35. “A Mission of Saving”

The Saints who traveled by handcart are an example of enduring in faith through severe hardship. The rescuers reflect the mission of the Savior to rescue all people from their trials.

“Weather, Disaster, and Responsibility: An Essay on the Willie and Martin Handcart Story,” Howard A. Christy, BYU Studies, Vol. 37, no. 1
Leaders face a responsibility for the safety of those in their stewardship. This article discusses the responsibilities of company leaders in the handcart disasters.

“The Martin Handcart Company at the Sweetwater: Another Look,” Chad M. Orton, BYU Studies, Vol. 45, no. 3
While the story of the brave men who carried many Saints across a freezing-cold river is inspiring, some reports of the experience exaggerate the facts. Such discrepancies should not deter us from admiring those who valiantly saved lives at the river crossing.

Francis Webster: The Unique Story of One Handcart Pioneer’s Faith and Sacrifice, Chad M. Orton, BYU Studies Vol. 45, no. 2
The famous testimony of Francis Webster, a handcart pioneer, implies that none of the Willie and Martin handcart pioneers lost their faith or left the Church. His statement does not acknowledge that a few did, in fact, leave the Church. This article recounts how Webster made financial and personal sacrifices to help many Saints migrate to Utah and endured great hardship in the process.

Mormon Handcart Historic Sites
This website has information about Martin’s Cove, the Sixth Crossing of the Sweetwater River, and Rock Creek Hollow. A short video tells how modern Saints can connect with early Mormon pioneers.