(This is an excerpt from Follow Me to Zion , by Andrew D. Olsen and Jolene S. Allphin.)
In the scorching heat of the Iowa City handcart camp, 13-year-old Betsey Smith overheard a conversation that made her fear for her life. Betsey was so sick with scarlet fever that she couldn’t even open her eyes. “I am sorry she is dying,” Betsey heard a woman say.
Betsey knew that a baby had just died, and four other children had also passed away while the Willie company was in Iowa City preparing for the handcart journey. “Another death in camp soon,” the woman continued. Hearing this, Betsey thought her own death was inevitable and began to cry.
Betsey’s mother, Margery, soon brought her daughter some broth. Seeing Betsey’s tears, she asked, “Are you worse?”
“Mother, they think I am dying,” Betsey answered. “I want to live and go to the Valley.”
Betsey’s mother acted decisively and with faith. “My dear mother . . . went and brought the elders,” Betsey later wrote. “[They] administered to me and rebuked the disease, commanding it to leave both me and the camp. My recovery was rapid. I was able to travel.” (Andrew D. Olsen and Jolene S. Allphin, Follow Me to Zion [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2013], 25).