The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which church is often inadvertently referred to as the “Mormon Church”), is full of stories of ordinary people who made extraordinary sacrifices for their beliefs. All Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”) are encouraged to remember this history, whether they are direct descendants of the earliest Mormon pioneers or not, because we can all learn so much from these amazing people.
George Laub is one such ordinary man who joined the Church early on and remained faithful throughout his life. However, he is not a man with whom most Mormons today are familiar. A journal of his is preserved in the LDS Church Archives and is quite instructional.
A man without a great deal of education, George Laub did the best he could with what he had, and he learned more as he went along. He, like Joseph Smith, learned more through the Holy Ghost than he had opportunity to learn in a formal education setting. His journal is in the language of a frontiersman, but his faith is like Job’s.
George Laub’s Personal Accounts of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young
George Laub’s personal accounts of many of Joseph Smith’s and Brigham Young’s sermons provide excellent documentation of some things that may otherwise have been lost, including a sermon from Hyrum Smith on the “plurality of gods.” Laub also recorded his own version of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s famous “King Follett Discourse” from April 7, 1844, which “explores startling ideas about the nature of God and the universe and about man’s eternal identity and potential godhood” (“George Laub’s Nauvoo Journal,” edited by Eugene England, BYU Studies, 1978).
After the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were martyred, the Church was thrown into a bit of turmoil. Who was to succeed Joseph Smith as the president and prophet? A miracle occurred in August 1844, which is well recorded by several witnesses, but George Laub’s appears to be the earliest record of the event. Sidney Rigdon had been claiming to be the rightful successor to Joseph Smith, but at a meeting with a large congregation, Brigham Young addressed those present. As George Laub records it, “his [Brigham Young’s] Voice was the Voice of Bro. Joseph and his face appeared as Joseph’s face.”
Laub’s journal, which commences with his personal summary of his life up to the point of his conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, contains many evidences of his willingness to make personal sacrifices for his faith. He not only went to Nauvoo to gather with the Saints, but also records of the Mormon Exodus from Nauvoo in the middle of winter. He lost his infant son due to the harsh conditions.
George Laub’s Continued Sacrifices for the Truth
Even after arriving in Utah, Laub continued to make sacrifices. He used his skills as a joiner (carpenter) to build mills for the industry of the Saints. In 1863, after building a nice home for himself in Salt Lake and settling there with his family, he left his residence behind at great financial sacrifice in order to obey a call issued from the Lord through Brigham Young to settle St. George, Utah. He even served as foreman in the construction of the tabernacle in St. George.
Later, he passed up a very lucrative job to build houses for lead miners at Silver Reef in order to serve as a carpenter in the construction of the Salt Lake Temple.
Read George Laub’s Personal History
Thanks to Eugene England, this valuable journal of George Laub’s is now available edited and online. Read for yourself his amazing personal experiences and his steadfast testimony of the importance of the Church. Let yourself be inspired by George Laub’s experiences. Read for yourself the book of scripture that helped convert him to the gospel, the Book of Mormon.
I am grateful for men and women like George Laub who sacrificed so much to help build the kingdom of God on the earth. These people made so many sacrifices to stand up for what they believe in. We today are also called to make great sacrifices, though they are often difficult in different ways. In reading of the faith of early Saints, I am inspired to move forward with conviction in helping to continue building the kingdom of God on the earth and spreading the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.
Doris White is a native of Oregon and graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English and a minor in Editing. She loves to talk with others about the gospel of Jesus Christ.