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Church History

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A Handful of Wheat

Christmas 1847 was quite bleak, as the Saints arrived too late in the planting season to have a harvest. “The winter was cold,” wrote 32-year-old mother Rebecca Wollerton Dilworth Riter. “Christmas came and the children were hungry. I had brought a peck of wheat across the plains and hid it under a pile of wood. I thought I would cook a handful of wheat for the baby. Then I thought how we would need wheat for seed in the spring, so I left it alone.”

Quoted in Thomas S. Monson, “The Spirit of Christmas,” New Era, Dec. 1974, 17–18