Doctrine and Covenants Lesson #26
The Kirtland Saints made great sacrifices to serve missions, keep unity among the members, and to support the Church financially. While the Twelve and other men served missions in this era, their wives and children also sacrificed at home.
"The Record of the Twelve, 1835: The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles' Call and 1835 Mission," Ronald K. Esplin and Sharon E. Nielsen, BYU Studies, Vol. 51, no. 1
Here is the story of the Twelve Apostles' first mission. The "Record of the Twelve" contains minutes of the 1835 meeting in which the Twelve Apostles (Thomas B. Marsh, David W. Patten, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, William E. McLellin, Parley P. Pratt, Luke Johnson, William Smith, Orson Pratt, John F. Boynton, and Lyman E. Johnson) were called. Then Joseph Smith proposed that their first mission would be to the Eastern States. They left Kirtland in May 1835 and travelled (usually two by two) to New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts, preaching along the way and meeting with groups of Saints, and returned to Kirtland in September 1835. They experienced many trials, as described by Heber C. Kimball: "I suffered severely from fatigue and blistered feet, which were sometimes so sore I could not wear my boots nor proceed without. I was frequently threatened and reviled by unbelievers, and had great difficulty in finding places to sleep and procuring food to eat."
"Take Special Care of Your Family," Lisa Olsen Tait and Chad M. Orton, from Revelations in Context
Although Brigham Young's missions required arduous travel, often in the face of poverty, sickness, and harsh weather, Brigham went willingly. "It has never entered into my heart," he later declared, "from the first day I was called to preach the Gospel to this day, when the Lord said, 'Go and leave your family,' to offer the least objection."
His wife, Mary Ann, did not offer any objection either, even when missions and Church service took Brigham from home about half the time during their first five years together.
Missionary Work, in all the world
"The Mormon Missionary: Who Is That Knocking at My Door?," Robert L. Lively Jr., BYU Studies, Vol. 55, no. 1
Robert Lively describes the life of modern missionaries from an outsider's perspective. He conducted hundreds of interviews and compiled them, describing missionaries of the 1940s traveling without purse or scrip, missionaries learning languages, and the experiences of sister missionaries.
"The Cultural Impact of Mormon Missionaries on Taiwan," Richard B. Stamps, BYU Studies, Vol. 41, no. 4