Article of the Week | BYU Studies

Article of the Week

February 12, 2018
Article of the Week
"We Believe the Hand of the Lord Is in It": Memories of Divine Intervention in the Zion's Camp Expedition
Author Matthew C. Godfrey,

This daily feature is the introduction to a full article by Matthew C. Godfrey that was published in our newest issue, 56:4. To read the full text of this article, follow the link below.

Although the members of Zion's Camp returned to Ohio not having accomplished their goal of restoring the persecuted Mormons to their rightful land, participants generally did not regard the expedition as a failure. One of the main reasons they felt the effort was valuable was because they believed the hand of God and his intervention was prevalent throughout the journey. Some accounts of divine intervention are present in contemporary Zion's Camp documents, but they become more frequent and detailed in reminiscences and autobiographies written later by camp members. The increase in mentions of divine intervention does not mean that these later memories are necessarily false, embellished, or exaggerated. Rather, it shows that the events of the Camp of Israel took on additional meaning to indi­viduals as they progressed through life and had additional experiences. The author examines the varying accounts, acknowledging conflicting information that often arises when memories are recorded over time. This article looks at accounts of the camp grouped into these categories: inspiring individuals to volunteer for the camp or donate money; providing food and water for the camp; chastisement of participants; healing the sick; and providing protection from the elements.