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Sam visits Seminary classes
near church history sites
(Note: You may click on pictures to enlarge them.)
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
Seminary Sam made a side trip
to visit the Seminary students of Sister Mostert and Brother Bentley
at Leavenworth, Kansas.
Leavenworth was the first city established in Kansas. Kansas City is less than 30 minutes away. The
church history sites in Independence, Liberty, and Far West,
Missouri are short drives.
Leavenworth Ward has two Seminary classes. About half our ward is
military. Many of the military families are here for only about 10
months because Ft Leavenworth is home to a military school for
officers. In the summer the chapel is about 2/3 full and during the
school year we fill up to half of the cultural hall.
Sam is sitting on a marker at
the corner of the parade field on Fort Leavenworth where the Mormon
Battalion camped after being enlisted at Council Bluffs, Iowa.
The historical Fort
Leavenworth marker, above, reads:
The Mormon Battalion at Fort Leavenworth
Battalion garrisoned here from 1 to 13 August 1846. The battalion
received arms, training, supplies, and equipment here before
departing on a 2,000 mile march to California via Santa Fe, new
Mexico, and Tucson, Arizona.
The Mormon Battalion was a supportive arm of General Stephen Watt
Kearny's "Army of the West," a part of the United States
Army that President James K. Polk used against Mexican forces in the
Mexican War (1846-1848). The battalion of five companies consisted
of about 500 Mormon soldiers (plus 49 others) and was officially
mustered into service at Council Bluffs,
Iowa Territory, on 16 July 1846.
Although they had had no government protection when they were driven
by lawless mobs from their homes in Illinois only months before,
these members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
(Mormon) volunteered for military service to their government in a
time of great hardship for their families and loved ones. Brigham
Young, their church leader, encouraged them to volunteer because he
saw their participation in the war as a demonstration of loyalty to
the United States and their wages as help for the Mormon migration
then underway to the Great Basin
in the Rocky Mountains.
The Mormon Battalion's final commander, Lt. Col. Philip St. George
Cooke, declared: "History will be searched
in vain for an equal march of infantry."
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
and The Kansas State Historical Society
San Diego, California
The Mormon Battalion walked over 2,000 miles from Fort Leavenworth,
Kansas to San Diego,
California. Seminary Sam's next visit was to the San Diego
Seminary Sam is pictured (above) with 9th through 12th grade Seminary
students from Oceanside, California. Brother Troy McMahan's Seminary
sponsored Seminary Sam's visit to the San Diego area.
The Mormon Battalion Visitors Center of The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints is located in San Diego, California.
When the Mormon Battalion was called into the service of the country,
President Brigham Young addressed the volunteers and said that he
wished them to prove themselves to be the best soldiers in the service
of the United States. ... They should keep themselves clean, teach
chastity and gentility. There was to be no swearing, and no man was to
be insulted. ... They were to take their Bibles and copies of the Book
of Mormon with them and study them but not impose their beliefs on
others. ... If they would follow this instruction, he promised them
that they would not be called on to shed the blood of their fellow men.
-- Joseph Fielding Smith Jr.,
Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 3, p. 305
Brigham Young's prophesy was fulfilled. The Mormon Battalion was not
required to fight any battles.
According to The Mormon Encyclopedia (Volume 1):
Some 340 men of the Mormon Battalion reached southern California in
January 1847. Though they arrived shortly after the California War for
Independence, or Bear Flag Revolt, ended, battalion veterans
nevertheless had a significant impact on California history. When the
battalion came to San Diego, their one-year enlistment was nearly
completed. Eighty-one men reenlisted (about fifteen of whom left
California on another assignment), and the rest (about 245) were
discharged. Though some immediately joined their families in the Salt
Lake Valley, others remained in California to obtain funds before
traveling to Utah. Some worked in the San Diego and Los Angeles areas,
while others moved north to seek employment in San Francisco or at
Sutter's Fort, on the American River near present-day Sacramento.
This bronze statue which represents members of The Mormon Battalion
has become a symbol of The Mormon Battalion Visitors' Center.
The weapons shown above were actually carried by members of the
Mormon Battalion during their period of military service.
The students pictured above are members of Brother McMahan's
Oceanside, California freshmen Seminary class. They meet each school
morning from 5:45 to 6:30 a.m.
Some of the students from the Oceanside, California Seminary classes
pose at The Mormon Battalion Visitors' Center with Seminary Sam before sending
him to his next destination.
Sam's journeys are continued on page
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© Copyright 2003, by Kenneth L. Alford. All rights