the deserts and mountains of the West.
The move began on February 4, 1846, and from that date on there was a continuous
stream of wagons crossing the Mississippi river to the Iowa side. A camp was made on
Sugar creek, nine miles from Nauvoo, where the Saints gathered. Towards the last of the
month the weather became very cold, the river froze over so that teams could be driven
across on the ice. It was a bad time of the year to begin such a move. Many of the Saints