For many, the pioneer trek of 1847 didn’t begin at Nauvoo, Kirtland, Far West, or New York but rather in distant England, Scotland, Scandinavia, or Germany. Tiny children could not fully comprehend the dynamic faith that motivated their parents to leave behind family, friends, comfort, and security.
A little one might ask, “Mommy, why are we leaving home? Where are we going?”
“Come along, precious one; we’re going to Zion, the city of our God.”
Between the safety of home and the promise of Zion stood the angry and treacherous waters of the mighty Atlantic. Who can recount the fear that gripped the human heart during those perilous crossings? Prompted by the silent whisperings of the Spirit, sustained by a simple yet abiding faith, those pioneer Saints trusted in God and set sail on their journey.
They finally reached Nauvoo only to set out again to face hardships on the trail. Tombstones of sage and rock marked graves the entire route from Nauvoo to Salt Lake City. Such was the price some pioneers paid. Their bodies are buried in peace, but their names live on evermore.
Tired oxen lumbered, wagon wheels squeaked, brave men toiled, war drums sounded, and coyotes howled. But the faith-inspired and storm-driven pioneers pressed on. Often they sang:
I am very grateful for the faith of my ancestors who accepted the restored gospel and joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the late 1800's. They left Denmark in the 1860's to come to America and pressed forward with faith to arrive in the West. They traveled across the states to land in Utah and then to settle in Idaho. Their courage and faith help me to continue pressing forward each day in my own life.
I gain great spiritual strength from my relationship with my Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. My testimony has been strengthened by reading and seeing what the early pioneers went through to reach their desired destination.
Now in our day, we each have the opportunity and privilege to be pioneers in our own right. As we live in a world full of great turmoil and conflict we can stand out and be a light for righteousness and goodness. Following the Savior, Jesus Christ's example of being obedient to the commandments which God has given us will bless us in our journey here on earth.
One of my favorite videos speaks about the war on earth today that continues from heaven (between good and evil)...we each have agency and a choice to be on the Lord's side of the line in this battle. Who's on the Lord's side who? I hope and pray I can be strengthened in my own life, to be anchored and more deeply rooted in my own testimony and conviction of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ so I can withstand the power of the adversary. May you also find strength and safety in following the Saviors call to Come Follow Him!