Letters Home: The Immigrant View From Nauvoo

The thousands of immigrants drawn to Nauvoo arrived with expectations and concerns. For many, settling there would afford the first opportunity to meet the Prophet and hear his discourses—a spiritual highlight of their lives. The Saints also looked forward to the promised temple blessings. They gathered to help build the temple and to receive their endowments and sealings. But sacrifices for religious benefits were accompanied by economic concerns. Many Saints, especially those from the British Isles, left their homelands expecting financial betterment. Even relocating Americans expressed hopes that Nauvoo’s prosperity would benefit their own families. Some Latter-day Saints hesitated to respond to the spirit of the gathering because of the unknowns of the Mississippi frontier. Could they recover losses from selling their established farms or businesses? Was the cost of moving across an ocean or half a continent worthwhile?

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