“To Them of the Last Wagon”


“We came here willingly,” reflected one early Mormon leader, “because we had to.”


On this day, when the State of Utah (and Mormon communities and congregations elsewhere) celebrate the entry of the first pioneer companies into the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, it might be appropriate to listen to these eloquent remarks — delivered in 1947, the centennial of that event, by J. Reuben Clark Jr., first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:




The speech runs about twenty-five minutes.  President Clark’s faith, and his love for the ordinary pioneers who, under the leadership of Brigham Young and the Twelve, built up the Mormon settlements in the West, are palpable.


A transcript of President Clark’s speech can be found here.


William Clayton, baptized in the River Ribble at Preston, England, by the first Latter-day Saint missionaries there, wrote a great pioneer anthem on 15 April 1846 — in the cold of winter — while encamped at  Locust Creek, Iowa Territory, more than a hundred miles out of the great Mormon city of Nauvoo, which the Saints were now being forced to abandon:


Come, come, ye saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.
Tis better far for us to strive
Our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell -
All is well! All is well!

Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
‘Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we’ll have this tale to tell-
All is well! All is well!

We’ll find the place which God for us prepared,
Far away, in the West,
Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid;
There the saints, will be blessed.
We’ll make the air, with music ring,
Shout praises to our God and King;
Above the rest these words we’ll tell -
All is well! All is well!

And should we die before our journey’s through,
Happy day! All is well!
We then are free from toil and sorrow, too;
With the just we shall dwell!
But if our lives are spared again
To see the Saints their rest obtain,
Oh, how we’ll make this chorus swell-
All is well! All is well!