July 22, 2015

Day 6: Winter Quarters

Winter Quarters in Omaha, Nebraska is a solemn place.  After being driven from Nauvoo, thousands of early Mormon immigrants built a temporary dwelling place to weather out the winter together.

The Saints suffered with much illness throughout this winter.  Hundreds died, most of them women and young children.  

The first grave they found when trying to locate Winter Quarters was Amy Porter.  She died along with her young twins Joseph and Benjamin.  She could barely speak, but prayed that the rest of her family would make it to Salt Lake safely.  They did.  Historical research has shown that all of her ancestors have remained faithful to the Church throughout the years.

I don't believe Amy Porter died in vain.  I believe she died as a martyr for a religion she believed to be true.  I believe she worked as an angel, with her sons to help her family make the trek West.  

Believing that "Life is Eternal" is the only way that Winter Quarters is more than an absolute tragedy.  
I believe that death is temporary, and that often, death is merciful.

As my own children ran around my feet in a place where so many other children had died, I felt the pain of so many parents.  I also felt a sense of peace.  

Suffering had ended.  I believe often men act in unconscionable ways when they act in mob mentality.  Often evil is popular.  These children died as martyrs and I imagine those who had a hand in pushing them from their homes have since suffered with the realization of their actions.

We pushed a handcart,
And looked at cows.
I was grateful for my little family, grateful for my life, and grateful for my a religion.

Gird up your loins
Fresh courage take,
Our God will never
Us forsake.

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