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1849, Oct 12 - Jones, Dan - To Wm Phillips

Bank of the Green River, October 12, 1849.

Dear Brother Phillips, From between what seems like showers, with the frequency and importance of tasks, I snatch the opportunity at midnight to greet you, yes, from the extremes of this distant wilderness. And even though our local distance increases continually, yet that, nor anything else that befalls me on this lengthy and strange journey, will alienate my thoughts, my feelings of love or my prayers from you, from my other dear brothers in the priesthood, the kind Saints, children of my begetting in Jesus Christ, nor cause me to forget the vineyard of my Lord, the garden of my planting and my flock in Wales.

My conscience is peaceful ever since I left you with respect to every teaching that I preached, every doctrine that I taught, and every organization that I established before leaving you, and daily I pray the God who owns the vineyard to watch over it in all things. I entrusted the Saints seriously to the care of their various presidents, and I taught and proclaimed their duties to them, so they did not have to be ignorantly led about in error; and great the privilege, awesome the responsibility, grave the consideration; you and your counselors were selected as watchmen over everyone there. O, remember my counsels, follow my example as I followed the sound doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ. Be an example to the Saints in humility, tenderness, patience, love and all the fruits of godliness; so that when you are as close to the chief earthly fold as I am, you will enjoy looking back on your work, and joyfully think about giving an accounting. O, how lovely it is for me now to think of my efforts day and night while there, even though in my body every day I felt torture and pain that they caused me.

I do not feel so fearful about the cause there after leaving you as at first I thought I would feel; the reason for that is that I know that God is with you still, and His Spirit is guiding you according to your request from Him; and frequently we receive here a short and exceedingly sweet message with the speed of the mind, by means of a mail coach of which the world knows nothing; for our Father, at our petition, tells us about you!

Perhaps you are thinking that we are at the end of our journey by now; but the main causes that have kept us longer than some who went before us are that there were so many rainstorms on the first 300 miles of our journey that it was difficult to travel because the wheels of the covered wagons would often sink very deep in the mire, and also that after we came to the highland, the grazing was and still is very scarce for the animals. And this is not strange when you consider that from six to seven thousand covered wagons, each pulled by three to six yoke of oxen, besides several thousand cattle, sheep, mules, and horses, have passed along this road during this summer toward the paradise of the Saints and the country of gold; these consume much of the grass, but If you add to these all the thousands of buffaloes, antelope, elk, &c., who own, by poor grazing, this wilderness and desolate, parched land, this together with other considerations caused us to slow down and be content if we could travel but ten to twelve miles each day, and it was proved to our satisfaction before that this is the only way we can complete our journey. There is hardly a day that we do not come across skeletons of the oxen of those who went before us on the roadside, a monument to their foolishness in traveling too fast at the beginning of a journey as long as this one.

Not so with us or the other Saints, thanks to the God who has preserved us. Whereas others leave their animals, their covered wagons, and thousands of dollars' worth of their provisions along the road, we are enabled, through the blessing of God, to wend our way steadily and comfortably along, although slowly; and while we find the graves of others often alongside the road, we rejoice and give thanks, as will you, that no one has died in our camp since we left Council Bluffs, nor has there been hardly any sickness. We have been on this journey now for over three months and have traveled 863 ½ miles, have ascended to the height of over 7,000 feet above sea level; and almost unawares we have been surrounded on nearly every side by snowy tops of the Rocky Mountains, which perpetually dwell in the white clouds. O, majestic sights!! They are beyond description.

There are between us and the Salt Lake Valley still 164 miles; yet I am confident that this journey will be finished within fifteen days, with the blessing of our God. O, hail, blessed day! All the Welsh who are here with me are living as befits the Saints, acknowledging God in all their ways and praising Him morning and night for keeping them until now from the captivity of persecuting Babylon, until their sweet voices resound in unison in the massive rocks around us, and we almost believe that they with their melodious voices charm the wolves who play outside our camp at dusk and so far have rendered them as harmless to us as our flock of sheep.

Since about a week ago nature has put on her white wedding gown as if to receive some new inhabitants in the fissures of these everlasting mountains; it spread a white carpet before the door of some who had not taken care to close the cover of their wagon before night! The snow piled up between the wagons so that we did not see some of our neighbors until the evening; but we did not die in the snow this time according to the prophecies of our enemies. The sun shone pleasantly the second morning! The earth soon changed her garment, and soon between 200 and 300 wagons could be seen in a majestic row climbing the steep slopes while all were singing the songs of Zion; and we made camp in the evening under the crimson smile of the sun of the Western world. The Saints from the Valley sent more than eighty yoke of oxen over 300 miles to meet us, and great is the help they are to us. This is brotherly love worthy of emulating, and we anticipate more each day. All the news we have from the Valley brings joy to our hearts. May thousands of the race of Gomer soon come after us to the freedom of this country.

The Saints have formed a state in California by the name of the state of "Deseret" (search the Book of Mormon for the meaning of the word!) and have sent a petition to the American government for a dispensation to that effect, which, if granted now, will fulfill many a prophecy, such as "Your officials will be from yourselves," & "I shall restore your judges as before, and your councils as in the beginning." At this time the state officials will be inspired, and without this arrangement it is impossible for the "kingdom of God" to be fully established and for its laws to be administered on earth. Everything works to the good of the Saints in the end, and the whole earth will know that before much longer.

The Welsh are holding up under the difficulties of this journey, and are learning to drive oxen better than my expectations, and are winning praise from all the other camps of the Saints for their organization, their virtue and their skill, and especially for their singing.

I need not enlarge further here on advice concerning things and preparations for the journey to those who shall come after us, because Apostles G. A. Smith and E. T. Benson and myself have written all those things in great detail to Bro. Williams Morgans, who is the president of the Welsh settlement in Council Bluffs, and have asked him to send it to be published in the Udgorn Seion. How far will Brother Davis sound his "Trumpet" now? My heart longs to hear its voice; I haven't seen one since I saw you. Send me at least fifty of every number, as you are able, through the hand of Bro. Pratt. I hope that Bro. Davis is receiving regularly the newspaper that O. Hyde publishes in Council Bluffs, according to the agreement I made there. If the above-mentioned directions reach you, publish them in the Udgorn so that the other Saints who follow us can have, for free, the information that we had to purchase. May they study them carefully for their benefit.

I know not when I shall get to see you and the dear Saints there; but I know this, that it is the true wish of my heart to see all of you here with me in Zion. I long more and more continually for your friendship, your church meetings and the marvelous conferences that we had.

Some of the Saints are worried because the Cholera Morbus snatched away so many of our dear brothers and sisters on our journey from St. Louis to Council Bluffs, lest that counteract the cause of God in Wales and keep their dear relatives and friends from following them; but I say, as Job of old with an easy conscience, "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord!" in spite of how painful it was to my feelings under the circumstances for death to cruelly tear my dear ones from my bosom. And I fear that the persecutors of the Saints in Wales have a more necessary task nearer to home than to set anything foolish against the religion of Christ because of the death of His Saints.

With respect to the emigration from Wales here, I will say again as I wrote before, Come on! Oh, that all could come rapidly. Open the gates, proclaim all the bondsmen of Babylon fee to come to Zion, yet in an orderly way; not through flight for a while yet. In spite of that, everyone who can get hold of 7 to 8 pounds in his pocket to get underway, counsel him to come to Council Bluffs, where he can meet with loving Welsh brothers and sisters with their arms wide open to receive him, and direct him if he cannot come along the way without stopping. By saying this I do not intend for you to harm the vineyard of God by driving away too many of the workers at once, but do this in an organized way. May a shipful come at once, and select seven brave and faithful elders to be in council in their midst, which will be of one heart and one mind, to keep them all out of the clutches of the devil, ,for they will be without doubt tried worse and a thousand times more than in Wales. There is but the Day of Judgment that will prove the work, the worry, and the fatigue that I went through to keep them all from the wolves until now.

With respect to the wealthy who pay the cost of the poor to come over, let them prepare their hearts to forgive them everything if, in spite of everything, they repay them with unkindness; yet, let them not weary in well doing, for their reward will be greater from God. The elders will have their arms full to guide all of them here who profess every faithfulness before beginning, yet they strive more and more. O, how valuable is the Spirit of God on this journey for nurturing unity and love and warding off conflict; without this, not even an angel could lead a company across, I suppose. Pray daily for more of it.

My health is not yet as good as I would wish by far, nor as good in the last weeks as it was; and if it be possible under the weight of this heavy burden for any man to get better, I request an interest in the prayers of my kind brothers and the dear Saints, for strength each day to serve them continually.

Remember me and my wife and all the Saints here to your dear wife and your family and your counselors. Be one in heart.

Remember me lovingly to the council and Saints of Merthyr, Dowlais, Aberdare, Hirwaun, Monmouthshire, &c. But what am I doing by starting to name names; like children of my bowels I love all without exception. May the gracious God bless them and keep them to eternal life.

Remember me to the faithful presidents of the conferences, and the branches. Let them remember my counsels to them in the last conference and always, and that which I proclaimed.

Remember me lovingly to all the Saints, which is all I can say to them now so far away from them, by earnestly pleading with them, as God would plead with them through me for them, for the sake of their own souls, to behave according to godliness in all things, so that the very glorious name which they took on themselves will not be scorned; bid them to listen to the advice of the priesthood, to pray to God, and live lovingly, honestly, chastely and righteously; for thus they shall have an abundant entrance into the eternal resting place of their God.

Now, dear Saints, farewell to you all for a while, although I have more things to declare than I am able now from here. May the gracious Lord bless you all with His spirit abundantly, and keep you in the midst of persecution and strengthen you in trials and save you all in His kingdom is the sincere prayer of

Yours brother, &c.

D. Jones



Jones, Dan


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