Abraham Owen Smoot
After the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Abraham Owen Smoot was called on a non-proselyting mission. What was the purpose of the mission?
a. To hunt down the killers of Joseph and Hyrum
b. To inform all the Quorum of the twelve on missions to return to Nauvoo
c. To gather the Saints in the Southern States to Utah
d. To plead for protection for the church from Governor Ford of Illinois
(D) By sending $60,000 in gold
In vindication of his viewpoint that it was better for the Saints to remain in Deseret rather than to hunt treasure in California, President Young, in general conference September 6, 1850, made this interesting comparison: “Before I had been one year in this place, the wealthiest man who came from the mines, Father Rhodes, with 17,000 dollars could not buy out the possessions I had made in one year!”
Yet when the churchmen were pressed for money to execute their manifold projects, California gold more than once extricated them from the dilemma. Missionaries to the islands found their passage money in the sands of California. The Perpetual Emigration Fund and cause was supported in part from this treasure. President Young without any hesitation whatsoever wrote Samuel Brannan for a gift of $60,000 to him and his counselors, believing that those who were carrying on the kingdom should measurable share in the coast treasure.
The Third General Epistle of the Presidency of the Church, dated Great Salt Lake City, Deseret, N.A., April 12, 1850, promulgated this gem thought:
“Gold is good in its place—it is good in the hands of a good man to do good with, but in the hands of a wicked man it often proves a curse instead of a blessing. Gold is a good servant, but a miserable, blind and helpless god, and at last will have to be purified by fire, with all its followers.”
Chronicles of Courage, Lesson Committee (Salt Lake City: Talon Printing, 1996) Vol. 7, 76.