In the midst of presenting the history of the Southern States Mission during the period of intense persecution and danger to the members and missionaries in the post-war period, I would like to pause and share an excerpt from an 1842 letter from Joseph Smith to John Wentworth, the editor of the Chicago Democrat. When you consider that the church has many temples and stakes in the area covered by the historical Southern States Mission, none of the mobs or persecutions of the time stopped the work from progressing. Here is the quote:
Persecution has not stopped the progress of truth, but has only added fuel to the flame, it has spread with increasing rapidity, proud of the cause which they have espoused and conscious of their innocence and of the truth of their system amidst calumny and reproach have the elders of this church gone forth, and planted the gospel in almost every state in the Union; it has penetrated our cities, it has spread over our villages, and has caused thousands of our intelligent, noble, and patriotic citizens to obey its divine mandates, and be governed by its sacred truths....
Our missionaries are going forth to different nations, and in Germany, Palestine, New Holland, the East Indies, and other places, the standard of truth has been erected: no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing, persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the great Jehovah shall say the work is done.
(Times and Seasons, March 1, 1842.)
Photo of Joseph Smith statue in Nauvoo from www.flickr.com/photos/quinnanya/3783951906/.