I am always surprised, and somewhat dismayed when I see some members of the
Church wear their pioneer heritage as a badge of honor, as if it set them in a
class superior to other members of the Church; as if their calling and election
were made sure because their ancestors came across the plains.I am
7th generation LDS, with ancestors, the Oakeys, who came across in the Willie
company.My wife is the first in her family to join the Church. I hope one
day to be the Latter-day Saint that she is.
Even though I have been a trail historian for years, I've never heard this
talk... well worth listening to. I was the first person is history to recreate
the 1856 first handcart company by pulling a 217 pound cart, by myself, from
Iowa City to SLC in 2009. I did so in honor of Sarah Goode Marshall, my great
grandmother, who as Pres. Clark was referring to, was also the last in line of
that first company. His perspective on the emotional differences from the front
of the line to the back of the line are poignant indeed. I've
walked the walked and am intimately aware of the transformation that takes place
by giving everything you have to accomplish this goal... to follow their/our
prophet. When I first began my trek, I thought that I was recreating history...
as it turns out... history was recreating me.
Wow. How wonderful to hear and read the words of J. Reuben Clark, Jr. How
wonderful to remember the great men and women of his generation with their
soaring thoughts and testimonies that opened the way for the Church's entry
into the modern era.
What a wonderful reminder that we are Pioneers right now. Each of us has a load
to carry, and a price to pay to further the Work of the Lord. Those wonderful
ancestors, who left so much behind, and gave so much more, are a beacon to us,
and a valuable guide to what can be achieved when faithful men and women unite
in a mighty cause. The torch has been passed, though, and we must unite in that
same cause in OUR day, and leave our own beacon to those that will follow us.
I am a convert, and am the start (pioneer) within my own family. I
trust that my descendants will view my offering as worthwhile, and worthy to be