[MUSIC BEGINS] Joseph, the condition of the Saints in Missouri is growing worse. They're near freezing to death in tents by the Missouri River. And not far from starvation either. Nevertheless, we still own our lands in Jackson County. And Governor Dunklin seems sympathetic. He's promised to call out the militia to restore our people back to their homes. But he won't leave troops to protect them. He says we have to provide our own guards. [INTERPOSING VOICES] Shh. Shh. Shh. Joseph, we have to help somehow.

Brethren, the time has come to do as the Lord has commanded. I will go to Zion and redeem it. I call for the voice of the council to sanction my going. Aye. Aye. Aye. Aye. Now, if you will go with me to Missouri and keep my counsel, I promise you, in the name of the Almighty, that I shall lead you there and back again.

And that not a hair of your head shall be harmed.

Now, who will go with me? [SOUNDS OF GENERAL ACCLAMATION] When the Prophet told us about the revelation to redeem Zion and help the Saints who had been forced out of their homes in Missouri, I was just 16 years old, the youngest member of Zion's Camp, or so the Prophet Joseph called us. [SINGING IN BACKGROUND] After months of recruiting volunteers, we left Kirtland on the 5th of May, 1834. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young lead the march. My cousin Jessie and I enjoyed the time together, and with our other cousin, the Prophet Joseph. Their armor bright, With courage bold they stand, Enlisting soldiers for their King-- We also learned from the example of others, like Sylvester Smith, Heber C. Kimball, and Parley P. Pratt. For volunteers, On Zion's bright and-- We thought God would make us an invincible army. We learned He had something else in mind.

Lord's going to make you a good soldier yet. Yeah. George.

They're already broken in. Thanks.

Who even thinks we're going to eat this? Do you believe this? I think I've had about enough. I'm not going to eat this mess!

You'll see the movings of the Lord all through this journey.

Hey, boy. Where are you from? From the East, sir.

Who's leading this camp, boy?

Sometimes one, sometimes another.

God of Israel leads the camp.


Any water left in that barrel?

It's bad, poison. Then we have no more fresh water.

Did you hear that? There's no more water. No more fresh water.

Water. Water! Water. Water.

Our plight touched Joseph's sympathy, and he turned to the Lord to deliver us. Some said it was as much a miracle was when Moses smote the rock and water came out.

As the Lord lives, this camp will suffer a severe scourge because of wickedness. Now, if you will repent and humble yourselves, the scourge might be lessened. But if not, I say, in the name of the Lord, we will die, like sheep with the rot.

Aim! Fire! When we reached Missouri, we practiced military drills and exercises. Joseph also sent Orson Hyde and Parley Pratt to accept the proposal by Governor Dunklin to reinstate the Saints in Jackson County. Fearing a civil conflict, however, the governor backed down. Nevertheless, we set out hoping to finally reach the oppressed Saints in Clay County with supplies. But after crossing the Little Fishing River and before crossing the Big Fishing River, Joseph felt impressed that we should go no further. So we followed the Prophet's counsel and set up camp in the fork of these two rivers, near a small Baptist church.

Rider's crossing the river! [GUNSHOTS] Which one of you is Joseph Smith? Smith, we said, Smith! Come on out now!

Gentlemen, our intentions are peaceful. You're going to be dead before the night's through. I got over 300 men coming. And we're going to slaughter ever last one of you. [LAUGHING] This is what we came for. We're ready to fight, Joseph. [ALL TOGETHER] Yeah!

The Lord will protect us, brethren.

[SOUND OF THUNDER IN DISTANCE] Stand still and see the salvation of God.

Are you all ready? Let's get to moving. You aren't afraid of a storm, are you? George, watch out for the tent! Be careful!

Where are my glasses? Yeah, I'll find them. Where are my glasses? I can't find them. Yeah, I got them. Got them!

Come on, let's go. George! Jesse! Go to the church. Go, go, go.

Come on, we can't fight that river.

Both rivers have risen about 40 feet. No one's coming across tonight.

Brethren, God is in this storm.

The trumpets sound, the armies shout, They drive the hosts of hell-- What's the matter? Let's go. How dreadful is our God, our King, the great Emanuel!

Sinners, enlist with Jesus Christ, Th'eternal Son of God, And march with us to Zion's land, Beyond the swirling flood. Hark, listen to the trumpeters! They sound for volunteers, On Zion's bright and flow'ry mount Behold the officers. Their horses white, their armor bright, with courage bold they stand, Enlisting soldiers for their King, to march to Zion's land.

God turned away the gathering mob with the artillery of heaven, but we soon learned He would not save us from a more deadly enemy, our own contention. The things which I require, at their hands. That's correct. Now, go to where I left off. Therefore, it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion. Wait for a little season?

The Lord said He would defend us. And we've already seen His mighty hand lifted in our behalf.

Now, the Lord has revealed to me, that we will not fight our enemies in Missouri. He will fight our battles for us. We came all this way to turn around and go home? I'm fully satisfied that we have done the will of God, and that the Lord has accepted our sacrifice. This whole thing was for nothing? Look, we came to fight! Not turn tail and run! [TOGETHER] Yeah! I say we go and fight. Let's fight. Yeah, let's do it.

The scourge of God won't be held back.

Joseph's prophetic warning was fulfilled, as the predicted scourge swept through the camp, the dreaded cholera.

68 people were stricken and 14 died. Who leads the camp? The God of Israel.

[CRYING] It should have been me who died, not Jesse. George, your work is not done. He could have served the Church much better than me. You don't know the mind of the Lord in these things, George.

Not yet.

Those who felt that Zion's Camp was a failure did not understand the deeper purposes of the Lord. Individual testimonies were tested and strengthened. And it was a time of preparation for the future leaders in the kingdom. Just a few months after returning to Kirtland, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the first Quorum of the Seventies were organized. Some of you were angry with me that you did not fight in Missouri. But let me tell you, God did not want you to fight. He could not organize His Kingdom with 12 men to open the gospel door to all the nations of the earth and with 70 men under their direction, unless He took them from a body of men who had offered their lives, and who had made as great a sacrifice as did Abraham.

Of the original 12 Apostles called by the Lord in this dispensation, nine faithfully endured Zion's Camp. All seven Presidents of the Seventies Quorum and every member of that Quorum also served on the march.

Later in my life, I too was called to be an Apostle of the Lord. And I've often pondered what the Lord said. "Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation. Be still and know that I am God."

Zion's Camp

(D&C 105) Several events from the march of Zion's Camp show how it fulfilled the purposes of God.

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