"THE JOURNEY WEST: The Mormon Pioneer Journals of Horace K. Whitney with Insights by Helen Mar Kimball Whitney," by Richard E. Bennett, BYU Religious Studies Center and Deseret Book, $34.99, 480 pages (nf)
"The Journey West" combines the journals of Horace K. Whitney with selected writings from Helen Mar Kimball Whitney. Horace was the son of Newel K. Whitney, who owned the Whitney store in Kirtland, Ohio. Helen Mar Kimball was the daughter of Heber C. Kimball and one of the widows of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Horace and Helen married in the not-yet-finished Nauvoo Temple on Feb. 3, 1846. The next day, they began the 1,300 mile journey to Zion. This is the story of the Mormon exodus, in Horace and Helen's own words.
Horace K. Whitney kept a faithful record of the journey, but readers looking for spiritual reflections or passionate romantizations will be disappointed. Horace's account is stoic, factual and efficient — no words or emotion wasted. Helen's entries, though much fewer than Horace's, are more colorful and emotive.
The introduction provides valuable insight into early LDS Church practices, including plural marriage and the law of adoption. The context is much needed, as the journals refer to various adopted sons and family members and sealings between otherwise unrelated families.1 comment on this story
Richard E. Bennett, editor of "The Journey West," is a professor of LDS Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University. He is the author of several other books about the LDS Church in the 19th century, including "The Nauvoo Legion in Illinois: A History of the Mormon Militia, 1841–1846" and "We'll Find the Place: The Mormon Exodus, 1846-1848." Bennett and his wife are the parents of five children.
"The Journey West" refers to death and physical trauma but no violence, sexual content or profanity.