Jul 24, 2011

July 24th - Pioneer Day

by Marsha Ward

Throughout Utah, and in many communities in the Intermountain West of the United States, this weekend will bring parades, fireworks, concerts, and other celebrations in honor of the Mormon Pioneers, whose first wagon party arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on this day in 1847. They were followed by thousands of pioneers who came west in the next decades.

July 24th is special to those LDS members whose ancestors trod those many miles across America, looking for a place to worship as they wished. But the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--the Mormons--is no longer simply an American religion. A few years ago, a milestone was reached where there are now more LDS members outside the United States than inside of it. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a world-wide church.

What about all those millions of LDS members who did not have pioneer ancestors? Do they celebrate Pioneer Day?

Certainly. Many of them are pioneers in their own right: they might be the initial members of the LDS Church in their families. Perhaps they were the first member of their family to serve a mission for the Church. Maybe they are the first to finish high school, or go to college.

We all have ways in which we are pioneers. Although I do have Mormon Pioneer ancestors, I was the first young woman from my ward to go on a mission.

How are you a pioneer?


  1. On my mother's side, my great-great grandfather, Erastus Snow, crossed the plains and went on to help settle the St. George area. On my father's side, he was a convert to the church at age 14. Both pioneered a new future for the generations that followed. My family and I were able to see the movie 17 Miracles this week--what a wonderful reminder of just how intense the sacrifices were for some, and what a testimony it helped to build for millions.

  2. I think that I am a pioneer in going through a divorce and raising six children on my own. I have had to work hard my entire life. It has taught me lessons that I doubt I would have learned any other way. I think we all have pioneer traits. It is up to us to use them and develop them in our own lives. Loved your thoughts today.

  3. Well Patty Ann you made me think a bit. I personally never got into the whole pioneer thing. But as the first member of the church in my family I like to think my ancestors were happy.

  4. My husband and all three of my grandfathers are pioneers in their families, because they are converts to the church. Two of my grandmothers have pioneer ancestry, and I will have to ask the third about her ancestry.

    I've never really felt like a pioneer myself, though I feel I am surrounded by them!

  5. Like Elizabeth (one of my beautiful daughters), I am surrounded by pioneers. While I don't feel like a pioneer, I realize that my being steadfast and carrying on where my ancestors left off makes me a pioneer too!Thanks for the great post, Marsha! hugs~


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