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Mormon Ghost Stories


Cover Image for Trek
Moroni's Ghost
By: Moroni's Ghost

“It is good to look to the past to gain appreciation for the present and perspective for the future. It is good to look upon the virtues of those who have gone before, to gain strength for whatever lies ahead. It is good to reflect upon the work of those who labored so hard and gained so little in this world, but out of whose dreams and early plans, so well nurtured, has come a great harvest of which we are the beneficiaries. Their tremendous example can become a compelling motivation for us all, for each of us is a pioneer in his [or her] own life.”

Gordon B. Hinckley, 15th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“Did you pack extra socks, your toothbrush, your scriptures and your water bottle?”

“Yes I did”, Dallin called down to his mom who had been pestering him about packing for a week already.

“I told you you should’ve just packed last night like me,” said Derek, his brother. “Mom always freaks right up until the last minute if you don’t have absolutely everything together.”

“Just haven’t learned my lesson yet I guess.” Dallin replied. He stuffed the rest of the items into his bag and then he and Derek headed downstairs with all of their things. Their mom was waiting for them by the front door. The morning sun hadn’t risen yet so it was still dark outside.

“Now, before we head to the church, there is a surprise all of us parents were waiting to give you.” She pulled out two manilla envelopes and handed them both to Dallin and Derek. “Don’t open them till you are on the bus! But I can tell you what they are. Everyone on trek is bringing the name of a pioneer with them on the trail. You know, someone who was really there. Someone you can think about when times are tough as you pull your handcarts up the bigger hills. We could’ve picked any name, but we were encouraged to find people we are really related to. I managed to find two names in our family tree I had never even heard of before, and they were brothers too! Please read about their lives on the bus and throughout the week and remember them. I know it’ll truly make your trek a time to remember.”

Her eyes looked moist as she gave them both a hug. Then they headed out the door to the church.


On the bus, Dallin sat next to his best friend Noah. They’d been buddies ever since they had been in diapers and were pretty much inseparable. Derek was sitting with his girlfriend Amber. They too had become inseparable over the past few months. The day Amber had turned 16 they had become official. Of course they had been “dating” in secret for a couple years before that. But now they were much more public about it. Dallin missed those days. The constant PDA was a bit much for him. And since they hung out at their house, he could almost never escape it.

He reached down and pulled the envelope out of his bag. “Did you get one of these this morning too?” He asked Noah.

“Oh, yeah, one sec,” he shuffled around his things and pulled out a small white envelope. From inside it he pulled out an index card that had a paragraph of writing on it. “Mine says I am ‘Richard Godfrey’... looks like he was part of the Willie handcart company. What about you?”

“Let’s see.” Dallin said. He reached into his envelope and pulled out a sizable stack of paper.

“Holy cow.” said Noah “Your mom goes hard on the family history stuff huh?”

“She does that with everything.” Dallin replied, shuffling through the papers. “Here’s the first bit of mine.”

Boris Fairmount was born in 1842 and was only 14 years old when he departed with his family as part of the Ellsworth handcart company. He was said to have been a great support to his mother who fell ill before their journey. Boris and his brother Bartholomew both tragically passed away as they traveled through Wyoming. The cause of death of these two boys was unknown. No record of their graves was kept and no one in the company ever left much detail. These two sweet boys should be remembered as they gave their lives to travel to be with the Saints.

Dallin looked up from reading. “My mom must have written this,” he said. “Kind of weird, these two brothers just died. But no one ever wrote down why.”

“Weird, but at least that is interesting. Mine only mentions his family and a few small details. Pretty boring.” Noah replied.

“That must mean that Derek has Bartholomew. At least I’ll have something to do on the trail.” They had been expressly forbidden from bringing any sort of books, entertainment or the like, except for their scriptures and journals.

Dallin spent the rest of the bus ride chatting with Noah. But the thought of Boris’ mysterious death itched at the back of his mind. He felt the odd sensation that something was off. And for some reason every time he looked over at Derek, a chill went down his spine.


That day they pushed their handcarts 7 miles. Then they had a dance lesson at their campsite. Good food was provided and finally they settled into their tents. Dallin closed his eyes and fell asleep quickly after the long day.

He opened his eyes and a handcart was in front of him. He was pushing it up a hill. He looked down at his clothing, they weren’t his own. They were tattered and worn down. His shoes were torn and with each step he felt a hole that had formed on his left heel scrape against the ground. He looked up and saw a woman in the cart. She lay with her eyes closed. She appeared frail. A retching sound was made as she suddenly coughed. It rang in his ears. He felt deep sadness, though Dallin had never seen her before. To the side of him was another boy, a bit older than him. At the front of the cart was a lean but strong man. Sweat dripped down his arms as he pulled the handcart along the trail.

They finally crested the hill they were going up and stopped to take a break. There was a large boulder at the top that was almost a perfect square. Dallin immediately jumped to the aid of the woman in the cart.

“Mother, what do you need?” he asked. His voice was not his own.

“I’m fine, Boris. Please, rest a minute.”

“Are you sure? Water, food? I can always eat less tonight. You need your strength.”

“Sweet child, I am fine.” She grabbed his hand with her own. “I’m so very blessed to have you with me.” She kissed his hand then let go of it. “But please, rest, talk with your brother, he needs you as well.”

Dallin, or, Boris, walked over to the other boy he had been pushing next to.

“I don’t need your help, despite what mother says.”

“Bart, I just…”

“I said I don’t need your help.”

“Can’t I just.”

“GO AWAY.” Bart yelled, then stomped off in another direction. Boris looked down at his shoes and sighed.

Dallin opened his eyes as the sun shone into his tent. He looked around himself. That dream had felt so real. So tangible. He grabbed the stack of papers from his mom once more and dug around, looking for more information.

Boris and Bart also had a sister named Bethany. She died a year before they started out on the pioneer trail in a house fire. Their mother, Nancy, had fainted while cooking dinner due to her illness. The fire took their entire home and most of their belongings. Their father had discovered the fire in time to save Nancy, but Bethany was lost to the flames. It was this tragedy that led the family to find the restored gospel of the church. They converted shortly thereafter and, as they had little possessions left, decided to join the very first handcart company headed to Zion.

Dallin put the papers down and stared at the ceiling of his tent, deep in thought.


The rest of the morning went off without a hitch. They had their lunch and then started on the trail again.

Each of them had been assigned to families. Of course Derek and Amber had talked their way into being in the same family. They pushed their handcart together all day, though they distracted each other enough that they were doing more talking than pushing.

Dallin’s family was right behind Derek’s so he had a full view of their love all day long. He focused on the work, which he didn’t mind. But as he pushed his thoughts drifted to the dream from the night before. He couldn’t help it, with how familiar the scenery was.

He was lost in thought when he heard loud yelp in front of him. He looked up to see Amber sitting on the ground, holding her leg. Derek was by her side in an instant. One of their leaders helped her get off the ground as she hopped on one foot. They helped her up into the handcart, then they all kept moving.

They got to the top of the next hill where Dallin went over to Derek and Amber.

“What happened? Are you ok?” he asked.

“I just took a funny step and tripped, but then the handcart went over my leg.” Amber said. “I don’t know if it is broken or anything, but it hurts to walk.”

“Well at least we can push you in one of the carts.” Dallin said.

“Don’t pretend like you care.” Derek suddenly said, startling Dallin and Amber. “I saw you giving us the stink eye earlier.”

“I just see you guys all the time, so it can be a bit much. But I am glad it's not worse.”

“Yeah, sure you are.” Derek scoffed.

“No really…”

“Go away.” Derek said. There was anger in his voice. Dallin didn’t understand what his problem was but turned around to find Noah. He found him sitting on a large square rock that looked familiar to Dallin, but he couldn’t quite figure out why.


After a long 9 mile day, Dallin once again found himself dreaming. Boris’ memories becoming his own.

It was nighttime. The world was only illuminated by the embers of a fire in front of him and the moon shining up above. He watched the last trails of smoke drift up into the cold night sky. The man who had been pulling the handcart, who Dallin assumed was Boris’ father, sat next to him.

“I’m sorry about your brother Boris, I am. He’s had a hard time letting go. Him and Bethany had a special connection. I hope in time his wounds heal, but maybe it's best to keep your distance like he said.”

“I don’t like the way he looks at Mom. He barely speaks to her anymore. I can’t stand it.” Boris said. “You never do anything about it, the way he disrespects her.”

“Not much I can do I’m afraid. We need the help pushing the cart. Without all of us, we’d never make it to Zion. I’m sorry son. I am. But he just needs time.”

With that, Boris’ father stood up and walked to where they had set up their places to sleep for the night. Their mother was too weak to move much, so they let her just sleep in the handcart.

Boris walked out to relieve himself before settling in for the night, then headed back to camp. As he made his way back, he stopped by their handcart. His mother was fast asleep inside of it.

He felt a sudden urge to be close to her. He often wondered how much time she had left or if she would even see the Salt Lake Valley. He climbed up into the cart and buried himself in blankets, nestling in against his mother. She hardly stirred. He usually slept near his father, but something told him that she needed him tonight.

As he started to drift off, he heard the shuffle of footsteps. He remained still, not daring to look up at the noise. They hadn’t seen anyone for days, so it could only be someone from their camp. But still, the darkness of the night made his heart start to race. It could be a wild animal. Those could be just as dangerous.

He heard the footsteps get closer until they were right up next to the handcart. His breath caught in his chest as we waited for the stranger to reveal himself. He suddenly heard Bart’s voice in the darkness.

“It’s your fault, it's all your fault. If it weren’t for you, we’d never be out here in this wasteland.”

He paused and a sob came out. “If you didn’t get sick, she’d still be here. We’d all still be back at home, none of this would have happened.”

Another pause. Then the sound of a buckle being undone.

“I still hear her. Every night, every minute of every day. I hear her screams echoing in my head. It should have been you.” His speech had picked up in speed and he was sounded more and more deranged. “It should have been you. Now we have to drag you along with us. You are a waste of space!” He spat at the ground. “We don’t have space for you anymore.”

Boris couldn’t believe his ears. Bart had never talked like this before. He knew he’d been angry, yes, but nothing like this. Boris steeled himself, then sat up to confront his brother.

He came face to face with Bart as he felt a knife ram itself right into his stomach. He cried out as the searing pain radiated from his wound. He could feel the blood dripping out of him. His vision started to blur.

“Bart…” he managed to wheeze out. “Bart… why?”

Bart’s face was a look of horror. His eyes were wide and crazed in the moonlight.

“Boris…Boris why are you here,” he looked down at the pile of blankets. It was obvious from his swing he had been aiming at his mother instead. He hadn’t noticed Boris buried in the blankets beside her. “No… no… no… no…. I know you protect her, but I didn’t know, Boris,” he grabbed Boris’ face in his hands. “Boris no, I’m sorry Boris… Hang in there Boris, I’ll get father, he can help us… but he’ll kill me. He’ll kill me I’m sure of it. He’ll know its me now, he’ll know. I have nowhere to go. I’ll be alone. Out here in this godforsaken wasteland we’ve dragged ourselves into. No…no… I can’t… I can’t do it…”

Boris’ vision became more and more black, but he was able to make out the outline of Bart grabbing his knife and running it against his throat. The last thing he heard was a thud as Bart collapsed to the ground.


Dallin sat up straight in his sleeping bag. He clutched at his stomach. The pain had felt so real. He sighed in relief as he realized that he was fine. But jumped when he heard a now familiar voice.

He’s restless, stop him, stop him like I couldn’t! Boris’ words echoed in his ears. He clambered up to his feet and threw on his shoes. He had to find Derek.

He ran out of his tent looking around. It was still the middle of the night and the cool Wyoming air filled his lungs. He ran to Derek’s tent and found that the door had been unzipped. The other priests lay sleeping, but Derek was nowhere to be found.

He heard a clanging sound in the distance, like someone had tripped over one of the camp cooking pots. He ran to the noise and saw the row of handcarts. Derek was there holding Amber in his arms. Dallin approached slowly as Derek lowered Amber into the handcart. He covered her with some blankets that lay inside. Dallin crept closer, not wanting to startle him.

Derek pulled his pocket knife out from his pocket. His eyes were glazed over, as though he was in some kind of trance. A dribble of drool hung out one side of his mouth.

Dallin crept closer until he saw Derek lift the pocket knife high above his head, waiting to strike. Dallin lunged at Derek, grabbing his arm. They struggled against each other for a few seconds until Derek overpowered him then threw him to the ground.

Dallin lay in the dust as Derek approached him.

“Derek, it’s me, Dallin, your brother.” Derek took a few steps more. “I know you are in there Derek, I know you don’t want to hurt me! I know you don’t want to hurt Amber.” He lifted the pocket knife above his head. “Bart, I know it's you Bart. I know what happened.” Derek paused for a second. “I know you didn’t mean to kill me Bart, I know you never meant to hurt Boris.”

Derek stood frozen. His glazed over eyes looked far away, but a tear started to form in one of them. “You can change Bart, you can make a different choice.”

Derek spoke, but Bart’s voice was the one that came out. “I can’t change the past, I only wish I had killed her instead.”

“You don’t mean that Bart, you don’t.”

“You don’t understand, I still hear her. Bethany. All these years. She still whispers to me. She wanted me to do this, to avenge her death. I never avenged her. I must avenge her.” With that, he swung down hard at Dallin, who quickly rolled to the side. The knife still managed to graze his left side and he felt a stinging pain course through him once again. Derek stood high once more, brandishing the pocket knife, when a pair of hands grabbed him from behind.

Amber had awoken and was struggling with Derek for control of the knife. Dallin saw that she too had a glazed over look in her eyes.

“Bart, you must stop this Bart.” It was the voice of their mother, Nancy. “Bart, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I never told you that I’m sorry.”

Derek paused long enough for Amber to grab the knife from his hand and cast it to the side. She then pulled him into a deep embrace.

“I’m sorry mama, I just miss her, I miss her so much.”

“I know dear, I know, she’s waiting for us. You’ve been hanging around here so long, she’s been waiting for us this whole time. Come with me Bart.”

Derek and Amber held their embrace as the glazed look fell from their eyes. Derek shook his head confused, then turned to see Dallin bleeding on the ground.

“What happened?” he cried rushing over to Dallin.

“It’s a long story,” Dallin replied, “I’ll tell you all about it, once we take care of this.” With that Derek helped Dallin up and they hobbled over to find a first aid kit to clean up his wound.


Dallin sat in the bus looking at the blue sky as they made their way home from trek. His stab wound ached, but it wasn’t too deep or dangerous of a cut. At least now he would have a story to tell. He’d told the leaders he was sleep walking and tripped when Derek came to help him. He’d told Derek the truth in private, though Derek didn’t believe him, even though he played along.

He reached down and pulled out the stack of papers that their mother had given Derek. Dallin had asked to borrow them on the ride home. He flipped through them and found a passage.

Bart and Bethany were twins. They’d had a special connection since they were young. Her death devastated Bart to no end. The only thing his father ever said about his death was that it was his grief that truly killed him. He held onto the grief and let it poison him instead of fill his heart with love. What that means exactly, we might never know.

Dallin saw a tear fall onto the paper. He folded it in half, tucked it into his scripture case and stared out the window at the stark Wyoming wasteland.

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