In the spring of 1840 two elders, Elisha H. Davis and H. Dean, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, came to preach the Gospel in Lancaster County. Both Martin Bushman and his wife, Elizabeth, were of a strongly religious nature and investigated the new doctrine whole heartedly, were convinced of its truth, and were baptized.
In spite of criticism and ostracism by relatives and friends in Lancaster County, they grew in faith and were filled with the spirit of gathering in Nauvoo, Illinois with the rest of the members of this faith. It is probable that they would have made the thousand mile trip to Nauvoo in 1840, but circumstances prevented this. Their aged parents were without a home of their own, and Martin spent the fall and winter in building one for them. Also they were expecting the birth of their son, Martin Benjamin, and with more time they had hoped to sell their property to a better advantage.
The property was finally sold at a great sacrifice, and provided little more than a team and wagon and the necessary provisions for the thousand mile trip with a family of six. When they arrived in Nauvoo, they found the city crowded with new converts and it was hard to find a place to live. However, they soon found their old friend, Bishop Edward Hunter, who was also of Pennsylvania Dutch descent. The Bishop immediately fixed up and rented to the Bushmans the upstairs apartment of his house. He also rented to Martin his farm which was just east of Nauvoo.
Hyrum Smith, the Patriarch, left painting by Del Parsons
Soon after their arrival [in Nauvoo], they met the Prophet Joseph and his brother, Patriarch Hyrum Smith who gave them a hearty welcome to the community. On 12 March 1843, the Patriarch ordained Martin to the office of High Priest and also gave him and his wife Elizabeth Patriarchal Blessings. The promises and blessings contained therein have extended to us their posterity.
From: Biography of Martin Bushman and Elizabeth Degen (Based upon Bushman Family History,** compiled 1956 by Newbern I. Butt for the Bushman Family History Committee, pp. 12-15).