"Remarks," Deseret News, 8 October 1856, 244.
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By Heber C. Kimball; Bowery, afternoon of Sept. 28, 1856.
[REPORTED BY G. D. WATT]
I feel very thankful to my Father and my God in regard to the two hand-cart companies that have just come in, led by brs. Ellsworth and McArthur.
I went out with br. Brigham to meet those companies, and when within a mile and a half of the foot of the Little Mountain we left the company that was with us, and drove on until we met Capt. Ellsworth's company. I did not shed any tears, though I could have done so, but they would have been tears of joy; my heart was so full that it was impossible for a tear to pass it; that is the way I felt. Why did I have those feelings? Was it because the company were on foot, dusty and pulling hand-carts? No, for I was aware that they had come into these valleys easier than most, if not all, other companies. Their task was light in comparison with that of the pioneers in 1847, for they had to build bridges, cross deep and wide rivers upon rafts, and make hundreds of miles of road, digging up and throwing out stones and cutting down trees and thick brush.
Br. Mills mentioned, in his song, that crossing the plains with hand-carts was one of the greatest events that ever transpired in this church. I will admit that it is an important event, successfully testing another method for gathering Israel, but its importance is small in comparison with the visitation of the angel of God to the Prophet Joseph, and with the reception of the sacred records from the hand of Moroni at the hill Cumorah.
How does it compare with the vision that Joseph and others had, when they went into a cave in the hill Cumorah, and saw more records than ten men could carry? There were books piled up upon tables, book upon book. Those records this people will yet have, if they accept of the Book of Mormon and observe its precepts, and keep the commandments.
Again, how does it contrast with Joseph's being sent forth with his brethren to search out a location in Jackson county, where the New Jerusalem will be built, where our Father and our God planted the first garden on this earth, and where the New Jerusalem will come to when it comes down from heaven?
I mention these few things by way of contrast with the hand-cart operation; they are events that I have heard Joseph speak of time and time again. . . .
I am very thankful that so many of the brethren have come in with hand-carts; my soul rejoiced, my heart was filled and grew as big as a two-bushel basket. Two companies have come through safe and sound. Is this the end of it? No; there will be millions on millions that will come much in the same way, only they will not have hand-carts, for they will take their bundles under their arms, and their children on their backs and under their arms, and flee; and Zion's people will have to send out relief to them, for they will come when the judgments come on the nations. And you will find that judgments will be more sore upon this people, if they do not repent and lay aside their pride and their animosities, their quarreling and contentions; their disputations among themselves.
Those that have come in with the hand-carts may wonder how this can be, for doubtless many of them thought that they were coming to where it was all peace and harmony, and so remain for ever. So it would, were it not for the wicked ones that come here. You who come with the hand-carts have brought nobody here but yourselves, and probably, as br. Ellsworth said, there are as good people among his company as ever were on the earth, according to their knowledge; and then he said there were some of the worst. I do not doubt it, for he never stopped to select them, but he brought all that happened to be in the net, and there were several kinds, I suppose.
Any man or woman, that has got the Spirit of the Lord, may know that God is with those missionaries who have come in with these companies, and they have made a character for themselves that will live for ever, and they will live for ever; and God bless them for ever, and they shall be blessed for ever. And when br. Brigham, and Heber, and Jedediah, and the Twelve Apostles go through the straight gate into the kingdom, they shall go with us. . .
I presume there were as many devils after those hand-cart companies as ever followed any company of Saints that has left the States, and their object was to defeat them in this attempt, but they have not been permitted to do it.
The elders that go forth and preach the gospel will have to lead hand-cart companies over the plains, and learn to go on foot. Am I not glad? Yes, I rejoice exceedingly. I have prayed for those companies night and day, and I never was more pleased to see any persons than I was to see those brethren and sisters, and the elders that have brought them here. . . .
I hope that the Bishops will step forth and get places for those who have just come in; and I hope that the people will employ them, and not let them lay in their tents, for if they stay there idle they will become sick; but if you set them to work they will not be sick.
I will not tell you to do a thing that I will not do myself. I have spoken to a man that be. Ellsworth gave me an introduction to, and to his wife and child, and to his wife's mother, who is 76 years of age and I am going to provide them a home and set them to work. I told the man that he need not make any calculation on receiving wages, for if I took care of them all I thought I should have plenty to do to feed them and make them comfortable through the winter; for the winter is at hand, and it probably will be a hard one. I will use them as well as I was used when I was in England. I spent seven months in London and established a church there; br. Woodruff was with me, and did not do it with their purse and scrip. That is now a great conference; it is the greatest conference in the world, except this. Listen to what you hear, and tell your neighbors of it; and when it comes spring, do not have it to say that you are without bread. When you get your full rations save one third of them. I feel for this people; my heart is good towards them; I feel kind and generous, and I do all that I can to do them good. But I cannot do everything, and set everybody to work. Every one of you extend the hand of kindness and benevolence to those that have come with the hand carts.—They have shown their faith by their works, and it made the tears come out of your eyes to see them, and God bless them forever and ever; and I pray that not one of them may ever deny the faith.