Pioneer Day is celebrated by Mormons the world over on July 24th of each year. This day is a time for reverence, remembrance, and recreation; it is marked by programs, picnics, treks, tributes, games, and storytelling. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we proudly honor and deeply respect our pioneer heritage. Whether our connection to those early men and women is genealogical or spiritual in nature, we are strengthened by the memory of those sturdy souls who loved the gospel of Jesus Christ more than life itself. Their lives and dedication inspire and uplift us.

Leaders of our church often remind us that we, too, are pioneers. The road we travel is different, and the physical dangers are greatly reduced, but the spiritual dangers we face are just as real. While our limbs and bodies are not likely to be frozen by ice and snow or bloodied by rocky trails, hearts can be frozen by worldly concerns and pleasures, spirits bloodied by sin and cynicism. Each one of us has his or her own treacherous journey to make––a search for Zion that is fraught with the perils of this time, reserved for us, another generation of Saints.

I sincerely believe that we, like the early pioneers, are made of the right stuff. As one Church historian wrote:  “Cut us open, and there is the trail.” United by shared belief, may we continue to follow that trail and be willing to share it with others.

I wrote this poem for a pioneer program over fifteen years ago. For me, it still rings true today.


©1984 by Susan Noyes Anderson

Great Grandma walked across the plains,
her blue dress grey with travel stains.
She bore the hardship, for she knew
her faith in the Lord would see her through.
Her once pink hands were calloused now,
and she had said good-bye somehow
to husband dear and children lost,
praying the end would be worth the cost.

I walk the darkened city street,
my hurried footsteps keeping beat
with a trembling heart, but I swallow my fear,
reminding myself that the Lord is near.
I wear my travel stains deep inside,
where I battle iniquity’s rising tide,
praying husband and children will not be lost;
and that the end will be worth the cost.

We all must walk these earthly miles;
different times bring different trials.