Sunday, July 26, 2009

:::Day 9 -- Belated Pioneer Day:::

D A montere Y 9

This quote was printed on the cover of our sacrament program today in honor of Pioneer Day.

"I’ve often thought, and I’ve said to my own children, that those parents who kept going past Chimney Rock and past Martin’s Cove (and sometimes didn’t get farther than that) and those little graves that are dotted all across the historic landscape of this Church—they didn’t do that for a program, they didn’t do it for a social, they did it because the faith of the gospel of Jesus Christ was in their soul, it was in the marrow of their bones. That’s the only way those mothers could bury that baby in a breadbox and move on and say, “The promised land is out there somewhere. We’re going to make it to the valley.”

Well, that’s because of covenants and doctrine and faith and revelation and spirit. If we can keep that in our families and in the Church, maybe a lot of other things start to take care of themselves. Maybe a lot of other things sort of fall off the wagon. I’m told those handcarts could only take so much. They had to choose what they took. And maybe the 21st century will drive us to decide, “What can we put on this handcart?” It’s the substance of our soul; it’s the stuff right down in the marrow of our bones. We’ll have blessed family and Church if we can cling to the revelations."

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Worldwide Leadership Conference, February, 2008

I am proud of the pioneer spirit on which our modern day church was founded. To me, it's at the essence of what it means to be Mormon. This spirit continues in our church today, and it's why we keep spreading the word, building temples, supporting families, sending out missionaries, collecting tithing, splitting wards, creating new stakes, translating materials, broadcasting conferences, breaking new ground, blessing babies, baptizing members, ordaining priesthood holders, passing out scriptures, knitting bandages, making dinners, canning food, bagging sandbags, and on, and on, and on. We are a church that is moving forward and onward. We are busy and engaged in good causes, we are self-sufficient and charitable. That makes me very proud.

I was talking to a girl last year who was here doing research at the Library of Congress as part of her PhD program at the University of Chicago. She was studying American History, and particularly the founding of the American West. When I told her I was Mormon, she began telling me how completely impressed she was with the early saints. She said something to the effect that no one would ever think that such a (seemingly) ragtag group of people would be able to make it across the plains, let alone successfully settle and flourish in the desert. She praised their hard work and all that the pioneers had done to settle the American West. Then she tried to find one word to describe the pioneer settlers, but couldn't find the right one. I then told her that the word was 'industrious', and she couldn't agree more.

I wonder if I've made enough forward motion in my life to mirror the efforts of the pioneers. While our physical tasks are different, I think that in spirit they are the same. I could be doing more to bring the kingdom forward. I could be sacrificing more and focusing more on the faith. Thankfully, that doesn't mean that I've given up, but that I'm still on the road. If there ever isn't more to do, it means I've given up.


michelle said...

What a beautiful quote from Elder Holland! I love the image of things falling off the wagon. I wonder what will prove to be in the marrow of my bones...

mom said...

"What's in my wagon?" I will have to remember that, put it on a card at work, in the car, etc. I know I need to dump a lot of stuff on the side of the trail.

I have learned to appreciate those early members, to love them and to honor them.

While driving across SD this summer in a comfortable car at 55 mph I crossed the Missouri River. The first thing I thought of was all the history that took place on and near that grand old river. I thought of the beautiful bridge that spans it. And then I thought of the pioneers
and how different their crossings were. God Bless them...

emilysuze said...

What a great quote.

Brittony said...

I'm using that quote tomorrow as a spiritual thought in a meeting. It is incredible.