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After disembarking at Nauvoo, Wilford reunited with his wife and met with Orson Hyde, the presiding apostle in the city, who had little good news to report. Among the Saints still in Nauvoo were some who felt restless and abandoned. The news grieved Wilford for days.


He had taught and baptized Eunice and Dwight a decade earlier. Recently, they had been drawn to a man named James Strang, who claimed that Joseph Smith had secretly appointed him to be his successor.

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Wilford called his family together and denounced the false prophet. He then left to load his wagons. They installed a brick floor around the baptismal font, fitted decorative woodwork into place, and painted the walls. The work proceeded all day and often into the night. Since the Church had little money to pay the laborers, many of them sacrificed part of their wages to ensure the temple was ready to dedicate to the Lord. Two days before the dedication, workers finished painting the first-floor assembly hall. The next day, they swept the dust and debris out of the large room and prepared for the service.

The workers were not able to put finishing touches on every room, but they knew that would not keep the Lord from accepting the temple. Conscious of the debt they owed the workers, Church leaders announced that the first session of the dedication would be a charitable event. Those who attended were asked to contribute a dollar to help pay the impoverished laborers.

An orphan whose parents had died soon after the family moved to Nauvoo, Elvira now lived with her married sister. Since no one else in her camp could join her for the dedication, she went alone. Knowing that it might be years before another temple was built in the West, the apostles had administered the endowment to some young single people, including Elvira. Now, three months later, she climbed the steps to the temple doors once more, contributed her dollar, and found a seat in the assembly hall.

The session opened with singing from a choir. Orson Hyde then offered the dedicatory prayer. Elvira felt heavenly power in the room.

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After the session, she returned to her camp, but she came back for the next session two days later, hoping to feel the same power again. Orson Hyde and Wilford Woodruff gave sermons on temple work, priesthood, and the resurrection. Before closing the meeting, Wilford praised the Saints for finishing the temple even though they would have to abandon it. After the session, Elvira returned to her camp, crossing the river one last time. A few weeks after the temple dedication, Louisa Pratt and her daughters started west with a company of Saints.

Ellen was now fourteen, Frances was twelve, Lois was nine, and Ann was five. They had two yoke of oxen, two cows, and a wagon loaded with new clothes and provisions. Addison reported that he was now in Tahiti with some Tubuaian friends, the married couple Nabota and Telii, on their way to help his fellow missionary Benjamin Grouard with missionary work on the nearby Anaa atoll.

He had sent Louisa sixty dollars and loving words for her and the children. Addison expected to serve among the island Saints for many years to come, but not without his family. The letter pleased Louisa, and she found her journey west surprisingly joyful. The spring rains had ended, and she liked riding horseback beneath clear skies while a hired man drove her wagons.

She rose early every morning, gathered up stray cattle, and helped to drive them during the day.


Occasionally she worried about how far she was traveling from her parents and other relatives, but her belief in Zion comforted her. The revelations spoke of Zion as a place of refuge, a land of peace. That was what she wanted in her life. Five days later, Louisa and her company arrived at Mount Pisgah, one of two large way stations the Saints had established along the Iowa trail. The encampment hugged the base of some low, sloping hills crowned with a grove of oak trees. As Brigham had envisioned, the Saints there lived in tents or log cabins and cultivated crops to supply food for companies who would arrive later.

Other areas of the camp provided pastureland for the livestock. Louisa selected a site in the shade of some oak trees for her family. The place was beautiful, but overhead the sun beat down on the encamped Saints, many of whom were exhausted from the rain and mud they had battled that spring.

They were hungry, two months behind schedule, and desperately poor. He believed that a group of Saints needed to finish the journey that season, for as long as the Church wandered without a home, its enemies would try to scatter it or block its way. Few had money or provisions to spare, and Iowa provided limited opportunities for paid labor. To survive on the prairie, many Saints had sold prized possessions along the trail or worked odd jobs to earn money for food and supplies.

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As the camp moved west and settlements thinned, these opportunities would only become harder to find. Other matters also weighed on Brigham. The Saints who did not belong to the advance company needed a place to spend the winter. The Omahas and other Native peoples who inhabited the land west of the Missouri River were willing to let the Saints camp there over the winter, but government agents were reluctant to allow them to settle on protected Indian lands for a long period of time. Brigham also knew the sick and impoverished Saints in Nauvoo were depending on the Church to take them west.


For a time, he had hoped to assist them by selling valuable property in Nauvoo, including the temple. But so far this effort had been unsuccessful. The United States had declared war on Mexico, and President James Polk had authorized the men to recruit a battalion of five hundred Saints for a military campaign to the California coast. Brigham had no quarrel with Mexico, and the idea of helping the United States galled him. Brigham spoke with the officers as soon as they arrived. After some lobbying, Jesse had met with President Polk and persuaded him to help the Saints move west by enlisting some of them in military service.

Seeing the benefits of the arrangement, Brigham endorsed the orders wholeheartedly. Her husband, James, had been shot in the neck during a skirmish with Missourians in , leaving him partially paralyzed. Like others in camp, she still resented the government for not helping the Saints at that time. Even though her son William was old enough to volunteer for the battalion, she did not want to let him join. Recruiters visited the camp daily, often with Brigham or other apostles. Has He not been with you in all your trials?

Has He not provided for your wants?

go Drusilla watched him as he walked through the tall, wet grass, and she worried that her lack of faith would do him more harm than good. He could get hurt traveling on the trail with his family just as easily as he could marching with the battalion.


And if that happened, she would regret having made him stay. Drusilla started breakfast, unsure what to do about William. William returned, and the family gathered for breakfast. As James blessed the food, Drusilla was startled when a man interrupted the camp. Drusilla opened her eyes and saw William staring at her. She studied his face, memorizing each feature.

She knew then that he would join the battalion. And he was deprived of the burial he desired.