Building Faith Through Church History

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Season 2 Episode 13 The Parley P. Pratt Expedition 1849


The story of Parley P. Pratt’s expedition to explore the Great Basin


After baptism, converts were asked to gather to Zion, but the Salt Lake Valley could not hold them all. Other settlements would be needed. Brigham Young initially wanted Latter-day Saint settlements stretching all the way to San Diego, California. The territorial legislature voted to fund an exploration expedition led by Parley P. Pratt to search for settlement sites. Parley hand-picked the men for the expedition and they left November 14, 1849. Winter conditions were terrible. They faced many dangers and hardships on their journey. The company traveled as far south as the Virgin River before they turned around and made their way home. Returning home the party ran out of food, their animals began to die and the expedition was in dire straits. Rescue parties were dispatched from Provo to bring the starving and freezing men in. The Expedition’s report to the Legislature would later prove useful in choosing the sites for many future settlements of the Saints.


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