Scripture Stories
Chapter 62: The Saints Establish Winter Quarters: 1846–1847
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“Chapter 62: The Saints Establish Winter Quarters: 1846–1847,” Doctrine and Covenants Stories (2002), 222–24

“Chapter 62,” Doctrine and Covenants Stories, 222–24

Chapter 62

The Saints Establish Winter Quarters

1846–1847

Doctrine and Covenants stories

The Saints had hoped that some of them could make it to the Rocky Mountains in 1846. But Brigham Young realized they should wait until the next year. They needed to get better prepared. They also needed strong men for the journey, and many of the men were with the Mormon Battalion.

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Some Indians agreed to let the Saints use some land across the river from Council Bluffs. In September the Saints began building a town there, which they called Winter Quarters (see the map on page 190). They planted crops and built over 700 homes.

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Brigham Young divided Winter Quarters into wards and chose men to be bishops to watch over the members of each ward. The pioneers built a fence around the town for protection.

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While the Saints were in Winter Quarters, the Lord gave Brigham Young a revelation concerning the journey to the west. The Lord told Brigham what the Saints should do to get ready and what they should do as they traveled.

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The Lord said the people should be divided into small groups, each with a leader. The people should obey their leaders. They should help each other, especially the poor, the widows, and those who did not have fathers.

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The Lord said each group should have its own wagons and food. Each group should also have people who knew how to fix the wagons, build bridges, build homes, and plant crops.

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The Lord told the Saints they should keep His commandments. They should not fight. They should say good things about each other, not bad things. They should be honest and give back things they borrowed or found.

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The Lord wanted the pioneers to be happy. He told them to sing, dance, and pray together. He promised to help them if they were sad or afraid. He said their trials would help them be prepared to receive the great blessings He had for them.

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Brigham Young did what the Lord told him to do. He divided the people into groups. Each group had everything it would need to build a city in the mountains.

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The months the pioneers spent at Winter Quarters were very difficult. They suffered greatly from disease, hunger, and cold, and more than 700 of them died. Despite their trials, they remained strong in their faith and worked hard to get ready for their journey.