One thing that continually impresses me is the ability of the early Latter-day Saints to reinterpret their persecutions as positive events in their lives. Although they also complained a lot concerning the the treatment they received at the hands of the Missourians and Illinoisans, early Mormons were also adept in reversing their losses and turning them into triumphs. For Parley P. Pratt and other Latter-day Saints, being called to suffer and even die for the truth was preferable than the alternative of remaining unscathed in Babylon. While in prison Pratt wrote to his parents encouraging them to join the main body of the Saints then leaving Missouri.
I most earnestly wish that our friends in Maine would come to the west and live with us that is if they choose to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than enjoy the pleasures of the Gentiles for a season. As to bonds or imprisonment or even death or as to the spoiling of our goods the scattering and banishment of the Saints these are no strange things at all but they are the common things which the Saints of old endured and which the Saints may expect to endure untill the worlds of God are fullfilled. I therefore rejoice in in necessities tribulations persecutions reproaches stripes bonds imprisonments and all the sufferings I am called to endure for the word God and the testimony of Jesus feelings assured that the Lord Jesus will soon come in clouds with power and great glory to the destruction of all the wicked and to the salvation of and deliverance of his people. I would not change conditions this day with the proud and lofty persecutors who in their lifetime enjoy their good things and parly evil things for by and by the will be comforted and they tormented here.
In this manner Pratt created a distinction not only between the suffering Mormons and non-Mormons, but also between Mormons that had been persecuted and those that had not been in Missouri. Writing in 1840 from New York, Pratt related that “[t]he spirit that prevails is “west ward Ho!” to suffer, to live, or to die with the saints their brethren. There is scarce a saint here who would stay another month if they had means to go west. It is the bad times here and not the good times which keeps them from emigrating.” This desire to suffer therefore reversed the definition of affliction as something to be avoided, and reinvented it in positive terms.
[Another interesting tidbit here is looking at how Pratt constructed the “West” in these letters. Missouri and Illinois were still considered to be the “West” in the 1830s and 1840s while the area of the continent that came to be known as California, Utah, etc. was known as the “Far West.”]
 Parley P. Pratt to parents, 20 March 1839, Pratt Collection, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.
 Parley Pratt and others, New York, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 19 February 1840, Times and Seasons, March 1840, 71.