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Mike Terry, Deseret News
The Pioneer Days Fireside held at the Dee Events Center on the campus of Weber State University in Ogden on Sunday, July 17, 2011.

OGDEN — Individuals must work together with their communities to foster civic good will and to create a better future, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said during the Ogden Pioneer Days Devotional on Sunday night.

"With the complex issues facing our families and our friends, our citizens, our state, our neighbors, our nation, the world, may we remember pioneers of an earlier day who persevered against injustice, misunderstanding, some intolerance, occasional bigotry, occasional racism, against differences of custom and traditions and faith, who labored against all of that to carve out for us, their descendants, the wonderful day and the marvelous miraculous time in which we live," Elder Holland said. "We owe the same pioneering, persevering legacy to our children and our children's children."

Elder Holland spoke to an almost filled to capacity crowd, housed in the Dee Events Center on the Weber State University Campus, where he shared examples of three pioneers brought to Ogden with the railroad — a German merchant, a Chinese immigrant and a Dutch LDS convert. Their stories gave perspectives from very different countries, backgrounds and circumstances.

"We have three little stories from our pioneer past that presage something about our present and future," Elder Holland said. "In researching some of our local Ogden and northern Utah history for this talk, I have been touched deeply by both the problems of the past — which don't seem so different from our present problems — and the determination with which men and women of diverse backgrounds, cultures and religions worked together to foster civic goodwill, cohesive neighborhoods and communities, and the chance to make the future better than some aspects of the past had been.

"Surely these Pioneer Days we celebrate tonight, and the 4th of July celebrations recently ended, remind us that people working together are more successful, more prosperous and much more happy than neighborhoods or ethnic groups or religious faiths that are suspicious of one another, threatened by one another, and all to often hostile, even violent, toward one another."

Elder Holland spoke of the tremendous diversity of Ogden in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and the challenges, tensions and successes the people of Ogden experienced as they grew from their roots as a Latter-day Saint pioneer village into an economically vibrant and cosmopolitan city.

Just as the early pioneers Elder Holland talked about did, individuals today can strengthen their communities by minimizing differences and emphasizing common values, aspirations and virtues that create success in a modern world.

The event, held as part of the state's pioneer day celebration, summoned LDS Church and community members to the Dee Events Center in Ogden, Utah. Elder Holland and F. Ann Millner, Weber State University president addressed the crowd, with music sung by the Ogden LDS Institute Chorale.

email: mholman@desnews.com