Lucy Mack Smith, the mother of the prophet Joseph Smith, was a strong and determined person. The Lord absolutely knew what he was doing when he put Lucy Mack as the mother of Joseph Smith. It would be a hard job, defending her son, keeping her cool in hard situations, and balancing all the problems. One of the best stories of Lucy Mack Smith was her journey taking the Latter-Day Saint group from New York to Kirtland Ohio. Her ability to handle the people and the problems with faith, prayer, and control is very inspiring.
Lucy Mack Smith’s Canal Ride to Kirtland
When it became time for the Saints to gather in Kirtland, Lucy’s husband and son’s had already left to Kirtland and she was left to help a large group of Saints get to Kirtland safely. The group was eighty, including children.
Throughout the journey there were problems with contention, murmuring, people not taking care of their children, prejudices against the saints and more. Mother Smith handled all the situations as a true leader, not afraid of the outcome, because her faith was in the Lord.
The boat stopped in Buffalo New York, the ice was too thick to get the boat through. They had to wait in Buffalo for the path to clear. This was a trying time for the group, the rain came, and there were sick people and children. Mother Smith did her best to find shelter for the group, but there was not many openings in town. Hiram Page when out looking for rooms for the people and was not able to find any. Mother Smith took it on herself and found a room for the women and children’s shelter.
When they returned to the boat again, hoping they would leave Buffalo and journey onto Kirtland, the Captain sent a man out to check the measure the depth of the ice. The man returned and reported the ice to be the height of twenty feet. The Captain informed the group they would be remain in harbor for another two weeks!
This would have been a hardship for those on board. Hoping to get to Kirtland and start a new life, but being delayed and not knowing when it would clear. The Saints got restless. Contentions and problems arose.
Lucy Inspiring the Saints
At one point when the Saints got out of hand, Mother Smith reprimanded them saying this:
“Brethren and sisters, we call ourselves Saints and profess to have come out from the world for the purpose of serving God at the expense of all earthly things; and will you, at the very onset, subject the cause of Christ to ridicule by your own unwise and improper conduct? You profess to put your trust in God, then how can you feel to murmur and complain as you do? You are even more unreasonable than the children of Israel were;
“… Where is your faith? Where is your confidence in God? Do you not know that all things are in his hands, that he made all things and overrules them? If every Saint here would just lift their desires to him in prayer, that the way might be opened before us, how easy it would be for God to cause the ice to break away, and in a moments time we could be off on our journey. But how can you expect the Lord to prosper your when you are continually murmuring against him?”
Mother Smith knew the consequences to turning her heart to the Lord and she used this trial to show the members of this group the same.
“‘Now, brethren and sisters, if you will all of you raise your desires to heaven that the ice may be broken before us, we be set at liberty to go on our way, as sure as the Lord lives, it shall be done.’ At that moment a noise was heard like a bursting thunder. The captain cried out, “Every man to his post” and the ice parted, leaving barely a pathway for the boat that was so narrow from the waterwheel. This, with the noise of the ice, the confusion of answering of the sailors, was truly dreadful. We had barely passed through the avenue, when the ice closed together again, and the Colesville brethren were left in Buffalo, unable to follow us.”
The ice opened up, and then closed again, and not boats were able to get through for another three weeks. The people, on land, who saw the boat make it through the ice, were convinced the Saints would not make it, and the boat would sink. Some of the bystanders went straight to the office and had it published in papers that the group had sunk. When Mother Smith’s group arrived in Fairport, they read in the papers the news of their own death!
Other Blog Posts:
Places to Visit:
Palmyra New York
Buffalo New York
Historic Kirtland Ohio
“Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith By His Mother” Edited by Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor (P. 259-270)