church history, mormon studies, latter-day saints, Nauvoo, rescue


I have felt sensibly there was a good deal of suffering among the saints in Nauvoo, as there has been amongst us, but the Lord God who has fed us all the day long, has his care still over us and when the saints are chastened enough, it will cease. I have ever believed the Lord would suffer a general massacre of this people by a mob. If ten thousand men were to come against us, and no other way was open for our deliverance, the earth would swallow them up (Journal History, 27 Sept. 1846). These were the words of Brigham Young to his Mormon followers at the first Sunday services held at Winter Quarters on a wind-swept rise of land on the west side of the city's proposed Main Street. Daniel H. Wells and William Cutler had brought the sobering news into camp just two days before that Nauvoo had been overrun in the skirmish known as the Nauvoo Battle. The subsequent sufferings of the dispossessed and starving citizens of Nauvoo spurred Brigham and his fellow apostles into even greater relief action than that already underway. "Let the fire of the covenant which you made in the House of the Lord, burn in your hearts, like flame unquenchable," he reminded the Saints, "Till you, by yourselves or delegates. . . [can] rise up with his team and go straightway and bring a load of the poor from Nauvoo . . . [for] this is a day of action and not of argument (Journal History, 28 Sept. 1846).

Original Publication Citation

Eastward to Eden: The Nauvoo Rescue Missions. Dialogue - Journal of Mormon Thought. Vol. 19 (Winter 1986): 1-18. This article awarded prize for best scholarly article in 1986. Used by permission.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Dialogue - Journal of Mormon Thought




Religious Education


Church History and Doctrine