"A Word to the Wise," Frontier Guardian, 23 Jan. 1850, 2.
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We are placed here to give counsel to the Church in the States, and to act as an agent, in many things, for the Church in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. Any document from that place, executed by the proper authorities of the Church, and addressed to us, will meet with the most prompt attention that our circumstances and ability may allow us to give it. It cannot be expected, neither would it be a safe principle for the Council here to lend all their aid and influence to sustain and carry out a measure that would effect the whole Church here and also at the Salt Lake Valley, upon verbal testimony only, when the authorities there can as easily write as speak. If men coming from the Valley to this section, have received their orders there verbally, the fault is theirs if they do not execute them in the regions where they are sent. But if any particular move is required of us in Pottawatamie we expect to see that requisition in writing from under the hands of the Presidency of the whole church; until we see that, we cannot feel authorized to digress from our former written instructions, however respectfully we may regard the verbal testimony of individuals. Instructions and commandments given to Br. Thos. S. Johnson by word of mouth in the Valley, are not commandments to the authorities of the Church here. We consider it in due season for us to lend our aid and influence in favor of any measure, after we get positive instructions to do so.
Before the Council here could say to the people as Br. Johnson did, that every person who could raise enough to cross the Plains, and barely have provisions enough to last him to the Valley, even if he should have nothing to purchase with when he arrived there, ought to go, and that he would take the responsibility of providing for them. However charitable and benevolent his feelings might have been, the Council could not feel to rely upon his responsibility without the concurrent testimony of the Church in the Valley, which was daily looked for by our last mail. He might have been right, and he might have been wrong: We did not know until the mail came through, but that if we should send a great many poor people, it might prove disastrous to them and ruinous to the settlement. We considered that a little cool calculation would be better and safer than an extravagant zeal and heated words which were altogether unnecessary; for if we were not officially instructed to crowd the emigration faster than its natural current, no individual zeal, however burning, could influence us to do it. Since the mail has arrived, we learn, by various letters, and by the testimony of some thirty or forty men, that they will be prepared to receive all the emigrants that we can send there, rich and poor together. Well, God be thanked for their prosperity in the wilderness. If there is fertility enough in any soil to produce a living, the Mormons are just the folks that will have it! We would say, however, that we do not believe that those in the Valley can give away their eatables without a compensation,--take therefore, all that you can to buy with; and it is our opinion that a few extra groceries--a few barrels of flour, and several odd things in the eating line, would be no serious detriment to any poor person after he arrives there, to last him while he can situate himself in a house, and prepare to labor for more. But up for the Valley! While the tide and current flow, push off your boat,--dash over the sea of prairie, and land in your desired haven.