It was October 4, 1856 when President Franklin D. Richards and his group had just returned to Salt Lake City. The day was warm, past 70 degrees. It was that day that he informed Brigham Young that some 1,300 people were still on the trail – traveling by handcart, hundreds of miles from the Salt Lake Valley.“Stories of [the rescue of the Willie and Martin Handcarts companies], need to be repeated again and again. They speak of the very essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” - President Gordon B. Hinckley (Ensign, November 1996).
It would be two weeks before the first winter storm would arrive, but the prophet Brigham Young immediately sensed the urgency to send out rescuers to those who were still out on the trail.
The following day was General Conference, in which President Brigham Young opened by saying:
“On [this,] the 5th day of October, 1856, many of our brethren and sisters are on the plains with handcarts, . . . and they must be brought here, we must send assistance to them. The text [of this General Conference] will be, ‘to get them here’. . .
"That is my religion; that is the dictation of the Holy Ghost that I possess. It is to save the people . . . This is the salvation I am now seeking for, to save our brethren that would be apt to perish, or suffer extremely, if we do not send them assistance. . .”
“I will tell you all that your faith, religion, and profession of religion, will never save one soul of you in the celestial kingdom of our God, unless you carry out just principles as I am now teaching you. Go and bring in those people now on the plains, and attend strictly to those things which we call temporal, or temporal duties, otherwise your faith will be in vain; the preaching you have heard will be in vain.”
CLICK HERE to read about The Price We Paid
by Andrew D. Olsen