History of the Church Series
This daily feature is an introduction to a full article by Craig S. Smith. Each Wednesday we focus on an aspect of church history, beginning in New York in the early 19th century and progressing throughout the year to Utah in the 20th century. To read the full text of this article, follow the link below.
The monumental efforts of the Church agents in implementing and achieving a successful Mormon emigration are generally not considered in most studies. Stories of the Mormon emigration typically focus on the faith, sacrifices, and hardships of the emigrants themselves during their trek to Zion. What is usually not examined is the tremendous amount of behind-the-scenes organizing, planning, and preparing required for a successful emigration. Each year, Church leaders and agents began their endless labor months before the Saints embarked on their famous journey. This was especially true for the “down-and-back” Church wagon trains of the 1860s, perhaps the most ingenious and productive of the various emigration experiments implemented by the Church, including the earlier handcarts handcarts.