Title: The Second Rescue: The Story of the Spiritual Rescue of the Willie and Martin Handcart Pioneers
Author: Susan Arrington Madsen
Date Finished: 28 March 2008
My Rating: 4 Stars
This book was cited a few times by Andrew D. Olson in his book The Price We Paid. It sounded interesting to me so I tracked down a copy.
This book tells the story of Robert Scott Lorimer and the members of the Riverton, Wyoming Stake who undertook the spiritual rescue of the members of the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies. In the late 1980's, shortly after he was called as Stake President, R. Scott Lorimer asked the members of his stake to pray for the "Willie Project." He did not know what the Willie Project was but he did know that it would have something to do with those pioneers who had died at Rock Creek Hollow in 1856. President Lorimer said about the project, "We sought the Lord in prayer, asking that we might understand the significance of the feelings I had been having concerning the site. For some reason I just could not let go of Rock Creek Hollow."
A few years later, through the efforts of a counselor in the Stake Presidency, the Riverton, Wyoming Stake was able to receive two computers with the new Family Search program. President Lorimer then realized that the Willie Project was a project to complete the temple work of the handcart pioneers. Surprisingly, very few of the pioneers who had died during the trek had received their temple ordinances. "The rescue effort initiated by Brigham Young in October of 1856 brought the surviving pioneers safely to the Salt Lake Valley. Now, a 'Second Rescue' was needed to provide the sacred ordinances of the temple for those faithful pioneers."
The book begins with a short introduction to the Willie and Martin Handcart Pioneer story. There are also quotes from those pioneers scattered through out the book, helping readers to remember the harrowing experiences of the pioneers. There is also a short introduction to the doctrine of temple work. The book then follows the story of the Willie Project as the idea formed and grew. Each member of the stake was asked to take one name and do the necessary research and complete any needed temple work for that person. Many spiritual experiences of those involved in the Second Rescue are shared throughout the book, including one chapter devoted to the testimonies of many members of the stake. The final chapters of the book describe efforts to make plaques and memorials for placement at pioneer sites and acquiring lands, including Martin's Cove and building facilities for visitors.
The appendix lists all the members of the Willie and Martin Handcart companies and the Hunt and Hodgett Wagon companies.
In all, more than 4,000 temple ordinances were completed for the Willie and Martin Handcart Pioneers and their families.
This is an interesting story filled with examples of faith and determination.