Ride—I Can’t Leave You

“We find one of the most touching stories of sacrifice, faith, and loving charity in the life of Jens Neilson, who was a member of the Willie Handcart Company. . . . Jens wrote, ‘Obedience is better than sacrifice.’ . . . The Neilsons had consumed their last pound of flour days before, but somehow they made it over the treacherous Rocky Ridge, urged on by their indomitable courage and unconquerable faith. Tragically, 13 of the company died at Rock Creek and were buried in shallow, snow-covered graves—among them, Jens and Elsie’s son, Neils. . . .”President Hinckley describes this portion of the trail as ‘a trail of tragedy, a trail of faith, a trail of devotion, a trail of consecration, even the consecration of life itself.’ “Jens arrived at Rock Creek, 11 miles beyond Rocky Ridge, with both feet frozen. He was unable to walk another step and pleaded with Elsie, ‘Leave me by the trail in the snow to die, and you go ahead and try to keep up with the company and save your life.’ Elsie, with her unfaltering pioneer courage, replied, ‘Ride, I can’t leave you, I can pull the cart.’ Such was the strength and the faith of many pioneer women on the trail.”

M. Russell Ballard, “Faith in Every Footstep,” Ensign, Nov. 1996, 24–25

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