Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith
Prophet, Seer and Revelator

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Crossing the Wilderness

On the trail the pioneers found herds of buffalo. Brigham cautioned the men not to be wasteful, but to kill only as many animals as they could eat. They enjoyed the fresh meat and ate as much as they wanted, but those who ate too much had upset stomachs and digestive problems.

When the company reached the Platte River, the water ran high and swift. The animals swam across the river, and the men unloaded the wagons and carried their supplies to the other side in a leather boat they had with them. But getting the empty wagons across was more difficult. Brigham suggested they lash four wagons together and float them across with ropes tied to the wagon tongues to guide them from the other side. The river was so swift, it flipped the wagons over as if they were rolling logs. Next they built small rafts to ferry them across, but the rafts were swept away in the current. Brigham knew he could solve the problem so he took off his shirt and went to work. He and Willard Richards built a big, strong sturdy raft out of white pine and white cottonwood that carried the wagons safely across the river.

The company traveled over five-hundred miles in seven weeks, reaching Fort Laramie by the first of June. After they rested, the wagon train continued west. Jim Bridger, and explorer and mountain man of the American west, rode up to greet them one night when they were camped beside the Sweetwater River. He advised them not to go into the valley of the Great Salt Lake because crops wouldn’t grow there. He told Brigham that he would give a thousand dollars for a bushel of corn raised in the valley.

Brigham thanked Jim Bridger for his advice. But Brigham knew Heavenly Father wanted him to take the pioneers there, and he knew the Saints would survive. The corn and other crops would grow.

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