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Exodus

On September 24, 1845, an agreement was reached between Latter-day Saints and Anti-Mormons of the area that if the Saints were left alone, they would leave Illinois “when the grass grows in the spring.” This agreement worked until January 1846, when rumors reached Nauvoo that federal marshals—who were not party to any agreements—were coming to arrest Mormon leaders or otherwise block their departure.

The Exodus began on February 4, 1846 when Charles Shumway yoked his oxen and took them across the Mississippi on flatboat. In the next few weeks, a few hundred left Nauvoo. In April, May, and June, Saints left by the thousands from the Upper and Lower Steamboat Landings, the Nauvoo House Landing, and every ferry between Warsaw and Burlington.

Waystations were established across Iowa. Encampments at Garden Grove and Mount Pisgah were created to help Mormons on their way to Winter Quarters on the Missouri River. From there, they prepared for the next leg of their journey.

Parley P. Pratt spoke in the Temple on October 6, 1845 about the sacrifices being made. “This temple, our houses, our farms, will all stand as so many monuments to our friends, our neighbors, and enemies, of our industry, diligence, and virtue.”

As Wilford Woodruff drove his wagon to the Iowa bluffs, he looked back across the river. He wrote in his journal, “I looked upon the temple and City as they receded from view and asked the Lord to remember

the sacrifices of his Saints.”

Above the window on the east wall of the Temple’s Assembly Hall, was this invitation in gold lettering:

The Lord has Beheld Our Sacrifice: Come After Us.

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