Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith
Prophet, Seer and Revelator

Sunday, November 25, 2012

When the company reached Council Bluffs and the Missouri River, the herd boys were assigned to drive the cattle and oxen across the river. John watched his son, George, and the other herd boys urge their horses up next to the bulls. Each boy leapt from his horse to the back of a bull, prodding it with a stick until the bull plunged into the river. Other boys whooped the rest of the herd into the water. As one of the boys leaped from one animal to another, he fell into the river among the bobbing animals. John strained to see the boy. Could he swim well enough to come up for air? Would he be kicked or trapped by the animals?
Soon the boy surfaced and pulled himself onto the back of a cow. Boys, John thought to himself, remembering his love of spirited horses as a youngster. John smiled with relief when everyone, including the cattle, reached the Nebraska side.7
After crossing the river, the Saints, under the direction of Brigham Young, established the settlement of Winter Quarters where the Saints could live undisturbed by mobs and persecution. Houses had to be built and grain planted while it was still summer. The Saints worked to prepare food and supplies for themselves and those pioneers that would follow for the trip west to the Rocky Mountains. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The snows of February chilled the Saints to the bone. The lumbering wagon train of bedraggled pioneers jolted across rough icy roads, along with their cattle and other animals, only to find conditions worsen as the weather warmed. Sleet and hail turned to rain in March and April. Slogging through mud, the soaking-wet Saints dug their wagons out of the mire and trudged on. May brought relief with warmer weather and drier trails.
John received word that the dedication of the Nauvoo Temple was scheduled for the first three days of May. Most of the Saints had already received the temple blessings and now traveled west. But John knew that before they could leave the temple in the hands of God, they must dedicate it to Him.
He left his family traveling across the plains and returned to Nauvoo by carriage for the meetings. “My feelings were very peculiar while standing in the font . . . and passing through the rooms, when I thought how the Saints had labored and strove to complete this building, and then be forced to leave it . . . in the hands of their enemies.”6 The temple was a gift and testimony of faith from the Saints to their God. After the dedication, John hurried to rejoin his family on the plains.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A ferry floated the wagons across the river. Joseph James, John’s youngest son, age 7, and his friend Rollo White took care of the animals on the flat boat that followed after the ferry. The flat boat began to tip and sink. Joseph James and the stock fell into the river. John paddled his small row boat toward his son, hurrying to pull him out of the water. Others helped rescue the animals. John rowed a shivering Joseph James safely to shore and told him to go stand near the bonfire to dry his wet clothes.
But where was Rollo White? He had been on the flat boat too. John scanned the water. Rollo was nowhere to be seen. From the Iowa shore, John climbed back into his craft to go look for the child. Someone on shore yelled that Rollo was safe. John found the boy dripping wet, huddling close by the fire. Breathing a sigh of relief, John knew there would be tragedy enough on the trip. He was thankful for Rollo’s safety. When the boat had begun to tip, Rollo’s dog, Tiger, jumped into the water. Rollo latched onto the dog’s tail and glided safely to shore. Tiger was the hero of the day.
Several days later as they traveled across Iowa, Tiger escaped into the woods. Rollo and Joseph James dodged after him because dogs were not allowed to run free. A loose barking dog could create chaos, scattering the sheep and small animals. John watched Milo White, Rollo’s father, run after the dog with his gun. Would he kill the dog? Soon there was a shot from the woods. John’s heart sank as he walked to meet the boys, hoping to comfort Joseph James. But Milo appeared, holding a large turkey. The boys and Tiger were at his side.
“A ram in the thicket!” Milo smiled, and went to work at once to make a leash for Tiger.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

It was February of 1846, and John and his family were ready to leave. All the arrangements had been made – food gathered, wagons outfitted. John and his family drove down Parley Street for the last time. Leaving behind their beloved City of Nauvoo, they headed toward the Mississippi and a new life in the west. John glanced back with a heavy heart. He had walked away from a two-story brick house, with a store next to it. On the other side of his house was a new printing office he had helped build. Together the lot and buildings were worth about $10,000. He also left a 106 acre farm on the outskirts of town, along with another city lot.3 For the sake of the gospel, he could start again.
What sacrifice! Would we do the same today?