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Pioneer Heritage

The pioneer trek to the Rocky Mountains was a defining event in LDS history. It has become part of the story that Latter-day Saints worldwide identify as their heritage. The trek solidified the early Saints' sense of themselves as a covenant people and reinforced their commitment to making God's kingdom a tangible reality. Even while it was happening, the Saints understood their trek to be a reenactment of Israel's migration to the promised land. They faced adversity in the faith that Israel's God was their God. The God who freed Israel from Egypt was working for their liberation as well, leading them toward a better future (D&C 103:17-20; 136:21-22).

We keep our pioneer heritage alive by living the values to which the pioneers were called. Those values include caring for the vulnerable among us and using our individual means for the benefit of the whole (D&C 136:8, 10). Like the pioneers, we are commanded to be wise stewards, planning for those who will come after us (D&C 136:9, 27). The pioneer experience teaches the importance of cultivating strong community and harmonious relationships (D&C 136:23-24). The persecution that drove the pioneers to seek refuge in the Intermountain West should inspire us to speak out against persecution of others.

 O God, Our Help in Ages Past  (Hymns 31)

The Nation has but recently passed and is now passing through trying times brought on largely by the anti-Christian spirit of profit and of greed. We need now to be new Pioneers who can lead the way across the plains of selfishness, doubt, greed, and social injustice to the mountains of love which will bring once again the blessings of neighborliness, social justice, and faith in God.

From a Pioneer Day program for the Church's young men's/young women's organization
Improvement Era, June 1934

Harold B. Lee: There is no room for discrimination in the Church. . . . We in the Church must remember that we have a history of persecution, discrimination against our civil rights, and our constitutional privileges being withheld from us.

The Teachings of Harold B. Lee (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996), 384

Alexander B. Morrison: They were ordinary men and women, plain spoken, hard working, but made noble because they shared a vision, a vision of a different world, a world where injustice and oppression, poverty and ignorance would be dispelled and a world where men and women would be brothers and sisters. . . . They wore out their lives in the pursuit of that dream and they blessed us by their example.

LDS Church News, October 14, 1995, 4

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