Letter: Pioneer Day is about religious freedom for all Americans

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  • Confused Sandy, UT
    July 17, 2014 8:29 a.m.


    Do you actually have any data to back up your claims about Brigham Young?

    Didn't think so....

    Brigham was very good at dividing what was the Government and what was the Church money. They never intermingled as you alleged. In fact the LDS church was in Debt until about the turn of the Century and under Lorenzo Snow leadership, the church finally was able to get out from under it.

    Brigham sent all types of people, the claim that the ones sent was those who he had disputes with is out and out false. He sent those he needed that had the skills to succeed to the areas around the state. My ancestor was one of the them...

    He sent members from the South who came to Utah to grow cotton in Southern Utah (commonly called "Dixie") He sent Iron workers and miners from England to Iron county to mine the coal.

    If you really look at what he did, it was quite amazing even from the viewpoint of Non LDS historians.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    July 16, 2014 6:28 p.m.


    Brigham Young was the head of the religious structure, the head of government, and controlled much of the business in the territory. He had no problem standing up on Sunday morning in the tabernacle and ordering people to go settle far parts of the territory – frequently people with whom he had dispute. He commingled funds and made sure he was enriched by business deals across the territory.

    Utah territory was not a libertarian paradise. It was a theocratic dictatorship.

    Mormon pioneers did some great and daring things. As for living then and there? When I look at theocracies around the world today, doesn't seem very appealing.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    July 16, 2014 2:46 p.m.

    To "Open Minded Mormon" you don't have your facts right.

    Early LDS pioneers were not Progressives, they were libertarians and wanted small government, not more.

    They didn't practice universal healthcare, nor were they socialists/communists (That was denounced by both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young). Immigration was not an issue during Pioneer times, and is not a partisan issue. Nearly everybody from conservatives to liberals are pro-immigration as long as you do so legally.

    Joseph Smith told slaves to obey their masters, and masters to be kind to their slaves. Utah has records showing the sale and purchase of some slaves within the Utah territory. Brigham Young also taught that God was ok with slavery.

    They were not out to save the planet, the dams, logging, mining, quarries, the draining of natural swamps, and all of the other projects they worked on show they were not "green".

    Illinois and Missouri were not full of conservatives. Those states were headed by Liberals. They were intolerant of people who did not conform and used the full power of government to achieve their agenda.

    As for your assessment of conservative LDS members, you are 100% wrong.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    July 16, 2014 2:27 p.m.

    Funny, the pioneers fled the US because they somehow thought they weren't getting any freedom. Now they seek to take away the freedom of others under the guise of "religious" freedom.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    July 16, 2014 8:27 a.m.

    Regardless of the details of why Mormons were kicked out of the US, it was not Americas finest moment and displayed a great lack of tolerance.

    From a strictly secular point of view though: The colonization of the west was a major event. Mormon pioneers were post Alamo, pre gold rush and the US was already arguing with Mexico regarding the western territories. Its importance goes well beyond a particular sect.

    When posters say things such as "I will avoid the parade and all festivities associated with it" based upon their contempt of the organization that settled the intermountain west, while ignoring its importance. I cannot help but wonder how they would be judged if they held the same attitude about Martin Luther King Day.

    It is fascinating how knee-jerk anti Mormon loathing (such as what was deftly manipulated by a former mayor) retains social acceptance. Embarrassing indeed.

    Shouldn't you be embarrassed to have a hero that won election by aggravating and exploiting religious intolerance?.

    Mayor Anderson is the personification of everything he claims to despise.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    July 15, 2014 8:59 p.m.

    It was about religious freedom from the founders because the Mormons left the United States of America and the constitution to moved to Mexican territory.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    July 15, 2014 4:09 p.m.

    @2 bits
    They left the United States to find Religious Freedom (they were being murdered, raped, and had an official state sponsored "extermination order" out for them in the United States. Pioneer day is VERY MUCH about Religious Freedom.
    10:08 a.m. July 15, 2014

    @L White
    Springville, UT

    Things do not change much, do they?
    11:14 a.m. July 15, 2014


    The “Mormons” in 1847 -

    Who practiced:

    Unorthodox marriages
    Provided Universal Healthcare
    Woman’s Right to Vote
    Free the Slaves
    Save the Planet – Greenies.

    They were run out by UltraConservatives in Missouri and Illinois:
    Who were;

    Pro-State and Anti-Federal

    We left the United States for Mexico,
    Because their “Constitutional Rights”
    [Religion, Speech, Assemble, Press] -- were be trampled on.

    Sadder still –
    I see many “conservative” Latter-Days trying to do this same sort of thing 170 years later to others also seek –

    Unorthodox marriages
    Provide Universal Healthcare
    Woman’s Rights
    Free the WORKING-Slaves
    Save the Planet – Greenies.

    I agree with L White about one thing --
    Things do not change much, do they?

  • Atlas Smashed Santa Monica, CA
    July 15, 2014 3:26 p.m.

    I think many here should read the documents available online regarding polygamy in the 19th century.

    Many civic leaders were furious with the Mormons living back east for practicing polygamy. They declared that "marriage was a state right. And that the majority of the population didn't support it." They also disagreed that Mormons had a right to practice it. "Doing so would be making them a special class of citizen. Mormons have the same right as anyone else, traditionally marry 1 man or woman. You cannot have 5 wives."

    Religious leaders showed equal contempt, calling polygamy a "blasphemous practice." Others said that it would put us on a slippery slope towards marrying "those of other races."

    I think we can all take a step back, let history be, and enjoy a BBQ with our neighbors. Whether they be religious or non-religious. It's a great day for our state!

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    July 15, 2014 2:36 p.m.

    Re: "They had no problems because they rejected polygamy."

    Seems a little hypocritical to call early Mormon polygamy an atrocity, and suggest it was proper to outlaw it, while, at the same time, claiming some universal, inalienable right to perversion, just a few post above.


  • Kimber Salt Lake City, UT
    July 15, 2014 2:27 p.m.

    Thank you for your comments "Henderson" and how true they are! I appreciate the pioneers and their sacrifices, but people need to know the reasons why they were persecuted. And I'm also glad that they changed in order for us to become a state!

  • Wonder Provo, UT
    July 15, 2014 2:11 p.m.

    I'm with 2 bits -- our nation and much of the world has matured over the years. Slavery, treating women as chattel, child labor, etc. is considered unacceptable now in the developed party of the world. I'd much rather live now than in any time in the past. Things aren't perfect, but now is better. I don't have a problem with celebrating Pioneer Day, but yeah, it's clearly a date that honors Mormon pioneers. However, as someone else posted, it's no different from other states celebrating dates important to their history or to a large percentage of their citizenry.

  • Curmudgeon Salt Lake City, UT
    July 15, 2014 1:44 p.m.

    Speaking of freedom of religion or the lack thereof, our LDS stake was "assigned" by Church HQ to prepare a float for the Days of '47 parade this year. Can't say no, just do it! I don't think the Greek Orthodox church, or the local Jewish congregation, or the Catholic Church, or the local mosque were "assigned" to participate in the parade.

    Not a religious holiday? Ha! Not specific to the LDS faith? Ha!

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    July 15, 2014 1:40 p.m.

    To "2 bits" the US has not matured. They have just found better ways to cover up what they are doing.

    Instead of slavery, we now allow poor people to sneak in here so that they can work for very small wages. We know that by letting them sneak in here they are denied the rights and protections of citizenship. So, when Consuela come here at the age of 5 and begins to clean houses at age 16, we know that she will still be cleaning houses at age 65 because she has no legal rights. Without those rights, she is stuck in her position and cannot get out of poverty.

    In times of slavery the white slave owners would tell about how their slaves were just too dumb to do more than work the plantation and how the owners were giving their slaves a better life. Now, politicians tell the poor minorities that they can't make it without the help from the politicians, and how they were being given a better life. Now we wonder why we have problems with intergenerational poverty now that they are dependent on the government for life, just like slaves to their masters.

  • Henderson Orem, UT
    July 15, 2014 1:12 p.m.

    @ 2 bites

    Have you visited uen? Have you actually read up on the core? Have you ever looked inside a textbook used in secondary education? Before you sling personal insults around, please do your research. I won't do it for you. If you have problems with the core, contact your local representative.

    Secondly, if you desire to have your children taught personal religious beliefs and/or philosophies, then I suggest you send your child to a private school which teaches those beliefs. It's time to be accountable and stop blaming others. If you want your child to be tsught creationism instead of evolution and Mormons were driven out for their belief in god, then please send your child to a school that teaches that. The rest of us must teach what is in the core and approved textbooks. I have yet to read an approved or credible textbook which teaches history the way you approve.

    It's really that simple. I took issue with "the United States had matured" for utah being admitted into the union. I've never read a single historian attribute Utah's admittance into the union as a maturation of the USA.

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    July 15, 2014 12:58 p.m.

    re: airnaut

    "Can Hobby Lobby make up a holiday, and celebrate under freedom of Religion?"

    Actually, its Christmas & Scotus played Santa.

  • Confused Sandy, UT
    July 15, 2014 12:56 p.m.

    Ranch, Maverick and whoever else...

    the three main reasons (and yes, I do research from all sides of the issues) the LDS church was forced out of Missouri
    1. The attitude of the saints concerning "Zion".
    2. The well developed farm land they created and the locals conveted.
    3. Voting Block....
    Polygamy although was started during this time had no affect on the expulsion.

    Reasons why they were forced out of Illinois.
    1. Well developed farms and land.
    2. Voting block of the Mormons
    3. Attitude of the Saints
    4. View of the Godhead.
    5. Thomas Sharps out and out lies about the Mormons (which several historian who are not LDS have found the articles by Mr. Sharp to false).

    The burning of the Law Printing press was the trigger of the murder of Joseph and Hyrum. It was not a cause of the expulsion. It was an excuse. If you look at the history of the time, the trashing of newspapers was common.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 15, 2014 12:54 p.m.


    RE: "I just took issue with your insistence that America had matured"...

    We have matured! A country doesn't DE-Mature over 150 years!

    Back then it was legal to own slaves... we've learned and matured. Is it legal today? Nope!

    Back then Mormons were ordered exterminated and the military dispatched to execute that order.... today they run for President. I think America has matured (and Mormons).

    As justification for your pretense that we have NOT matured... you site political bickering in Washington. Back then we had WAY more bickering in Washington. Read our history, and all the bickering that happened in Washington back then! Aaron Burr (our VP) was shot dead in a dual with Alexander Hamilton (Sec of Treasury). I think that's WORSE than the bickering we have over political differences today.

    I think I've made my case that we HAVE matured and are WAY more tolerant today (not only of Mormons... but more tolerant on about everything).

    So... what made you say, "I just took issue with your insistence that America had matured". How have we NOT matured?

    ---- last comment ----

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    July 15, 2014 12:43 p.m.

    I am trying to figure out how Pioneer Day is a celebration of Religious Freedom? I can see it as a celebration of freedom from oppression, but not of Religious Freedom. The early Pioneers were escaping the US because their religious freedoms were being ignored by intolerance.

    Pioneer Day is a celebration of the people who escaped persecution to establish a community where they could be free once again. While we celebrate the founding of Utah, we should also remember the sacrifices they made coming here, and the persecution they escaped.

  • trekker Salt Lake, UT
    July 15, 2014 12:25 p.m.

    Ranch Hand I do not recall most of our cities being here prior to the Pioneers arrival into the Salt Lake Valley.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 15, 2014 12:26 p.m.


    My comments are based on history, not Sunday School lessons.

    Google "Missouri Executive Order 44" or "Extermination Order"... (Wikipedia)... Go to "Text of the Order" section... you will see ZERO mention of polygamy in the order. Read the "Background" section (you will see ZERO mention of polygamy there as well).


    Pioneers were driven out in 1847. Utah became a State in 1896. Polygamy was ONE issue in the Statehood debate, but not the main reason Mormons were driven out of Missouri.


    Google "Utah Becomes a State - Utah Division of State History"...

    Your narrow and one-sided view of this history disqualifies you to teach History in our public school system (IMO). I encourage our State leaders to do a full review of the curriculum IF your narrow one-sided view is what teachers are actually REQUIRED to teach children in Utah.

    Can other teachers back up what Henderson claims? That they are required to teach our children that, "Mormons were driven out of the United States for their rejection of traditional marriage and practice what was deemed as perverse".......??

    I want to see if ALL teachers are really teaching that...

  • FreedomFighter41 Provo, UT
    July 15, 2014 12:22 p.m.

    @ L White, 2 bits, etc

    Since when has getting your history about a particular people or culture from someone within that people or culture been accurate?

    If you wanted a history of the Obama administration, would you believe in the history written by someone employed by Obama? Why not?
    Same thing with Reagan, FDR, and Lincoln...

    If you wanted to get Native American history, would you go to white settlers who removed and murdered them?
    If you wanted to get the history of fascism in Europe, would you go to a Hitler or Mussolini supporter?
    If you wanted to go get the history of the Mormon or Catholic Church, would you go to an historian in their employment?

    No,'right? Because there's a conflict of interest.

    Hence, why it is necessary to go with outsider perspectives. Are they all accurate? Absolutely not. But many are peer reviewed and far more credible than those done with conflicts of interest.

    Henderson and Ranch are correct.

    I will celebrate Pioneer Day. The pioneers made tremendous mistakes but also great sacrifices. I tend to focus on the positive. Please, don't use Pioneer Day as a day to promote your political agenda.

  • Henderson Orem, UT
    July 15, 2014 11:52 a.m.

    I never said that polygamy was the only reason.

    There were several others. Mormons destroyed printing presses. They spoke out against slavery. They had their own militia. And yes, there were competing religious and political factions at the time who didn't want the Mormons to gain any more power and wealth.

    Altogether, there were many logical and historic reasons for their expulsion.

    I just took issue with your insistence that America had matured.

    If anything, the Mormons had to mature too.

    We see this continue today. The church is evolving to meet the needs to it's diverse and global community.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    July 15, 2014 11:50 a.m.

    @2Bits, Confused & L White;

    You really don't know your own history very well. Many Mormons STAYED in MO and had no problems with the locals at all (Think Emma Smith and her group, the RLDS). They had no problems because they rejected polygamy. If the rest of Mormonism had done the same, they'd have had no problems as well. You also forgot to mention the atrocities that Mormons were involved in at the time leading to their "being driven" out.

    Of course, with all the white-washing that Mormon history got up until recently, it isn't surprising that your knowledge of your history is somewhat skewed.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    July 15, 2014 11:42 a.m.

    @ 2 bits

    Contrary to what you believe, teachers don't teach whatever they want. We actually follow the Utah State Core. If you wish to educate yourself in what that is, google "UEN." There is nothing in the state core that describes the westward expansion of then Mormons as being triggered unfairly by Mormon faith. If you have a problem with this, then please, contact your local representative.

    Lastly, as a history teacher, I believe in teaching history from credible sources. Unfortunately, for you, what you've heard in Sunday school is not a credible historic source. Is it fine to find personal religious comfort in these teachings? Absolutely. But as public educators we are bound to stick with credible historic sources and not let our personal religious beliefs interfere with our teaching.

    After taking several history courses from BYU and UVU, I have yet to find a single peer reviewed and credible source which indicates that Mormons were kicked out for their "faith." Their faith included a marriage practice that was illegal by American law.

    That is fact.

    Their agreeing to end polygamy, not to stop practicing their faith, led to their statehood.

  • Confused Sandy, UT
    July 15, 2014 11:25 a.m.

    For someone who teaches History, you sure missed the boat with why the Saints were forced from "The United States"

    They were not forced to leave because of Traditional Marriage, they were forced out because of their religious belief which includes that God, Jesus and the Holy spirit is three different personages. That the "Mormon Block" would undo their loosen their Political Power both on the state and federal levels. The LDS members were a bit exclusive and never really made efforts to include the non LDS people in their gatherings(with some good reasons). But most of all, they were forced because the Saints cultivated, and developed producing farms that "Some" inhabitants of the states wanted for themselves.

    The issue of Polygamy never came up until Brigham Young asked for statehood in around 1857 or so. Then because of the Anti Mormon feelings still felt, they made the Edmunds Tucker act.

    But I do agree with you that America was not maturing like 2 bits originally mentioned, far from it... Johnson Army comes to mind of the top of my mind.

  • L White Springville, UT
    July 15, 2014 11:14 a.m.

    My, my, but there is no religious tolerance in Utah. After reading some of these comments I might have thought that I was transported back in time to Illinois or Missouri. The Mormons were driven out of those States. They didn't leave their farms and homes willingly. They were driven out at gun point.

    For the doubters who believe that they can mock and persecute people who believe in God, they might want to read the history of Stillman Pond given by President James E. Faust in "The Refiner's Fire". Brother Pond lost nine of his eleven children and his wife after being driven out of Nauvoo at bayonet point.

    Now we sit in comfortable homes. We drive on beautiful streets. We enjoy everything that those pioneers built for us - and some of those living in Utah seem to wish that they could drive out the Mormons again.

    Nauvoo had a population larger than Chicago's. Nauvoo had brick homes and well managed farms. Nauvoo also had envious neighbors who wanted something for nothing.

    Things do not change much, do they?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 15, 2014 11:11 a.m.

    Yes, I think America has "matured" since 1847.

    We are WAY more tolerant today.... More tolerant of Mormons AND polygamy (which are not the same thing).


    You study and TEACH history for a living!... and you are "DISTURBED" that anyone would think America has matured and is more tolerant? I am disturbed that someone like you would be TEACHING history to my children!

    You seem to actually know very little about history (that doesn't support your anti-LDS agenda). America HAS matured since the 1800s. We ARE more tolerant of other people (other faiths, other races, other nationalities, other lifestyles, you name it, we are MORE tolerant than we were back then).

    WHAT are you teaching our children???

    That "Mormons were driven out of the United States for their rejection of traditional marriage and practice or what was deemed as perverse, polygamy"???

    Polygamy wasn't the reason mobs were assaulting and killing Mormons and burning their homes and businesses. Polygamy wasn't why Gov Bogs issued the "Extermination order". It was their FAITH. A faith that is so well tolerated in 2012 America that a MORMON can run for President... and almost win!

  • Henderson Orem, UT
    July 15, 2014 10:43 a.m.

    @ 2 bits

    As someone who studies and teaches history for a living, I find your version of history quite unfounded and actually pretty disturbing. America's maturation? Huh? So our nation has been maturing with the years? What about now? Our congress seems less mature than a class of jr. High schoolers!

    The history of this issue is pretty clear. Mormons were driven out of the United States for their rejection of traditional marriage and practice or what was deemed as perverse, polygamy.

    It wasn't until the Utah territory agreed to end the practice of polygamy that Utahns were granted statehood into the United States. I have several websites that can teach you about this if you wish. Just let me know and I'll give you their names (since I can't post any links).

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 15, 2014 10:08 a.m.

    You're dang right. You don't have to be LDS to appreciate what the pioneers did.

    They left the United States to find Religious Freedom (they were being murdered, raped, and had an official state sponsored "extermination order" out for them in the United States. Pioneer day is VERY MUCH about Religious Freedom.

    They left for good reason. By the time America caught up with them again, American had matured a bit, and could tolerate the Mormons again. Otherwise... we wouldn't have become a State.

    You SHOULD have complete Religious Freedom in Utah (and I think you do). Nobody's keeping you from going to ANY church you want, or persecuting you for living your faith.


    To all those who think Pioneer Day is a huge travesty... Massachusetts has legal holidays for Patriots Day (April 21) and Bunker Hill Day (June 17th). They have parades, fireworks, family gatherings, Boston Marathon, etc, these holidays (just like we have on Pioneer Day).... Are these anti-Pioneer Day people just as anti-Patriot Day? Or is it just an anti-Mormon thing for these people??

    Every State has their heritage and their holidays to help us remember our heritage.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    July 15, 2014 9:37 a.m.

    Can Hobby Lobby make up a holiday, and celebrate under freedom of Religion?

    If they can not even support women's healthcare,
    they surely will not give their employees time off with pay....

  • embarrassed Utahn! Salt Lake City, UT
    July 15, 2014 9:17 a.m.

    To paraphrase a hero of mine...Mayor Rocky Anderson: It is astounding what people are willing to do and say in the name of religion; when it's THEIR religion!

    In my opinion, the LDS leadership has chosen to discriminate and ostracize by disallowing "certain" participants. I will avoid the parade and all festivities.

    I will avoid the parade and all festivities associated with it.

    Freedom of Religion will NEVER be at stake in this Nation. What is at stake is the freedom to not be religious.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 15, 2014 8:53 a.m.

    Greg...nice try. But no, it's not about religious freedom for all Americans. Don't even bother trying to make that point.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    July 15, 2014 8:20 a.m.


    Native Americans had already "settled" this state and created a wonderful place to live long before the pioneers arrived.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    July 15, 2014 8:17 a.m.

    So now the entitled want Pioneer Day off? Will it ever end?

    If you don't want to work Pioneer Day, then don't! But why should more any government intervene? If government can't force corporations to provide health care then why should government force corporations to provide days off?

    I remember, back in the good ol days, people worked all day everyday. Now the lazy and entitled want health care, salaries, breaks, and days off.

    Sheesh. It's amazing that this country hasn't imploded already. Days off? This ain't France, hun!

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    July 15, 2014 8:10 a.m.

    The writer's position is a stretch to say the least. I will enjoy some pie & beer and watch the locals set the valley ablaze with fireworks.

  • trekker Salt Lake, UT
    July 15, 2014 7:56 a.m.

    Most employers do not recognize Pioneer Day as a holiday. I will working on that day just like any other work day, but I do appreciate the sacrifices made by the pioneers to settle this state and create the wonderful place we live today.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 15, 2014 6:59 a.m.

    You want employers to give their workers a day off? Isn't that socialism?

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    July 15, 2014 6:51 a.m.


    Utah doesn't believe in "religious freedom" for "all Americans". If they did, they wouldn't be fighting tooth-and-nail against the right for LGBT Americans (many of whom are Christian) to marry. Many churches believe that marriage for LGBT couples is fine and are more than willing to perform them in their church. Utah's fight against the religious freedom of these churches blows your argument completely out of the water.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    July 15, 2014 6:25 a.m.

    "The early state legislators recognized the sacrifices made by people of all faiths for religious freedom and chose to set this day aside as a state holiday beneficial to all Utahns."

    Cmon Greg. At least be honest.

    Pioneer day is a Mormon themed holiday.

    "They should ask their employers to grant them the right to honor this day and give it the respect it deserves."

    Actually, when I lived and worked in Utah, I did exactly the opposite. I petitioned the company to remove Pioneer day as a holiday and replace it with a floating day. Our employees agreed and a change was made.

    I saw this as a win for everyone.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    July 15, 2014 6:20 a.m.

    I really doubt most non-LDS'ers know that Pioneer day is an ecumenical celebration.

    I can certainly understand its celebration by Utah citizens, not unlike Alamo day in Texas. However, to call Pioneer day a celebration of religious freedom is a bit of a stretch. And furthermore, did anyone ask if the Native Americans wanted to celebrate the day?

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 15, 2014 5:48 a.m.

    Ok, it about "religion"
    Why not Rash Hosanna,
    Ash Wednesday?

    BTW --
    Utah also had another unique holiday in October called; "The Deer Hunt"

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    July 15, 2014 5:46 a.m.


    It's clearly about celebrating the Mormon pioneers' arrival into Salt Lake City.