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Governed by the idea of "Eat to live"

This is a short snippet from pg. 42-43 of the new version of My Life’s Review. It takes place during a time of desperation among the saints living in Adam-ondi-Ahman (Diahman). There had been several violent encounters with mobs and the saints were hemmed in on all sides by enemies who had recently driven them from their homes. Saints were forced to scavenge and forage for any food they could find and take.



We told Brother Butler how we came there, and he said we were then on the right road, but near 9 miles from home. He had been out on special commission and was riding the Prophet’s black horse “Charley.” He told his companions to return to Diahman and that he would remain with us, which he did. In the early morning, he led the way some mile and a half towards our enemies’ camp, to the smoldering ruins of a house, apparently burned the day before, to find something to eat, but the only things to be found were a pile of onions and a flock of chickens, one of which we soon had boiling with onions in a stray dinner pot. But we did not then, so near our enemies, feel great delicacy as to our cooking, for we were governed by the idea of “eat to live,” and we felt that the quicker we could eat our chicken and onions and get from there the greater was our chance to live, and the onions were but half done and the chicken non too tender.

Close by, was an old bell cow and cattle scattered about on the prairie; and while we were getting our breakfast, which was not long, Brother Butler had taken a gourd shell with salt and commenced calling, “sook bos! Sook bos!” The bell cow at once started for salt, and all the cattle after her and soon he was ahead on old Charley with a herd of cattle following, and as it went by us, we fell in behind and followed to Diahman. When within a mile or two, we heard a firing of the cannon which had that night arrived, taken from the mob, and rooted up by the old sow as related in history. Our arrival with near forty head of good beef cattle four our farnishing people was a godsend indeed, and so regarded by all.

Here, let me say that it should not be supposed that - because we sought to repel mob violence and were compelled to forage for food when hemmed in on all sides by a mob who had driven us from the homes they had sold to us and been paid for, robbing us of everything but our lives and the little we could carry away, leaving our crops, stock and household goods to our enemies - that we were common robbers because we took as by reprisal with which to keep from starvation our women and children. Ours was a struggle for our lives and homes; and a more conscientious, noble, and patriotic spirit never enthused man than that which animated our leaders in this just defense of our rights.

But word had come from Far West that all were now wanted there except a home guard for Diahman, and being absent at the time, I was not enrolled with those to go. A few days later, now without a horse, I was alone at night upon a picket guard when word came of the surrender in Far West.


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