In western Ohio the missionaries found another tribe of Indians with whom they stayed a few days. They then went to Cincinnati and from that city to the mouth of the Ohio river by boat. It was now very cold, and the river was so blocked with ice that the boat could go no farther. The missionaries therefore walked the rest of the distance to St. Louis and from there across the state of Missouri to its western boundary.
The snow was deep, there were no beaten roads, the houses were few and far between, and the wind blew fierce and cold. For days they had nothing to eat but corn bread and frozen pork; but at last they reached the town of Independence, in Jackson county, Missouri, which was then near to the Indian country.
The elders now took up their labors among the Indians. They were kindly received, and the chief called a council which Oliver Cowdery addressed. The Book of Mormon was presented to them and explained, and they became very much interested. The sectarian preachers heard about this and complained to the Indian agent, who ordered the elders off the Indian lands. So after but a few days of preaching the elders had to leave. They went back to Jackson county and preached to the white settlers, some of whom believed the word of God and were added to the Church. Four of the elders remained at Independence, while Bro. Pratt was sent back to Kirtland to report their labors.
Topics.—1. Parley P. Pratt. 2. The first mission to the Indians. 3. At Kirtland. 4. Journey to Independence and preaching to Indians.
Questions and Review.—1. Who was Parley P. Pratt? 2. Name some of the books he wrote. 3. Give a brief sketch of his life. 4. Name those who went on the first mission for the Church. 5. What was the special object of this mission? 6. About how far is it from Fayette to Independence, Mo.? 7. Where is Kirtland? 8. What leading men were converted there? 9. How did Bro. Pratt escape from the officer? 10. How did people travel in those days? 11. Why were the missionaries forbidden to preach among the Indians?
Removal to Ohio.
The scriptures often speak of a time in the latter days when the people of God shall be gathered together to build up the Lord’s kingdom and prepare for his second coming. The gospel should be preached to all the world, and those who would believe should go out from Babylon, or the wicked world, and came together with the people of the Lord. Every elder who has been on a mission will tell you that as soon as persons accept the gospel, a desire comes to them to gather with the main body of the Saints. Thus the Lord puts the spirit of gathering into the hearts of the believers, and his purposes are fulfilled.
The Lord told the prophet Joseph that the time for this gathering had come, and that the central gathering place for the Saints on this land was somewhere in the West, though at first the exact location was not told him.