First, the money alloted for the men to purchase uniforms could be used to purchase wagons, teams, and other supplies for the Saints' exodus to the west. In addition, their enlistment would be a public relations victory for the church, demonstrating additional evidence of its loyalty to the United States.
It took a great deal of encouragement, even cajoling, for President Young to convince the men to enlist. He wrote this:
The President (Polk) wants to do us good and secure our confidence. The outfit of this five hundred men costs us nothing, and their pay will be sufficient to take their families over the mountains. There is war between Mexico and the United States, to whom California must fall a prey, and if we are the first settlers the old citizens cannot have a Hancock or Missouri pretext to mob the Saints. The thing is from above for our own good.[