“Saints, Volume 1: The Standard of Truth, 1815–1846” was released in the fall of 2018, and the book has been a tremendous success. More than 1 million people have read the book in electronic format and more than 500,000 copies have been sold in print. The book is available in 14 languages including Cebuano, Chinese, English, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Samoan, Spanish, Tagalog and Tongan. Readers around the world have been inspired by the remarkable history of the early Saints.
“Saints, Volume 2: No Unhallowed Hand, 1846–1893” picks up where volume 1 left off, with Louisa Barnes Pratt preparing to evacuate Nauvoo with the main body of the Saints. At the same moment, the Nauvoo Temple is being dedicated and thousands of Saints are receiving their temple endowments.
Readers will find familiar milestones along the way as the Saints emigrate west, send missionaries throughout the world, build temples and struggle against intense persecution due to the practice of plural marriage. Readers will also learn about tragic events such as the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the ordeals of the Martin and Willie handcart companies and conflicts with Native Americans.
Readers will also learn new and fascinating accounts including the experiences of the pioneering members in Europe, the miraculous conversion of Chief Sagwitch and his Shoshone people, and the incredible faith of the Māori Saints.
Volume 2 employs the same narrative style as volume 1 and is a fast-paced read. I’ve had the opportunity to read the book several times as we have worked toward the release on Feb. 12.
Here are 10 of my favorite people in “Saints, Volume 2.” I can’t wait for you to meet them.
The rich history of the Church in Hawaii will be new to many members around the world. In “Saints, Volume 2” they will discover the heroic early missions and learn the stories of the founding members. Jonathan Napela is a remarkable example among many incredible Pacific pioneers. He was a respected lawyer and a member of the nobility when he met the Latter-day Saint missionaries.
After joining the Church in 1852, he and George Q. Cannon translated the Book of Mormon into the Hawaiian language. Jonathan and his equally remarkable wife, Kitty, served the Church in Hawaii for decades and are celebrated there to this day. In a letter to Brigham Young, Jonathan once wrote, “It is very plain to us that this is the church of God,” and “my thoughts are buoyant to go to your place, when the proper time arrives.”
The examples of Jonathan and Kitty Napela will inspire members today to be kinder and more generous to each other.
George Q. Cannon
In “Saints, Volume 2” we meet a young George Q. Cannon on his way to California as a newly called “gold missionary.” Later, we walk alongside George as a discouraged missionary finding little early success in Hawaii, and we follow him to Washington, D.C., as Utah’s territorial delegate to Congress. Cannon’s life, as with the history of the Church at this time, is full of highs and lows.
At one of these low points, George and other Church leaders go into hiding due to the U.S. government’s crackdown on plural marriage. While on a train attempting to evade capture, George is recognized and arrested by federal marshals. He steps out onto the platform of the moving train and contemplates jumping, when suddenly the train lurches and pitches him overboard. Bruised and battered, George learns that a group of Saints is planning to meet the train and rescue him. Rather than risk additional arrests or violence, George sends a telegram ahead asking that no one interfere with his arrest. Consigned to his fate, George writes in his journal that all is “in the Lord’s hands now.”
Readers will come to appreciate the great difficulties faced by senior Church leaders as they get to know George Q. Cannon in “Saints, Volume 2.”
In January 1863, federal troops opened fire on a group of Shoshone who were camped alongside the Bear River near current-day Preston, Idaho. As “Saints” notes, “Approximately four hundred Shoshone men, women, and children died in the assault on the camp.” This horrific event, known as the Bear River Massacre, remains one of the darkest chapters in the annals of the U.S. government’s treatment of native peoples.
Sagwitch Timbimboo was a leader among those who survived. In “Saints, Volume 2” we meet Sagwitch nearly a decade after the massacre. In the spring of 1873, a respected Shoshone leader named Ech-up-wy has a vision instructing him to seek the God of the Latter-day Saints. The story that unfolds in “Saints, Volume 2” is nothing short of miraculous. The faith and devotion of the Shoshone people is inspiring to witness as they join the Church, settle at Washakie, and donate more than 1,000 hours of labor to help build the Logan Utah Temple. Then in the spring of 1885, Sagwitch and other Shoshone spend “four days in the temple, performing ordinances on behalf of their deceased relatives, including many who had been killed at Bear River.”
Readers will be inspired by the faith and devotion of Sagwitch and his people.
Louisa Barnes Pratt
Readers of “Saints, Volume 1” will be happy to find that volume 2 picks up where we left off with Louisa Barnes Pratt and Addison Pratt. While Louisa is traveling along the trail west with their children, her husband is serving as a missionary in the Pacific. Louisa and Addison hope for a reunion somewhere in the West, though neither she nor Addison has any idea when or where.
After long years of separation Louisa and Addison are finally reunited in the Salt Lake Valley. To his daughter Ellen, Addison was almost a stranger. An excerpt from “Saints”:
Ellen sprang to her feet as a rough, sunburned man entered the room. “Why, Pa,” Ellen said, taking his hands into hers, “have you come?” After more than five years, she almost did not recognize him.
This tearful reunion is not the end of Louisa and Addison’s story. Readers of “Saints, Volume 2” will continue to follow the Pratts as they serve a mission together, build their family and experience additional trials of their faith.
Anna Widtsoe joined the Church in Trondheim, Norway. Her path to the restored gospel begins after finding a missionary tract in a pair of shoes she had sent to a cobbler for repair. Anna spends two years meeting with missionaries and attending services with local Saints. After her baptism, Anna feels a strong urgency to gather to Zion. Writing to a friend in 1883 she said, “If we cannot leave everything, even our life if required, we are no disciples.”
Once established in Utah, Anna is determined that her sons will receive the best education possible. When her son John Widtsoe had the opportunity to attend Harvard University, Anna “negotiated a loan on her house, put it up for rent, and moved to Salt Lake City, where she and her younger son, Osborne, could find more work to support the family and pay for John’s schooling.”
Countless members of the Church today have been blessed by Anna’s sacrifice and commitment to education.
Susa Young Gates
In “Saints, Volume 2,” we first meet Susie Young as a little girl growing up in the Lion House with the very large plural family of her father, Brigham Young. At any given time, she was living with as many as 30 of her brothers and sisters. Susie was a precocious and creative child and soon developed a love of writing. Later in volume 2 we see Susie, who now goes by Susa, in a troubled marriage that ends in difficult divorce.
After a period of struggle, Susa emerges as a strong and confident writer. She remarries and is called to serve a mission alongside her husband in Hawaii. In 1886, with her characteristic wit, Susa writes a humorous article for the Woman’s Exponent about how she overcomes feelings of homesickness: “If I feel at all lonely, I have plenty of company in mice, rats, scorpions, centipedes, cockroaches, fleas, mosquitos, lizards, and millions of ants.”
Readers will grow to love Susa as we watch her become a thoughtful and powerful contributor to the building up of the kingdom.
Historical figures like Brigham Young can at times feel so larger-than-life, so influential, and so distant that it can be hard to push past their iconic status to find the real human being. “Saints, Volume 2” will introduce readers to a new, yet familiar, Brigham Young. We see Brother Brigham organize the trek west. We watch him rebuke federal officials who have come to govern the newly established Utah Territory. We see Brigham advocate for the women of Utah to return to the eastern United States to receive medical training.
Readers will also encounter a tender side of Brigham Young as a father counseling his daughter Susa on how to receive a testimony of the gospel:
“There is only one way, daughter, that you can get the testimony of the truth,” Brigham said simply, “and this is the way I attained my testimony and the way your mother got hers. On your knees before the Lord, go in prayer and He will hear and answer.”
Readers of “Saints, Volume 2” will come away with a new appreciation for the prophet and the man Brigham Young.
In “Saints, Volume 2” we are reintroduced to Martin Harris, the celebrated and often maligned witness of the Book of Mormon. After years of estrangement from the main body of the Church, Martin accepts an offer from Brigham Young to reunite with the Saints and with his family living in the Utah Territory.
Martin’s 1870 journey west on the newly completed transcontinental railroad is a stark contrast when compared to those who traveled by wagon and handcart some 24 years earlier. His arrival, however, is no less celebrated:
Soon after arriving in the city, Martin visited Brigham Young, and the prophet invited him to speak at the tabernacle on September 4. When that day arrived, Martin stood at the pulpit for thirty minutes and quietly spoke about his search for truth. . . . The following month, Martin bore witness of the truth and divine origin of the Book of Mormon at the Church’s October general conference.
Readers will see Martin continuing to declare his unwavering witness of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon until his dying day in 1875 in Clarkston, Utah.
Amanda Barnes Smith
Readers of “Saints, Volume 1” will remember the faith and determination of Amanda Barnes Smith. After losing her husband and a son in the horror of the Hawn’s Mill Massacre, Amanda prayed and received an answer to heal her son Alma’s hip.
“Saints, Volume 2” finds Amanda in the Salt Lake Valley after the passage of antipolygamy legislation in 1870. Amanda and other Latter-day Saint women organize a “Great Indignation Meeting” to protest the Cragin and Cullom bills. Amanda speaks to the gathering of more than 3,000 Latter-day Saint women and says with her unmatched zeal, “Let us stand by the truth if we die for it!” The crowd in the old adobe tabernacle erupts in applause after her passionate defense of the Latter-day Saints.
Readers of “Saints, Volume 2” will continue to be stirred by the power and passion of Amanda Barnes Smith.
Desideria Quintanar de Yáñez
In 1880, Desideria Quintanar de Yáñez “had a dream in which she saw a book called “Voz de amonestación” being printed in Mexico City. When she woke up, she knew she had to find the book. Desideria was in her 60s and not in a condition to make the journey. Her son José believed in his mother’s dream and soon traveled to Mexico City to find the unknown book.
One day while walking through the city’s busy streets, José met Plotino Rhodakanaty, who told him about a book called “Voz de amonestación.” Plotino sent José to a hotel to meet with missionary James Stewart where he learned that “Voz de amonestación” was the Spanish translation of a Latter-day Saint book called “Voice of Warning.” Missionaries were soon sent to visit Desideria, and she was baptized along with José and his daughter Carmen.
Members around the world will be inspired by the miraculous conversion of Desideria and her conviction and faith.
“Saints, Volume 2: No Unhallowed Hand, 1846–1893” is available Feb. 12. The book is free in a variety of electronic formats, including the Gospel Library. Print copies will be available in Church Distribution stores, Deseret Book, the BYU Store and at store.ChurchofJesusChrist.org. “Saints” can be found online at saints.ChurchofJesusChrist.org. The project homepage features links to topics, videos, downloads, the podcast and all the latest news about “Saints.” Happy reading!
Ben Godfrey is the product manager of the “Saints” project. He is also the co-host of the weekly “Saints” podcast (available on Latter-day Saints Channel, iTunes, Google, Spotify and RSS). The podcast explores the topics and characters found in each chapter of the book with historians, scholars, General Authorities, reviewers and others.