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the Saints of much of their grasshopper problem (Our Heritage 81-82). Productivity increased after this. In fact, a traveler once noted, A more orderly, earnest, industrious and civil people, I have never been among than these, and it is in- credible how much they have done here in the wilderness in so short a time. In this city which contains about from four to five thousand inhabitants, I have not met in a citizen a single idler, or any person who looks like a loafer. Their prospects for crops are fair, and there is a spirit and energy in all that you see that cannot be equaled in any city of any size that I have ever been in. (Our Heritage 83) Others would arrive and assist in this great work, and after a short time, handcart companies were made to help lower the cost. Ten such handcart companies journeyed to Utah during the years between 1856 and 1860. Most of these companies were successful, but two were not, the Willie and Martin companies. Caught in winter weather, the Saints in these companies suffered greatly and lost much. However, many who experienced this difficult trial held a positive attitude afterwards (Our Heritage 77-78). Many of the Saints experienced hardship on their journey to Utah, but the travel was worth it and it shaped many a great person. At their destination of Utah, the Saints thrived under the direction of Brigham Young. Our Heritage ex- plains that the Saints would soon explore the surrounding area, where good resources were found. Land specu- lation was discouraged and wise stewardship encouraged. The Perpetual Emigrating Fund was created in 1849 to assist the poor who came the area. Missionaries were also called and sent out to places around the world, including Italy and Scandinavia (Our Heritage 83-84). The Saints were finally able to do as they desired, free from much of the persecution that they had previously endured. They used this freedom wisely and became an orga- nized, productive, and happy people. The Mormon Pioneer Trail served a very important purpose for the Saints. It helped them to come to their home in Utah safely and effectively. In fact, Wallace Stegner, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author, stated, “They were the most systematic, organized, disciplined, and successful pioneers in our history. Where Oregon emi- grants and argonauts bound for the gold fields lost practically all their social cohesion enroute, the Mormons moved like the Host of Israel they thought themselves. Far from loosening their social organization, the trail per- fected it” (qtd. in Fleek). The Saints definitely did well on their journey to Utah. As Our Heritage explains, even a separate party of Saints, who went around South Africa by sea, fared well. Their death rate, in spite of a 17,000- mile journey complete with storms, bad food and water, and about six months at sea, was about five percent. Amid such difficulty, two babies, Atlantic and Pacific, were born (Our Heritage). The Saints were not the only ones to use the Mormon Pioneer Trail. Sherman Fleek explains that the Trail was used by other travelers, such as those of the Pony Express. It was also the site of historic events, such as the First Sioux War (Fleek). The Trail was even named a National Historic Trail. The Mormon Pioneer Trail was a big step for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one that is full of stories of awe and inspiration. There was much sacrifice and pain for the Saints in traveling such a distance, but the rewards were magnificent. This trail was not only important for the Saints, but also for the colonization of the western United States. The Mormon pioneers and their trail affected the course of history and continue to do so today. Works Cited Fleek, Sherman. "The Mormon Trail Played An Integral Role In The Westward." Wild West 10.1 (1997): 20. Academic Search Complete. Web. 25 Mar. 2016. Naumu, Sierra. “Death in the Trek: A Study of Mormon Pioneer Mortality.” BYU News. Brigham Young Universi- ty, 14 July 2014. Web. 10 November 2015. Our Heritage: A Brief History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1996. Print. Sorenson, Stan E. World History, From a Latter-Day Saint Perspective. 3.1. n.p. 1993. Print. 34
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