Even among the pioneer stories, no image is more iconic or moving than the pioneers who traveled not by wagon, but by handcart. And we are sobered and inspired as we hear the story of tragedy and rescue surrounding the Martin and Willie handcart companies. This episode explores these important stories and discussion will cover the following:
1) Overview of how we talk about the handcart companies in the Church
2) The handcart travels in context (how many of the pioneers came by handcart, when, why etc)
3) an overview of the stories of the Martin and Willie Handcart companies
4) The Sweetwater River rescue
5) Discussion of Francis Webster’s testimony about his experiences
One Time Donation:
Questions to discuss
- How can we benefit from our suffering and hardships?
- How can we separate out those benefits from the idea that those hardships were “meant to” happen?
- How can do what is required of us and serve others in a responsible way?
- How do we know when people need to be “rescued”?
- How can we effectively “rescue” others?
Join Andrew, Konden, and Alyssa for a thought-provoking and enriching discussion.
You can access my Lesson Notes here.
You can access the Assigned Reading here.
- Ardis Parshall’s blog post on this lesson
- Stories about women crossing the Sweetwater River to rescue others
- BYU Studies article on the Sweetwater crossing
- BYU Studies article on Francis and Betsy Webster (the man known for rebuking critics of the Handcart companies)
- Religious Studies article on the Sweetwater crossing
- Sweetwater rescue on the Mormon Channel
- Will Bagley’s sobering overview of the Martin and Willie Handcart disasters
- “The Good Show” on RadioLab, especially the part about why people rescue others they don’t know
- The “Carnegie Hero Fund” mentioned in the above podcast.
Many thanks to Devin Roth for the beautiful bumper music. Check out his arrangement of hymns and other work at DevinRothMusic!
Thanks to Nathan Jones for his high quality post-production.