Tag: Mormon

True to the Faith…Legacy of Pioneers

Today is a holiday in Utah. We celebrate the arrival of the Mormon pioneers to the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847.   This first party led by Brigham Young was called to leave their homes for the third or fourth time- most of them in a matter of hours.  Gathering their few meager possessions and loved ones, they willingly left all for a better, more free life.  This exodus on the heels of the murder of the prophet Joseph Smith and the  extermination order by the governor of Missouri Lilburn W. Boggs calling for the “the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State”.  In the country founded by religious pilgrims and Christian ideals they were literally kicked out because of their faith.  Making things harder  is that the initial party only knew they were heading west – no more.  Brigham Young didn’t even have an exact idea of the final destination. While on the way Brigham Young happened upon famed tracker Jim Bridger who discouraged the Great Basin as an eventual landing place for the Saints.  Bridger claimed the soil was too salty for crops and the winter’s too frigid.  He recommend they move on to California’s more furtile lands.  However, Brigham Young knew the Saints needed a place that other’s found undesirable, so the Saints could have the peace and space to prosper.   Eventually arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, Brigham and his counselors climbed Emigration canyon and exclaimed by revelation “this is the place”.

The Mormon pioneers continued the exodus until the arrival of the railroad in 1869.  While still difficult, most groups traveled without serious problems.  This all changed in 1856 when two handcart companies, leaving late, found themselves in the middle of a brutal Wyoming winter.  Hundreds died of exposure, fatigue and even despair.  Finally, word came to Brigham Young of the suffering and he sent relief parties out immediately- halting all further addresses at the General Conference, which was occurring when he found out.   To rally the people Brigham Young said:

“The afternoon meeting will be omitted, for I wish the sisters to go home and prepare to give those who have just arrived a mouthful of something to eat, and to wash them and nurse them up. You know that I would give more for a dish of pudding and milk, or a baked potato and salt, were I in the situation of those who have just come in, than I would for your prayers, though you were to stay here all the afternoon and pray. Prayer is good, but when baked potatoes and pudding and milk are needed, prayer will not supply their place on this occasion; give every duty its proper time and place.”

Even with relief, hundreds died in the Martin and Willie handcart companies.  The suffering and sacrifice was great.   Here is an emotional video with President Gordon B. Hinckley describing the price that was paid for religious freedom by the pioneers:

I often think- “Could I have done it?  Could I have been a pioneer?”.  I know that I am a pioneer in some aspects of my life, but I do not physically suffer for my beliefs.  Could I do it?  The simple answer is- “I don’t know”.  I suppose many of the pioneers didn’t know if they could do it before they were forced on the path.

The closest I can come to estimating my physical stamina for my faith is my mission.  Compared to the thousands of miles walked by the pioneers, it is nothing, but to me it was a grueling experience.  With my foot condition I was in serious pain everyday.  Sometimes I handled it well and at other moments I wept in pain.  This was one of the many difficulties of a my mission.  Why did I keep going? The simple answer is I knew it was true.  I wanted to tell the people of Indiana that  God does speak to a prophet today,  He does love us, the Book of Mormon is true, and His gospel has been restored.  This was worth any sacrifice .  The few people I was able to teach made all the achy feet seem like a small price to pay (or at least medium price!).  I am grateful to my companions for walking slow with me and putting up with my bad days! I wonder if the pioneers had bad days where they complained about their aching feet and muscles?  They probably did!

Still, as a group they were amazingly optimistic- even taking time for joyous events while on the trail.  When I think of my mission I had tough days when I wanted to give up, and I was certainly not pushed as hard as the pioneers in any way.  How did they do it?  How did they hold on to their faith so hard that they not only kept walking but danced at night and held concerts to sing the hymns? They even had a band, which preformed along the way.  It’s an inspiration!

I hope  I can face my small challenges with the same courage, happiness and religious devotion as the pioneers.  I challenge all of you to look at their example and with me, try a little harder to serve the Lord each day. This way their legacy will not be wasted or counted for naught.

The pioneer anthem was Come, Come, Ye Saints .  Please listen to it and remember the sacrifices they made on this pioneer day!

The last few days

It has only been a week or so since I last posted but it has been a very busy time for me. Some highlights are:

– I gave the lesson in the combined priesthood/relief society meeting at church. My ward is large and this was basically a lecture in front of around 200 people! A little scary but exciting as well. I felt the Lord was inspiring me as to what to share. The message was that we as singles can be happy and live a full life. You can also gain a testimony from Heavenly Father that your life matters- no matter your marital status. I talked about 4 key points to a happy gospel centered life:
1. Seek Daily Personal Victories- find little things everyday to be happy about even if it is something small like working out when you don’t feel like it or cooking a good meal when you are tempted to eat out.
2. Live a full life- find things that you have always wanted to do and then set goals to do it. There are few things you can only do when you are married. Living a full life is why I am constantly setting goals, planning trips and taking classes. I am not perfect in this regard but the effort makes me happier.
3. Discover your divine nature and purpose- pray to Heavenly Father and He will tell you of your worth. As Romans says “we are the children of God. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Think about that- we all have the potential to be glorified with Christ. I believe each of has to ask God if He loves us, if we are His children. I also believe He will answer that prayer.
4. Remember “not my will but thine be done”. Jesus Christ set the perfect example of humbling submitting his will to the will of the Father. We all have difficult experiences that seem unfair or unjust. Following the Savior’s example in such instances helps us to find purpose, meaning and to survive happily.

— Anyway, that was my lesson and I felt it went well. It was a nice moment for me to look back at the last few years and to see what I have learned. I could not have given that lesson a year ago, or a year and half ago. You don’t have that many moments of retrospection in life- moments where you can look back and see growth. I was proud of the women I have become while giving that lesson and I realized the many ways I can become better.

— Moving on. The last week has also been a busy week work-wise and in my other activities. I have started cleaning the rental properties and did so 3 times in the last 2 weeks. Yesterday I cleaned for 4 hours and then had to dig my car out of the snow. Needless to say my muscles hurt today! Maybe I should start the cleaning exercise routine? You could do “the scrub the floor”, “the shovel snow” and “the sweep/vacuum”. It seems to be working for me! It is actually quite satisfying to look at messy room, and then work on it and see the clean results. I never thought I would be cleaning houses as part of my job but it certainly beats a desk job. That’s for sure! I will do anything legal to avoid sitting day after day.

–Aside from work I had book club this week, which was great- lots of good discussion on Room with a View. It’s a great book club with a wide variety of participants. I feel priviliged to be a member and to know these girls.
I also had institute (kind of like Sunday School class), voice lessons, my cake decorating class, saw Slumdog Millionaire for the 2nd time (so great!), saw a play at Hale Theater (so great!), met friends for dinner 3 times, and more. Pretty good for just over one week!

–Oh I also went last Friday to see David Archuleta live with my friend Emily Hancock.  It was a lot of fun.  David is a good singer and it made me feel young going to his concert.   I think I was the only non-chaperon there over 20! Still- that didn’t matter.  In fact, it may have made it even more fun.  My only complaint about the concert was the 2 hours we had to wait for it to start (2 opening acts and 45 minutes of set up time!).  As annoyed I was at the wait, it was still a lot of fun.  I just love concerts so much.  There is an energy to a live performance that I love.

Emily and I at the concert!
Emily and I at the concert!

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–I hope you all had great weeks and are happy. Life is good!