(As I immigrated to America) The Prophet Joseph Smith was at the pier. At first glance I could tell it was him, by his noble expression. He came on board to shake hands and welcome us by many encouraging words, and express his thankfulness that we had arrived in safety. As he could not stay with us, he sent Apostle Geo. A. Smith to preach on board. “What did you come here for?” asked he. “To be instructed in the ways of the Lord,” answered someone. [Apostle Smith said,] “I tell you, you have come to the thrashing floor, and after you have been thrashed and pounded you will have to go through the fanning mill, where the chaff will be blown away and the wheat remain.” (The troubles of Nauvoo were just coming upon them).
You may also recall that on June 30, 2002, during the final dedicatory service of the rebuilt Nauvoo Temple, President Gordon B. Hinckley extended a heartfelt request that those present in the temple take time upon leaving the service to walk down Parley Street. He asked that, as they did so, they think of a young pioneer family and imagine the difficulty of leaving a comfortable home and departing for an unknown destination.
I will never forget what I felt as I walked down Parley Street last summer and looked back at the temple. My heart swelled with gratitude and my eyes filled with tears as I thought about those noble pioneers. I stood near the bank of the Mississippi River for quite some time and counted my many blessings and tried to imagine what it would have been like to walk or ferry across the river into an uncertain future.
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