SLE - History
The Student Legacy Endowment was created similar to the concepts behind the Perpetual Emigration Fund. The Student Legacy Endowment is designed to help students obtain their education just as the Perpetual Emigration Fund was designed for assist immigrant saints reach the Salt Lake Valley.
In order to provide a method of raising funds to assist the many immigrant saints embarking and completing the wrought-sticken journey west, the Perpetual Emigration Fund was established in 1849. Many early LDS converts sold all they had to travel from far off lands to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Upon reaching America they were penniless and lacked the means to continue their trek across the greater part of America to join the Saints in Utah. Indeed, without the assistance of the Perpetual Emigration Fund, some would not have been able to even set forth from their prospective countries.
As with many of Brigham Young's inspired programs for the saints, the essence of the Perpetual Emigration Fund was simple. Monies were collected, immigrants were helped and upon reaching the Salt Lake Valley they were expected to pay back what they had been given in order to assist more saints to make the trek after them.
Upon this subject, Elder Dallin H. Oaks said, ". . . these enterprises called forth the sacrifices that molded pioneers into Saints and prepared and prepared Saints for exaltation." Pure in Heart. p. 118-119
Perpetual Emigration Fund
"In 1849 the Perpetual Emigration Fund Company was organized, the object being to make a systematic effort to assist all who desired help to emigrate from foreign lands to the body of the people in Utah. This movement was not inaugurated for speculation, but as a means of helping the poor and the needy to better their conditions in the promised-land. Those aided by this fund were expected to repay the amount they borrowed that others might also obtain assistance, thus making the fund perpetual in its working." Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 3, p352
"Before we left Nauvoo we had covenanted, within the walls of our Temple, that we would, with one heart and one mind, abide by each other, and aid one another to escape from the oppressions with which we were surrounded, to the extent of our influence and property, and just as soon as the brethren were able they formed a perpetual emigration fund in Salt Lake City, and in 1849 Bishop Hunter, with five thousand dollars in gold, was sent back with the instructions to use that and what other means he could gather in helping those to come here who were not able to come before; and from year to year this work has continued, being a grand system of brotherly love and united co-operation. In a few years after reaching here we sent a hundred teams back to the frontiers, each team being a wagon and four yoke of oxen or six mules or horses; and as we increased in strength, we sent annually two hundred, three hundred, four hundred, five hundred, and finally six hundred, to bring home those who wished to settle in these valleys; and even at the present time, our system of emigrating has been extended across the sea, to gather all who wish to gather with the Saints. There are many thousands of people in these valleys who, had it not been for the organization of the Latter-day Saints and the kind and fatherly care of President Brigham Young, would never have owned a foot of land, or any other property, but they would have been dependent all their lives upon the will of a master for a very precarious subsistence." Journal of Discourses, Vol. 17, p. 98, George Albert Smith, May 24, 1874
"We wish all to understand, that this fund is perpetual, and is never to be diverted from the object of gathering the poor to Zion while there are Saints to be gathered, unless He whose right it is to rule shall otherwise command. Therefore we call upon President Orson Hyde and all the Saints, and all benevolent souls everywhere, to unite their gold, their silver, and their cattle, with ours in this perpetual fund, and cooperate with Bishop Hunter in producing as many teams as possible, preparatory for next spring's emigration." James R. Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, Vol. 2, p.34-35
"We have expended millions upon millions in gathering the poor to this land, by what is known as the Perpetual Emigration Fund. We may ask why did this people in these valleys expend such large sums? Was it because they were sending for relatives and friends? No, but because they were of the family of Christ, the sons and daughters of God, and desired to come to Zion. We have sent as much as five hundred teams at a time to help out the poor. You have done it, and many of you have either sent your sons or gone yourselves, and you have carried provisions for them as well as bringing them here. I do not think there is very much harm in that. And what then? When these same men who had received the message of truth in far off lands, and who had been gathered there, had been further instructed, we have sent them back again to the nations from whence they came, to proclaim to their kindred and friends, to their tongue and nation, what God had done for them. After fulfilling their missions they return again." Journal of Discourses, Vol. 19, p. 128, John Taylor, October 7, 1877
"Yet with what has been raised here, with that which may be possessed by some who are partly able to help themselves, we expect to bring five thousand adults to the railway terminus. We also expect to raise the wagons, mules, and oxen necessary to fit up teams and the necessary provisions and teamsters, guards and arms, to go from here to the terminus of the railroad, and bring home the brethren and sisters and their children who may gather to that point. We also want to make plans and calculations, and every man and woman throughout the territory should feel that it is a part of their duty to contribute his or her share to accomplish this; and then to lay a foundation for setting all these people to work at something that will enable them to live and acquire a competence as well as return the means expended in bringing them here. Those indebted to the Perpetual Emigration Fund should feel the importance of paying their indebtedness." Journal of Discourses, Vol. 12, p. 198, George Albert Smith, April 6, 1868
"To the Bishops and Presiding Elders in all the Settlements of the Latter-day Saints.-Dear Brethren: It is our desire to commence again to assist the scattered poor of God's people in gathering to Zion. To aid in the accomplishment of this purpose, we request the Bishops and Presiding elders in the various settlements, to give especial attention to the collection of the debts due to the Perpetual Emigration Fund, from those who have been assisted in past years. In view of the near approach of the season of the year when our emigration leaves the shores of Europe, we desire that our brethren give this matter their immediate attention, that we may be enabled to do as much good as possible this present year. It is the duty of all the Saints who have the means to assist in the gathering of those of their brethren and sisters who are still scattered in Babylon, and we should be pleased to have the local authorities solicit donations from those who are not in debt to the P.E. Fund, and who are able and willing to do their part for the gathering of scattered Israel. Your brethren, Brigham Young, Daniel H. Wells" James R. Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, Vol. 2, p. 276
"PEF assistance was always extended as a loan rather than as a gift. Sponsored emigrants signed a note obligating themselves to repay the PEF as they were able. Though it sometimes required years, and some never fully retired their debt, many repaid their loan in cash, commodities, or labor. In 1880, on the fiftieth anniversary of the organization of the Church, President John Taylor, in the tradition of the Israelite jubilee year, forgave half of the outstanding debt owed by the poor to the fund, while those who were able to pay were still expected to do so. In late 1887, under provisions of the Edmunds-Tucker Act (see Anti-polygamy Legislation), the U.S. government dissolved both the Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company." Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 3, PERPETUAL EMIGRATING FUND (PEF)
"By 1890 Church agents had directed the migration of 83,000 European members to the Salt Lake Valley. The system efficiently converted donations of cattle, grain and other produce into passenger fares, covered wagons, and oxen. Scholars have regarded the Church's arrangements as perhaps the best system of regulated immigrating in U.S. history ." Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol.2 ECONOMIC HISTORY OF THE CHURCH
"I do think that the history of the Perpetual Emigration Fund is a wonderful one." The Latter-day Saints in Utah sent from here two hundred wagons one year, three hundred another year, four hundred the next, and for two years five hundred wagons each year, each wagon having four yoke of oxen, or their equivalent in mules and horses, and bore all the expenses consequent upon bringing people across the Plains, bringing from one to four thousand persons a season. This is certainly creditable, and it has been done through the influence of Brigham Young and the united efforts of a free-hearted and noble people. We have got a railroad now and do not have to send the wagons; the business assumes another shape. The emigration is brought here with less labor and in less time, but with more outlay." Journal of Discourses, Vol. 15, pp. 15-16, George Albert Smith, April 7, 1872.