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Posted by: alaskawild ( )
Date: March 12, 2018 09:13PM

Since leaving tscc, i pretty much hold the opinion that most if not all the beautiful pioneer stories that have been told by each generation, have surely been embellised and romanticized over the decades. It made me wonder if that whole miracle about the flock of seagulls coming in to eat all the locusts and save the mormon crops, was really just a small isolated event, rather than some massive miracle from the heavens.

Does anyone have any historical info to share on this lauded event? We know the church isn't true and i'd bet my hometeaching list that this event was probably embellished and made much bigger than it actually was.

Thanks in advance.

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Posted by: bobofitz ( )
Date: March 12, 2018 09:28PM

The Salt Lake is a huge body of salt the ocean. There were lots of seagulls living there, just like there are now. The pioneers grew fields of food for swarms of hungry crickets to be drawn to. Lotsa bugs, lotsa birds....birds eat bugs...where’s the miracle? It would have been a miracle if the birds didn’t feast on the bugs. I’m sure there’s a more sophisticated scientific answer, but to me it’s just common sense.

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Posted by: Hedning ( )
Date: March 12, 2018 09:49PM

It was not locusts but Mormon crickets and they do have cycles of going through a large population boom.

The first one I remember was in the 1960s and yes hoardes of seaguls came over from Gull Island and ate them. This was in Davis county.

The second one was up on the Utah Idaho border between Malad and Weston in the late 1980s, and as far south as Clarkston in Utah literally millions of crickets all over the fields. Didn't see any seagulls this time, but we just drove out on an old dry farm road to see them.

If you have ever plowed crops on the East side of the wasatch very often the seagulls get word there is fresh turned soil and they in large numbers from Gull Island, Antelope Island etc through the mountain passes above Bountiful and Farmington and feast on the crickets up in Morgan County.

I could see how you would think it was a miracle if your food you needed for winter was getting cut down by the crickets and thousands of seagulls flew in for lunch.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: March 12, 2018 09:54PM

It's a very nice story about the seagulls saving the second year in Zion's harvest, such that it could be taken as a miracle and a statue commissioned.

But no one in the church ever discusses 1855 in Deseret... It was quite harrowing, as you can read. The seagulls let the saints down.

Here's an excerpt from what I think is a reliable source:

"The first pioneers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints settled in present day Utah in July of 1847. In 1855, a series of natural disasters created conditions leading to a widespread famine for the first settlers of Utah. Most significantly, swarms of grasshoppers had destroyed the previous year’s crops, leaving many settlers without adequate food in early 1855. Food supplies and agricultural productivity became dire as a hot dry summer and light runoff from the mountains caused a severe drought. That summer, grasshoppers again ‘devoured every living thing in sight’ leaving the pioneers with a depleted crop and no grass for cattle.

"According to the Daily National Intelligencer, ‘Mormons, in their colony far remote from the markets of the East and the West alike, may be reduced to a famine by the swarms of grasshoppers’.11 Most residents did not have sufficient grain to last the whole winter and many lacked enough grain to last just one month.12 An influx of immigrants in 1855 made a desperate situation worse.

The winter of 1855–1856 was the most severe winter experienced by these early settlers. In February of 1856, Heber C. Kimball, an official of the Church, wrote that there was ‘scarcely any grain in the country, and there are thousands that have none at all’ and that the food shortage was ‘universal through all the settlements’. The loss of an estimated 50% to 80% of the settlers’ cattle made the food shortage problem all the more catastrophic. Households were placed on a ration of one-half pound of breadstuff per day by the Church leadership, and any surplus was to be donated to individuals who were without any food.12 Journal excerpts detail ways in which mothers attempted to provide sustenance for their children. One mother tried to enhance her ‘meager supply of flour by mixing it with sawdust – a failure it turned out’. Individuals living near Utah Lake were able to supplement their diet with fish, but most settlers subsisted on a food supply so inadequate that they were driven to eat roots and thistles."

The except above is from a paper studying the effects of famine 'in utero'.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: March 13, 2018 10:28AM

There's no evidence such a "miracle" ever occurred, and plenty of evidence that it didn't.

From the Tanners:

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Posted by: Babyloncansuckit ( )
Date: March 13, 2018 06:22PM

Seagulls were eating crickets before the saints came. How do you think they learned how to hunt and eat them? It’s as big a miracle as the disappearance of the Timpanogos Indians.

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Posted by: Trails end ( )
Date: March 14, 2018 04:13PM

A true profit might have told them roasted crickets are a fine source of protein and according to some bordering on those would beat the seeds out of roots...darn seagulls ate the best part...not sure what dried seagulls are like...we always called them $&@@ hawks...cuz your tractor was just plastered

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Posted by: BYUAlumnuts ( )
Date: March 14, 2018 04:39PM

I do know that it was never reported in the Deseret News at the time. It took about 50 years for the faith promoting story to take shape. I guess someone remembered a seagull, Barfy was it's name, eating some crickets and then throwing up.

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Posted by: Kathleen ( )
Date: March 15, 2018 05:27AM


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